The year was 1959 when Russell Kirsch, an American engineer of the National Bureau of Standards, created the first digital image scanner. Kirsch used his access to the ‘Standards Electronic Automatic Computer’ to create a digital image of his newborn baby. The picture was only 176x176 pixels, gray scale, grainy; however, it’s one of the “100 photographs that changed the world” as ranked by Life magazine.
In the 60 years since, advancements in optics, computing power and powerful machine learning algorithms have made computer vision capable of real-time analysis of images and videos to detect objects, people, faces, poses, structural integrity issues, X-Rays/MRIs and temperature difference that the human eye is incapable of seeing. Computer vision, paired with audio augmentation, can even help the blind interact with the world around them like never before. The possibilities of how computer vision can transform lives and industries is limited—to use a cliché—only by our imaginations.