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Proceedings Paper

Visual stimuli: past and present
Author(s): Gerald Westheimer
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Paper Abstract

The fundamental properties of light and the principles of the structure and function of the visual system were discovered at a time when the only light sources were the sun and the flame of a candle. Contributions by Newton, Huygens, Thomas Young and Purkinje, Helmholtz’s ophthalmoscope – all preceded the first incandescent filament. Light bulbs, Xenon arcs, lasers, light-emitting diodes (LEDs), computer monitors then sequentially enlarged the arsenal, and so did the steps from Nicol prism to Polaroid in polarizing light, and from glass and interference filters to laser light in generating monochromatic light. Technological advances have a deep impact on the research topics at any one time, expanding their scope. In particular, utilization of computers now allows the generation and manipulation of targets permitting questions to be approached that could not have been envisaged at the dawn of the technological era of vision research. Just beyond the immediate grasp of even the most thoughtful vision scientist, however, is the concern that stimulus sets originating in mathematicians’ and physicists’ toolboxes fail to capture some essential ingredients indigenous to human vision. The quest to study vision with stimuli in its own terms continues.

Paper Details

Date Published: 14 March 2013
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 8651, Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XVIII, 865108 (14 March 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2013500
Show Author Affiliations
Gerald Westheimer, Univ. of California, Berkeley (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8651:
Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XVIII
Bernice E. Rogowitz; Thrasyvoulos N. Pappas; Huib de Ridder, Editor(s)

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