Machine vision (also called "industrial vision" or "vision systems") is primarily focused on computer vision in the context of industrial manufacturing processes, be it in the inspection process itself (e.g. checking a measurement or identifying a character string is printed correctly) or through some other responsive input needed for control (e.g. robot control or type verification). The machine vision system can consist of a number of cameras all capturing, interpreting and signalling individually with a control system related to some pre-determined tolerance or requirement.
Nearly all machine vision systems are set-up via the workpiece itself (i.e. the component is presented under the camera and this "gold" master is used for setting the system), this differs from other industrial processes and control which can be set-up without the part being present (e.g. robot paths can be set from the CAD data of the component). Therefore one of the main issues in implementing a machine vision solution is to understand the way in which the system will "see" and the optimum conditions which have to be created for it to perform its task in a repeatable manner.
The machine vision industry market has continually grown over the last 20 years due to the ever increasing capability of processors allowing the technology to be employed on an ever increasing complexity of applications. The latest industry predictions put the growth rate of the market at between 2.6 and 4.6 percent for 2011. In addition, total machine vision financial transactions (the sum of all machine vision components and system sales) will grow from $3,869.3 million in 2010 and to $4,439.1 million in 2014.