Machine Vision vs. Computer Vision: What are the Differences?

We are living in the digital era in which the terms “machine vision’ and ‘computer vision’ are always mentioned. It is common to use these terms interchangeably. However, there are some distinct differences between them.

In this article, we will explore these differences and the role of automated vision inspection and AOI machines in today’s digital age.

The Role of Computer Vision and Machine Vision

Computer vision employs a system with a PC-based CPU to interpret the image data it gathers. The computing power required for computer vision is often high. Trends may be recognized, predicted, or observed.

Additionally, a lot of data and variables may be examined simultaneously using computer vision. The medical, financial, and defence/security sectors often use computer vision.

A more straightforward type of computer vision is machine vision. Often, PLC-based processing is all that is required for machine vision. It is designed to perform speedy analyses of visual data and straightforward, automated judgments.

In both production and practical applications, machine vision excels. It is often used for guidance, inspection, and quality control.

All types of computer-controlled machinery can operate more intelligently and securely thanks to computer vision.

Computer vision is enabling robots to function more effectively and in a wider range of applications than ever before, from massive industrial to agricultural machinery and small drones that can recognize a person and follow them autonomously.

The Benefits of Machine Vision for Inspection

The heavy industry has long recognized the benefits of machine vision for inspection. In this regard, modern AOI solutions are implemented to improve the precision and quality of manufacturing processes.

Together, cameras and computers are far more precise and rapid in taking and processing pictures than any human being.

There can be no mistakes in very precise manufacturing processes, such as those used to build pacemaker components. Simply put, using human inspectors for such thorough checks is too hazardous.

Without computer-driven machine inspections as a component of their operations, many contemporary manufacturing companies would be unable to maintain their competitiveness. The manufacturing, packing, and food delivery sectors have the most widespread applications.

Every day, machine vision is utilized to reduce waste during the food sorting process, ensuring that it is packed properly for transit. Moreover, all labels are verified with the help of automated optical inspection.

For instance, in an event where an instant Emergency Product Withdrawal notice (EPW) is issued by the customer for the wrong food labels, the supplier or manufacturer will face a substantial penalty.

Too many EPWs may adversely harm a manufacturer’s image. All of these are possible thanks to AOI machines.

For manufacturers, it is not possible for a human worker to examine tens of thousands of tagged products every day, especially when food labels must now include legal requirements.


Machine vision was introduced before computer vision. This engineering-based solution makes use of already-available technology to mechanically “see” phases in a manufacturing process.

For example, it enables food distribution companies to check and make sure their items are properly labelled and manufacturers to find defects in their products before they are packed.

Since the advancement of computer vision, machine vision has also advanced significantly.

Computer vision is the retina, optic nerve, brain, and central nervous system, while machine vision is the body of a system.

A camera is used in a machine vision system to observe an image, which computer vision algorithms then analyze and interpret before telling other system components to take action in response to the information.

It is not necessary for computer vision to be a component of a more complex machine system for it to be employed. But at its foundation, a machine vision system cannot function without a computer and certain software.

This transcends simple picture processing. An “image” in the context of computer vision (CV) need not even be a picture or a video; it may be from a thermal or infrared sensor, a motion detector, or any other device.

All in All

A growing number of 3D and moving pictures can now be processed using computer vision and AOI solutions. This includes unanticipated observations that old technology could not handle.

Complex procedures are taken to identify and analyze a wide range of characteristics in an image to offer rich information about such pictures.

The potential uses for machine vision are growing dramatically as computer vision technology develops and more AOI machines are being used to streamline automated vision inspection processes.

At airport security gates, the technology that used to be exclusive to heavy industry is now used for braking autonomous cars, identifying basic binary actions by comparing our faces to passport images, and assisting surgical robots.

This shows that both computer vision and machine vision are playing important roles in revolutionizing different industries and sectors.