Animal polarization imaging and implications for optical processing

Nicholas W. Roberts*, Martin J. How, Megan L. Porter, Shelby E. Temple, Roy L. Caldwell, Samuel B. Powell, Viktor Gruev, N. Justin Marshall, Thomas W. Cronin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


Biologically inspired solutions for modern-day sensory systems promise to deliver both higher capacity and faster, more efficient processing of information than current computational approaches. Many animals are able to perform remarkable sensing tasks despite only being able to process what would be considered modest data rates and bandwidths. The key biological innovations revolve around dedicated filter designs. By sacrificing some flexibility, specifically matched and hard-wired sensory systems, designed primarily for single roles, provide a blueprint for data and task-specific efficiency. In this paper, we examine several animal visual systems designed to use the polarization of light in spatial imaging. We investigate some implications for artificial optical processing based on models of polarization image processing in fiddler crabs, cuttlefish, octopus, and mantis shrimp.

Original languageEnglish
Article number6880330
Pages (from-to)1427-1434
Number of pages8
JournalProceedings of the IEEE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2014


  • Animals
  • Biophotonics
  • Image processing
  • Optical polarization
  • Stokes parameters


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