Conventionally, edges are treated as either scalar or vector quantities. This paper presents a novel framework which treats edges as directional dipoles that induce the field around themselves. An analogy can be made between this concept and the interaction of magnetic dipoles with the magnetic field. The dipoles interact with the field and align themselves into a smooth contour configuration. This paper shows the effectiveness of the concept in edge linking and proposes efficient computational schemes for real-time implementation of the edge dipole interactions. It also proposes an image representation using the dipoles on a hexagonal lattice and a contour extraction algorithm implemented on the representation. The algorithm consists of three processes: noise removal, edge alignment and edge thinning/extension. The results of some experimental studies are also presented.