Machine Vision is anything that helps the computers see and explore the world. From camera lenses and mass manufacturing units that monitor labeling and processing of factory items to virtual reality and augmented reality, everything is a courtesy of technology being able to look the world around us.
Specifically, machine vision is a term used to denote software and programming implementations that help in image processing. It is these Image processing properties of machines that have also earned their sight the label of computer vision. The facial recognition technology is also another use of machine vision.
Core Computer Vision Functions
Image Capturing (Hardware)
Digital cameras and smartphones, for example, are the most basic deployment of MV function in which you basically just shoot a photo. So it not only relates to manipulates of images and videos but their recording as well. This is the part which enables the machines to see.
Image Processing (Software)
Image processing is the most dynamic and essential function of machine vision technology. There’s so much detail in it that image processing is a separate academic subject with a distinct history and active research around the world. This is the part that enables the machines to not only see but also understand the details of the picture. OpenCV is the best example.
Image Manipulation (Software)
Your mind may inadvertently drift to Photoshop and rightfully. While Adobe Photoshop and similar software are a stunning example of machine vision achievements, they also offer tools to manipulate the images to almost do magical things. For example, I extensively use its crop and optimization functions so the photos on the pages load faster.
Here are some general applications of machine vision technology in various industries.
- Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical
- Printing and Packaging
- General Mechanical Engineering
- Food Processing
- Solar Production
- Process Engineering
- Final inspection of sub-assemblies
- Engine part inspection
- Label inspection on products
- Checking medical devices for defects
- Final inspection cells
- Robot guidance
- Verifying data matrix codes
- Checking orientation of components
- Traceability of manufactured products
- Packaging Inspection
- Checking laser marks and cuts
- Medical vial inspection
- Food pack checks
- Reading bar codes
- Verifying engineered components
Use of Machine Vision (MV) Technology
Use of MV Technology in Cameras
You must have noticed this feature in the form of squares around the faces when you turn on facial recognition mode in your DSLR camera or smartphone. Some even go as far as using the smiles as input to take the snapshot. I want to clarify a thing here.
Facial Recognition: Recognizing faces is the really easy part in which the software has to just look for facial features like eyes, nose, and the mouth and tell whether there’s a face in the photo or note. The difficult part is telling whose face is it from the available database.
Use of MV Technology in Social Media Websites
Facebook was the very first social media website to use facial recognition technology and till day continues to be the most outspoken one. Last year, the social giant made a facial recognition breakthrough use of machine vision technology by integrating new algorithms that allowed it to identify a person even if their face was covered up.
Use of MV Technology in Manufacturing Industry
The manufacturing industry has the most reasonable and the most repeated use of machine vision technology. Labeling of bottles, cans and any item that has a painted or ingrained label uses MV solutions to help the software decide where to sketch the labels.
Computer vision is also used for product inspection and consistency as well. Items can be broken or incomplete. Laser vision or cameras are used to scan manufactured items and that the packaging has been properly conducted.
Just look at the video below and be amazed how fast machines can do the work doing the labeling, inspection, and keeping thousands of items in the assembly line with ignorable errors.
Use of MV Technology in Health Industry
Ultrasound Devices and Cat-scanners should give you the necessary hint. Although in this case, the light-based camera is not used but remember that only humans are limited to light and some animals can see infrared and UV rays as well. The point being, any photograph is just an image for machines doesn’t matter it was captured using the visible light or other frequencies of electromagnetic waves.
Use of MV Technology in Robotics
The use of machine vision technology is most extensive in robotics than any other prospect. The mars exploring robots depends on the clear visual perception and analysis of the terrain and likewise for any robot to navigate the environment without getting bumped into hurdles, accuracy is necessary.
Use of MV Technology in Automotive Industry
Tesla Model S and all the amazing auto-pilot vehicles use cameras to interpret the information about the traffic in real time. Algorithms are used to predict possible lane clash and even accidents.
Use of MV Technology in Agricultural Industry
Imaging systems are enabling robots to harvest strawberries. Specialized vehicles then careful guide the machinery to take off the ripened fruits.
If you have heard of egg grading process, you’d know that grading is used to organize edible products according to their size or quality. Manually sorting out fruits takes a lot of labor and duration but robotics and machine vision can do the magic in little time.
Use of MV Technology in Cameras
Machine vision (MV) is the technology and methods used to provide imaging-based automatic inspection and analysis for such applications as automatic inspection, process control, and robot guidance in industry. The scope of MV is broad. MV is related to, though distinct from, computer vision.
Use of Technology in Machine Vision: Summary
The machine vision technology has many depths and layers of meanings, but when properly applied it can engulf a broad meaning into just one concept: something to do with machine watching and processing things. We will shed more light on MV articles in the future and talk about their practical applications in the cutting edge developments like artificial intelligence and drones.