What is it about?

Variations of light in the natural environment produce changes in reflections and shadows. But we can still recognise objects and materials as being the same. This ability may be underpinned by ratios of signals from closely spaced cone photoreceptors in the eye.

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Why is it important?

Detecting whether changes in scenes are due to accidental changes in lighting or to changes in its content is important for survival. Changes in the ratios of cone signals provide a powerful yet simple cue to novelty detection.


This work used time-lapse hyperspectral radiance images of natural scenes recorded at intervals across the day. We have made available four of these sequences at http://personalpages.manchester.ac.uk/staff/d.h.foster/.

Professor David H. Foster
University of Manchester

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This page is a summary of: Time-lapse ratios of cone excitations in natural scenes, Vision Research, March 2016, Elsevier, DOI: 10.1016/j.visres.2015.03.012.
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