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What Is Advanced Image Processing?

Eugene P.
Eugene P.

Advanced image processing is the use of one or more algorithms to manipulate an image or to extrapolate or hide information in it. It also can refer to embedded technologies that employ these algorithms to modify an image in real time, such as with a security camera. There are many algorithms that have been designed to address different problems with images, such as noise, edge detection and obstacle removal. Some of the uses for advanced image processing including security, medical imaging and astronomy, to name just a few.

A seemingly simple, but ultimately vital, concept in advanced image processing is that of image segmentation. This is when a part of an image, sometimes only a few pixels in size, is treated as a single unit or pixel. The value of the segment could be derived from averaging the pixels inside or any other formula. By segmenting an image, the individual segments can be compared for similarity and can help to find patterns, edges or other information. Medical imaging uses image segmentation in order to stitch together multi-planar images of the human body from different internal imaging machines.

Woman with hand on her hip
Woman with hand on her hip

Another important aspect of advanced image processing is the concept of edge detection. Edge detection is the way a processing program finds the boundaries of objects within an image. There are several ways to find an edge, such as finding contrasts and forming a spline between them, but there also are more advanced algorithms that also can find edges.

Through the use of advanced image processing, images can be clarified or obfuscated, enhanced or even converted into three dimensions. There are algorithms that allow programs to attempt to remove objects from an image, sometimes even permitting them to partially reveal objects behind it by using comparative data from another image. Some law enforcement programs are able to detect the edges of a person’s face, finding the dimensions between various features and then comparing them against a compiled database to see whether there is a match that determines identity.

One of the lesser known uses for advanced image processing is the ability to hide information within an image. This is part of the branch of advanced image processing that involves image compression. A seemingly normal-looking image can have actual data embedded into the image. This information can be extracted by someone who knows the key components of the algorithm that was used to place the data. Very advanced image processing programs might actually be able to extract the data independently just by recognizing a pattern.

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Discussion Comments


@bythewell - I wouldn't put it past them to do that kind of thing, but what I don't like is what they already do with TV stars and even news presenters.

With advanced image processing, they can manipulate these people on screen so that they miraculously lose ten pounds even on a live show. I mean, they've always done something similar, with filters and things to make actors look better, but it just seems dishonest to me, to polish someone until they barely look human anymore. It sets a bad example for kids, who use these people as role models and think they have to live up to that kind of standard.


@indigomoth - Actually, I think it's more likely to eventually be used for advertising. Imagine walking into a store and having a camera be able to identify you and change a welcoming image to something they know you like from past purchases.

Or, maybe they don't have your personal file, but they can ID from the image that you are wearing high boots or a red jacket and can suggest things that may go with those. They are already doing something similar to this with cell phone technology, where they detect your GPS when you're going past a restaurant and might send you an advertisement at just the right time.

We are definitely living in the future right now and we're all going to have to work out how to deal with it.


The face detection algorithm really makes me nervous, I have to say. The idea that you can detect anyone at any time seems very much a symptom of a police state. There are security cameras all over major cities now, and they've always made me feel safer, because they do deter crime.

But I don't like the idea that they can identify me and track my whereabouts at any time. I mean, you might say they'll only do it for criminals, but where does that stop? What if my crime is parking tickets? What if it's simply that I've broken up with a police officer? It's the kind of technology that seems would almost inevitably be used in a corrupt way.

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