Machine vision techniques (video cameras) can be used to determine the three-dimensional position of objects. This transformation can be accomplished with standard mathematical algorithms. Initial accuracy tests of stereotactic localization with video cameras were performed using a standard Brown-Roberts-Wells (BRW) phantom simulator coupled with the BRW angiographic localizer. Localization accuracy was within 1.5 mm. Potential applications of machine vision techniques include freehand stereotactic localization of the position and orientation of surgical instruments. With sufficient computer speed these techniques can be used for continuous monitoring of the position of instruments within the cranial vault.