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Image processing definition and applications 

Image processing

In electrical engineering and computer science, image processing is any form of signal processing for which the input is an image, such as a photograph or video frame; the output of image processing may be either an image or, a set of characteristics or parameters related to the image.

Applications of Image processing

Computer vision

Computer vision is the science and technology of machines that see, where see in this case means that the machine is able to extract information from an image that is necessary to solve some task.


Artist's Concept of Rover on Mars, an example of an unmanned land-based vehicle. Notice the stereo cameras mounted on top of the Rover.

Optical sorting

Optical Sorting is a process of visually sorting a product though the use of Photodetector (light sensors), Camera, or the Human eye.

In its simplest operation, a machine will simply see how much light is reflected off the object using a simple Photodetector (such as a Photoresistor) and accept or reject the item depending of how reflective it is (light or dark).

Augmented Reality

Augmented reality (AR) is a term for a live direct or indirect view of a physical real-world environment whose elements are augmented by virtual computer-generated imagery.

It is related to a more general concept called mediated reality in which a view of reality is modified (possibly even diminished rather than augmented) by a computer.


Wikitude World Browser on the iPhone 3GS uses GPS and solid state compass

Face detection

Face detection is a computer technology that determines the locations and sizes of human faces in arbitrary (digital) images. It detects facial features and ignores anything else, such as buildings, trees and bodies.


Automatic face detection with OpenCV.

Feature detection

In computer vision and image processing the concept of feature detection refers to methods that aim at computing abstractions of image information and making local decisions at every image point whether there is an image feature of a given type at that point or not.

The resulting features will be subsets of the image domain, often in the form of isolated points, continuous curves or connected regions.


Output of a typical corner detection algorithm

Lane departure warning system

In road-transport terminology, a lane departure warning system is a mechanism designed to warn a driver when the vehicle begins to move out of its lane (unless a turn signal is on in that direction) on freeways and arterial roads.

These systems are designed to minimize accidents by addressing the main causes of collisions: driving error, distraction and drowsiness.


Roadway with lane markings

Non-photorealistic rendering

Non-photorealistic rendering (NPR) is an area of computer graphics that focuses on enabling a wide variety of expressive styles for digital art.

In contrast to traditional computer graphics, which has focused on photorealism, NPR is inspired by artistic styles such as painting, drawing, technical illustration, and animated cartoons.

Medical image processing

Medical imaging is the technique and process used to create images of the human body (or parts and function thereof) for clinical purposes (medical procedures seeking to reveal, diagnose or examine disease) or medical science (including the study of normal anatomy and physiology).

Although imaging of removed organs and tissues can be performed for medical reasons, such procedures are not usually referred to as medical imaging, but rather are a part of pathology.


A brain MRI representation

Microscope image processing

Microscope image processing is a broad term that covers the use of digital image processing techniques to process, analyze and present images obtained from a microscope.

Such processing is now commonplace in a number of diverse fields such as medicine, biological research, cancer research, drug testing, metallurgy, etc.

Morphological image processing

Mathematical morphology (MM) is a theory and technique for the analysis and processing of geometrical structures, based on set theory, lattice theory, topology, and random functions.

MM is most commonly applied to digital images, but it can be employed as well on graphs, surface meshes, solids, and many other spatial structures.


A shape (in blue) and its morphological dilation (in green) and erosion (in yellow) by a diamond-shape structuring element.

Remote sensing

Remote sensing is the small- or large-scale acquisition of information of an object or phenomenon, by the use of either recording or real-time sensing device(s) that are wireless, or not in physical or intimate contact with the object (such as by way of aircraft, spacecraft, satellite, buoy, or ship).


Synthetic aperture radar image of Death Valley colored using polarimetry.