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Published 1993 | Published
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A Silicon Model of Early Visual Processing


Many of the most striking phenomena known from perceptual psychology are a direct result of the first levels of neural processing. In the visual systems of higher animals, the well-known center-surround response to local stimuli is responsible for some of the strongest visual illusions. For example, Mach bands, the Hermann-Hering grid illusion, and the Craik-O'Brian-Comsweet illusion can all be traced to simple inhibitory interactions between elements of the retina (Ratliff 1965). The high degree to which a perceived image is independent of the absolute illumination level can be viewed as a property of the mechanism by which incident light is transduced into an electrical signal. We present a model of the first stages of retinal processing in which these phenomena are viewed as natural by-products of the mechanism by which the system adapts to a wide range of viewing conditions. Our retinal model is implemented as a single silicon chip, which contains integrated photoreceptors and processing elements; this chip generates, in real time, outputs that correspond directly to signals observed in the corresponding levels of biological retinas.

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© 1993 MIT Press.

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