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Zebra Aurora Imaging Library (AIL)

Comprehensive collection of Industrial Imaging Tools

Zebra Aurora Imaging Library

Formally Matrox® Imaging Library (MIL) X1 is a comprehensive collection of software tools for developing machine vision, image analysis, and medical imaging applications. AIL includes tools for every step in the process, from application feasibility to prototyping, through to development and ultimately deployment.

The software development kit (SDK) features interactive software and programming functions for image capture, processing, analysis, annotation, display, and archiving. These tools are designed to enhance productivity, thereby reducing the time and effort required to bring solutions to market.

Image capture, processing, and analysis operations have the accuracy and robustness needed to tackle the most demanding applications. These operations are also carefully optimized for speed to address the severe time constraints encountered in many applications

AIL (Aurora Imaging Library)  at a glance

  • Solve applications rather than develop underlying tools by leveraging a toolkit with a more than 25-year history of reliable performance
  • Tackle applications with utmost confidence using field-proven tools for analyzing, classifying, locating, measuring, reading, and verifying
  • Base analysis on monochrome and color 2D images as well as 3D profiles, depth maps, and point clouds
  • Harness the full power of today’s hardware through optimizations exploiting SIMD, multi-core CPU, and multi-CPU technologies
  • Support platforms ranging from smart cameras to high-performance computing (HPC) clusters via a single consistent and intuitive application programming interface (API)
  • Obtain live data in different ways, with support for analog, Camera Link®, CoaXPress®, DisplayPort™, GenTL, GigE Vision®, HDMI™, SDI, and USB3 Vision®2 interfaces
  • Maintain flexibility and choice by way of support 64-bit Windows® and Linux® along with Intel® and Arm® processor architectures
  • Leverage available programming know-how with support for C, C++, C#, CPython, and Visual Basic® languages
  • Experiment, prototype, and generate program code using MIL CoPilot interactive environment
  • Increase productivity and reduce development costs with Zebra Vision Academy online and on-premises training.
  • Simplified training for deep learning
  • New deep neural networks for classification and segmentation
  • New deep learning inference engine
  • Additional 3D processing operations including filters
  • 3D blob analysis
  • 3D shape finding
  • Hand-eye calibration for robot guidance
  • Improvements to SureDotOCR®
  • Makeover of CPython interface now with NumPy support

AIL development
First released in 1993, AIL has evolved to keep pace with and foresee emerging industry requirements. It was conceived with an easy-to-use, coherent API that has stood the test of time. AIL pioneered the concept of hardware independence with the same API for different image acquisition and processing platforms. A team of dedicated, highly skilled computer scientists, mathematicians, software engineers, and physicists continue to maintain and enhance AIL.

AIL is maintained and developed using industry recognized best practices, including peer review, user involvement, and daily builds. Users are asked to evaluate and report on new tools and enhancements, which strengthens and validates releases. Ongoing AIL development is integrated and tested as a whole on a daily basis.

In addition to the thorough manual testing performed prior to each release, AIL continuously undergoes automated testing during the course of its development. The automated validation suite—consisting of both systematic and random tests—verifies the accuracy, precision, robustness, and speed of image processing and analysis operations. Results, where applicable, are compared against those of previous releases to ensure that performance remains consistent. The automated validation suite runs continuously on hundreds of systems simultaneously, rapidly providing wide-ranging test coverage. The systematic tests are performed on a large database of images representing a broad sample of real-world applications.


Imaging ToolsSureDotOCR FeaturesWatch AILCoPilotSupported EnvironmentsDevelopAIL Tools GalleryDatasheetOrder AIL 10

Field-Proven Tools

Image analysis and processing tools

Central to AIL are tools for calibrating, enhancing and transforming images, locating objects, extracting and measuring features, reading character strings, and decoding and verifying identification marks. These tools are carefully developed to provide outstanding performance and reliability, and can be used within a single computer system or distributed across several computer systems.

  • Pattern recognition
  • Circle and Ellipse finding
  • Shape Finding Tools
  • Feature extraction and analysis
  • 1D and 2D measurements
  • Color analysis tools
  • Character recognition tools
  • 1D and 2D code reading and verification
  • Registration
  • 2D calibration
  • Image processing primitives
  • Image compression and video encoding
  • Fully optimized for speed
  • 3D Vision tools
  • Distributed AIL Interference

SureDotOCRexamplesSureDotOCR Features:

  • Reads text located at any angle
  • Reads text with varying contrast
  • Reads touching and distorted characters
  • Reads text on uneven background
  • Recognizes punctuation marks and blank spaces
  • Supports the creation and editing of character fonts, while including predefined fonts
  • Automatically handles multiple lines of text where each line can utilize different font
  • Ability to set user-defined constraints (overall and at specific character positions)



Zebra Aurora Imaging Library Robotic Guidance


Aurora Imaging Library 3D Profiling

CoPilot is a Utility

AIL CoPilot interactive environment

Working with a programming library to assess the feasibility and best approach to developing a vision application can be both intimidating and time consuming. Zebra has removed the bulk of this burden with the introduction of AIL CoPilot, a new interactive environment for the Aurora Imaging Library (AIL); a field-proven software development kit (SDK) with a comprehensive set of tools for vision application development.

AIL CoPilot enables users to select and fine-tune operations before including them in a particular vision application—without writing any code. All the work done within a session is conveniently held together in a workspace for future reference or sharing with colleagues. A live preview allows users to experiment freely before committing to an operation. The best part is, AIL CoPilot will generate clear, functional code for immediate integration!

AIL CoPilot will produce code for any AIL-supported language (C++, C#, CPython, and VB.Net). This provides even the most experienced developers with a faster, easier and more efficient approach to jump-start vision application development.

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AIL CoPilot

Matrox copilot enables users to select and fine-tune operations before including them in a particular vision application—without writing any code

Additional processing and analysis utilities

AIL includes a collection of interactive Windows-based utilities for each key image processing and analysis tool. Intended for configuration and experimentation, each tool supports live image capture and processing as well as file I/O for individual or sequences of images. Tooltips over dialog controls provide a convenient cross-reference to actual AIL function calls.


AIL includes interactive utilities for configuration and experimentat Profiler

Zebra Profiler is a Windows-based utility to post-analyse the execution of a multi-threaded application for performance bottlenecks and synchronization issues. It presents the function calls made over time per application thread on a navigable timeline. Zebra Profiler allows the searching for, and selecting of, specific function calls to see their parameters and execution times. It computes statistics on execution times and presents these on a per function basis. Zebra Profiler tracks not only AIL functions but also suitably tagged user functions. Function tracing can be disabled altogether to safeguard the inner working of a deployed application.

matrox profiler snap shot

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Zebra Profiler application analysis performance tool.

Supported Environments

For Windows

  • 64-bit Windows 10 (versions 1607 to 22H2) and Windows 11 (Version 21H2 and 22H2)
  • Visual Studio 2017, and 2019 (unmanaged C++, C#, and .NET framework 4.8 or .NET 6))
  • CPython 3.7 and 3.9

For Linux

  • 64-bit Ubuntu 20.04 and 22.04 LTS
  • 64-bit Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.6 and 9.0
  • 64-bit SUSE Linux Enterprise 15 SP4
  • GNU Compiler Collection (for C/C++) and Python Linux distribution
  • .NET 5 (for C#)

AIL for Arm®

The majority of processing, analysis, annotation, display, and archiving functionality in AIL is also available to run on Arm Cortex®-A family processors, specifically those employing the Armv8-A 64-bit architecture. The processing and analysis functions are optimized for speed using the Neon™ SIMD architecture extension. AIL for Arm is supported on appropriate 64-bit Linux distributions, like the one from Ubuntu. AIL for Arm is available to select users as a separate package upon qualification. For more information, contact Uniforce Sales and Engineering (510) 657 – 4000 PST


Complete application development environment

In addition to image processing, analysis, and archiving tools, MIL includes image capture, annotation, and display functions, which form a cohesive API. The API and accompanying utilities are recognized by the large installed base of users for facilitating and accelerating application development.

Portable API

The MIL C/C++ API is not only intuitive and straightforward to use but it is also portable. It allows applications to be easily moved from one supported video interface or operating system to another, providing platform flexibility and protecting the original development investment.

.NET development

Included in MIL is a low-overhead API layer for developing Windows applications within the .NET Framework using managed Visual Basic and Visual C# code.

JIT compilation and scripting4

MIL supports C# and Visual Basic JIT compilation and CPython scripting, facilitating experimentation and prototyping. Such code can even be executed from within a MIL-based application, providing a simpler way to tailor an already-deployed application.

Simplified platform management

With AIL, a developer does not require in-depth knowledge of the underlying platform. AIL is designed to deal with the specifics of each platform and provide simplified management (e.g., hardware detection, initialization, and buffer copy). AIL gives developers direct access to certain platform resources such as the physical address of a buffer. AIL also includes debugging services (e.g., function parameter checking, tracing, and error reporting), as well as configuration and diagnostic tools.

matrox mil-configuration-diagnostic snapshot

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AIL configuration and diagnostic tool

Designed for multi-tasking

AIL supports multi-processing and multi-tasking programming models, namely, multiple AIL applications not sharing AIL data or a single AIL application with multiple threads sharing AIL data. It provides mechanisms to access shared AIL data and ensure that multiple threads using the same AIL resources do not interfere with each other. AIL also offers platform-independent thread management for enhancing application portability.

Buffers and containers

AIL manipulates data stored in buffers, such as monochrome images arranged in 1-, 8-, 16-, and 32-bit integer formats, as well as 32-bit floating point formats. It also handles color images laid out in packed or planar RGB/YUV formats. Commands for efficiently converting between buffer types are included. AIL additionally operates on containers4, which combine related buffers into a cohesive whole. Containers simplify working with multi-component data such as point clouds for 3D processing and analysis as well as display.

matrox mil-3d-data-container snap shot

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AIL 3D (point cloud) data container

Saving and loading images

AIL supports the saving and loading of individual images, image sequences, and containers to and from disks. Supported file formats are AVI (Audio Video Interleave), BMP (bitmap), JPG (JPEG), JP2 (JPEG2000), MP4 (MPEG-4 Part 14), PLY, MIM (native), PNG, STL, and TIF (TIFF), as well as a raw format.

Industrial and robot communication

AIL lets applications interact directly with automation controllers using the CC-Link IE Field Basic4, EtherNet/IP™, Modbus®, and PROFINET®6 industrial communication protocols. It also supports native communication with robot controllers from ABB, DENSO, EPSON, FANUC, KUKA, and Stäubli.

WebSocket access

AIL allows an application to publish AIL object data for access from a browser or another standalone application using the HTML-5 WebSocket communication protocol. It uses a client-server architecture where the server is the AIL-based application and the client is a JavaScript program running in a browser or a standalone application.

The functionality can be used locally on the same device running the AIL-based application or remotely on another device that does not have AIL installed on it. The API extension supports client-side programming in JavaScript or C/C++. The AIL objects supported are the buffer and display ones. The functionality serves to view and interact with a AIL display (i.e., pan, scroll, zoom, etc.).

Flexible and dependable image capture

There are many ways for an imaging system to capture video: Analog, Camera Link, CoaXPress, DisplayPort, GenTL, GigE Vision, HDMI, SDI, and USB3 Vision. AIL supports all these interfaces either directly or through Matrox Imaging or third-party hardware. AIL works with images captured from virtually any type of color or monochrome source including standard, high-resolution, high-rate, frame-on-demand cameras, line scanners, slow scan, and custom-designed devices.

For greater determinism and the fastest response, AIL provides multi-buffered image capture control performed in the operating system’s kernel mode. Image capture is secured for frame rates measured in the thousands per second even when the host CPU is heavily loaded with tasks such as HMI management, networking and archiving to disk. The multi-buffered mechanism supports callback functions for simultaneous capture and processing even when the processing time occasionally exceeds the capture time.

Zebra Intellicam

AIL features the Zebra Intellicam image capture and frame grabber configuration utility. This Windows-based program lets users interactively configure Zebra image capture hardware for a variety of image sources or simply try one of the numerous ready-made interfaces available from Zebra Imaging.

mil-intellicam picture


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Zebra Intellicam frame grabber and camera configuration tool

Zebra Capture Assistant

AIL includes Zebra Capture Assistant, a Windows-based utility for verifying the connection to one or more GigE Vision or USB3 Vision cameras and testing video acquisition. It can obtain GigE Vision and USB3 Vision device information, collect and present acquisition statistics, and provide access to acquisition (GenICam™) properties. The gathering and display of statistics can be performed when acquiring within or outside of Zebra Capture Assistant. Zebra Capture Assistant also allows the adjustment of GigE Vision driver settings and provides the means to troubleshoot connectivity issues.


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Zebra Capture Assistant GigE Vision and USB Vision configuration and test tool


AIL 10 Tools Gallery

AIL is a comprehensive collection of software tools for developing machine vision, image analysis and medical imaging software applications.

AIL Pattern Matching








AIL Geometric Model Finder











AIL Blob Analysis







AIL Edge Finder










AIL Color Analysis – Separation








AIL Color Analysis – Matching







AIL Character Recognition – OCR






AIL Character Recognition – String Reading

Matrox_MIL String Reader







1D and 2D Code Reading and Verification











AIL Image Registration







2D Calibration








AIL Image Processing













Fully Optimized for Speed – AIL takes full advantage of multi-core CPU  architectures like the one found in the 4th generation Intel® Core™ processor













AIL for 3D Profiling










AIL 3D Alignment










AIL for 3D VGR










Distributed AIL












Distributed AIL Architecture











Order Zebra AIL X

Zebra Aurora Imaging Library (AIL) 10 Development Toolkits and Licenses

Product Family Product Name Description
Zebra Aurora Development Toolkits and Licenses MIL X WIN P U AIL 10 development tookit for Windows®. Includes DVD with MIL, Matrox Intellicam, Matrox Inspector (32-bit), Matrox display drivers and on-line documentation. Also includes one (1) license USB hardware key and MIL Maintenance registration number.
Zebra AIL Development Toolkits and Licenses MIL X LNX MIL 10 development toolkit for Linux. Includes DVD with MIL and online documentation. Also requires MILXWINPU.
Zebra AIL/ MIL-Lite Maintenance MIL MAINTENANCE One year extension to the MIL maintenance program per developer.
Zebra AIL (Aurora Imaging Library) MIL 10 Run-Time Licenses MIL 10 run-time software license key. The user must supply lock code obtained from MIL License Manager application/page. This unique lock code identifies the target computer system and MIL package(s) to license. Note: Combine packages by substituting 0 at the appropriate position x with the appropriate letter or other digit. Upgrading is only possible from MIL 9 and requires an upgrade lock code.
Zebra MILLITETRAIN MILLITETRAIN Introduction to AIL. A 3 day instructor led training, hands on labs and Q & A periods with Zebra Technical supported staff.

AIL 10 Run-Time Licenses / MIL-Lite 10 Supplemental Licenses

Call Uniforce Sales today to learn more. 510 -657-4000.

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