The low cost and simplicity of microprocessors will enable the image-processing field to expand widely. Data acquisition, conversion, storage, and display are becoming similarly inexpensive. Described is a low-cost image-processing system that illustrates the use of microprocessors. Also, a set of high-level image-processing primitive functions that are machine independent are proposed. These primitive functions may be used to write high-level languages in less space for shorter execution time. Their machine-independency should encourage widespread exchange of programs among members of the image-processing community.