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New Research Shows Retina Complexities

New researchout of Germany is helping to pinpoint details of how the mammalian retina converts incoming light into digital signals which ultimately make their way to the brain. Before the information is shipped off to the brain, however, it undergoes massive processing which, among other things, helps to extract features present in the incoming image. It is so complex that we are still a long way from understanding how it all works. The new research, as one report explains, “show that the retina is by no means as well understood as is commonly believed.” We have discussed some of the complexities of converting the incoming light into digital signals to be sent to the brain herehere andhere. There is no doubt much yet to learn about this incredible image processing capability, but what we do know indicates it is profoundly sophisticated. As the report explains:  Read more

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5 Responses to New Research Shows Retina Complexities

  1. related note to “converts incoming light into digital signals”. It is interesting to note that incoming light is a digital signal to start off with:

    Zeilinger’s principle
    Zeilinger’s principle states that any elementary system carries just one bit of information. This principle was put forward by Austrian physicist Anton Zeilinger in 1999 and subsequently developed by him to derive several aspects of quantum mechanics. Some have reasoned that this principle, in certain ways, links thermodynamics with information theory. [1]
    http://www.eoht.info/page/Zeilinger%27s+principle

    In the beginning was the bit – New Scientist
    Excerpt: Zeilinger’s principle leads to the intrinsic randomness found in the quantum world. Consider the spin of an electron. Say it is measured along a vertical axis (call it the z axis) and found to be pointing up. Because one bit of information has been used to make that statement, no more information can be carried by the electron’s spin. Consequently, no information is available to predict the amounts of spin in the two horizontal directions (x and y axes), so they are of necessity entirely random. If you then measure the spin in one of these directions, there is an equal chance of its pointing right or left, forward or back. This fundamental randomness is what we call Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle.
    http://www.quantum.at/fileadmi.....t/bit.html

    “It from bit symbolizes the idea that every item of the physical world has at bottom – at a very deep bottom, in most instances – an immaterial source and explanation; that which we call reality arises in the last analysis from the posing of yes-no questions and the registering of equipment-evoked responses; in short, that things physical are information-theoretic in origin.”
    John Archibald Wheeler

    Why the Quantum? It from Bit? A Participatory Universe?
    Excerpt: In conclusion, it may very well be said that information is the irreducible kernel from which everything else flows. Thence the question why nature appears quantized is simply a consequence of the fact that information itself is quantized by necessity. It might even be fair to observe that the concept that information is fundamental is very old knowledge of humanity, witness for example the beginning of gospel according to John: “In the beginning was the Word.”
    Anton Zeilinger – a leading expert in quantum teleportation:
    http://www.metanexus.net/archi.....linger.pdf

    Thus, I find it interesting that the incoming ‘digital signal’ (i.e. the photon) is recieved as a ‘mechanical’ action into the vision cascade,,,

    The First Steps of Human Vision – Diane M. Szaflarski, Ph.D.
    Excerpt: “Research has shown that upon photo-excitation the retinal part of rhodopsin undergoes a twisting around one of its double bonds” (see Figure 4). The retinal then dissociates from the opsin. The change in geometry initiates a series of events that eventually cause electrical impulses to be sent to the brain along the optic nerve.”
    http://www.accessexcellence.or.....ground.php

    ,,, Where it is then reconverted, apparently with highly advanced vision processing algorithms, back into a digital signal. But this digital signal is to then be received in our brain by what exactly?,,,

    Blind Woman Can See During Near Death Experience – Pim van Lommel – video
    http://www.metacafe.com/watch/3994599/

    Kenneth Ring and Sharon Cooper (1997) conducted a study of 31 blind people, many of who reported vision during their NDEs. 21 of these people had had an NDE while the remaining 10 had had an out-of-body experience (OBE), but no NDE. It was found that in the NDE sample, about half had been blind from birth.
    http://findarticles.com/p/arti....._65076875/

  2. OT: ‘SNL’ Opens With ‘Silent Night’ in Honor of Shooting Victims – video
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CTbhVlHuONo

  3. Charles Darwin is shuddering in his grave.

  4. But, but, imagine that we have a some creature with a light sensitive spot, say 5% as good as an eye, over time . . . :)

  5. To be 5% already means a judgement of complexity has been made!

    The eye really is so complicated to make silly its evolution by useful errors.
    The clue is in the sameness of eyes for so much of biology.
    A unlikely thing if evolution twisted light sensitivity cells for everyone with like results.
    If they say we all are living with “loving fossil”: eyes from a common fish or something then time surely should of rearranged them into results with no seeming mutual relationships.

    It seems eyes sameness is evidence of a common equation or design from a idea by a thinking being.
    Perhaps eyes really are fantastically complicated and too complicated for evolution to even tryt to explain.

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