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Vision System Design
eyes - How and why
processing requirements in Biological
designs in Biological eyes
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D - Panicked Evolutionists: The Stephen Meyer Controversy
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1. EYE DESIGN
A. Importance of eyes -
How and why we see
After millennia of recorded history, we are just beginning to
understand the complexity and diversity of eyes. Most living creatures
and some plants have individually designed eyes. Sight is essential for
most creatures. For most of us the eye provides the most important link
to the world by enabling us to visualize shapes and colors. Some
animals and plants only sense changes in light without seeing specific
images. The eye and brain process visual information to link our inner
being to the world and beyond.
How we see
Eyes are adaptable visual sensors that enable us to see in a wide
variety of situations. While moving, images must be collected without
movements that cause blurred images. The electro-mechanical parts of
eyes near and around the lens provide a means of tracking, adjusting
light, and focusing. Tracking capability to control eye direction and
focus is required for the eyes of most creatures. Here the brain
controls where and how eyes see as well, as what they see. Brain image
processing software and hardware for eyes are more amazing than the
Scientists are just starting
to understand the complete process of vision. The following is a
diagram of a typical man-made image display system (Figure 1.1).
As an example of how we see,
consider the current generation of focal plane array sensors such as
charge-coupled devices in typical video cameras. They are also used
for military and commercial
infrared surveillance or visible viewing systems, optical missile
warning systems, and automatic optical target recognition systems.
These systems are much like our eyes. Some vision system optics and
light control appear to be patterned after a human eye as shown in
Figure 1.2. (From p. 135, Iridology,
Vol. 2, 1982, published by Bernard Jensen Enterprises,
: (Clck link to LensShopper.com -- Interactive
animation of the eye's
Figure 1.1 Diagram of a
Man-made Image Display System.
Figure 1.2 Diagram of
for a Biological Vision
(Like Figs.3-44 and
are a number of vision system
as we see in the
|Part of Biological Vision System
||Corresponding Part of
||Lens Optical window and focusing lens
element for incoming light
||Iris that controls light level and
||Focal plane array like CCD detector in a TV
camera to absorb and process radiation
|Rods and Cones:
||Photo detectors in focal plane array to
convert photon into chemical and electrical signals
|Plexiform ganglion cells:
||Image processing on sensor to start to
extract features of interest
next figure then illustrates
a man made vision system
Figure 1.3 Diagram of a Typical
Scanning by one or more eyes
is sometimes used to increase field of view. Creatures with more than
eyes may use their multiple eyes for stereo vision and increased
coverage. The brain coordinates the eyes to complete a vision system
may also require movement of related parts of the body. To help quickly
recognize danger and to visualize specific problems, image processing
eye signals to the brain involve at least the following:
interconnecting the multitude of sensors in the retina.
retina information for the brain to automatically
control eye functions such as light control and focus to provide
that are present in the brain at birth for functions specific to that
combined in small parallel computers for the brain to process
"software" for new situations as
learning takes place.
There are many different types and size of eyes. Some eyes of small
such as insects consist of arrays of many very small discrete sensors,
providing them compound eyes of various types. Here small sensors
in each facet of a compound eye detect a small part of the total image
that is seen by each eye. Even by using today's technology, the optics
and image processing of these small eyes would be extremely difficult
man to duplicate in a lab, yet they are very common.
Billions of eyes are
produced in insects each year. Many variations in eye design are
many eyes came from evolution and how many came from a single
Cell factories making
eyes take significant organization to duplicate DNA and create new
Every cell in the body contains directions for making eyes as well as
other body part. Cell design and multiplication is done with
control, and focused power inputs.
is the probability of eyes evolving without intelligent input?
How did the directions for making
DNA achieve a stable design?
eyes from evolution reproduce?
Good color vision
is not evident in all species. Most creatures have some color sensors
enough resolution to recognize objects of different colors. Some have
to see additional colors at one or both extremes of the human visual
For example, a number of insects such as moths and bees see ultraviolet
colors not visible within the human spectrum of vision. There are also
snakes such as vipers that see well into the infrared spectral region
humans cannot see without the help of special IR sensing instruments.
Figure 1.4 for spectral coverage of human eyes.
Figure 1.4a Spectral
Coverage of Human Eyes.
Figure 1.4b Spectrum of
permission of James T Fulton, Dir of Research Vision
In general, eyes have difficulty in defining colors in dim light.
Because of the mix of different types of sensors in the retina, the
human eye can see color at medium to high brightness, but poorly at
very low image brightness. Many creatures see scenes differently by
having either a narrow and/or a wide angular field of view and a mix of
high and low resolution over the field of vision. Just as cameras
require a specific amount of light to expose film or electronic
sensors, so eyes also require enough light to see, but not too much to
overload the vision system and cause blindness.
The human retina is capable of seeing high resolution at a wide variety
of light levels. Overall eye sensitivity and control allows a large
dynamic range of light intensities and color to be sensed in many kinds
of environments, and in a wide variety of dynamic situations.
Iris Identification Analysis
Figure 1.5b Iris
Variations for Camera
Our high sensitivity can see a faint glow in the dark, and also see
light approximately 10 billion times as bright. The eye's iris is only
one means of controlling the light going into the eye's retina. There
are many variations of iris in different creatures. Some of these are
shown by Figure 1.5 while Figure 1.6
shows illustrations of an iris applied to control light in a camera
type eye retina. (Fig. 1.5 Modified from original, p. 65, Vision
in the Animal World, R. H.
Smythe, Macmillan Press,1975. Fig. 1.6 by Curt Deckert)
Figure 1.5c Human
Figure 1.6 Iris
Light Into Eye Showing
The iris automatically
reduces the diameter of camera-type eyes opening to the eye lens and
so the brain can control the light going to the retina. The retina is
a multi-layer film. It contains several layers of chemical electronic
made into a near- spherical shape. In addition to the iris, there is
control on the sensitivity of the rod and cone photo-sensors within the
multiple retina layers of our eyes as shown by Figure 1.7. As an
example of design in human eyes, the spacing of red and green cones in
the retina are optimized for discerning yellow, orange, or red fruit
against a green background (reference: Biophotonics International, June
2002, page 40). This is typical of mammals that eat fruit. The
selection of fruit does not require high-resolution of color so we do
not need a full complement of color sensors for that purpose as in a
typical digital camera.
amounts of information from eye retinas are processed rapidly by our
In order for this to happen, there are thousands of parallel paths in
layer of sensor cells that allow information to be partially processed
in the path from the eye to the brain. Once this information goes into
the brain the final images are processed and then samplings of scenes
go into memory.
Specific optical designs
are evident in the eyes of each family of living creatures. Each eye is
designed uniquely to fit each creature, and is adaptable to typical
it will encounter. Although many complex forms of eyes have been around
for a long time, there is little proof of significant design changes in
basic optical design approaches for any biological organism. There is
specific biochemical mechanism, other than fully developed eye cells,
which it is possible to obtain beneficial mutations of new or
intermediate eye types. (Fig 1.7b adapted from 1999 Eye Poster from
Anatomical Chart Co. Skokie, IL) (Figs 1.7c-d by permission of James T
Fulton, Dir of Research
Figure 1.7a. Retina Layers
Figure 1.7b. Retina Layers
(Same as Fig 3.60b)
So how can "natural selection"
eye designs from cell designs defined by a specific DNA?
Why we see
Each type of creature
has slightly different eye requirements. This is like having optical
or video cameras designed to be compatible with specific computers and
software for interpreting and recording a scene. Just imagine the
and software compatibility problems in interchanging or upgrading eyes
from one type of creature to another, or upgrading an eye to a more
design with higher resolution. If the brain were not improved along
the eyes, then these design changes or upgrades would fail. (Darwin's
Box by Behe). With respect to evolution, Dawkins and others have not
answered the eye origin questions relative to eye transitions
required not only for obtaining the necessities of life, but also for
one of our key senses for survival. We use our eyes and eye expressions
for work, service, help, safety, love, play, exploring, learning, evil,
cheating, temptation, etc.
Since sight is coordinated
and controlled by the brain, one comes to the conclusion that each
brain was designed to be compatible with its eyes. Here there is
complexity for useful vision. In other words, in
order to have a
functional vision system you need to have all the parts in place for it
to function. Some brain and eye functions are operable from birth,
while others are learned and
improve with age.
design for visual
The design integration
of intelligence relative to eyes in all beings seems to have occurred
with a high level of completeness and balance. There is not enough
for any significant evolution in eye design to happen without adding
input into the DNA alterations required to change eye cells. The
DNA required considerable optical design input at all levels of eye
and image processing in the natural formation of eyes. The plan for eye
formation is fully integrated at the cell level using complex molecular
arrangements. Very specific DNA genetic codes work in millions of
creatures to reproduce and grow identical eyes in each type of
Genetic codes are useless
without specific processes fueled by energy and material and balance.
initial DNA required considerable optical design input at all levels of
eye development and image processing in the natural formation of eyes.
The plan for eye formation is fully integrated at the cell level using
complex molecular arrangements. Very specific DNA genetic codes work in
millions of different creatures to reproduce and grow identical eyes in
each type of creature.
Genetic codes are also
useless without specific processes fueled by energy and material
to allow them to function. For example, a huge library is useless
someone to read and then use the material found in the books to do
constructive with it. This requires an assumption of initial
to be able to read.
By being able to modify
molecules in a controlled environment, scientists can study the basic
blocks of life to further appreciate the design that has gone into our
eyes. DNA sequencing makes it possible to begin to read the directions
for biological eye design at the molecular level. New research by
is providing new reasons to fund further study of biological eye
Some scientists think
it took hundreds of millions of years to evolve eyes yet eyes have more
uniformity than many mass-produced cameras. We know man-made cameras do
not just happen. Designers and manufacturers are required to establish
uniform construction carried out with very specific materials and close
tolerances, to fabricate parts for specific purposes. Manufacturing
also require a purpose or market for the product. New engineering
it to changing conditions. There is usually no reason for engineers to
perfect a technology until they know all the environmental and
In the real world there
is no known random stream of beneficial mutations that develop
The vast majority of mutations are neutral at best and lethal at worst.
Significant intelligence is required for quality control to deal with
mutations of typical designs and manufacturing.
Questions for Discussion
If you could add additional
features to your eyes, which of the eyes would inspire the features you
eyes of an eagle that spots distant targets
eyes of an owl who can see in the dark
The heat sensitive
infrared eyes of a snake, which can spot a live target by detecting its
The very wide
angle eyes of a dragonfly for increased field of view
How would you integrate
and use any of these features in your vision system? I wonder if your
will change as you explore this material on eye design? Or will you be
more satisfied at the capability of your own eyes and appreciate them
As we examine theories of origins,
an eye design framework, we will be challenged by the variations of eye
design and technology.
What is the probability of eyes
without intelligent input?
How did the directions for making
DNA achieve a stable design?