Computer vision is a field of study and research in computer science and engineering that focuses on computers and machines that can receive and interpret visual data. The concerns of this field can be as simple as devising and integrating cameras that work well with computers or as complex as developing visual systems that enable computer technologies to interact with users. While there are many different potential applications for computer vision, medical technology has become one of the most practical and accessible fields for the implementation of such visual technology. Highly detailed images of patients can provide a great deal of valuable diagnostic data that leads to highly personalized and useful medical data.
There are many different elements of computer vision that often must be combined to make a cohesive and useful vision system. In cases that require anything more complicated than reproducing an image, for instance, some level of image recognition or detection is usually required. Computer vision technology is designed to recognize specific visual cues, such as those on human faces, in order to focus on or track a given object. Some technologies are designed to recognize text, often with the purpose of "translating" the text from an image file to a text file that can be edited and manipulated.
Computer vision is commonly studied in conjunction with biological vision, the process by which organisms such as humans receive and interpret visual data. The two fields of study contribute significantly to each other. Advances and developments in computer vision can suggest possible mechanisms by which biological vision occurs. Discoveries in biological vision, on the other hand, can provide ideas for new ways for computer technology to handle external visual data. It is not uncommon for biologists, computer scientists, and engineers to work together on projects regarding computer or biological vision.
There are many different fields, most within the sciences, that make regular use of computer vision technology, usually for research purposes. Artificial intelligence, a common area of study in computer science and engineering, uses visual technology to devise navigation or recognition systems for robotics. Computer vision technology is sometimes used in optics because artificial visual systems can be made to "see" and record a wider range of visual data than organic visual systems can. Additionally, many different fields contribute to the development and implementation of visual technology in computerized systems. Mathematics, for instance, is an essential element of the programming that goes into the interpretation of visual data by computers.