Over 500 million years ago, a few creatures developed a simple way to discern between light and darkness. Since then, vision and what it means to see, have continued to evolve. In the past few decades, we have seen an accelerated representation of that slow and steady natural process. Computer and camera technology has rapidly grown from being able to only recognize basic shapes to now producing sharper images and better analysis than the best sets of human eyes in the world. This is what is called computer vision.
The versatility of computer vision makes it a clear solution to many sectors of industry. This is the same technology that helps power things like AI and general Machine Learning.
Once correctly integrated into any business, computer vision can be one of the most valuable assets in the workplace! In fact, the Redwood team can even show you how to integrate computer vision into various parts of your own logistics operation. Reach out to us today!
In this article, we will look at what computer vision is, how it works, and how it can impact your manufacturing and warehouse storage solutions in a variety of ways. To get an idea of why computer vision is so important and where it can go, we need to start at the beginning and see how far it has come...
Was Blind, But Now…
Just like the optical pioneers of the Cambrian era, early computer vision comprised mainly of simple light or dark photosensors. And these still see a lot of service when it comes to controlling excess electricity waste by actuating lights in sync with natural light. However, it didn't take long until basic motion detection technology was developed
At that time, it only recognized that something had moved.
Again this stepping-stone technology continues to shine in things like security and tracking systems but is far from the apex. Respectively these two versions of early digital sight revolutionized the world! Then there was a bit of a plateau in innovation until eventually the world of digital cameras and software development fostered another great leap in computer vision.
Putting the "Eyes" in Vision
Now that cameras are able to provide crystal clear images from physically compact devices it seems that eyes are everywhere. This makes it increasingly easy to outfit robotic workers with the ability to collect data about their surroundings or products.
But what good is sight without a deeper understanding to act on the information acquired?
That is where cutting edge software enters the equation by providing functions like object recognition, next-step processing, and constant reporting. Connecting these vital systems across multiple robots and locations can be daunting, but with the help of an iPaaS provider will fall right into place. With all the key parts in place, we can start to see how computer vision can greatly benefit many visual warehouse tasks.
Quality control is arguably one of the most important steps in the production, packaging and shipping of products. And historically-speaking, quality control has also been one of the largest sinks of man-hours as it has long been performed manually. And in a lot of modern-day operations, it is still manually-handled.
Computer vision takes a huge portion of the workload by acting as an ever-vigilant observer that can be used in spaces and at speeds that no amount of human labor could hope to compare to. This saves time and money by ensuring that no damaged or otherwise incorrect product is packaged while not slowing the manufacturing process.
Moving beyond manufacturers and to the storage and fulfillment centers, we can again find computer vision shifting the daily routine as the technology that it powers is used widely.
Advanced item recognition allows for the automation of product retrieval and packing for requests that change from order to order. Quick scans of manufactured goods can also reveal defective units in real-time.
Safety and Security
In many industries, there are places that require every employee to stay safe by wearing certain pieces of personal protective equipment (PPE) such as helmets and face shields.
While most workers will habitually don such equipment properly, sometimes things are overlooked and a monitoring system that can detect the absence of PPE can help avoid disaster. You will never again have to worry if those safety meetings you hold regularly are having an impact with round-the-clock monitoring.
Besides tracking the objects on a person, computer vision can also monitor individuals throughout your warehouse, scanning them for certain PPE preparedness. The recognition software can be used to grant or deny employees access to vital rooms upon the scan, while also being able to notify security immediately if unregistered personnel or improperly equipped employees are detected.
Although it is no replacement for human interaction and inspection, adding 21st-century security computer-vision based technology to your warehouse will add an extra layer of protection and comfort.
Computer vision is impacting the daily visual tasks of warehouses across the globe. As advancements are made in processing speed and hardware design, there's little doubt that computers will only continue to grow more human-like in their attributes and becoming increasingly capable of handling more and more visual tasks.
Computer vision technology is growing faster than anyone could have imagined even 10 years ago. However, the most important thing to remember is whether you are a human or a computer; keep your eyes on the prize!
Want to start incorporating the latest tech advancements in your warehouse? Drop us a line and let the Redwood team help you get started off on the right foot.