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An intelligent visual system prototype was built to detect anomalies or defects in real time under normal lighting operating conditions. The application is basically a learning machine that integrates fuzzy logic (FL), artificial neural network (ANN), and genetic algorithm (GA) schemes to process the image, run the learning process, and finally detect the anomalies or defects. The system acquires the image, performs segmentation to separate the object being tested from the background, preprocesses the image using fuzzy reasoning, performs the final segmentation using fuzzy reasoning techniques to retrieve regions with potential anomalies or defects, and finally retrieves them using a learning model built via ANN and GA techniques. FL provides a powerful framework for knowledge representation and overcomes uncertainty and vagueness typically found in image analysis. ANN provides learning capabilities, and GA leads to robust learning results. An application prototype currently runs on a regular PC under Windows NT, and preliminary work has been performed to build an embedded version with multiple image processors. The application prototype is being tested at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC), Florida, to visually detect anomalies along slide basket cables utilized by the astronauts to evacuate the NASA Shuttle launch pad in an emergency. The potential applications of this anomaly detection system in an open environment are quite wide. Another current, potentially viable application at NASA is in detecting anomalies of the NASA Space Shuttle Orbiter's radiator panels.