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Visual inspection (VI) is the oldest inspection technique man has used as a quality-control tool to evaluate products, assess their final form in terms of fabrication accuracy and external features based on experience, and decide on their acceptance or rejection. This article discusses the basic principles of visual inspection in terms of direct visual examination and indirect visual examination as well as advantages and limitations of visual inspection. It reviews the factors affecting the effectiveness of VI as a nondestructive testing (NDT): lighting conditions of observation, condition of surface under inspection, physical state/condition of inspector, proper training of personnel and level of expertise, and knowledge of applicable standards. The article provides schematic illustrations of rigid borescopes, fiberscopes, and videoscopes. It concludes with a discussion on automated optical inspection systems.

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