This Minute at Runco

Color is Light

Monday, June 27, 2011

June 27, 2011

By James Wood

Hearken back to the days of yore when you were learning anatomy and physiology (there will be a test). Remember what you learned about how the eye works (or just brush up). Essentially your eye perceives light and color separately. Rods are cells that detect light, especially low light. Cones are cells that detect color and detail. Light enters the lens of your eye and some of it hits the rods while other light hits the cones. The combined details of light and color are interpreted by your brain as what you see.

Your eye has about 15 times more rods than cones which means your eyes are a lot better at sensing light than they are at sensing color and detail. Try a little experiment the next time you’re sitting out at night and watching the stars appear. Use your peripheral vision instead of looking straight at the stars and you’ll be able to see more of them. The concentration of light-sensing rods is greater on the side of your eyes so you can see more subtle variations in light with your peripheral vision.

Very interesting, I know, but wait, there’s more. Did you know that most 3D technology is produced by alternating images for the left eye and right eye on the screen. Using polarized glasses (like you get in a movie theater) or shuttered glasses, the alternate images for each eye are produced dozens of times a second. What that means is that each eye is getting less light and losing a huge chunk of the information that it needs to process a full image in your brain.

The next time you’re in a movie theater or watching a low-end 3D TV try this experiment (but make sure you are seated): look at the screen through your peripheral vision. You’ll probably see a flicker or stutter. This is because the rod-heavy peripheral vision perceives the flickering light input, just like with the stars at night. One of the many reasons the 3D movies and TV can be fatiguing is that your brain is working harder to make sense of less information.

At Runco it’s not just about 3D, but 3D done right. So instead of alternating the left and right images Runco 3D created Constant Stereoscopic Vision so that both of your eyes get a constant stream of information, just like in the real world. So, instead of a dim image with flickering at the edges you see a bright, clear 3D projection. The reason why the D-73d 3D projector award after award is that Runco understands more than just home theater design. Runco understands how your eyes are designed.

Image Credit: Qin Liu, MD, PhD and Eric A. Pierce, MD, PhD, University of Pennsylvania School of Medicine; National Eye Institute, National Institutes of Health

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