Updated: Apr 3, 2020
In the late 1960's, computer vision began at universities which were pioneering artificial intelligence. It was meant to mimic the human visual system, as a stepping stone to endowing robots with intelligent behavior In 1966, it was believed that this could be achieved through a summer project, by attaching a camera to a computer and having it "describe what it saw".
Computer vision is an interdisciplinary scientific field that deals with how computers can be made to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. From the perspective of engineering, it seeks to automate tasks that the human visual system can do.
Computer vision tasks include methods for acquiring, processing, analyzing and understanding digital images, and extraction of high-dimensional data from the real world in order to produce numerical or symbolic information, e.g. in the form of decisions.
Understanding in this context means the transformation of visual images (the input of the retina) into descriptions of the world that can interface with other thought processes and elicit appropriate action. This image understanding can be seen as the disentangling of symbolic information from image data using models constructed with the aid of geometry, physics, statistics, and learning theory.
The scientific discipline of computer vision is concerned with the theory behind artificial systems that extract information from images. The image data can take many forms, such as video sequences, views from multiple cameras, or multidimensional data from a medical scanner. The technological discipline of computer vision seeks to apply its theories and models to the construction of computer vision systems.
There are many fields related to computer vision among them following are some widely used fields
One of the most prominent application fields is medical computer vision, or medical image processing, characterized by the extraction of information from image data to diagnose a patient. An example of this is detection of tumors, arteriosclerosis or other malign changes; measurements of organ dimensions, blood flow, etc. are another example. It also supports medical research by providing new information: e.g., about the structure of the brain, or about the quality of medical treatments. Applications of computer vision in the medical area also includes enhancement of images interpreted by humans—ultrasonic images or X-ray images for example—to reduce the influence of noise.
A second application area in computer vision is in industry, sometimes called machine vision, where information is extracted for the purpose of supporting a manufacturing process. One example is quality control where details or final products are being automatically inspected in order to find defects. Another example is measurement of position and orientation of details to be picked up by a robot arm. Machine vision is also heavily used in agricultural process to remove undesirable food stuff from bulk material, a process called optical sorting.
Military applications are probably one of the largest areas for computer vision. The obvious examples are detection of enemy soldiers or vehicles and missile guidance. More advanced systems for missile guidance send the missile to an area rather than a specific target, and target selection is made when the missile reaches the area based on locally acquired image data. Modern military concepts, such as "battlefield awareness"implies that various sensors, including image sensors, provide a rich set of information about a combat scene which can be used to support strategic decisions. In this case, automatic processing of the data is used to reduce complexity and to fuse information from multiple sensors to increase reliability.
There are many kinds of computer vision systems; however, all of them contain these basic elements: a power source, at least one image acquisition device (camera, CCTV, etc.), a processor, and control and communication cables or some kind of wireless interconnection mechanism. In addition, a practical vision system contains software, as well as a display in order to monitor the system. Vision systems for inner spaces, as most industrial ones, contain an illumination system and may be placed in a controlled environment. Furthermore, a completed system includes many accessories such as camera supports, cables and connectors.