Thermal imaging infrared cameras are widely used in commercial applications, including security, firefighting, gas leak detection, and test and measurement. FPGAs within the cameras filter and process signals generated by sensors and detectors. Often, turning a new signal processing concept into an algorithm that runs in real time on a production camera is a lengthy process, because hardware engineers must translate algorithms developed by algorithm engineers into HDL, without intimate knowledge of how the algorithms work.
At FLIR Systems, engineers develop and simulate advanced algorithms in MATLAB® and then rapidly implement them on FPGAs with HDL Coder™. “In the past, we would rarely show simulations to our customers because it could take a long time for our ideas to make it into a product,” says Nicholas Hogasten, manager of image processing technology at FLIR. “Recently, we showed a key customer some simulations of a new thermal imaging filter, the most complex filter we had ever developed. Our customer was ecstatic when, a few months later, we showed them the first working camera with this new filter, generated using HDL Coder, and the camera performed exactly like the MATLAB simulations.”