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A Quick Distinction: Machine Vision versus Computer Vision

June 08, 2018

Technology moves a thousand miles a minute, and it’s difficult to stay up to date. New words are added to the dictionary and new phrases constantly enter the lexicon. Two such phrases are computer vision and machine vision. They’re used interchangeably, but they actually refer to different applications of the same technology.

As a company that creates numerous components for the machine vision industry, including precision cylindrical lenses and filters, we thought we would help clear up the confusion.

Different uses of similar technology

Computer vision is a broader term, generally applying to higher-order applications meant to improve quality of life. Machine vision is a more specific term, generally used in a manufacturing setting to improve specific tasks.

Computer Vision

Computer vision is a computer science technology that allows computers to “see,” identify and process images in the same way human vision does — just much, much faster. It’s closely related to image processing, image analysis and machine vision, and there’s much overlap in what these technologies are designed to do.

Computer vision is used in a wide range of theoretical and practical applications. It collects high dimensional data from the real world and translates it into numerical or symbolic information that can be digested by other systems, such as artificial intelligence. Driverless car technology is the most well-known application of computer vision.  

Machine Vision

Machine vision, meanwhile, is used for more “practical” functions, such as on the assembly line. A good example would be a bottling facility. Machine vision can verify that bottles are empty and free of damage. It can verify the bottles have been filled to the correct level and that the lid or cap are in place. It can check that the appropriate data stamp has been placed on the bottle. All of this, obviously, is accomplished faster and with fewer errors than if strained human eyeballs were performing them.

About IRD Glass

For over 33 years, IRD Glass has done things that virtually no one else has with glass and ceramics. We create precision sapphire components, ceramic components, infrared components, and glass components, including custom laser optics, technical glass components, float glass and much more.

We are a sole-source provider to both large and small corporations across the planet. We were recently awarded a Certificate for Exceptional Quality Performance by Honeywell after we achieved zero parts-per-million defects in the last 12 months.

To learn more about our many precision glass, sapphire, ceramic and optical components, please visit our homepage today!