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To reduce the cost of a machine-vision system for pharmaceutical capsule inspection, a custom approach is explored. To minimize cost and maintain high quality images, the USB 2.0 interface is used. By developing custom USB 2.0 cameras with minimal hardware, and using PCs to perform the image processing algorithms, a low-cost yet versatile system is developed. This paper discusses the development of a custom USB 2.0 camera and associated hardware, the use of PCs to acquire image data and perform inspection algorithms and a custom system controller that is used to synchronize system signals and manage passed and failed capsules.