What is machine vision?

Published on: October 20, 2021

Did you know that 80% of the information we need to perceive the world around us comes from our eyes? So, it’s safe to say that vision is by far the most important of the human senses. And what ingenious machinery is behind our eyesight. Our eyes collect various visual stimuli, which are converted into information that our brain can understand. Based on this information, our brain controls the body.

What if we could replicate this and give machines the ability to see? Machine vision is the field of expertise that is dealing with this challenge. By emulating the human eye with hardware, we can perform automatic inspection or guide robots for example.

How does machine vision work?

  • A camera collects the visual information, like the eye does.
  • That collected camera image is processed for further use.
  • A computer algorithm then analyzes the image, in a similar way to how the brain works.
  • Finally, the extracted information is displayed to the end user. This information can be used to perform an action or it can be passed on to a decision-making algorithm.

The benefits of machine vision

Machine vision is widely used in the industry, because it has so many advantages over human vision.

  • It’s reliable: Machine vision systems can operate 24 hours a day in virtually any environment without making mistakes. Cameras can be installed inside industrial machines, in places that are inaccessible for human operators, and they can work while production is running. They can also withstand extreme environments, like under water or high temperature conditions.
  • It’s sensitive: Machine vision is capable of seeing beyond the human optical spectrum. Some systems can see at night (infrared vision) or screen the interior of an object for quality control or counterfeit detection, without even opening the product (hyperspectral vision).
  • It’s cost-effective: Today’s cameras are affordable, with prices starting at tens of euros only. The operating costs are also low and consist mainly of expenses on electricity and maintenance.

Machine vision projects

At Kapernikov, we help our customers build machine vision systems, to automate perception tasks, increase uptime, stabilize production and measure the quality of products. Here are some interesting machine vision projects we have been working on:

  • Kapernikov helps Telraam to monitor traffic and collect data by using small cameras installed at various locations in the city. The collected data is used to engineer traffic and redesign public spaces according to the people’s needs. The human eye could never perform this task without taking a break.
  • Kapernikov uses LiDAR technology installed on trains to detect vegetation overgrowth and monitor the condition of Infrabel’s railway infrastructure. By knowing the position of each railway cable with centimeter accuracy, the Belgian railways can keep its operations safe.
  • Kapernikov develops machine learning algorithms for Optimum’s optical food sorting machines. This allows Optimum to detect and sort out damaged, lower-quality products. Our system can handle an impressive 5 kg of vegetables per second, at virtually zero running cost.

In sum, machine vision is a powerful tool that broadens human capabilities and helps businesses to operate more efficiently. The only machine vision part that requires human intervention is the design of a machine vision system for your business. That is where Kapernikov can help.

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