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An Overview of OpenCV

Introduction to OpenCV

You know we are all fools, right? We’re saying that in relation to software development because we haven’t yet created software that could save numerous lives when there are millions of software developers around the world. Have you ever thought about how the world could become a better place and you could take part in doing that by creating software that could be a lifesaver?

Here’s one tool that you can use to create a life changing product! OpenCV – an open source computer vision and machine learning software library whose main goal is to provide a common infrastructure for computer vision applications, and to speed up the use of machine recognition of images and objects in the commercial market.

Our overview of OpenCV article discusses why this tool is important in the field of computer vision. But first, we must learn about the Python programming language and its important connection to OpenCV.

What is Python?

Python is a fast, reliable, interpreted, imperative, functional, procedural, object-oriented, and high-level programming language with dynamic semantics. Python has existed since the 1980s and was created by Guido Van Rossum. It’s a programming language that you can use for desktop GUI applications, web applications, search engines, machine learning, business applications, facial recognition, and much more! You can do all sorts of stuff with Python.

One great thing about Python is the community that contributes to its growth. The community helps beginners to learn Python easier by providing tutorials, documentation, and blogs about how each function or class is being used. How cool is that? You can also just key in Python to Google and millions of resources are available for you to check out!

You can learn Python through their website (python.org) and there are also tons of tutorials and resources on the Internet, but let’s not dig too deep into that. Let’s talk about OpenCV!

Overview of OpenCV

OpenCV is a cross-platform library wherein we can develop real-time computer vision applications. OpenCV has features for Image Processing, Pattern Recognition, and Photogrammetry fields. The Image Processing feature allows you to manipulate images through things such as resizing, cropping, changing the color grade, and other types of image manipulation. Pattern Recognition is a technique wherein OpenCV can detect objects in the image. Photogrammetry is about obtaining the accurate measurements of an image.

OpenCV was originally developed in C++, then sometime after they also developed OpenCV for Python and Java. OpenCV runs in various platforms such as Windows, OSX, and Linux.

What are Computer Vision Applications?

These are applications that enable computers to recognize features like faces, cars, objects, and many more. Computer vision deals with how computers can be made to gain information through digital images or videos. From the engineer’s point of view, they seek to automate tasks when human vision is involved, and also they wish to make a product that can exceed the capabilities of the human eye.

Where is OpenCV being applied?

OpenCV is being used in robotics, medicine, industrial automation, security, and transportation.

For robotics, OpenCV can be used to determine a robot’s location. It can also be used in navigation, Obstacle avoidance, and Human-Robot Interaction. For medicine, OpenCV can help patients through classification and detection of cells or tumors, 2D/3D segmentation, 3D organ reconstruction, and vision-guided robotics surgeries. For industrial automation, it can be helpful in terms of determining defects of stock, barcodes and packages, object sorting, document analysis, and many more! For Security, this can be used in surveillance and biometrics, and lastly, for transportation, it can help us detect driver vigilance and develop autonomous vehicles.

What are the features of OpenCV and what can it do?

OpenCV can read and write images from scratch. Basically you can draw an image through code, capture and save videos (write a command in which you can have access to your webcam or any sort of camera where it can capture frames of images and turn them into a video), process images (filters, adjust contrast, colorations, sharpness, etc), perform feature detection, detect specific objects and analyze videos, and determine the direction and the motion of an object.

Computer vision can also track motion and store various information regarding the movement of a specific item. Computer vision can compare images and can tell which ones are the same as another picture. It can also measure the distance from one point to another. It can even identify what kind of object is in the video or picture depending on the given datasets. It also can detect corners of an object; therefore, we can add a box indication following the object where it moves.

The OpenCV community

One great thing about OpenCV is they have a large community wherein you can ask questions that are OpenCV related and they will be happy to help you. But they have rules and etiquette to posting a question.

They would not like you to ask inappropriate questions like general debugging/programming questions, questions about software that is not related to OpenCV, and asking for help with your homework. You should not contact the developers/maintainers directly because the community can’t see question or answer(s) not asked/answered publicly, and open source development works best when the entire community participates in discussions and helps to answer questions. You need to be as specific as possible, with steps to reproduce. If they can reproduce the problem, they can fix it quickly.

Sending questions about problems to OpenCV

Send all your questions to OpenCV Answers or other corresponding mailing lists, and report all bugs to the bug tracker. You also have to specify your platform (Windows 32/64-bit, Linux x86/x64/PPC/…, MacOSX 32/64bit/PPC), compiler version, OpenCV version/revision, whether IPP, OpenMP, MMX, SSE … have been enabled or not, and any other information that lets them reproduce the environment, identify and localize the problem. A sample code reproducing the problem would also be very helpful. Provide the output of cv::getBuildInformation() function every time you report a bug about the trunk version of OpenCV. The problem can be in the build settings so the log can really help us.

If your application is complex, and the problem happens somewhere in the middle, it is still possible to create a short standalone sample: capture and store the data that you pass to the function using FileStorage, copy the function call, and put the corresponding reading from FileStorage in front of it. Describe specifically what you are doing or are trying to do and what went wrong. If you say: “OpenCV doesn’t work!” – they will not be able to help you. You can also include your backtraces, relevant config files, and screenshots or videos to demonstrate the problem.

Let’s talk about Computer Vision

Aside from an overview of OpenCV, let’s talk about computer vision, which is the technological basis of OpenCV. Computer vision is similar to what our eyes are doing. Our eyes analyse what we see; we can recognize faces, objects, movements and determine if something is good or bad. It’s the same with computer vision, and sometimes even more precise. It can also look at complex images and compare them to other images, and define the differences.

Computer vision aims to make our lives easier because it can be applied in the areas of agriculture, augmented reality, autonomous vehicles, biometrics, character recognition, forensics, industrial quality inspection, face recognition, gesture analysis, geoscience, image restoration, medical image analysis, pollution monitoring, process control, remote sensing, robotics, security and surveillance, transport, and many more to come! Computer vision deals with how computers can be made to gain information through digital images or videos. From the engineer’s point of view, they seek to automate tasks involving visualization.

One example of a computer vision application is Amazon Go. It is a store and a mobile app in which consumers can go inside and get everything that they find useful for them and go out with the item that they wish to purchase. As soon as they reach the exit, there will be a prompt that appears on their smartphones with a confirmation of what they took, perhaps similar to a checkout feature in some online stores. The technology doesn’t use QR codes nor barcodes but instead, they use hundreds of cameras placed on the ceiling of a store. The cameras act as the eyes for the store. That is just one of the hundreds of uses for computer vision.

Importance of Computer Vision

Computer vision has been helpful to a lot of businesses and vital to some. Companies use computer vision for OCR, vision biometrics, object recognition, special effects, 3D printing and image capture, sports, smart cars, and medical imaging. These are just some of the uses of computer vision. Computer vision has been very helpful for the growth of technology in our modern day society. It helped a lot of people in ways that could save lives like in operations, tumor searching, x-ray analyzations and many more. This just shows that computer vision truly has evolved from theory to reality. After learning the overview of OpenCV and computer vision, we’ll discuss about the skills of a computer vision developer.

Skill set and experiences of a Computer Vision Developer

A CV Developer needs to have a cross-functional skill set, creativity, and skills in machine learning, robotics and control systems to solve exciting product development challenges. They must be good in math, linear algebra, stats which are needed very extensively, advanced image processing, and pattern recognition skills. Other needed skills are a good geometry base for CV applications, efficient programming skills if you are doing system level C/C++ or for testing purposes, Matlab imaging toolbox, machine learning fundamentals for complex problems, and fluency in C++ or Python, OpenCV, and PCL.

You must also have experience in 3D computer vision and video analytics algorithms such as image segmentation, 3D reconstruction, object and motion detection, tracking and classification. Experience in machine learning algorithms for vision problems including deep learning and experience in real-time video analytics pipeline is also preferable.

Tasks of a Computer Vision Developer:

  • Develop and analyze vision algorithms to control robots and advanced hardware systems that were created for human interaction environments
  • Develop and assess state-of-the-art computer vision algorithms for real-time control of robots and other hardware devices
  • Port, carry out, and optimize analytics and machine learning algorithms using special purpose computing architectures
  • Recommend and carry out creative and efficient solutions for vision and control problems, and contribute to expanding the company’s intellectual property portfolio
  • Execute technical performance benchmarking and analyses to support engineering decisions
  • Ascertain project specifications and project schedule by studying product requirements and specifications, calculating time requirements and sequencing project elements
  • Aid in the installation and running of product demonstrations
  • Debugging with no additional support
  • Participate in design reviews
  • Documentation for design control

Here are some of the companies that use Computer Vision with their respective applications/products:

CANADA:
1. ClmTec – Medical Image Analysis, digital pathology
2. Ikomed – Medical Image Analysis
3. Algolux – Imaging and vision system optimization
4. Wrnch – Poste and behaviour estimation

POLAND:
1. Adaptive Vision – Industrial image analysis applications
2. Plastream – SAAS AI analytics video platform

NEW-ZEALAND:
WebSight – Machine Vision solutions on demand

FRANCE:
1. Pleiades techs – Contract company
2. DxO Labs – Image enhancement technologies
3. GeoSys – Agriculture performance
4. Exelis VIS – Visual information solutions
5. Vidatis – Video processing
6. Moodstocks – Mobile image recognition
7. Diotasoft – 3D virtual reality
8. Pimaia – Picture & Illustration Modeling Automatism
9. Total Immersion – Augmented Reality Solutions for retail
10. VideoStitch – 360 video made easy
11. SentioSports – Sport Analytics

UNITED STATES:
1. Gentex Corporation – Smart driving systems
2. A9 – Visual search solutions
3. COGNEX – Industrial applications
4. HP Labs – Machine learning
5. Philips Healthcare – Medical imagery
6. Interphase – Desktop virtualization solutions
7. NOKIA – 3D mapping technology
8. KLA-Tencor – Metrology, optics, and inspection platforms
9. Immersive Labs – Computer vision based advertising technology
10. Intuitive Surgical – Robot-assisted surgery
11. IBG – Biometric systems
12. Imimtek – User interfaces
13. PPT Vision – Automated inspection systems
14. HHMI – Medical imagery
15. Occipital – Natural user interfaces
16. Northrop Grumman – Security and defense
17. Justin.tv – Live video platform
18. Incogna – Image search engine
19. Video Surf – Video search engine
20. tyzx – 3D sensors
21. Object Video – Video processing algorithms
22. Honeywell – Video Analytics
23. SkyBox – Satellite Imagery
24. Park Assist – Parking lot space monitoring
25. AiLive – Motion recognition and tracking
26. Hover – 3D Mapping
27. Aptina – CMOS Technology
28. OptraScan – Digital Pathology Solutions
29. Honda Research – Scene Understanding and Risk Assessment
30. Image Metrics – Facial analysis
31. Pelican Imaging – 3D photography
32. Graftek Imaging – Vision System & Parts
33. NVIDIA – Visual Computing & Computer Graphics
34. Microscan – Computer Vision Systems
35. DAQRI – 4D Augmented Reality
36. Kairos – Facial Recognition as a Service
37. LTU Technologies – Image Recognition Platform
38. Code Laboratories – Real-time imaging Solutions
39. FotoNation – Real-time imaging Solutions
40. Imerit – Machine learning, Segmentation
41. Sighthound – SDK and cloud APIs for businesses
42. Second Spectrum – Real Time sports analytics
43. Curalate – Visual Commerce Software
44. Pixma – Computer Vision based phishing protection
45. GumGum – An applied computer vision company
46. Aitoe Labs – Image-based Artificial Intelligence
47. GE Global Research – Medical image analysis
48. Yahoo! – Machine learning, data mining, and information retrieval
49. Optra Systems – Algorithm development
50. Vizzitec – Visual Inspection Solutions
51. Pixuate – Image Processing as a Service

SPAIN:
1. ARLab – Augmented reality for desktops and smartphones
2. EllipseAR – Mobile real-time tracking
3. VISIZA – Object recognition and people recognition
4. Samsamia – Machine learning apps for the fashion market
5. LetGo – Marketplace for second-hand items

RUSSIA:
1. Itseez – Computer vision software and consulting services
2. ISS Art – Custom Computer for vision software and solutions

INDIA:
1. KritiKal Solutions – OCR Solutions
2. FaceX – Facial Recognition Software

GERMANY:
1. Carl Zeiss – Medical industry, optics
2. Atlas Elektronik – Naval electronics
3. Nerian Vision GmbH – 3D camera systems
4. Vathos Robotics – Image processing based robot reprogramming

NORWAY:
Tordivel – Industrial machine vision, 3D modeling

UKRAINE:
Abto Software – Computer Vision & AI solutions

SWEDEN:
1. Spacemetric – Geospatial imagery management
2. Smarteye – Eye tracking technology
3. Axis Communications – IP video solutions
4. Cella Vision – Body fluids analysis
5. Scalado – Mobile imagery solutions
6. Anoto – Digital pen technology
7. Tobii – Gaze tracking technology
8. Oculus – Image recognition technology
9. Flir – Thermal imaging
10. Vicator – Augmented reality design

UNITED KINGDOM:
1. Image Metrics – 3D facial animation
2. Nine Point Medical – Optical systems for in vivo diagnostics
3. Sony – Gaming interface
4. Skin Analytics – Skin cancer prevention
5. Birdi – Satellite imagery API

NORWAY:
Christian Michelsen Research – Visualization and data analysis

TURKEY:
Kade Vision – Video analytics

NETHERLANDS:
1. ThirdSight – Emotion and Face recognition
2. Philips – Medical imagery
3. Virtual Proteins – 3D medical imagery
4. Layar – Mobile augmented reality
5. Ps-tech – Optical tracking device
6. TNO – All kinds of Image Processing
7. SightCorp – Face Analysis Technologies
8. Euvision Technologies – Automatic Image Moderation and Classification
9. Eagle Vision – Industrial Computer Vision

BELGIUM:
Traficon – Traffic video analytics

JAPAN:
1. Ayonix – Facial recognition
2. Morpho – Computational photography, deep learning

SWITZERLAND:
Crisalix – Aesthetic and plastic surgery

ISRAEL:
1. PicScout – Track, license and monetize imagery
2. RSIP Vision – Image Processing Services

KOREA:
Odd Concepts – Image recognition platform for commerce

SINGAPORE:
1. Visenze – Image Recognition for Advertisers
2. Graymatics – Cognitive Media Processing

HONG KONG:
BitRefine Group – Machine Learning and Computer Vision solutions

CHINA:
1. Face++ – Facial and Body recognition
2. SenseTime – Facial recognition
3. Thundersoft – Smart car solutions
4. TuSimple – Autonomous driving

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