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What is GEN<i>CAM®?

GEN<i>CAM® is the global set of standards for interfacing industrial cameras to computer software applications. GEN<i>CAM® allows all people involved in image generation, transport, acquisition and applications use the same wording, interface and technics for their task, regardless of its supplier implementation details, feature set, or interface technology. GEN<i>CAM® was established in September 2006, and is used and adopted by more than 150 companies. It is the basis for the high-speed video standards like GigE Vision®, USB3 Vision™, CoaXPress® or Camera Link®.

What are the benefits of GEN<i>CAM®?

The GEN<i>CAM® standard gives all users a common language for their task. This reduces time, effort and cost in the design, deployment, and maintenance of high-speed video applications by allowing the same application design framework to be used in different types of cameras and imaging products. Therefore this simplifies the integration of new cameras and other imaging products to your current image processing application.

What is Sensor to Image’s role in GEN<i>CAM®?

Sensor to Image IP and video converters are strictly GEN<i>CAM®-compliant, and we play an active role in GEN<i>CAM® related standardization activities like GigE Vision®, USB3 Vision™ and CoaXPress®. Sensor to Image contributes for many years actively in standard definition meetings, standard testing of our products and in several homework activities for tools to be used inside the technical committees around GEN<i>CAM® and the related standards.

How is GEN<i>CAM® related to GigE Vision, USB3 Vision and CoaXPress?

The hardware standard of GigE Vision®, USB3 Vision™ and CoaXPress® require the use of GEN<i>CAM® for accessing, controlling and streaming video in compliant cameras or other imaging products. The shared use of GEN<i>CAM® provides all users of the hardware standard with a common set of feature names and configuration for all compliant devices, regardless the manufacturer. This simplifies application design and integration.

Who is managing GEN<i>CAM®?

GEN<i>CAM® is managed by the European Machine Vision Association (EMVA) which represents companies from 20 nations. The EMVA publishes the standard documents and manages the compliance testing. Technical evolution is handled by the EMVA's GEN<i>CAM® Technical Committee meetings, which take place with 50-100 attendees in several work groups twice a year to discuss and decide about the progress of the last half year and set the goals for the next meeting.

GEN<i>CAM® consists of several modules

  • GenApi defines the format of an extensible mark-up language (XML) file that captures and specifies how to access and control the features of a compliant camera or other imaging product. GEN<i>CAM® - compliant devices must contain an XML file that conforms to this format.
  • Standard Features Naming Convention (SFNC) standardizes and explains the names of more than 300 commonly used camera and application features. To comply with the transport layer of GigE Vision®, USB3 Vision™ or CoaXPress® it also sets a minimum needed mandatory features to ensure system functionality.
  • Pixel Format Naming Convention (PFNC) standardizes and explains how to code the pixel stream of your sensor, so that software engineers know how to use it inside their applications.
  • GenTL defines a hardware independent software interface between any image data producer (e.g. frame grabber driver) and any image data consumer.
  • GenTL SFNC defines the wording of the features available in the GenTL producer and consumer.
  • GenCP defines a generic control protocol, which is used by current (e.g. USB3 Vision™) and future interface standards.
  • CLProtocol is an additional software layer needed to interface mature CameraLink cameras to standard GEN<i>CAM® applications.