This paper describes a system for pattern recognition using an incoherent-optical correlator. The system uses optical transfer function synthesis to perform correlations with an edge-enhanced image of the object or pattern being sought. The resulting correlations are free of bias and show good discrimination between objects. In addition, the difficult or time-consuming computations are performed before the operation of the system; this reduces the amount of postprocessing by computer and should allow real-time operation at video rates. © 1985 Optical Society of America.