The flexible inspection cell consists of an (X,Y,(theta) )-table surrounded by a set of computer controlled lamps. Several cameras are placed around the cell and a pick-and-place manipulator is able to put objects onto the table and/or remove them from it. The physical organization of the cell and the architecture of the system controller are both described. The latter consists of a set of up to eight slave image processing modules, whose actions are organized by a Prolog program. The system provides a convenient user interface, with the following features: pull-down menus, pop-up menus, on-line HELP, cursor (for investigation of image features), interactive mode (for algorithm development), pre-recorded speech output, and speech recognition (for working in hands-off mode). The flexible inspection cell provides a general purpose facility for inspecting complex objects, small-batch artifacts, and assemblies of components.