10 Advantages of Computer Vision
Using technology has come a long way. Over the last few decades, technology has made a tremendous step in making things the way they are today. This technology (although not advanced) began in the early 1950s and is the one that landed humanity on the moon. The problem with that earlier technology is that it didn’t have machine learning or computer vision, making it difficult to explore its full potential. The advanced technology began with the release of the first Apple iPhone on 29th June 2007. Since then, computer technology has witnessed tremendous growth in enabling humanity to conquer greater heights of discovery and inventions. The launch of the first smartphone fifteen years ago paved a way for many other technological advances that we witness every day in various sectors, such as communication, education, medical health, transport, money transfer, agriculture, and many others. Among all these new technologies, there is one aspect that seems to gain popularity in the 21st century, and that is artificial intelligence. AI has made it possible to achieve milestones like virtual reality, advanced mobile phones tools, and home tech synching. This blog intends to explain the basics of computer vision and its advantages in navigating everyday life.
What is Computer Vision?
Computer vision is the new AI branch in technology that enables computers to understand and interpret the visual world. To understand computer vision, just look at the human eye. Our eyes see many images and figures during the day. Once these images reach the eyes, they go to the brain for interpretation. The most challenging part about our eyes is the fact that they can only process a limited amount of information, even if we see hundreds of things in a day. For instance, you can see 100 objects at a go, but you can only process up to 20 or 30. Sometimes it’s even difficult to remember all the images you have seen at once, including their size, colors, shapes, and names, and this is where the AI comes in. Computer vision, with the help of artificial intelligence, can capture thousands of images, process all this information, and keep a copy of each at a go. Computer vision helps computers identify and analyze digital images as well as react to them when needed.
How Does Computer Vision Work?
Having the tools for computer vision is one thing while knowing how it works is another separate entity. In most cases, computer vision involves a series of codes and algorithms that process images into usable information. Sounds difficult to understand, right? Let us use a perfect example to show this. If you have ever played puzzles, you know how difficult it can get sometimes while trying to join those images together. Assuming that you have 1000 puzzles, how long can it take to assemble them to make a perfect image? A few hours, right? To help solve the problem with computer vision, you’ll upload all the 1000 jigsaw puzzle images to your computer. With the help of special recognition features, these images will train base for your computer to learn how to recognize the patterns naturally. Within a few seconds, the computer will recognize these puzzles, align them in the required format and then produce the right image, solving the puzzle.
Advantages of Computer Vision
- Better Online Market
One sector that computer vision has helped is the business industry. Unlike many years ago, today’s customers are more specific and buy things that suit their expectations. As people excel in academics and careers, they try as much as possible to go to online stores that save their time. Thanks to computer vision because it has made this possible, helping entrepreneurs get a great return on investment. For example, if you want to buy the latest smartphone in the market today, you will just go to the online merchandise you need and type the term “phone.” The computer will analyze your search by bringing all the tags associated with that phone, such as 5G, black, 128GB, 48 megapixels, etc. You will then narrow it down by selecting all the features that suit the phone you need. Reading all these tags can be a time-consuming and tiring process as well and this is where computer vision is applied. Instead of all these tags, it will use the physical comparison of different images to help you find what you want. Why images? Because it’s easier for the human eye to easily remember images than process complicated words.
- Products Discovery
Searching for the exact products you are looking for online is not as easy as many people think. This is because the internet offers so many products and images in one search. This can sometimes be frustrating, especially when you don’t know the exact words that fit the product you are looking for. Pinterest Lens, for example, is a by-product of computer vision that helps people discover a wide range of products and content they are looking for. Assuming you are walking in a street and you see a product you admire, i.e., a lampshade. Because you don’t know the price or the company that manufactures this product, you will just switch to Pinterest Lens. You will zoom the product through this lens and then computer vision will analyze all product details. It will display its prices, manufacturing company, physical size, country of origin, and many others. Also, it will bring other lampshades produced by the same company and those from different companies as well. This will help you discover new other products that you didn’t know exist. Facebook also uses the same computer vision to assemble customer interests.
- Cost Reduction
One of the major challenges that face entrepreneurs of the 21st century is how to minimize costs. As the world advances to become more digital, it’s almost a norm to use more money to get money to make more money. But this is not true because computer vision has proven to help business people save on costs. By 2025, we expect the AI technology market to reach $126 billion. This will also reduce the costs of production by 20% in those businesses that will embrace it to enhance business processes. A decade ago, a big company had to employ several customer service representatives to respond and attend to its customers. Nowadays, this habit is almost fading away as the use of chatbots is becoming popular. Chatbots are AI-based software that is integrated within a company’s website, used to respond to customer needs. Chatbots also guide customers as they navigate through the website and even recommend products to them. If this job was to be done by employees, it would be very expensive. Why? Because it’ll require many workers who expect a payment every month, negatively affecting the return on investment of the company. Email marketing is also another form of computer vision that businesses are using to deliver information to customers remotely. It saves marketers time and resources by producing personalized emails that win many customers and foster better customer relationships.
- Increased Security
One of the major drawbacks of technology is security and privacy threats. This is because, as technology advances, it fosters both good and evil. In today’s world, someone can hack your phone or computer, extract all the confidential details and use them to commit a crime. Each year, the world reports around 2.2 million cases of fraud and in those cases, 33% usually involve the loss of enormous sums of money. Cybercrimes affect 90,000 people in the US alone, which is 23.6% more than any other country in the world. Through computer vision, humanity can gain control over their lives and live worry-free. Computer vision works closely with cyber security systems to closely monitor any activity remotely. It makes it easier to watch and analyze any potential threat and also react to it before it happens.
- Defect Detection
As many companies emerge, the chances of making mistakes are also high. As these companies work tirelessly to produce goods, it is possible to have sub-standard goods as part of the final product. With the help of AI and computer vision, it’s possible to avoid minor mistakes that can cost a company a fortune, ruin its reputation, and affect millions of lives. A good example of where computer vision is used is in the food processing companies. These companies get their raw materials from the farms where the chance of harvesting these foods with harmful materials such as lead, plastics, and metals is also high. Computer vision detects these defects that sometimes cannot be seen with the human eye. It shows exactly where the defect is, its color, size, type, etc, and gives a way of eliminating it.
- Transport System Safety
Airline transport has gained polarity over the last decades. This is because of the improved comfort, affordable prices, and availability of many destinations. Apart from engine failure and bad weather, security is another challenge that faces this industry. Just like cyber crimes, criminals have learned a better way of sneaking things like guns and bombs into the passenger’s airplanes. A perfect example of this scenario is the Pan Am Flight 103, which killed 259 passengers on board and 11 on the ground after a bomb was denoted. To help avoid such a repeat, computer vision is here to serve humanity for good. It identifies unauthorized objects such as guns, machetes, biological weapons, etc, before they are loaded on the plane. Some types of computer vision can denote bombs, alert passengers and give directions on what to do. Again, not so many airlines have adopted this technology, because up to 70% of airport security miss in detecting unauthorized objects. This technology is also used in trains and public transport buses.
- Monitoring of Endangered Species
As the world becomes more modernized, some animal species are going into extinction. Factors like climate change, industrialization, and human settlement in animal habitats have all contributed to extinction. Animal reserves, with the help of computer vision, can now monitor the number of endangered species from afar. They do this through a special camera that is placed on specific points. This gives a view of these species, making it easier for them to be counted and taken care of. Proper 24/7 monitoring paves the way for the study of their genetic makeup for future reproduction. If we had computer vision decades ago, it would have prevented the extinction of animals like the white rhinos, mammoths, and the 93% of cheetahs population decline in the world.
- Counterfeit Management
Counterfeit goods are a major challenge facing consumers today. Currently, up to 5-7 percent of total world goods are counterfeit. In 2013, the counterfeit market was around $1 trillion and, as of 2022, it is expected to grow up to $3 trillion. Computer vision helps detect these goods before they enter market circulation. Many customers around the world have fallen victims to counterfeit goods, and this has made them lose lots of money, which makes up $460 billion annually. Another critical aspect of counterfeit is the production of fake notes that can sometimes affect businesses. In the US alone, there is $2 billion in counterfeit money in circulation. Computer vision makes it easier to spot fake money through scanning and analyzing its defective images. In return, this prevents fraud and loss of money in malicious ways.
- Medical Diagnostics
An increase in the number of new diseases such as obesity, diabetes, cancers, hypertension, and many others characterizes the 21st century. Most of these conditions are contributed by the foods we eat, poor lifestyles, and inactivity, hence the term” lifestyle disease.” A cancer diagnosis is still a challenge in many countries and this explains why some cancers are discovered mostly during the 3rd or 4th stage. Computer vision helps in the detection of early symptoms linked to various diseases in brain and liver cancer patients, saving millions of lives. Another application of computer vision is the oxygenation of the umbilical cord to foster child growth. For a child to develop naturally, oxygen is required. Not every mother can carry a pregnancy to term because of various diseases like high blood pressure. This risks the life of the mother and the baby and thanks to computer vision because doctors can inject oxygen directly into the umbilical cord, enabling the baby to survive. It also monitors the amount of this oxygen and the rate at which the baby uses it to avoid exposing the child to oxygen toxicity.
- Plants Study
As the climate continues to change, it has exposed farmers to huge losses. This is because climatic conditions increase the risks of having new crop diseases. It also paves the way for the mutation of pests, which affects the plants and the end products. Computer vision has enabled plant scientists to study the plants at a wider range, hence coming up with better solutions. This technology uses special devices that scan the internal structures of plants and compare them with those of healthy plants. Also, it helps analyze the leaf color, stems length, and roots depth, to determine the problem. With the help of computer vision, plant scientists also study these pests and create pesticides for them. With such a mechanism in place, farmers can avail high-quality products in the market and make huge profits.
The Bottom Line
Technology has done great things to make humans achieve significant results. It is through it we have new branches like computer vision, machine learning, and artificial intelligence. Computer vision in specific has many benefits, including improved security, better disease diagnostic tools, plant study, better customer service, reduction of costs, and many others. It has also led to harmful activities such as fraud, production of counterfeit goods and currencies, security threats, etc. Today, the world has made a tremendous step in embracing computer vision because it has proven to be effective and sustainable. The developed countries are now using this in various industries, such as education, health, finance, information, technology, etc. This shows that these countries have faith that computer vision is beneficial, although it’s highly criticized by those who oppose it. Therefore, the future of computer vision looks promising, as experts say. With such technological advancement, what else can humanity not achieve?
Would you like to know more about computer vision benefits? If yes, follow these links:
If you want planning a career in computer vision, Udacity providing the best nanodegree course at reasonable price with upto 65% discount, Checkout it