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What is Embedded Vision?

“Embedded Vision” refers to machines that understand their environment through visual means.

Embedded vision is the merging of two technologies: embedded systems and computer vision (also sometimes referred to as machine vision). An embedded system is any  microprocessor-based system that isn’t a general-purpose computer. Embedded systems are ubiquitous: they’re found in automobiles, kitchen appliances, consumer electronics devices, medical equipment, and countless other places.

Computer vision is the use of digital processing and intelligent algorithms to interpret meaning from images or video. Computer vision has mainly been a field of academic research over the past several decades.

Today, however, a major transformation is underway. Due to the emergence of very powerful, low-cost, and energy-efficient processors, it has become possible to incorporate vision capabilities into a wide range of embedded systems.

One successful example is the Microsoft Kinect video game controller that uses embedded vision to track the movements of Xbox 360 users, avoiding the need for hand-held controllers. Microsoft sold eight million Kinect units in the first two months after introduction. Over the next few years, there will be a rapid proliferation of embedded vision technology into many kinds of embedded systems.