MVTec HALCON is a comprehensive standard software for machine vision with an integrated development environment (HDevelop) that is used worldwide[^3^]. It enables cost savings and improved time to market for any kind of machine vision application. In this article, we will highlight some of the major new features of HALCON 12.0, which was released in 2015.
Automatic Text Reader
One of the most impressive features of HALCON 12.0 is the automatic text reader that is able to segment and read characters of any size robustly without the need for extensive parameter tuning[^1^]. This feature can be used for various applications, such as reading license plates, serial numbers, expiration dates, or printed documents. The text reader can handle different fonts, languages, orientations, and backgrounds, and can also cope with noise, distortion, or occlusion.
Another major improvement in HALCON 12.0 is the enhancement of the MLP-based classifiers (for general classification and for OCR) with several new mechanisms[^1^]. These include regularization of the weights to enforce smoother transitions of the confidences between classes and to prevent overfitting, automatic generation of a rejection class to handle unknown inputs, and automatic determination of the regularization parameters to optimize the performance. These mechanisms make the MLP-based classifiers more robust and accurate for various tasks.
Surface-Based 3D Matching
HALCON 12.0 also introduces a deformable surface-based 3D matching that finds objects and determines their poses and deformation in 2.5D as well as in 3D data[^1^]. This feature can be used for applications such as inspection of flexible parts, assembly verification, or robot guidance. The surface-based matching is now more robust when matching in noisy data, such as data from time-of-flight cameras.
Besides these features, HALCON 12.0 also offers many other enhancements and additions, such as:
New easy to use calibration plates for camera calibration[^1^]
A camera model for tilt lenses (also called Scheimpflug optics) for regular lenses and for bilaterally telecentric lenses[^1^]
Support for SCARA (Selective Compliance Assembly Robot Arm) robots for hand-eye calibration[^1^]
Operators to support sheet-of-light calibration with a 3D calibration object[^1^]
A new operator to simplify a triangulated 3D object model by removing less important points[^1^]
A new interface for the visualization of 3D object models[^1^]
A generic interface for accessing I/O devices[^1^]
I/O interfaces for OPC UA and OPC Classic that allow communication with virtually every PLC[^1^]
I/O interfaces for I/O boards of Advantech, Contec, Interface, and National Instruments that allow easy controlling of digital input and output devices[^1^]
Exploitation of the AVX2 instruction set under Windows and Linux for speedup[^1^]
MVTec HALCON 12.0 is a powerful machine vision software that offers many new features and improvements that can benefit various applications and industries. If you are interested in trying out HALCON 12.0, you can download it from the MVTec website[^2^] and request a free trial license. 061ffe29dd