Computer Vision Applications


Future

Despite the enormous difficulties inherent in making a computer "see," the things which could be done with a sighted computer are too cool to let us stop trying. In the future (as suggested by Lawrence Stevens in his book Artificial Intelligence pg. 47):

  1. we could place robots in factories to inspect items, detect defective material, and discard that defective material.
  2. we could rely on computers for medical purposes -- they could review x-rays and blood samples to look for irregularities, potentially reducing the risk for mis- (or missed) diagnosis.
  3. a computer / camera system set up in a plane could view remote areas from above and then use those images to create maps of them.
  4. sighted missiles could be used in military tactics rather than heat-seeking ones.
  5. we could set up traffic control cameras above highway systems or city streets to provide information about where cars should go for the least congested route.
  6. computers could aid blind people in everyday tasks.
  7. Oil and other such resources can sometimes be detected by examining the surface of a location. Computers could be used to detect these resources in remote areas.

We could have robots in our houses sort our laundry into colors and whites. Security cameras could be made to alert store owners if a theft was taking place. The list goes on and on. It's too tempting to think that there's a possibility of these ideas becoming reality not to do research in computer vision, no matter how hard the task may seem!


Present

Fortunately, we have made sufficient progress in the field of computer vision for applications which are actually in use today. As mentioned by Ching Y. Suen in the Proceedings of the Third International Conference on Document Analysis and Recognition, the techniques of computer vision are used in:

  1. bar code scanning in supermarkets
  2. processing utility bills
  3. sorting mail
  4. processing bank checks
  5. reading financial data and business forms
  6. extracting symbols and information from maps and engineering drawing and other areas as well.

Many of these applications rely on text recognition and often handwritten data recognition. Much research has been done in the creation of new techniques for computer recognition of handwritten data in particular.


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