Computer vision is a multidisciplinary area categorized as a branch of artificial intelligence and machine learning. It can employ specialized approaches and generic learning algorithms in its functions.

History of Computer Vision

In the 1950s, early computer vision research used some of the earliest neural networks to recognize object edges and classify basic objects like circles and squares. The earliest commercial computer vision application was in the 1970s, when optical character recognition was used to decipher typed or handwritten text. For the blind, this breakthrough was utilized to decipher the printed text.

Facial recognition algorithms grew in popularity as the internet evolved in the 1990s, making massive collections of photographs available for study online. Thanks to these expanding data sets, machines can recognize particular persons in images and videos.

Several factors have combined to ignite a revolution in computer vision, such as:

  • Computing has become increasingly inexpensive and accessible now.
  • Thanks to mobile technologies with built-in cameras, photos and videos have flooded the world.
  • The availability of hardware for computer vision and analysis has increased.
  • Hardware and software capabilities benefited by new algorithms like convolutional neural networks.

The impact of these advancements on computer vision has been tremendous. In less than a decade, object recognition and classification accuracy rates have risen from 50% to 95%, and today's algorithms are more accurate than humans in detecting and reacting to visual data.

Computer vision in Modern Day

Computer vision, as previously mentioned, is a field of study devoted to assisting computers in seeing. On a more abstract level, the goal of computer vision problems is to infer something about the world from visual data.
The goal of computer vision is to comprehend the content of digital pictures. This usually necessitates the creation of technologies for replicating human eyesight.

For example, automatic extraction of information from images. One method to interpret the content of a digital image is to extract a description from it, which might be an object, a textual description, a three-dimensional model, and so on.

3D models, camera location, object identification, recognition, and categorizing and searching visual material are all examples of information.

What is the process of Computer vision?

There are three primary phases in computer vision:

Acquiring an image: Images, even enormous sets, can be obtained in real-time using video, photographs, or 3D technologies for analysis.

Processing the image: Although deep learning models may automate much of this process, they are first trained by being handed thousands of tagged or pre-identified photos.
Understanding the image: An item is recognized or categorized in the interpretative and final phase.

Artificial Intelligence in Computer vision

Today's AI companies employ systems that can take it further and execute actions depending on the image's interpretation. There are several distinct forms of AI computer vision, each of which is employed in different ways like:

Image segmentation: To divide an image into many sections or parts so that each may be viewed independently.

Object detection: To identify a specific object in an image. A football field, an offensive player, a defensive player, a ball, etc., are all recognized using advanced object identification in a single image. These models employ an X, Y coordinate to construct a bounding box and identify everything inside.

Facial recognition: This is a more advanced object detection that recognizes and identifies a single and specific target in an image.

Pattern detection: The action of identifying recurring forms, colors, and other visual markers in images

Edge detection: It's a method for determining the outside edge of an item or landscape to identify better what's in the image.

Image classification: To categorize photos into various groups.

Feature matching: This is a form of pattern recognition that compares image similarities to help classify them.

Computer Vision and Image Processing

Computer vision is not the same as image processing.

The method of producing a new image from an old photo, usually by simplifying or enriching the contents, is known as image processing. It is a sort of digital signal processing unconcerned with visual content interpretation.

However, Image processing, such as pre-processing photographs, may require a particular computer vision system to be applied to raw input.

The following are some samples of image processing:

  • The image's photometric attributes, such as brightness and color, are standardized.
  • To center an object in an image and crop its limits.
  • Getting rid of digital noise from an image, such as video captured in low light.

Computer Vision's Challenge

It turns out that helping computers in seeing is quite challenging. Computer vision appears simple, perhaps because it is so natural for humans.

It was first thought to be a trivially simple problem that even a student might answer simply by attaching a camera to a computer. "Computer vision" remains unresolved, at least in terms of reaching the capabilities of human vision, after decades of study.

One explanation is that we don't have a good understanding of how vision works in humans. Understanding the sensory organs, such as the eyes and the interpretation of perception inside the brain, is necessary for studying biological concept.

Much progress has been achieved, both in tracking the process and uncovering the system's tricks and shortcuts, albeit there is still a long way to go, as with any brain study.

The visual world's intrinsic complexity is why it's such a difficult challenge to solve. A natural vision system must "see" anything significant in any of an unlimited number of settings. A particular item may be viewed from any angle, in every lighting condition, and with any occlusion from other objects.

Computer Vision: Tasks

Despite this, there has been development, particularly with face detection and recognition systems in cameras and smartphones.

The following list some high-level challenges where computer vision has been successful.

  • Optical character recognition (OCR)
  • Biometrics
  • Medical imaging
  • Surveillance
  • Fingerprint recognition
  • Automated checkouts
  • Machine inspection
  • 3D model building
  • Automotive safety
  • Motion capture
  • Match move (merging CGI with live actors)

It's a vast field with many different processes, functions, and specializations in specific application fields.

Given the large quantity of publicly available digital images and videos, it may be beneficial to zoom in on some of the more elementary computer vision challenges you are likely to encounter or be interested in solving.

Many well-known computer vision applications include attempting to distinguish objects in photos, such as:

  • Object Identification: In this image, precisely what sort of object is it?
  • Object Classification: In this image, what is the broadest category of the object?
  • Object Detection: Where are the locations of the objects in the image?
  • Object Verification: Is the object visible in the image?
  • Object Segmentation: What pixels in the image belong to the object?
  • Object Recognition: What are the objects in this image, and where are they positioned?
  • Object Landmark Detection: What are the main features of the object in the image?


We hope you found this article to be a gentle introduction to the topic of computer vision. And perhaps, you were able to uncover some valuable information, such as:

  • The processes of Computer vision.
  • The purpose of computer vision and how it differs from image processing.
  • What makes computer vision a challenge?
  • Computer vision challenges or tasks that are commonly pursued.