7 sins of IMAQ module

Monday, January 10th, 2011

I have been using IMAQ module in LabVIEW these days, and the integration of many algorithms saved me a lot of time. It is the core module when we want to do Machine Vision. I haven’t digged into it since the subset seems OK for my job. But in this post I’m not saying the beauty of it, instead, I’m going to tell seven sins of the IMAQ module. Just to clarify, I splitted some up in order to make it “7”. All the problems are based on vision development module 2009.

1. It has to be in IMAQ. Sometime I just want a simple “2D array filter” to proceed my 2D data, but there is no such a node in the core functions, although I though it’s not complex. And the fact is, if I want to proceed my raw 2D array in any ‘image’ way, I have to buy and call IMAQ module to do that, plus conversion back and forth. That’s not handy.

2.  Non-standard connector layout. Here is the connector  layout:

It’s not using standard 4224 layout pattern, and the wiring becomes a chaos in this case.

3. Old style front panel. Here is the front panel comparison of the “IMAQ create.vi” and “Open/Create/Replace file.vi”

As you can see, the controls and indicators are different in two VIs. So if we have IMAQ VIs with other VIs in the same top level, we will have diffrent front panel controls if we just create controls by right clicking.

4.IMAQ VIs should support all image types which makes sense” as described in the NI idea exchange.

5. Along with the last sin, there is no boolean array input/ output in “IMAQ ArrayToImage.vi” and “IMAQ ImageToArray.vi”. Actually boolean 2D array is quite useful in many pattern recognization applications. (Yeah, this is the extra sin I just divided from last one)

6. “Image Dsc Out” missing in some VIs. E.g, after the proceeding of the image and we want to convert it back to an array, do we need to release the buffer we created? If yes, there is no such a connector on the output. I assume all the VI without the “Image out” connector is to be used as indicators, but still, it’s better to keep it uniform.

7. We have to create buffer to manipulate images. In this module it’s not as smart as in Array functions, we need to create one buffer to proceed an image, mutiple buffers for mutiple ones (or, use one buffer one by one). It would be nicer if NI can make this easier.

Anyway, IMAQ is a very useful module and hope I’ll study ultilize it better in the future.


One comment on “7 sins of IMAQ module

  1. Kameralina says:

    Hi fooloo,

    It is nice to know that you are an avid user of NI Vision Development Module, however, I wanted to address some of your comments regarding your frustrations with the software.

    4) Over the years we have improved our image type support including adding color support to many more algorithms and U16 support. I’d love to hear if you are using other image types that you are not finding adequate support for.

    2 & 6) The connectors were designed to be scalable to different needs, but you are right, there are a few inconsistencies historically.

    5) This is potentially a minor fix that we could make in an upcoming version.

    Also, remember that you can contact NI at ni.com/ask and also submit product suggestions here: http://digital.ni.com/applications/psc.nsf/default?OpenForm (encouraged since this is the best way to ensure that your suggestions are looked at by R&D)


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