Bio-inspired display of polarization information using selected visual cues

Konstantin M. Yemelyanov, Shih Schön Lin, William Q. Luis, Edward N Pugh Jr, Nader Engheta

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

26 Scopus citations


For imaging systems the polarization of electromagnetic waves carries much potentially useful information about such features of the world as the surface shape, material contents, local curvature of objects, as well as about the relative locations of the source, object and imaging system. The imaging system of the human eye however, is "polarization-blind", and cannot utilize the polarization of light without the aid of an artificial, polarization- sensitive instrument. Therefore, polarization information captured by a man-made polarimetric imaging system must be displayed to a human observer in the form of visual cues that are naturally processed by the human visual system, while essentially preserving the other important non-polarization information (such as spectral and intensity information) in an image. In other words, some forms of sensory substitution are needed for representing polarization "signals" without affecting other visual information such as color and brightness. We are investigating several bio-inspired representational methodologies for mapping polarization information into visual cues readily perceived by the human visual system, and determining which mappings are most suitable for specific applications such as object detection, navigation, sensing, scene classifications, and surface deformation. The visual cues and strategies we are exploring are the use of coherently moving dots superimposed on image to represent various range of polarization signals, overlaying textures with spatial and/or temporal signatures to segregate regions of image with differing polarization, modulating luminance and/or color contrast of scenes in terms of certain aspects of polarization values, and fusing polarization images into intensity-only images. In this talk, we will present samples of our findings in this area.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
EditorsJ.A. Shaw, J. Scott Tyo
Number of pages14
StatePublished - 2003
Externally publishedYes
EventPolarization Science and Remote Sensing - San Diego, CA, United States
Duration: Aug 3 2003Aug 5 2003


OtherPolarization Science and Remote Sensing
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego, CA


  • Display
  • Flicker
  • Image fusion
  • Imaging systems
  • Motion
  • Polarization vision
  • Temporal fusion
  • Texture

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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