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Type: Journal article
Title: Photoreceptor processing improves salience facilitating small target detection in cluttered scenes
Author: Brinkworth, R.
Mah, E.
Gray, J.
O'Carroll, D.
Citation: Journal of Vision, 2008; 8(11):1-17
Publisher: Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology
Issue Date: 2008
ISSN: 1534-7362
Statement of
Russell S. A. Brinkworth, Eng-Leng Mah, Jodi P. Gray and David C. O'Carroll
Abstract: Target detection amidst clutter is a challenging task for both natural and artificial vision, yet one solved at the level of neurons in the 3rd optic ganglion of insects. These neurons are capable of responding to the motion of small objects, even against complex moving backgrounds. While the basic physiology has been investigated, little is known about how these cells are able to reject background motion while robustly responding to such small stimuli. By recording intracellularly from fly photoreceptors stimulated with natural image sequences containing a target viewed against a complex moving background, we show that the process of target detection begins at the earliest stages of vision. The temporal processing by photoreceptors alone, in the absence of any spatial interactions, improved the discrimination of targets (essentially a spatial task) by around 70%. This enhancement of target salience can be explained by elaborate models of photoreceptor temporal non-linear dynamics. The application of the functional principals outlined in this work could be utilized in areas such as robotics and surveillance, medical imaging, or astronomy, anywhere it is necessary to detect a small item from a cluttered surround.
Keywords: Ganglia, Sensory
Motion Perception
Adaptation, Physiological
Nonlinear Dynamics
Models, Neurological
Motion Pictures
Vision, Ocular
Photoreceptor Cells, Invertebrate
Discrimination, Psychological
DOI: 10.1167/8.11.8
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest
Molecular and Biomedical Science publications

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