System and method for setting of parameter settings profile using a code tag reader in an infrared (IR) camera

Authors: Tintin Razavian, Pontus Häger and Peter Fitger
Published on IPQ website: 2012-12-12

TECHNICAL FIELD

The present disclosure relates to a thermography arrangement or thermal imaging device, such as a thermal camera or IR camera, and further to method embodiments for recalling a parameter settings profile in such an arrangement by scanning a code tag.

BACKGROUND

Thermographic, thermal, or infrared (IR) arrangements, devices or cameras are typically used to present thermal images of an object or an area, or in other words visual representations of incoming infrared (IR) radiation. The incoming radiation may comprise temperature information related to the images scene.

Since temperature may sometimes be indicative of undesired conditions, such as damp, over-heating, heat leakage or the malfunction of a machine part or electrical part for instance, arrangements or cameras of the above described type may be used to indicate such conditions. For example, excess heat in a machine may indicate wear and possible imminent breakdown of a machine part. Excess heat in an electrical circuit may indicate malfunction of a component of the circuit. Similarly, temperatures that consistently show up as lower or higher than normal, compared for example to a reference value, can be indicative of damp, heat leakage, or of a leakage of water or other liquid.

In some areas of use some particular tasks are performed and repeated with a predefined interval in time. Examples of such task cold bee: to make a particular inspection round at a location where various equipment units are inspected with an IR camera at specified intervals in time. Within the interval in time other rounds at the same or other locations might be performed that requires other parameter settings, such as IR image, text comments , , emissivity, number of measurement tools (spots, line, area), placing of measurement tools, text comments and color or grey scale palettes. These parameters are, in prior art solutions, entered manually and involve tedious and time consuming work before the round can be started. In addition there is a probability that the user enters the wrong parameter setting which makes it difficult to compare results from the same inspection round performed at an earlier point in time.

PROBLEM SOLVED/OBJECTIVE

It is an object of arrangements and methods described herein to enable an improved way of entering parameter settings in an IR camera, thereby saving time and reducing the risk or probability of wrongful entry of parameters.

DESCRIPTION OF THE INVENTIVE CONCEPT

In accordance with embodiments, there is provided a method, performed in a thermography arrangement such as the arrangements describe below in connection with Fig. 1, for: setting a parameter settings profile for the thermography arrangement by scanning a code tag.

The thermography arrangement might be any kind of arrangement for detecting and/or visualizing infrared (IR) radiation, such as an IR camera.

A parameter settings profile is a subset of parameters, of the total set of parameters used to controlling different aspects of a thermography arrangement. For different types of usage various subsets of parameters might be desired, such as IR image, text comments, emissivity, number of measurement tools (spots, line, area), placing of measurement tools, text comments and color or grey scale palettes.

As previously mentioned for different types of usage, e.g. different measurement scenes, a user wants to set an optimal parameter settings profile for each type of usage. In particular when measurements are repeated over time it is important that results can be compared in a convenient way.

The setting of an optimal parameter settings profile involves manual input that takes time and involves the risk that the wrong settings for a particular use are entered.

The inventive concept described herein solves these and other problems related to entering a parameter settings profile by retrieving a parameter settings profile by scanning a code tag.

A code tag is machine-readable representation of data normally relating to the object to which it is attached.

The code tag can be, but is not limited to, any one of a EAN-13, EAN-8, UPC, Code 39, GS1-128, AI, Code 128, ITF-14, ITF-14, GS1 Datamatrix, GS1 Databar, Industrial 2 of 5, Industrial 2 of 5 Interleaved, 3-DI, ArrayTag, Aztec Code, Small Aztec Code, Codablock, Code 1, Code 16K, Code 49, ColorCode, Color Construct Code, Compact Matrix Code, CP Code ,CyberCode, d-touch, DataGlyphs, Data Matrix, Datastrip Code, Dot Code A, EZcode, Grid Matrix Code, HD Barcode, High Capacity Color Barcode, HueCode, INTACTA.CODE, InterCode, JAGTAG, MaxiCode, mCode, MiniCode, MicroPDF417, MMCC, Nintendo e-Reader#Dot code, Optar, PaperDisk, PDF417, PDMark, QR Code, QuickMark Code,Secure Seal,SmartCode,Snowflake code, ShotCode, SPARQCode, SuperCode, Trillcode, UltraCode, UnisCode, VeriCode, VSCode,WaterCode and Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags.

The inventive concept described herein solves these and other problems related to entering a parameter settings profile by retrieving a parameter settings profile by scanning a code tag.

In an embodiment of the invention a thermography arrangement is configured to scan a code tag; decoding the information in the code tag and set a parameter settings profile based on the decoded information, wherein setting a parameter settings profile comprises setting a subset of thermography arrangement parameters to particular values.

In an embodiment of the invention the information in the code tag comprises parameter settings information that the thermography arrangement use to set parameters to a value based on the parameter settings information.

In an embodiment of the invention the information in the code tag comprises parameter settings information, wherein the parameter settings information comprises machine readable instructions or commands that when interpreted by the thermography arrangement sets parameters to values based on the machine readable instructions or commands.

In an embodiment of the invention the information in the code tag comprises parameter settings information indicating a default parameter value, predefined in the thermography arrangement, which causes the thermography arrangement to set parameters to the predefined default parameter value based on the parameter settings information.

In an embodiment of the invention the information in the code tag comprises parameter settings information indicating a reference or identity and the step of setting a parameter settings profile further comprises:

-performing a look up in a parameter settings profile database, stored in a memory of the thermography arrangement, based on the reference or identity,
-retrieving a parameter settings profile resulting from the look-up and
– setting a parameter settings profile based on the retrieved parameter settings profile.

IN one example, by enabling the thermography arrangement, or IR camera, to scan a Quick Response (QR) code, the QR code can be matched to a built in parameter database. Thereby the parameter settings can be loaded automatically in the thermography arrangement, or IR camera, in response to scanning a QR code. As a result, automatic calibration and adaption to a particular type of usage of the thermography arrangement may e.g. be achieved.

SYSTEM ARCHITECTURE

Fig. 1 shows a schematic view of an embodiment of a thermal image processing system, or a thermography arrangement 1, for performing a method according to the present disclosure.

Figure_1

A thermography arrangement 1 comprises an IR imaging device 12 having an IR sensor. The IR imaging device 12 may be any kind of thermal imaging device. According to embodiments, it is preferable that the IR imaging device 12 is able to detect thermal electromagnetic radiation at least, for example, in the interval between 0.7 and 20 µm, but it may be adapted to detect any kind of near infrared, mid infrared or far infrared radiation.

According to embodiments, the thermography arrangement 1 may further comprise a visual imaging device 11 having a visual sensor, and which is mounted so that an optical axis of the visual sensor of visual imaging device 11 is at a distance d from the IR sensor of IR imaging device 12. The visual imaging device 11 may be any known type of visual imaging device, for example a CCD imaging device, an EMCCD imaging device, a CMOS imaging device or an sCMOS imaging device.

According to an embodiment, the thermography arrangement 1 comprises, is connected to or is communicatively coupled to one or more processors 2. In an embodiment, the thermography arrangement 1 is configured to capture IR and/or visible light images using the IR imaging device 12 and/or the visual imaging device 11, whereby captured images according to embodiments may be transmitted to the processor 2 for further processing.

In this document, the terms “computer program product” and “computer-readable storage medium” may be used generally to refer to non-transitory media such as a memory 41 coupled to the thermography arrangement 1, the storage medium of processor 2, or the storage medium of a controller 42 coupled to the thermography arrangement 1. These and other forms of computer-readable storage media may be used to provide instructions to processor 2 for execution. Such instructions, generally referred to as “computer program code” or computer program code portions (which may be grouped in the form of computer programs or other groupings), are adapted to control a data processing system to perform the steps and functions of the inventive method. Thus when executed, the computer program code portions enable the thermography arrangement 1 or another processor to perform features or functions of embodiments of the current technology. Further the processing logic or logic describing method steps for performing any or all of the functions described herein may include hardware, software, firmware, or a combination of thereof.

According to an embodiment, the processor 2 communicates with a memory 41, wherein parameters are kept ready for use by the processor 2, and where any captured images being processed by the processor 2 may be stored. The memory 41 may be a random access memory (RAM), a register memory, a processor cache, a hard disk drive, a floppy disk drive, a magnetic tape drive, an optical disk drive, a CD or DVD drive (R or RW), or other removable or fixed media drive. In embodiments, any parameter settings profile may be stored in, and retrieved, from any of the memories described above.

The memory 41 may in turn communicate with a controller 42, from where such parameters may originate, for instance through input from a calibration file 43 that can be supplied from a manufacturer, by parameters being supplied by the thermography arrangement 1 itself, or by parameters being supplied by the user using one or more inputters 5 of the arrangement 1. The controller 42 can be a programmable device and determine the parameters needed for performing exemplary methods and how such parameters should interact with the processor 2, and possibly store the parameters in the memory 41 for easy retrieval by the processor 2.

According to an embodiment, the thermography arrangement 1 comprises a display 3, configured to display images comprising visible light data and/or IR data to a user of the thermography arrangement 1. The images may for example be pure visible light images, pure IR images or combined visible light and IR images in the form of blended images, fused images or picture in picture images.

The processor 2 may be a general or special purpose processing engine such as, for example, a central processing unit (CPU), a microprocessor, microcontroller or other control logic or an FPGA (Field-programmable gate array) that comprises sections of code, stored on a computer readable storage medium, that are fixed to perform certain tasks but also other sections of code, stored on a non-transitory computer readable storage medium, that can be altered during use.

According to embodiments, the thermography arrangement 1 may comprise, be communicatively coupled to or be configured to transfer data to and/or from a processor. According to such embodiments, alterable sections of code comprised in any of one or more processors of the thermography arrangement 1 may comprise parameters that are to be used as input for the various tasks, such as: generating a visual representation of the captured IR radiation emitted from the depicted scene in the form of an IR image; presenting an IR image to a user of the thermography arrangement; presenting text comments to a user of the thermography arrangement;; presenting emissivity values related to the depicted scene to a user of the thermography arrangement; selecting the number of measurement tools (spots, lines, areas) used for performing thermal or other measurements; configuring placement of measurement tools in a graphical user interface (GUI) presented on a display of the thermography arrangement or an external display connected to, communicatively coupled to or arranged to receive data from the thermography arrangement; and/or setting of color or gray scale palettes used in the visual presentation of captured IR information, among others.

In one example the processor or processors of the arrangement are according to embodiments further configured to process a captured visible light image to automatically determine whether a code tag is present in the captured image and, in the case where a code tag has been identified, to decode the code tag information. The processor or processors of the arrangement are according to embodiments further configured to perform a look up and retrieve parameter settings from a parameter settings profile database stored in the memory 41 based on the decoded information. The processor or processors of the arrangement are according to embodiments further configured to replace the current parameter settings, corresponding to the parameter settings profile for use by the processor 2, with the retrieved parameter settings.

According to embodiments, a user is enabled to provide input to the thermography arrangement by using one or more inputters 5 integrated in or coupled to the system, for example in the form of a keyboard, buttons, soft buttons, touch functionality, microphone/voice input or any other suitable input functionality. In an embodiment, the user is enabled, by using one or more inputters 5, to indicate that a QR code is present in a captured image and that the QR coded information should be decoded, to store images in the memory 41 for later viewing or for transfer to another device, such as a computing device, such as a PC, for further analysis and/or storage.

In one example, , the determination that a code tag is present in the captured image and decoding the code tag information is performed based on a user making an input using the inputter 5. In another embodiment, the user identifies a code tag, directs the thermography arrangement towards the identified code tag and uses the one or more inputters 5 to indicate that a reading of a code tag code is to be performed. In an embodiment, a control signal is generated based on the user input; the control signal is sent to the processor 2; and the processor 2 is configured to initiate reading and interpreting of the code tag based on the received control signal.

In alternative embodiments, disclosed methods can be implemented by a computing device such as a PC that may encompass the functions of an FPGA specially adapted for performing the steps of the method for one or more embodiments described herein, or encompass a general processor 2 according to the description in connection with Fig. 1. The computing device may further comprise a memory 41, a controller 42 and/or a display 3.

In an alternative embodiment, captured IR and/or visible light images can be transferred to a computing device, such as a PC, together with information related to the associated current parameter settings profile, wherein the computing device is further configured to store captured images together with information related to the associated parameter settings profile in memory communicatively coupled to the computing device. The information related to the associated current parameter settings profile could be in the form of indications to predefined default values, machine readable instructions or commands that when interpreted by the computing device retrieves parameters values based on the machine readable instructions/commands or as a code tag, e.g. coded code tag information, decoded code tag information or a visual representation of a code tag.

According to embodiments, the computing device is further configured to allow a user to edit the transferred parameter settings profile on the computing device and to save the parameter settings profile in computer device memory in a computer device parameter settings database, wherein saving may further comprise one or more of the following:
– generating a visual representation of code tag information, e.g. in the form of an image file visualizing a code tag, wherein the code tag information comprises information associated with a parameter settings profile in the computer device database.
– associating the visual representation of code tag information, the captured image and the parameter settings profile in a computer device memory, e.g. any of the memory units exemplified herein.
– saving the visual representation of code tag information, the captured image and the parameter settings profile in a computer device parameter settings database.

In an alternative embodiment, the computer device parameter settings database can be transferred to a thermography arrangement 1 from the computing device, such as a PC, as an updated parameter settings profile database stored in the memory 41.

In an alternative embodiment, the computing device, such as a PC, is communicatively coupled to a printing device. The computing device is further configured to receive input from a user indicating a parameter settings profile and to send the visual representation of code tag information to the printing device to produce a printed copy of the associated image file of a code tag that the user can scan, thereby parameter settings can be loaded automatically in the thermography arrangement, or IR camera, in response to the scanning of the code tag.
Through the arrangements and methods described herein the invention addresses the need for an improved way of entering parameter settings in an IR camera, thereby saving time and reducing the risk or probability of wrongful entry of parameters.