Neil Sandhu, SICK UK product manager for imaging, measurement and ranging explores the brave new world of ‘SensorApps’
Nearly three years ago, SICK began signposting a future in which it will be commonplace to download a ready-made “App” to program and configure a programmable vision sensor, perfect for a specific application. It was a concept that some found difficult to envisage at first, especially coming from a traditional sensor hardware manufacturer.
Now that prediction is coming true and it’s all down to SICK’s ground-breaking AppSpace software ‘ecosystem’. While, it can, and will, be a model that could be applied to all kinds of smart sensors, SICK AppSpace offers the tantalising prospect of being a game-changer to demystify machine vision, and especially 3D vision, for the many and no longer just the few.
It might seem curious for a sensor company to be taking the lead in the field of software. Yet, according SICK, once sensors become smart and programmable, investing in software development, and even marketing application ‘kits’ including all the necessary hardware, makes perfect sense.
Machine-builders and systems integrators are already beginning to reap the rewards of cheaper, quicker and easier integration using AppSpace. End-users, too, are benefiting from the plug and play benefits of a growing basket of ‘SensorApps’ rolled out by SICK’s own R&D teams.
With SICK AppSpace, developers have the freedom to design, develop and deploy their own customised solutions, to perfect simple web-based graphical user interfaces for operators and to distribute their applications across multiple hardware platforms and locations.
Developers use the SICK AppStudio to create customer-specific applications, then the SICK AppManager to import Apps into the sensor and adapt it to the task in hand. The SICK AppPool cloud service makes it easy to install, manage and download sensor Apps to programmable SICK devices anywhere in the world.
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