Three Open Source Platforms That Are Rapidly Advancing Sensor Technology

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Optical sensors have come a long way since the swivel head and single lens of the R2D2 era. In large part, this is due to the open source platforms that support them. Think fitness equipment, industrial automation, and military simulation. Each requires computers, displays, even cameras customized for their use. Open source software, once second fiddle to closed source software, is now emerging as the go-to for embedded technology because the software source code is available to the public, platforms are modified and further developed collaboratively by independent users, and did we mention it’s free?

Three open source platforms, in particular, are responsible for rapidly advancing sensor technology.

OpenCV

OpenCV enables rapid development of complex image sensor-related processing. This provides a significant reduction in the implementation time of complex vision-based systems. OpenCV was built for computational adeptness with multi-core processing. People worldwide are turning to this revolutionary software — its international community is 47,000 strong and industry insiders estimate the software has been downloaded more than 9 million times. To what does it owe its popularity? OpenCV’s heterogeneous compute platform allows it to be used for everything from robotics to graphic design to military operations and more.

OpenCores

The OpenCores intellectual property (IP) core enables connection and processing capabilities for sensors and other devices. Embedded sensors are created by using IP available on OpenCores to integrate into a field-programmable gate array (FPGA) to construct a System on Chip (SoC). OpenCores currently boasts a status as the most popular online community for the development of hardware IP cores as open source. OpenCores.org is a mecca for information, platforms, tools and more. Thanks to OpenCores, SoCs can be created more efficiently and at a more sophisticated level than in the past.

Linux

Linux and is the best-known and most-used open source operating system. Linux manages all of the communication between software and hardware, so provides all of the common interfaces necessary to connect sensors to a network, display, or any other interface. It is a free and easy way to enable a sensor. Linux.com also is a go-to news site for open source tutorials, trends, tips, and training.

Open source software is essential to the inventive and competitive nature of the embedded technology industry. When our engineers at EmbedTek develop a new tracking or monitoring technique using sensors, they save hours of work and weeks off a timeline when they can modify and edit existing proven platforms to bring their vision to life.