An overview of a generic image-based machine vision system is provided on this Web site (1). The tutorial describes the main components of such a system, how its accuracy is measured, and what scientific and industrial applications benefit from machine vision. A more technical perspective of machine vision technology is given in an online publication of the Automated Imaging Association (2). Monthly feature articles discuss breaking issues related to machine vision, and several technical papers can be downloaded, which are sorted into categories such as three dimensional imaging and nanotechnology. Researchers from the MIT's Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (3) are investigating how to enable a computer to interpret visual and audio signals from its human user. By using machine perception systems to track the user's gaze, for example, the computer could ascertain the focus of the user's attention, thereby facilitating interaction between the human and the computer. The project's homepage includes numerous research papers, as well as video demonstrations of some of its systems. Machine vision is also finding its way into vehicles. A March 2003 news article (4) highlights a field test in Michigan of a collision avoidance system that uses, among other things, machine vision to warn drivers that they are approaching a slower or stopped object too quickly. The 3D Computer Vision Group at Carnegie Mellon University (5) is involved in several projects, including three dimensional object recognition and humanoid robot vision. Many of the group's recent publications are available for download. NASA's Mars Exploration Rovers, the second of which was launched in July 2003, have vision systems that will let them safely navigate rough terrain. These systems are described in this conference paper (6), including specifics of the stereo vision algorithm and insights into future missions. A new implementation of machine vision comes from a former researcher from Cambridge University. His shape recognition system, which is detailed in this news article (7), is reportedly much more related to human visual processes than existing techniques. For additional developments related to this evolving technology, Machine Vision News (8) has information about worldwide research and new applications of machine vision systems.


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