Machine vision (MV) is a branch of engineering that uses computer vision in the context of manufacturing. While the scope of MV is broad and a comprehensive definition is difficult to distil, a "generally accepted definition of machine vision is '... the analysis of images to extract data for controlling a process or activity. Put another way, MV processes are targeted at "recognizing the actual objects in an image and assigning properties to those objects--understanding what they mean.
The first step in the MV process is acquisition of an image, typically using cameras, lenses, and lighting that has been designed to provide the differentiation required by subsequent processing. MV software packages then employ various digital image processing techniques to allow the hardware to recognize what it is looking at.
Techniques used in MV include: thresholding (converting an image with gray tones to black and white), segmentation, blob extraction, pattern recognition, barcode reading, optical character recognition, gauging (measuring object dimensions), edge detection, and template matching (finding, matching, and/or counting specific patterns).
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