USB3 Vision

What is USB3 Vision?

USB3 Vision™ is a global standard for transporting high-speed imaging and video data to computers over the widely available USB 3.0 bus. The bus transfers payload data at throughputs approaching 3 Gb/s. The USB3 Vision standard, ratified in February 2013, specifies how to format, stream, and control the transfer of the imaging and video data over the bus, and includes a methodology for interoperating with software applications and SDKs on the host computer.

What are the benefits?

The USB3 Vision standard helps reduce the design, deployment, and maintenance costs of high-speed video applications based on the USB 3.0 bus by:

  • Making it simpler to implement applications using the affordable and widely available USB 3.0 ports;
  • Making it easier to leverage the native performance attributes of the USB 3.0 platform, such as its high bandwidth, power over cable, and plug-and-play usability; and
  • Allowing USB 3.0 based cameras and other imaging products from various vendors to interoperate seamlessly, without time-consuming integration issues.

What is Pleora's role?

Pleora's USB 3.0 video interface products are USB3 Vision compliant, and the company plays an active role in USB3 Vision standards activities. Pleora contributed to the technical specifications and marketing development needed to launch the standard, and our representatives are driving its ongoing evolution by serving on the USB3 Vision Technical Committee. In addition, George Chamberlain, Pleora’s President, provides stewardship for the standard as a member of the AIA Board of Directors and as co-chair of the Future Standards Forum.

How does USB3 Vision relate to GenICam and GigE Vision?

USB3 Vision uses the applications programming interface (API) defined by the GenICam™ standard to access and control features in compliant cameras and other imaging products. The GigE Vision standard is allied with GenICam in the same way. The shared use of GenICam simplifies applications design and integration by providing camera and system manufacturers with a common set of feature names and configuration for cameras and other imaging products from different manufacturers.

How is USB3 Vision managed?

The USB3 Vision standard is administered by the AIA, a trade association for the machine vision industry based in Michigan, U.S. The AIA publishes the USB3 Vision standard text and oversees the validation process. Technical evolution is handled by the AIA’s USB3 Vision Technical Committee, made up of representatives from every major sector of the vision systems industry.

Technical summary

The USB3 Vision standard has three main elements:

  • Device Identification and Control – which, based on GenICam's control protocol, defines the mechanism used by the host computer to control cameras and other imaging systems;
  • USB3 Vision Streaming Protocol (UVSP) – which defines the bulk endpoints for video streaming, describes how images are packetized, and provides mechanisms for cameras or other types of imaging products to send image data and other information to compliant hosts; and
  • An extensible mark-up language (XML) description file – which provides the equivalent of a computer-readable data sheet of the features in compliant cameras or other imaging systems. This file must be based on the schema defined by the GenICam standard and include a handful of basic features.