Image Processing

Previously we have learned what visual inspection is and how it helps in inspection checks and quality assurance of manufactured products. The task of vision-based inspection implements a specific technological aspect with the name of Image Processing.

Image processing is a technique to carry out a particular set of actions on an image for obtaining an enhanced image or extracting some valuable information from it.

It is a sort of signal processing where the input is an image, and output may be an improved image or characteristics/features associated with the same. Over the years, image processing has become one of the most rapidly growing technologies within engineering and even the computer science sector too.

Image processing consists of these three following steps:

  • Importing the image via image capturing tools;
  • Manipulating and analyzing the image;
  • Producing a result where the output can be an altered image or report that is based on image analysis.

Image processing includes the two types of method: 

Analogue Image Processing: Generally, analogue image processing is used for hard copies like photographs and printouts. Image analysts use various facets of interpretation while using these visual techniques.

Digital image processing: Digital image processing methods help in the manipulation and analysis of digital images. The three general steps that all types of data have to undergo while using digital image processing techniques are -  pre-processing, enhancement, and information extraction.

This article discusses primarily digital image processing techniques and various phases.

 

Image processing

 

Digital Image Processing and different phases

Digital image processing requires digital computers to convert images into digital form using digital conversion method and then process it. It is about subjecting various numerical depictions of images to a series of operations to obtain the desired result. The primary advantages of Digital Image Processing methods lie in its versatility, repeatability and the preservation of original data.

Main techniques of digital image processing are as follows:

  • Image Editing: It means changing/altering digital images with the use of graphic software tools.
  • Image Restoration: It means processing a corrupt image and taking out a clean original image to get back the lost information.
  • Independent Component Analysis: It separates a variety of signals computationally into additive subcomponents.
  • Anisotropic Diffusion: This method enables reducing image noise without having to remove essential portions of the image.
  • Linear Filtering. It’s another digital image processing method, which is about processing time-varying input signals and generating output signals.
  • Neural Networks: Neural networks are the computational models used in machine learning for solving various tasks.
  • Pixelation: It is a method for turning printed images into digitized ones.
  • Principal Components Analysis: It is a digital image processing technique that is used for feature extraction.
  • Partial Differential Equations: This method refers to dealing with de-noising
  • Hidden Markov Models: This technique is used for image analysis in 2D (two dimensional).
  • Wavelets: Wavelets are the mathematical functions used in image compression.
  • Self-organizing Maps: a digital image processing technique that classifies images into several classes.

Image recognition technology has grown up to be of great potential for wide adoption in various industries. This technology has seen significant usage with each passing year, as enterprises have become more time-efficient and productive due to the incorporation of better manufacturing, inspection and quality assurance tools and processes. Big corporations and start-ups such as Tesla, Google, Uber, Adobe Systems, etc heavily use image processing techniques in their day to day operations. With the advancements in the field of AI (Artificial Intelligence), this technology will see significant upgrades in the coming years.