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Capsule networks: The next generation of deep learning architecture

September 18, 2023
Hot topics 🔥
AI & ML InsightsTech Insights
Dmitry Ermakov
Capsule networks: The next generation of deep learning architecture

Traditional convolutional neural networks (CNNs) have helped realise some amazing breakthroughs in computer vision, natural language processing (NLP), and various other areas of contemporary technology. CNNs are great for object detection, image classification, and image segmentation. 

But when it comes to understanding spatial hierarchies and the relationships between components within an image, they are rather limited. While they might recognise various features or objects, they tend to misunderstand the relationships between them. 

These limitations have led to the exploration of alternative architectures to improve upon CNNs. This is where capsule networks, or CapsNets, take the reigns to play a defining role in the next generation of deep learning architecture. 

But what are capsule networks, and how are they poised to be a crucial agency for growth across the exciting industries of tomorrow?

What are capsule networks?

Capsule networks, or CapsNets, are the latest advancements in deep learning architecture which hold a lot of promise for advancements in GenAI. They are designed to improve the issues of traditional CNNs with regard to spatial hierarchies and image component relationships. They achieve this by focusing on maintaining spatial information and allowing capsules to collaborate in recognising features to understand their relationship.

How do capsule networks function?

Capsule networks are designed to consist of two important components: capsules and dynamic routing algorithms. Let’s take a brief look at what they are and how they function together.


Capsules are designed to identify specific features and patterns within an image. Every capsule represents a particular feature of an object, ranging from simple shapes like edges to more complex elements like facial features. Similar to neurons in traditional neural networks, capsules are the Lego blocks that make up an entire capsule network.

Dynamic routing algorithms

Dynamic routing is used to connect capsules and facilitate the flow of information between them and onward to higher-level capsules where they agree on the presence of a feature. This communication mechanism allows capsule networks to identify spatial hierarchies and the relationships between different components within an image. 

With this basic understanding of capsule networks, let’s take a look at their strengths and why they’re widely considered to be the next generation of deep learning architecture.

Benefits of capsule networks

Of course, the defining benefit of capsule networks is how they improve upon the capabilities of traditional CNNs to recognise spatial hierarchies within images. Together with the dynamic routing of capsules, these sophisticated networks can effectively identify the relationships between different components in an image to create a more accurate recognition that includes context.

Capsule networks are more efficient at preserving information throughout the network layers. Unlike

traditional CNNs where details and spatial information get lost or distorted as it sinks deeper into the network, capsule networks work differently. They are designed to keep information as it spreads through the layers, resulting in more information to add to image reconstruction and understanding of complex scenes.

Additionally, capsule networks show enormous potential for applications beyond image processing. Interestingly, they are adept at processing complex and multidimensional data in various domains. Capsule networks provide the opportunity for deep analysis of intricate data patterns, including the ability to process multidimensional data to generate accurate predictions.

Industries that could benefit from capsule networks

The versatility of capsule networks is proving to be a critical advantage in addressing challenges in various industries such as healthcare, autonomous vehicles, augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), robotics, and more. 

Autonomous vehicles

Self-driving vehicles use computer vision systems to accurately understand and navigate the environment. The ability to understand spatial hierarchies and relationships between objects that capsule networks provide can significantly improve the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles. Capsule networks can enhance pedestrian tracking, object detection, and context understanding to ensure improved overall safety.


With continuous technological improvements, medical imaging is playing an increasingly vital role in healthcare diagnosis and treatment planning. With highly accurate CT scans, MRIs, and X-rays thanks to capsule networks, medical practitioners can deliver accurate healthcare services. This includes improved disease detection, 3D reconstructions, and organ segmentation for example.

Augmented Reality (AR) and Virtual Reality (VR)

In order to create immersive experiences, AR and VR applications depend upon understanding the environment through advanced computer vision. Capsule networks deliver improved experiences in realism and contextual awareness by helping AR and VR devices to better understand the 3D structure of the environment. 


The improved spatial awareness of capsule networks will drive improvements in all robotic applications across sectors, including industrial automation to healthcare. Capsule networks will undoubtedly help to evolve the robotics industry by enabling robots with a deeper understanding of their surroundings and context. This improves their ability to navigate challenging environments, manipulate certain objects, and interact with humans efficiently – and safely

A look ahead

Capsule networks certainly earn their praise as the next generation of deep learning architecture thanks to their ability to effectively address the limitations of traditional convolutional neural networks. Their ability to identify spatial hierarchies, retain information throughout network layers, and process complex multidimensional data opens up many exciting possibilities.

As the technology advances, capsule network adoption is almost certain to grow, driving innovation across all major industries. The only question is, what yet-to-be-discovered sectors are primed to be launched thanks to this ground-breaking technology?

Dmitry Ermakov

Dmitry is our our Head of Engineering. He's been with WeAreBrain since the inception of the company, bringing solid experience in software development as well as project management.

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