In today’s modern age, technology has a huge impact on the lives of virtually every person, and certainly every business. As various technologies continue to advance, it can be difficult to keep up on them all and how they benefit us as a society. One essential technology that has made amazing strides in recent years, but isn’t discussed very much, is known as computer vision.
Computer vision is the technology that allows computer systems to use video and image analysis to gather data. This data can then be used in many ways, much like humans (and other animals) use vision. Take a look at some of the biggest real-world examples of computer vision to help understand just how important this technology is. Once you have a good idea of how this tech is being used, you can start looking for ways to incorporate it into your business.
By far the biggest area of technology where computer vision is being used is with self-driving vehicles. Autonomous cars can already be found on the road today, and it is expected that millions more will roll off the assembly lines over the coming years. This includes fully autonomous vehicles as well as cars that use some type of computer version to help you stay in your lane, maintain a safe distance between cars, and much more.
Agriculture (Crop Analysis, etc)
Farming is benefiting from computer vision in many ways. Some people in the agricultural industry, for example, have machines that will scan the crops for weeds and when they are found, eliminate them. This can save a lot of manual time and effort.
The Healthcare Industry
Computer vision is being used within the healthcare industry to keep an eye on sick patients and notify nurses or doctors if something is wrong. In the past, healthcare workers would have to visit each patient regularly to make sure they are ok. In some hospitals today, computer vision is used to watch for problems and automatically call for help or perform other tasks.
Of course, security is benefiting in many significant ways from computer vision. For years, security systems could ‘watch’ for motion and turn on lights or start recording. Thanks to advancements in the technology, security systems can do a lot more than that.
For example, some companies have systems that scan the faces of people as they approach the door. If the system recognizes the person as they approach, they unlock the door and let them through. If the face is not approved to enter that area, the door remains locked.
Loss Prevention in Retail
In retail stores, theft and other types of loss can cost businesses millions of dollars. Computer vision is used to monitor the area and alert the security team if anything seems out of the ordinary. Advanced systems can, for example, see if someone puts an item in their pocket or under their shirt rather than in a basket. These systems can also look for a variety of other types of suspicious behavior and notify the relevant teams.
Inventory Management in Retail
Computer vision isn’t just used for loss prevention in the retail industry. It is also used to help with inventory management. Many supermarkets have autonomous robots that go up and down each aisle of the store throughout the day. Using computer vision, these robots are able to stay out of the way of customers and operate safely.
While moving up and down each aisle, the robots look at the shelves using computer vision technology. If they notice that a particular product is running low, it will notify the stocking team to bring more out. This helps to keep shelves full and products available for shoppers.
Electronic Deposits of Checks
If you use a mobile app for your banking, you have likely used a basic form of computer vision. Most banks today allow you to deposit checks into your account by simply taking a picture of the check. The financial institution’s mobile app doesn’t just take a picture and send it in, however. The app will actually read the check to determine the amount it is for, what bank the check is written from, and much more. This allows the app to automatically fill in the correct amount and complete the deposit successfully and securely.
Modern garbage trucks use computer vision to identify where a garbage container is and automatically pick it up and empty it. The driver simply pulls up next to the garbage bin and the truck’s robotic arm will grab the bin and dump it. This is all controlled using computer vision.
Many waste management companies are also using computer vision to sort the garbage that they collect to help improve the environment. For example, the waste management companies can send the garbage down a conveyor belt where it is scanned using a computer vision system. This system will spot recyclable materials and trigger a robotic arm to pull them away so they can be recycled. These systems can also spot waste that can be safely burned in an incinerator to generate heat or electricity while keeping waste out of landfills.
Watching Kids in Schools
One advanced use of computer vision that is being tested in some areas is in the area of education. While a teacher is providing instructions to the kids, a computer vision system monitors what the students are doing. The system can look for certain facial expressions, body language, and other things to identify when a student is struggling with a concept. It will then notify the teacher so they can provide assistance. This is great for students who may be reluctant to ask for help on their own. See: Classroom Tech on NeweggBusiness
Computer Vision Continues to Advance
The things that are possible today because of computer vision are quite astounding. It is exciting to imagine what types of things will be possible in the coming years as these technologies continue to advance. They will also be combined with other technologies such as machine learning or artificial intelligence to truly revolutionize many industries.