What are Computer Vision Applications?
The term gets tossed around frequently in tech circles whenever self-driving cars or other futuristic AI technologies are being discussed.
The concept – teaching machines to see – seems to be fascinating to most. But can an average business runner, whose firm isn’t yet featured in Fortune 500, find practical uses of it?
In this post, we’ll shed some light on how computer vision works, in broad terms, and provide examples as to how it can be applied by companies across various industries.
What is Computer Vision?
As humans, we give no regard to the extraordinary gift of sight. However, to capture reality with one’s eyes and understand, in a fraction of a second, what is it being observed is a staggeringly complex and sophisticated process.
Let’s suppose you notice a car approaching at a dangerous speed the sidewalk you are strolling through. You register the object, it’s passed through your eyes, and then the visual signal hits retinas. Next, after being browsed briefly by retinas, the data is sent to the visual cortexes so that your brain can perform a more nuanced analysis. Finally, the image is perceived by the rest of the cortex and matched against your brain’s database – the object is thus classified, and its dimensions are established. What you get as an output is an impulse to move out of the way in a safe direction which your mind, too, has figured out after analyzing the car’s speed and movement trajectory.
All of this happens in a blink.
Understanding just how intricate our system of visual perception is, you get the idea of how difficult it is to recreate it. Quite possibly, it is the toughest problem ever attempted by the humankind.
Roughly speaking, we must complete three subtasks – emulating the eye, emulating the visual cortex, and copying the way the rest of our brain responds to visual information. Computer Vision is an interdisciplinary field that concerns itself with exactly that – teaching machines how to extract and interpret content from images.
The Most Popular Computer Vision Applications
Healthcare. Medical imaging has been on the rise for years and multiple healthcare startups have been partnering with prominent hardware providers to build bleeding-edge computer vision tools.
Agriculture. The drone technology has been booming too and, as a result of the advancements in the field, the costs of acquiring huge sets of aerial imagery have been lowered dramatically compared to few years ago.
Insurance. Orbital Insights, among other startups, has been using satellite imaginary to assist in various ways insurance and reinsurance companies (as well as companies in other fields).
Automotive. Apart from self-driving cars, there’s a broad array of use cases for computer vision in the automotive industry.