Challenges for computational vision: From random dots to the wagon wheel illusion

Leon Glass (August 29, 2011)

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Abstract

Even understanding the way we perceive very simple images presents a major challenge for both neurophysiologists and computer scientists. In this talk I will discuss two visual effects. In one random dots are superimposed on themselves following a linear transformation. In the second, a rotating disk with radial spokes is viewed under stroboscopic illumination, where the frequency and duration of the stroboscopic flash are varied. Though these phenomena are very different, in both correlation plays a major role in defining the structure of the image. In this talk, I will give demonstrations of these phenomena and discuss related experimental and theoretical work by ourselves and others. In particular, I focus on recent theory that uses the theory of forced nonlinear oscillations to predict the percept of rotating disks during stroboscopic illumination over a wide range of disk rotation speeds and strobe frequencies.

Finally, I suggest that the anatomical structure of the human visual system plays a major role in enabling the amazingly rapid and accurate computation of spatial and time dependent correlation functions carried out by the visual system.