‘Gecko vision’ could open way to futuristic cameras, contact lenses

May 8th, 2009 - 5:40 pm ICT by IANS  

London, May 8 (IANS) Nocturnal geckos are among the very few living creatures able to see colours at night, which scientists could harness to develop better cameras and contact lenses.
The key to the exceptional night vision of this creature is a series of distinct concentric zones of different refractive powers, according to a study.

Refractive or dioptic power is the degree to which a lens, mirror, or other optical system concentrates or scatters light.

This multi-focal optical system comprises large cones, which the researchers calculated to be more than 350 times more sensitive than human cone vision at the human colour vision threshold.

Cones are photoreceptor cells in the retina of the eye which function best in relatively bright light.

“We were interested in the geckos because they - and other lizards - differ from most other vertebrates in having only cones in their retina,” said project leader Lina Roth, department of cell and organism biology at Lund University in Sweden.

“With the knowledge from the gecko eyes we might be able to develop more effective cameras and maybe even useful multi-focal contact lenses,” she said, according to a university release.

These findings were published in the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology’s online Journal of Vision.

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