20 May 2015 Hypothesis on human eye perceiving optical spectrum rather than an image
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It is a common knowledge that we see the world because our eyes can perceive an optical image. A digital camera seems a good example of simulating the eye imaging system. However, the signal sensing and imaging on human retina is very complicated. There are at least five layers (of neurons) along the signal pathway: photoreceptors (cones and rods), bipolar, horizontal, amacrine and ganglion cells. To sense an optical image, it seems that photoreceptors (as sensors) plus ganglion cells (converting to electrical signals for transmission) are good enough. Image sensing does not require ununiformed distribution of photoreceptors like fovea. There are some challenging questions, for example, why don’t we feel the “blind spots” (never fibers exiting the eyes)? Similar situation happens to glaucoma patients who do not feel their vision loss until 50% or more nerves died. Now our hypothesis is that human retina initially senses optical (i.e., Fourier) spectrum rather than optical image. Due to the symmetric property of Fourier spectrum the signal loss from a blind spot or the dead nerves (for glaucoma patients) can be recovered. Eye logarithmic response to input light intensity much likes displaying Fourier magnitude. The optics and structures of human eyes satisfy the needs of optical Fourier spectrum sampling. It is unsure that where and how inverse Fourier transform is performed in human vision system to obtain an optical image. Phase retrieval technique in compressive sensing domain enables image reconstruction even without phase inputs. The spectrum-based imaging system can potentially tolerate up to 50% of bad sensors (pixels), adapt to large dynamic range (with logarithmic response), etc.
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Yufeng Zheng, Yufeng Zheng, Harold Szu, Harold Szu, } "Hypothesis on human eye perceiving optical spectrum rather than an image", Proc. SPIE 9496, Independent Component Analyses, Compressive Sampling, Large Data Analyses (LDA), Neural Networks, Biosystems, and Nanoengineering XIII, 94960F (20 May 2015); doi: 10.1117/12.2180827; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2180827

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