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Findings about veracity of peripheral vision could lead to better robotic eyes
Date:10/15/2009

like moving a video camera too fast -- the images are blurry, so our brains don't take in much information.

"The question we're trying to answer is, how do we get the information about our environment from these snapshots?" Loschky said. "It turns out that the first meaningful information you can get from fixation is probably to give it a very short label."

That's what we do when we channel surf, he said.

"People tend to do that pretty quickly, particularly the ones who drive everybody else crazy," Loschky said. "To decide that quickly whether to watch a program, they have to get an overall impression of what they're looking at, even though they don't know many of the details of it."

Loschky said that examining how people take in scene information paves the way for a better understanding of eyewitness testimony in court cases, as well possible applications in advertising and marketing. But he said the most important contribution of this research could probably be for building better robots.

"If you want to build a machine that can understand what it's looking at, we have to understand how humans do it first," he said. "Suppose you give your robot two video camera eyes. How are you going to get the robot to the next critical step, which is to understand what it sees? That's a really difficult problem that computer scientists have been working on since the 1950s, and they're just starting to have some success now."

In future research, Larson and Loschky will study how people make sense of events that take place over time, such as seeing that someone is washing the dishes, taking a walk or robbing a bank. Whereas the scene gist research investigates human visual experiences by using single photographs, the researchers said this research will investigate our visual experiences using sequences of photographs or movies.


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Contact: Lester Loschky
loschky@k-state.edu
785-532-6882
Kansas State University
Source:Eurekalert

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