What Is Computer Vision?

Computer vision is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that applies machine learning to images and videos to understand media and make decisions about them. With computer vision, we can, in a sense, give vision to software and technology.

How Does Computer Vision Work?

Computer vision programs use a combination of techniques to process raw images and turn them into usable data and insights.

The basis for much computer vision work is 2D images, as shown below. While images may seem like a complex input, we can decompose them into raw numbers. Images are really just a combination of individual pixels and each pixel can be represented by a number (grayscale) or combination of numbers such as (255, 0, 0 – RGB).

Once we’ve translated an image to a set of numbers, a computer vision algorithm applies processing. One way to do this is a classic technique called convolution neural networks (CNNs) that uses layers to group together the pixels in order to create successively more meaningful representations of the data. A CNN may first translate pixels into lines, which are then combined to form features such as eyes and finally combined to create more complex items such as face shapes.

Why Is Computer Vision Important?

Computer vision has been around since as early as the 1950s and continues to be a popular field of research with many applications. According to the deep learning research group, BitRefine, we should expect the computer vision industry to grow to nearly 50 billion USD in 2022, with 75 percent of the revenue deriving from hardware.

The importance of computer vision comes from the increasing need for computers to be able to understand the human environment. To understand the environment, it helps if computers can see what we do, which means mimicking the sense of human vision. This is especially important as we develop more complex AI systems that are more human-like in their abilities.

Computer Vision Applications

  • Facial recognition
  • Self-driving cars
  • Robotic automation
  • Medical anomaly detection
  • Sports performance analysis
  • Manufacturing fault detection
  • Agricultural monitoring
  • Plant species classification
  • Text Parsin