The detection and estimation of motion are generally involved in computing a velocity field of time-varying images. A completely new modified spatio-temporal gradient scheme to determine motion is proposed. This is derived by using gradient methods and properties of biological vision. A set of general constraints is proposed to derive motion constraint equations. The constraints are that the second directional derivatives of image intensity at an edge point in the smoothed image will be constant at times t and t+L . This scheme basically has two stages: spatio-temporal filtering, and velocity estimation. Initially, image sequences are processed by a set of oriented spatio-temporal filters which are designed using a Gaussian derivative model. The velocity is then estimated for these filtered image sequences based on the gradient approach. From a computational stand point, this scheme offers at least three advantages over current methods. The greatest advantage of the modified spatio-temporal gradient scheme over the traditional ones is that an infinite number of motion constraint equations are derived instead of only one. Therefore, it solves the aperture problem without requiring any additional assumptions and is simply a local process. The second advantage is that because of the spatio-temporal filtering, the direct computation of image gradients (discrete derivatives) is avoided. Therefore the error in gradients measurement is reduced significantly. The third advantage is that during the processing of motion detection and estimation algorithm, image features (edges) are produced concurrently with motion information. The reliable range of detected velocity is determined by parameters of the oriented spatio-temporal filters. Knowing the velocity sensitivity of a single motion detection channel, a multiple-channel mechanism for estimating image velocity, seldom addressed by other motion schemes in machine vision, can be constructed by appropriately choosing and combining different sets of parameters. By applying this mechanism, a great range of velocity can be detected. The scheme has been tested for both synthetic and real images. The results of simulations are very satisfactory.