JavaScript Robotics: Computer Vision and Object Recognition with JavaScript

In recent years, JavaScript has gained tremendous popularity as a programming language for developing robotic applications. Its versatility, ease of use, and extensive ecosystem make it an excellent choice for building interactive and intelligent robots. One of the most exciting aspects of robotics is computer vision, which enables robots to perceive and interpret their environment.

In this article, we will explore how JavaScript can be used to implement computer vision and object recognition tasks. We will delve into the theory behind computer vision, discuss relevant JavaScript libraries and frameworks, and provide practical examples with detailed code snippets and their corresponding outputs.

Understanding Computer Vision

Computer vision is a field of study focused on enabling computers to gain high-level understanding from digital images or videos. It involves processing visual data, extracting meaningful information, and making decisions based on that information. Computer vision encompasses various tasks such as image recognition, object detection, scene understanding, and more. In the context of robotics, computer vision plays a crucial role in enabling robots to perceive and interact with their surroundings effectively.

JavaScript and Computer Vision

JavaScript has seen significant advancements in the domain of computer vision, thanks to powerful libraries and frameworks. TensorFlow.js, OpenCV.js, and tracking.js are notable JavaScript tools that allow developers to implement advanced computer vision algorithms directly in JavaScript. These libraries provide a wide range of functionalities, including image filtering, feature extraction, object recognition, and more. Furthermore, JavaScript's compatibility with browsers makes it possible to perform real-time processing and interact with cameras and video feeds, making it an ideal language for computer vision tasks in robotic applications.

Object Recognition with TensorFlow.js

TensorFlow.js is an open-source JavaScript library developed by Google, designed to enable machine learning and deep learning in the browser. It offers a rich set of tools for training and deploying models, including support for object recognition tasks. TensorFlow.js allows developers to leverage pre-trained models and transfer learning techniques to perform object recognition with ease.

To illustrate object recognition using TensorFlow.js, let's consider an example of identifying different fruits. The first step is to collect a dataset of fruit images and label them accordingly. This dataset will serve as the training data for the model. TensorFlow.js supports transfer learning, which involves fine-tuning pre-trained models like MobileNet or ResNet using the collected dataset. This process helps the model learn to recognize specific fruit objects.

Once the model is trained, it can be loaded in JavaScript using the tf.loadLayersModel function. Next, we can capture video from the user's camera using the getUserMedia API and display it on a canvas element. The canvas will serve as the viewport for performing object detection.

To perform object detection, we define a function called detectObjects. This function continuously captures frames from the video feed, processes them, and predicts the objects present in each frame.

The following code snippet demonstrates the implementation of object recognition using TensorFlow.js −

// Load the model
const model = await tf.loadLayersModel('model/model.json');

// Capture video from the camera
const video = document.getElementById('video');
const canvas = document.getElementById('canvas');
const context = canvas.getContext('2d');

navigator.mediaDevices.getUserMedia({ video: true })
   .then(stream => {
      video.srcObject = stream;;

// Perform object detection
function detectObjects() {
   context.drawImage(video, 0, 0, 300, 300);
   const image = tf.browser.fromPixels(canvas);
   const expandedImage = image.expandDims(0);
   const predictions = model.predict(expandedImage);
   // Process predictions
   predictions.array().then(data => {
      const maxIndex = data[0].indexOf(Math.max([0]));
      const classes = ['apple', 'banana', 'orange'];
      const prediction = classes[maxIndex];
      console.log('Detected:', prediction);



The code captures video from the user's camera and continuously performs object detection on each frame of the video feed. For each frame, the code performs the following steps −

  • It draws the current video frame onto a canvas element.

  • The canvas image is then converted to a TensorFlow.js tensor using tf.browser.fromPixels.

  • The image tensor is expanded to match the model's input shape using expandDims.

  • The model's predict function is called with the expanded image tensor to obtain predictions.

  • The predictions are converted to a JavaScript array using array().

  • The highest predicted value is identified by finding the index of the maximum value in the predictions array.

  • A predefined array of classes (e.g., ['apple', 'banana', 'orange']) is used to map the index to the corresponding object label.

  • The detected object label is logged to the console using console.log('Detected:', prediction).

The actual output will vary depending on the objects present in the video feed and the accuracy of the trained model. For example, if the video feed contains an apple, the code might output "Detected: apple" to the console. Similarly, if a banana is present, the output could be "Detected: banana.


In conclusion, JavaScript, with its extensive libraries and frameworks, offers powerful capabilities for computer vision and object recognition in robotics. By leveraging tools such as TensorFlow.js, developers can train models, perform real-time object detection, and enable robots to perceive and understand their environment effectively. JavaScript's versatility and browser compatibility make it a promising language for building intelligent and interactive robotic systems. As the field of robotics continues to advance, exploring JavaScript robotics and computer vision further opens up exciting possibilities for innovation and development.

Updated on: 25-Jul-2023


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