This chapter gives a historical background of image storage and retrieval and the development of electronic image processing. The applications and use of modern electronic image processing are also presented, followed by a short discussion of human visual perception and how it relates to electronic image processing. A model for image formation is presented, followed by the spatial sampling and quantization of images. Finally, two types of electronic image acquisition systems are presented.
Throughout the history of mankind, there has been the desire of the human race to record an instance of time for future generations via the use of pictures (images). Pictures have also been used in various early languages, providing an easy method of communicating information from one human to the next. The earliest documented use of images to communicate an idea is seen in the drawings created by the early cavemen. Using primitive tools, images were recorded into stone describing the details of everyday life. Important events such as the winning or losing of a battle were often recorded with these man-made images. Even though these images were used for communication purposes, today they give a historical record of early human civilization, providing the details of everyday life. The importance of pictures used as a language to represent ideas is also well illustrated by Egyptian hieroglyphics. The prolific preservation of this language engraved in the stone of various Egyptian remains has provided historians with a detailed story of the Egyptian civilization.
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