A Survey on Segment Anything Model (SAM): Vision Foundation Model Meets Prompt Engineering

A Survey on Segment Anything Model (SAM): Vision Foundation Model Meets Prompt Engineering
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Original Paper
Segment anything model (SAM) developed by Meta AI Research has recently attracted significant attention. Trained on a large segmentation dataset of over 1 billion masks, SAM is capable of segmenting any object on a certain image. In the original SAM work, the authors turned to zero-short transfer tasks (like edge detection) for evaluating the performance of SAM. Recently, numerous works have attempted to investigate the performance of SAM in various scenarios to recognize and segment objects. Moreover, numerous projects have emerged to show the versatility of SAM as a foundation model by combining it with other models, like Grounding DINO, Stable Diffusion, ChatGPT, etc. With the relevant papers and projects increasing exponentially, it is challenging for the readers to catch up with the development of SAM. To this end, this work conducts the first yet comprehensive survey on SAM. This is an ongoing project and we intend to update the manuscript on a regular basis. Therefore, readers are welcome to contact us if they complete new works related to SAM so that we can include them in our next version.

Summary Notes

SAM: Revolutionizing AI Segmentation with Meta AI Research

The Segment Anything Model (SAM), developed by Meta AI Research, marks a significant leap forward in artificial intelligence, especially in vision and language processing.
This post provides a simplified yet detailed look at SAM, highlighting its architecture, capabilities, and potential to change how we approach complex segmentation tasks.

What Makes SAM Special?

  • Promptable Segmentation: Unlike traditional models that depend on predefined labels, SAM uses textual prompts to create detailed masks for objects in images without needing specific labels. This versatility allows SAM to handle a vast array of objects and scenes effortlessly.
  • Zero-Shot Learning: SAM is capable of understanding and executing tasks it wasn't explicitly trained for, thanks to its training on a massive dataset containing over 1 billion masks from 11 million images. This feature enables SAM to segment objects accurately with just a simple prompt.

SAM's Impact and Applications

SAM's innovative approach has particularly significant implications in fields like medical imaging, where it can segment complex images such as X-rays and MRI scans efficiently. This capability can drastically reduce the resources needed to prepare medical imaging datasets, speeding up diagnosis and treatment processes.
However, SAM is not perfect. It may struggle with images that have poor contrast or complex backgrounds, where traditional supervised models might perform better. Despite these challenges, SAM's potential to transform image segmentation tasks is undeniable.

Enhancing SAM's Capabilities

Ongoing efforts are focused on integrating SAM with other AI models to overcome its limitations and improve detail handling. This collaborative approach could lead to more precise segmentation results.

Future Directions

Research continues to make SAM more adaptable, accurate, and efficient. Techniques like transfer learning are being explored to improve its performance on specific tasks. The aim is to make SAM robust and practical for a broader range of real-world applications.


SAM is pioneering a new era in AI segmentation, showcasing the power of models that can learn from extensive datasets and execute tasks with simple prompts. As SAM evolves, it's expected to find wider applications, further merging the capabilities of humans and machines in visual recognition.
For AI engineers in enterprise environments, keeping up with SAM's progress and integrating it into systems could lead to unprecedented levels of innovation and efficiency. The journey of SAM is just starting, and its full potential is still unfolding.
Stay Connected:
To learn more or contribute to SAM's development, reach out to Chaoning Zhang at chaoningzhang1990@gmail.com.
As AI continues to advance, models like SAM are set to play a crucial role in shaping our technological future, promising an exciting horizon for AI segmentation.

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