December 2005
Volume 5, Issue 12
Free
OSA Fall Vision Meeting Abstract  |   December 2005
Optimizing trichromacy for information about surface color in natural scenes
Author Affiliations
  • David H Foster
    Faculty of Life Sciences, Moffat Building, University of Manchenster
  • Kinjiro Amano
    Faculty of Life Sciences, Moffat Building, University of Manchester, ManchesterUK
  • Sérgio M. C. Nascimento
    University of Minho, Portugal
Journal of Vision December 2005, Vol.5, 34. doi:10.1167/5.12.34
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      David H Foster, Kinjiro Amano, Sérgio M. C. Nascimento; Optimizing trichromacy for information about surface color in natural scenes. Journal of Vision 2005;5(12):34. doi: 10.1167/5.12.34.

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Abstract

Color vision may be used to help identify objects and segment scenes despite variations in the spectral composition of the light. But humans, and some animals, have just three classes of cone receptors, too few to fully specify spectra. Given this limit, do normal human cones maximize the information available? This question was addressed by the present study. Images of rural and urban scenes were obtained with a high-resolution hyperspectral imaging system, which provided estimates of surface spectral reflectance over 400–720 nm at 10-nm intervals at each point in a digital representation of spatial resolution 1344 × 1024 pixels. In computational simulations, 35 scenes were illuminated by randomly selected combinations of daylights with and without filtering through a leafy canopy. Five thousand points in each scene were randomly selected and Shannon's mutual information was calculated as a function of the spectral position of a variable number of cone pigments. The mutual information had several maxima, three of the highest being within about 10 nm of the mean normal long-, medium-, and short-wave cone positions, suggesting that trichromacy is almost optimal for extracting information about surface color in natural scenes.

Foster, D. H. Amano, K. Nascimento, S. M. C. (2005). Optimizing trichromacy for information about surface color in natural scenes [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 5(12):34, 34a, http://journalofvision.org/5/12/34/, doi:10.1167/5.12.34. [CrossRef] [PubMed]
Footnotes
 Supported by EPSRC (grant nos. GR/R39412/01 and EP/B000257/1).
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