Computer vision

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Computer vision is the science and technology of machines that see, where see in this case means that the machine is able to extract information from an image that is necessary to solve some task. As a scientific discipline, 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 multi-dimensional data from a medical scanner.

As a technological discipline, computer vision seeks to apply its theories and models to the construction of computer vision systems. Examples of applications of computer vision include systems for:

  • Controlling processes (e.g., an industrial robot or an autonomous vehicle).
  • Detecting events (e.g., for visual surveillance or people counting).
  • Organizing information (e.g., for indexing databases of images and image sequences).
  • Modeling objects or environments (e.g., industrial inspection, medical image analysis or topographical modeling).
  • Interaction (e.g., as the input to a device for computer-human interaction).

Computer vision is closely related to the study of biological vision. The field of biological vision studies and models the physiological processes behind visual perception in humans and other animals. Computer vision, on the other hand, studies and describes the processes implemented in software and hardware behind artificial vision systems. Interdisciplinary exchange between biological and computer vision has proven fruitful for both fields.

Computer vision is, in some ways, the inverse of computer graphics. While computer graphics produces image data from 3D models, computer vision often produces 3D models from image data. There is also a trend towards a combination of the two disciplines, e.g., as explored in augmented reality.

Sub-domains of computer vision include scene reconstruction, event detection, video tracking, object recognition, learning, indexing, motion estimation, and image restoration.


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