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Machine perception is a term for technologies that simulate the ways that humans perceive the world around them. Any type of technology that simulates any human sense, whether it is sight, hearing, taste, touch or feel, could be labeled machine perception, but the overwhelming use of machine perception in the field relates to simulating the sense of sight.
One way that machine perception works is through the use of a principle called sensor fusion. In the human body, each of the two eyes relays its own visual data to the brain. The brain combines these two data streams, and processes them into a unified whole.
Up until quite recently, machine perception was largely unable to simulate this. However, with modern sensor fusion, the fundamental process becomes somewhat more straightforward. Engineers implement multiple sensors in a physical surveillance area. Using artificial intelligence principles, they build technologies that will fuse and interpret those combined data streams in a way that is similar to the way that human vision is brought to the human brain. Advances in machine perception have driven progress in handwriting recognition, image processing, document analysis and more.