September 11, 2022 Shrutika
Reading Time: 9 minutes

What is computer vision?

Computer vision is a field of artificial intelligence (AI) that enables computers and systems to extract useful information from digital photos, videos, and other visual inputs and to execute actions or make recommendations based on that information. AI makes it possible for computers to think, while computer vision makes it possible for them to see, observe and understand.

Computer vision works much the same as human vision, except humans have a head start. Human sight has the advantage of lifetimes of context to train how to tell objects apart, how far away they are, whether they are moving and whether there is something wrong in an image.

Humans often spend their whole lives using their optic nerves, retinas, and visual brain to observe their environment. We use context to distinguish between items, determine their distance from us and other objects, determine their rate of movement, and detect errors. Similar to human beings, AI-powered computers may teach themselves to perform certain tasks thanks to computer vision. These devices accomplish this using a combination of cameras, algorithms, and data.

However, computers do not get tired like people do. In just a few minutes, you can teach computers with computer vision to examine thousands of industrial assets or goods. This enables manufacturing facilities to automate the detection of defects that are invisible to the human eye.

Here are a few common tasks that computer vision systems can be used for:

  • Classification of objects. The system analyses visual data before categorizing an object in a photo or video under a predetermined heading. The algorithm, for instance, can identify a dog among all the items in the image.
  • Identification of the item. The system analyses visual data and recognizes a specific object in a picture or video. For instance, the algorithm may pick out a particular dog from the group of dogs in the image.
  • Tracking of objects. The system analyses video, identifies the object (or objects) that satisfy the search criteria, and follows that object’s progress.
  • Image classification. We categories the broad category of objects in this image under this. Image classification is one of the most well-known computer vision tasks. It enables the categorization of a given image and its comparison with the collections of predefined categories.

How does computer vision work?

For computer vision to be truly effective, a large database is required. This is due to the fact that these solutions repeatedly examine data until they have every piece of knowledge necessary for the task at hand. For instance, in order to “see” thousands of visual inputs of crops, fields, animals, and other associated objects, a computer would need to be trained to distinguish healthy crops. Only then would it be able to accurately identify various varieties of healthy crops, distinguish them from sick crops, evaluate the quality of farmland, find pests and other animals among the crops, and so forth.

Two key technologies drive computer vision: a convolutional neural network and deep learning, a type of machine learning.

Machine learning uses algorithmic models that enable a computer to teach itself about the context of visual data. The computer will “look” at the data and teach itself to distinguish between different images if enough data is sent through the model. Instead of needing to be programmed to recognize an image, algorithms allow the machine to learn on its own.

A CNN helps a machine learning or deep learning model “look” by breaking images down into pixels .
A label or tag is assigned to each pixel. Then, using all of these labels, convolutions—a mathematical operation that combines two functions to produce a third function—are performed. Convolutional neural networks can handle visual inputs in this way.

Neural networks apply convolutions and evaluate the accuracy of the output repeatedly to see images like a human would. A convolutional neural network starts by recognizing basic forms and sharp edges, just like people would do to recognize an object from a distance. Following completion of this, the model fills in any gaps in its data and conducts iterations of its output. This continues until the output accurately “predicts” what will occur.

A recurrent neural network (RNN) processes video inputs to allow computers to “learn” how a sequence of photos connect to one another, in contrast to convolutional neural networks, which can only understand a single image.

See more about Applications of Artificial Intelligence

The evolution of computer vision

The first computer vision experiments took place in the 1950s, and they involved reading typewritten and handwritten text. Computer vision is not a new technology. Back then, computer vision analysis processes were quite straightforward, but they involved a lot of labor from human operators who had to supply data samples for manual analysis. As you might have guessed, providing a lot of data manually proved challenging. Additionally, this research had a quite high error margin due to inadequate processing capability.

There is no shortage of computing capacity in the modern world. Robust algorithms and cloud computing can help us address even the most challenging issues. The tremendous amount of publicly accessible visual data that we produce each day is what is propelling computer vision technology ahead, not simply the new hardware combined with advanced algorithms. More than three billion photographs are shared online every day, and according to Forbes, this data is used to train computer vision systems.

Where we can apply computer vision technology

Some individuals believe that computer vision belongs in the far future of design. It’s untrue. Many facets of our lives currently utilize computer vision. Here are just a few examples of how we now use this technology:

Retail and Inventory Management

Retail establishments can monitor customer behavior using computer vision technologies to gain important insights into consumer behavior and data on the success of goods placement tactics that could increase customer traffic. Retailers may reduce operating costs and concentrate more on the customer experience when shelves are equipped with sophisticated computer vision programmes that precisely monitor and track inventory in real time.

Facial recognition

Facial recognition technology is used to match photos of people’s faces to their identities. This technology is integrated into major products that we use every day. For example, Facebook is using computer vision to identify people in photos.

Facial recognition is a crucial technology for bio metric authentication. Many mobile devices available on the market today allow users to unlock devices by showing their faces. Mobile devices process this image and, based on analysis, can determine whether the person holding the device is permitted to use it. Front-facing cameras are utilized for facial recognition. The beauty of this technology is how quickly it operates.

Agriculture

By providing farmers with information regarding effective growth techniques, crop health and quality, pest infestation, and soil conditions, AI-driven computer vision can be utilized to improve agriculture by improving yields. Currently, crops are graded and sorted using image classification techniques to automate quality control based on their physical characteristics.

In the meantime, drones’ multi spectral and hyper spectral aerial imagery gathers thorough data on crop and soil conditions to aid in the monitoring of stress and disease in the farming region.

Healthcare

Applications for computer vision come in many forms. For many patients, computer vision techniques in healthcare could end up saving their lives. It enables health care providers to keep an eye on illnesses and disorders, develop diagnoses that will direct how medications are prescribed and treatments are administered, and identify deadly illnesses. These applications also enhance medical procedures because they free up more time for patient consultations and less time for doctors to spend studying medical images.

Education

AI powered cameras can help teachers, instructors and educators monitor their students’ behavior in order to improve classroom interactions and enhance the learning experience. Therefore, computer vision technologies can bring important insights to education that can greatly improve teaching methods and personalized learning.

Security

Security cameras can be equipped with computer vision software to extract real-time data from video feeds. In numerous businesses, face recognition technology is also frequently utilized for authentication.

The Automotive Industry – Autonomous Vehicles

The development of self-driving car technology has been a recent focus for the automotive industry. And in this use case, CV approaches are at the forefront.

Despite this, businesses are pouring millions of dollars into the market for driver less vehicles. The market is anticipated to rebound in 2021 and grow to a stunning $37 billion in global size in 2023.

Tesla cars track the surroundings with cameras to enable its advanced driving assistance system and autopilot. The vehicle can also recognize and categories items thanks to its surrounding cameras. The computer then distributes the findings to the rest of the system for additional decision-making. Scene perception and path planning while driving are also supported by computer vision. This development also makes other fundamental processes, such as behavior arbitration, possible.

Advantages of Computer Vision

The wise application of computer vision and related methodologies has significant effects on both the public and private sectors. Below is a list of some benefits:

Improved search techniques:

Tags and keywords have played a significant role in traditional advertising strategies. If you’re looking for a t-shirt, keywords like “t-shirt,” “black,” and “cotton” are provided to help you focus your search and provide customers better results.

This method was reliable but not very efficient. So, computer vision was introduced to this sector and instantly it reaped results as it has helped people in getting accurate results for products they were searching for.

Computer Vision evaluates the real physical features of the individual image rather than relying on conventional tags. With this functionality, users can really use photos to search for related products.

Intuitive customer experience:

The user experience has improved because to apps like Snap chat and websites like Animoji. The main emphasis is on how enjoyable, simple, and interesting these experiences are. Only facial mapping and augmentation characteristics made feasible by advanced computer vision have made this conceivable.

Product discovery:

Imagine only needing to look up a snapshot, and the entire globe assisting you in locating the item you need. Even the physical environment can interact with you thanks to computer vision, helping you find local cafes or make purchases from a basic Google listings list.

Rectified payment issues:

The computer has gained greatly from this because it makes payments simple and stress-free. No more stressing over bills or fearing that you’ll leave your wallet at home. These elements only improve the shopping experience for the user, subtly encouraging favorable comments.

Introduction of Augmented reality:

In order to enhance the user experience and conserve time and money, augmented reality combines the advantages of the internet with the actual world. Google Translate, for instance, employs AR to translate text in real-time.

There are many more potential directions being explored as well as numerous life-altering elements that will genuinely usher in the future.

 

Conclusion

Computer vision is a branch of computer science that creates new methods for assisting computers to see and understand various sorts of media, such as images and videos. Deep learning, a type of machine learning, and convolutional neural networks are some of the techniques used in this field. In order for a computer to learn about the context of visual input, machine learning employs algorithmic models. In order to make the computer “look” at the media, the convolutional neural network relies on algorithms. Every day, there are more and more uses for computer vision. This can be seen in technologies like face recognition on phones, the cameras in Tesla vehicles, or the Amazon Go shop.

Thanks for reading!

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Reading Time: 9 minutes

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