to go to subject)
1. Vision System Design
2. Biological Eye Designs
combinations of types
6. The Eye Designer
A - Slide Show & Conference Speech by Curt Deckert
B - Conference Speech by Curt Deckert
C - Comments From Our Readers
D - Panicked Evolutionists: The Stephen Meyer Controversy
Sections G, H and I
to Chapter Links
(Click on PICTURE
to bring up LARGE PICTURE)
Reflecting superposition compound
In a reflection superposition
design, a number of reflective, instead of refractive light pipe, lens
elements work together to form an image on a series of image receptors
constructed like a small retina. Here initial optical elements are
rather than transmitters like eyeglasses. A small number of the total
surfaces are used to form each small increment of an image.
Light is reflected off the sides
of small internal facets to focus images on a small group of sensors.
creatures with this optical design include some shrimp and crayfish.
optical design is quite similar to other superposition designs. Figure
2.16 illustrates the reflective superposition optical design Figure
shows an example of reflective superposition eyes. (p. 303, Fig. 3d, Vision
Optics Evolution by Dan E.
Nilsson, Biosciences, Vol. 39, No. 5, May
(Like Fig. 6-7)
Because of the sharp corners, the
internal registration and precision of the reflective surfaces seem to
be more critical than previous compound eye designs. This design could
work with a wide variety of color combinations, including UV and IR.
optical approach allows design flexibility in creatures where the
system has more room for a compact retina-type sensor array. Image
is still difficult to accomplish in the very small volume available for
brains in the small creatures using this optical design. (P. 482, Apposition
and Superposition Eyess, Peter
Kunga, Photochemistry of Vision, Ed.
by H. J. A. Dartnall, Sprinzer-Verlag, N. Y., Germany, 1972)
Eyes of a
Parabolic superposition compound
In the parabolic superposition
compound eye design, the parabolic surfaces of the inside of each facet
focus light from a reflector to a sensor array. Parabolic reflective
surfaces work together like arrays of lenses to produce an image on a
of receptors, like a small retina. This form of facet design uses
lenses in addition to reflective parabolic surfaces. Each facet acts
like a Galilean telescope. (p. 303, Fig. 3e, Vision
Optics & Evolution
by Dan E. Nilsson, BioSciences, Vol. 39, No. 5, May 1989)
Design (Like Fig.
Can one conceive how an array of
originated within crab eyes?
Image processing is still difficult,
but this type of design can offer increased durability. Part of this
optical design is somewhat similar to reflective x-ray imaging optics.
Figure 2.18 above illustrates the parabolic superposition optical
Figure 2.19 shows an example of parabolic superposition eyes.
(P. 91 middle, Readers Digest, Exploring
the Secrets of Nature,
2.19 Example of Parabolic Superposition
Eyes of a Hermit
Crab (Like Fig. 3-8)
The following tables
give some idea as to the wide variety of Animal Eye Resolution (Figure
2-20a) Sensitivity (Figure 2-20b).
One variation of this elegant
design occurs in some mayflies. It seems complicated for use in animals
that seem to have a relatively simple short-term role. They are shown
Figure 2.20. (P. 153 top right, Readers Digest,
of Nature, 1994)
The evidence of intelligent
design is again
apparent in this optical design and in the way it is distinguished from
other similar optical designs.
2.20 Example of Parabolic
of a Mayfly
2-20a Eye Resolution
(Ref table 3.1, p. 38, Animal
Eyes, Michael F. Land, Dan-Eric
Nilsson, Oxford Animal Biology series, Oxford University Press, 2002)
2-20b Eye Sensitivity
(Reference table 3.2, p. 52, Animal
Eyes, Michael F. Land, Dan-Eric
Nilsson, Oxford Animal Biology series, Oxford University Press, 2002-
Please see their book for more details )
Multiple sensor types and combinations of types
Several animals have specific
and distributed eyes to supplement their main eyes. This type of vision
occurs in some crabs and shrimp, and in other animals that have several
types of eyes working together. These combinations cause us to ask new
Does any creature
have control of how many facets they can produce?
Why wasn't this
multiple vision technique used more widely?
To answer these and related
questions we need
to consider the make up of the cellar building blocks with the
requirements for each cell. For example, eye materials become important
as we consider different pigments for different spectral regions.
are also made up of different materials, some of which have critical
of cells made up of many different materials. Even the periodic table
the elements is evidence of design beyond the molecular level in that
elements have something to do with the colors eyes are able to see.
Irreducible vision functions
have been determined
for many different working vision systems. Here we considered eye
cells, and the DNA directing the biochemical process at the cellular
The following section will
focus on specific
examples of biological optical design applications. We will consider a
few examples of the amazing eyes from each of the major design
Questions for Discussion
Who is the intelligent optical
these elegant eye designs?
Why is the best design for each
used when there are other optical designs that could be good enough