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What Is Pattern Recognition Image Processing?

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  • Written By: Alex Newth
  • Edited By: Angela B.
  • Last Modified Date: 22 November 2016
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Pattern recognition image processing is a method used to scan for similarities in images based on a pixel-by-pixel scan of the source image. While pattern recognition image processing may find exact matches, the software is geared toward finding similarities. The primary use of this type of software is for law enforcement agencies to check for forgeries or for suspects, but it also can be used to search images for something difficult to find or in video editing. This tool is not set up to find exact matches, so it is possible that there may be inaccuracies between two patterns.

To find a specific pattern using pattern recognition image processing, the software performs a pixel-by-pixel scan of a source image and compares it to a second image. A pixel-by-pixel scan means the process looks at every pixel and detects similarities between the two images. It judges the pixels’ colors, along with general outlines and features found in the source image; color can change in different environments, so this generally is a secondary metric used in finding similarities. If the pattern recognition software is specialized, such as for finding similarities between faces, then there will be extra metrics for comparing common aspects of the human face, such as the ears and the eyes.

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There is software capable of finding exact matches between images, and pattern recognition image processing may be able to find an exact match. At the same time, this process is geared more toward finding similarities, which generally makes the tool more versatile. For example, if the user is looking for similarities between two images of the same beach, but one image has a slightly different perspective, then the exact-matching system will say they have nothing in common.

This process is most often used by law enforcement agencies to identify suspects or to compare signatures and forgeries. With forgeries, the pattern recognition image processing program is not quite as effective as exact-match technology, but it may be able to detect a fake signature. To find a suspect, this program would compare a picture of the suspect with images taken from security cameras in stores and other areas.

While pattern recognition image processing software generally is accurate, it can have problems. For example, if there is someone who looks similar to a suspect, then this software will recognize that similarity and law enforcement may arrest the wrong person. This is because the program is set up more for similarities, but most users know that, so most matches are treated with some caution to ensure that inaccuracies remain minimal.

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