Zero-Crossings and Spatiotemporal Interpretation in Vision

Unknown author (1982-05-01)

We will briefly outline a computational theory of the first stages of human vision according to which (a) the retinal image is filtered by a set of centre-surround receptive fields (of about 5 different spatial sizes) which are approximately bandpass in spatial frequency and (b) zero-crossings are detected independently in the output of each of these channels. Zero-crossings in each channel are then a set of discrete symbols which may be used for later processing such as contour extraction and stereopsis. A formulation of Logan's zero-crossing results is proved for the case of Fourier polynomials and an extension of Logan's theorem to 2-dimentsional functions is also approved. Within this framework, we shall describe an experimental and theoretical approach (developed by one of us with M. Fahle) to the problem of visual acuity and hyperacuity of human vision. The positional accuracy achieved, for instance, in reading a vernier is astonishingly high, corresponding to a fraction of the spacing between adjacent photoreceptors in the fovea. Stroboscopic presentation of a moving object can be interpolated by our visual system into the perception of continuous motion; and this "spatio-temporal" interpolation also can be very accurate. It is suggested that the known spatiotemporal properties of the channels envisaged by the theory of visual processing outlined above implement an interpolation scheme which can explain human vernier acuity for moving targets.