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The use of computer vision to detect, measure, and perhaps guide the assembly of man-made components is potentially a very significant research and development area. The efficacy of these techniques for any given application depends on both technical and economic considerations. This paper will explore both these considerations using appropriate generic examples. It is our goal to first present a concise discussion of the present state of many technical and economic factors and then extrapolate these factors into the future for the purpose of guiding further investigations.