Some of the typical functions that can be accomplished with applications that previously would have been difficult include:
Photometric Stereo (PMS)
Generate edge and texture images using shapes resulting from light shading. Photometric stereo allows the user to separate the shape of an object from its 2D texture. It works by firing segmented light arrays from multiple angles and processing the resulting shadows utilizing “shape from shading.”
This can make visually noisy or highly reflective surfaces easier to inspect. This capability is rapidly becoming popular in the machine vision market. Numerous machine vision suppliers are now offering photometric stereo tools that control sequential image acquisition and image processing within their operating systems or smart cameras.
However, you still need lighting! As an example, a basic PMS system may utilize a ring light with four individually-controllable 90-degree quadrants to cast a directional shadow around the raised features on an object as seen in the images of the tire sidewall below.
The ring light quadrants were fired in sequence to create the East, South, North, and West images shown below: