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Black light: how sensors filter spectral variation of the illuminant

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3 Author(s)
Brainard, D.H. ; Dept. of Psychol., Stanford Univ., CA, USA ; Wandell, B.A. ; Cowan, W.B.

Visual sensor responses may be used to classify objects on the basis of their surface reflectance functions. In a color image, the image data are represented as a vector of sensor responses at each point in the image. This vector depends both on the surface reflectance functions and on the spectral power distribution of the ambient illumination. Algorithms designed to classify objects on the basis of their surface reflectance functions typically attempt to overcome the dependence of the sensor responses on the illuminant by integrating sensor data collected from multiple surfaces. In machine vision applications, it is shown that it is often possible to design the sensor spectral responsivities so that the vector direction of the sensor responses does not depend upon the illuminant. The conditions under which this is possible are given and an illustrative calculation is performed. In biological systems, where the sensor responsivities are fixed, it is shown that some changes in the illumination cause no change in the sensor responses. Such changes in illuminant are called black illuminants.<>

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Biomedical Engineering, IEEE Transactions on  (Volume:36 ,  Issue: 1 )