Fourth of Six

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Friday, August 11, 2006

Resolution of the Human Eye

"How many megapixels equivalent does the eye have?:

The eye is not a single frame snapshot camera. It is more like a video stream. The eye moves rapidly in small angular amounts and continually updates the image in one's brain to 'paint' the detail. We also have two eyes, and our brains combine the signals to increase the resolution further. We also typically move our eyes around the scene to gather more information. Because of these factors, the eye plus brain assembles a higher resolution image than possible with the number of photoreceptors in the retina. So the megapixel equivalent numbers below refer to the spatial detail in an image that would be required to show what the human eye could see when you view a scene.

Based on the above data for the resolution of the human eye, let's try a 'small' example first. Consider a view in front of you that is 90 degrees by 90 degrees, like looking through an open window at a scene. The number of pixels would be
90 degrees * 60 arc-minutes/degree * 1/0.3 * 90 * 60 * 1/0.3 = 324,000,000 pixels (324 megapixels).
At any one moment, you actually do not perceive that many pixels, but your eye moves around the scene to see all the detail you want. But the human eye really sees a larger field of view, close to 180 degrees. Let's be conservative and use 120 degrees for the field of view. Then we would see
120 * 120 * 60 * 60 / (0.3 * 0.3) = 576 megapixels.
The full angle of human vision would require even more megapixels. This kind of image detail requires A large format camera to record."


At 4:59 PM, Blogger Bobmo said...

For a while I've wondered how I would react when, or if, a computer is developed that mimics human capacity to a large degree. I can't help but think I'll be disappointed the day a 576 megapixels CCD is released. But take another aspect of human intelligence, storage capacity. There are lots of estimates of the human brain's capacity in bytes and computers will probably surpass human memory at some point, but there are so many other aspects to intelligence. Ray Kurzweil's predictions notwithstanding, I honestly don't believe that computers will ever rival the human brain on a large scale. Although we'll probably match the hardware eventually (memory & processing power), it's the software that I believe will never be duplicated. That's because the designer of an object, must, by definition, be greater than the object. See John 13:16.

For an interesting comparison between human and computer capabilities, check out
When will computer hardware match the human brain?


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