FastVision: An Interview with our CEO, Dr. Joseph Sgro
(excerpted from Profiles Magazine, July 2010)
Founder and CEO: Dr. Joseph Sgro, chairman of the board of FastVision, received his undergraduate degree in Mathematics from UCLA, and his MA and PhD in the same subject from the University of Wisconsin. Following this, he was invited to become a Member of Princeton’s prestigious Institute for Advanced Study before changing direction, entering the Medical field and becoming a Neurophysiologist. It was his studies of brain function, and the need to photograph subjects as fast as neurons firing that, more than 25 years ago, first drew Dr. Sgro into his present field of high-speed computing and frame-grabbing, and ultimately, ultra high speed, intelligent cameras.
CV and Timeline of Dr. Joseph Sgro, Founder and CEO of FastVision:
1985-1986 Associate in Neurology, Department of Neurology, The Medical College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
1986-1987 Assistant Professor of Neurology, Department of Neurology, The College of Physicians and Surgeons, Columbia University.
1987-1994 Associate Professor of Neurology, Head of Neurophysiology, Medical College of Virginia.
1991-1994 Chief of the Division of Clinical Neurophysiology, Medical College of Virginia.
1986 Director of Research and Development, Alacron, Inc.
1991 Chairman, Board of Directors, Alacron, Inc.
1994 CEO, Alacron, Inc.
2002 CEO, FastVision LLC
2002 Chairman of the Board, FastVision
FastVision was founded in 2002 and sells high speed Smart Cameras. FastVision sells to many companies, but the majority of its revenue is from three primary markets: Military (20%), Manufacturing (40%), and Medical (40%)
Profile: What brought about the opening of FastVision?
Developments in technology allowed us
to build inexpensive high-speed cameras with the ability to do their own
processing and analysis of the captured image. FastVision takes oldline products and merges them with the new low cost sensor technology now
available in the marketplace.
Profile: What are FastVision’s Smart Cameras used for?
On the commercial side, the cameras are used for tasks such as inspection, checking and quality control. The world’s fastest bottle manufacturing plant uses FastVision technology for quality control purposes, and has expanded its business globally by reselling their super high speed bottle inspection and sorting machine. The world is moving in this direction, towards 100% machine inspection. In the military, the technology is used in the control of unmanned vehicles. Many are controlled remotely, also enabling the gathering of intelligence, but the development of embedded- intelligence vehicles would remove some of the hazards to our troops. In medicine, machine vision continues to be used during high risk operations such as brain and heart surgery. As with the military applications, on-line, real-time, computerized machine vision allows remotely located neurologists to be on-call on an off-site basis, so that this essential surgical monitoring is available 24/7.
Profile: How much does a Smart Camera cost?
Anywhere from $1,200 to about $10,000. We also bring out new generations of products every two to three years and costs change based on parts availability, demand, and quantities purchased, along with any non-recurring engineering charges for customized solutions.
Profile: What are your plans for this year?
We run everything pretty tightly to maintain a careful balance of cost control and profitability. Every year, other than the two years after 9/11, we have been profitable. There is no outside financing – we are totally employee owned. It means that we have the necessary capital in place to grow. Additionally, on the product side, we’re developing a new generation of faster and cheaper cameras for the market, moving toward a total integration between the computer and the camera. This will allow us to develop a product that people just plug in and it goes to town.
Have an interesting application to discuss?
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