Dr. Hannah Smithson
Top panel: a glossy sphere rendered under a lighting transition from skylight to sunlight; Middle panel: a knitted blanket representing the ratios of L-, M- and S-cones found in the human retina, produced in 2017 by members of the lab; Bottom panel: an AOSLO image of human cones across a 3-degree strip of retina.
In the Oxford Perception Lab, we study the neural mechanisms that underlie sensation and perception. Using high-resolution imaging of cone photoreceptors in the living human eye we explore the fundamentals of vision, in health and disease. Using real and computer-rendered stimuli we test human abilities to sense and to respond to the material properties of objects.
How are the signals from the three classes of cone photoreceptors processed to give rise to our perceptions of colour? What are the neural circuits of comparison and combination that permit the efficient transmission of visual information from retina to cortex?
We specialize in psychophysical experiments with adult observers, but collaborate with physiologists, computer scientists, physicists and engineers to inform and constrain our analysis of behavioural data.
Members of the group work on three overlapping projects: (i) high-resolution in vivo imaging of human retina, (ii) perception of material properties, such as colour, gloss and translucence, and (iii) modern analyses of observations from medieval science.
To find out more, follow the links below.
High-resolution retinal imaging
Adaptive optics retinal imaging allows resolution of individual photoreceptors in the living, functioning human eye. We are using our new-design AOSLO to understand more about retinal function in health and disease.
The material properties of objects, such as their colour, roughness and glossiness, are readily perceived. We use real and rendered stimuli to understand the neural processing that underlies this ability.
Interdisciplinary readings of the scientific works of the remarkable English thinker Robert Grosseteste (c.1170-1253) have inspired us to revisit experimental approaches to understanding light and sound.
RealVision: Colour Display Technology
The ultimate goal of realistic digital imaging is to create images that are perceptually indistinguishable from a real scene. Funded by the EU, the Oxford Perception Lab is one of 11 partners in the RealVision consortium. The goal of this network is to combine expertise from several disciplines, i.e. engineering, computer science, physics, vision science and psychology – that are usually disconnected – to efficiently develop truly perceptually better visual imaging systems.