In our last issue, Advisory Board Member Tom Brennan wrote an article about bringing vision to the real world and what it would take to get there. I recently came across an article about 3D scanning starting to roll out at airports nationwide at TSA security checkpoints. The machines would create such a clear picture of the contents of a bag that computers can automatically detect explosives, including liquids. The idea, according to the TSA, is to allow passengers to leave laptops and 3-1-1 liquids in carry-on luggage in the future. For those of us do not in the TSA Pre-Check program, this is great news and another example of how vision/imaging technologies are moving from the factory floor into our daily lives. The TSA also hopes that the use of this technology will reduce the number of baggage checks at security checkpoints – again, very good news as we all begin to travel more frequently again.

Some big news

The news broke in March that Zebra Technologies would acquire Matrox Imaging from Matrox. The news came as a surprise to many, and opinions varied, often going from one extreme to the other. When I arrived at Design of vision systems, Teledyne’s purchase of FLIR was still fresh on everyone’s mind and certainly, at that time, the most recent “big news” I heard of. A trip to VISION in Stuttgart, Germany revealed the impact of consolidation on the industry, with many well-known brands sharing the same booth space.

Consolidation happens in any industry. For some, it has a good connotation; for others it is not. This made me think of January’s A3 Business Forum and the report that automation continues to grow. Automation – now there’s a term that can go both ways in terms of connotation depending on who you’re talking to. But it’s automation that drives what systems integrators build machine vision systems for. So there are pros and cons to everything.

I spoke with Sam Lopez, from Matrox Imaging, about the acquisition, and he made a point that stuck with me: there were a lot of things that Matrox Imaging was looking to develop but didn’t have the resources to get started. and that Zebra Technologies make these resources available. I’ve seen this happen in other industries I’ve covered, and end users usually end up benefiting from it. Mergers and acquisitions activity can shake things up in any industry. As we emerge from the COVID-19 pandemic (albeit slowly), we will likely see more M&A activity, especially as the machine vision market continues to grow.


Please join me in welcoming Linda Wilson to the staff of Design of vision systems as our editor. Linda has over 25 years of B2B publishing experience and has written for numerous publications including Modern healthcare, InformationWeek, computer world, Health data management, and many more. before joining Design of vision systemsshe was the editor of Medical Laboratory Observera sister publication of Design of vision systems.


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