Could you replace your eye with a camera?

Your eyes are pretty amazing. In a fraction of
a second, they can focus from infinity to, well,
grab a ruler to see how close. I’ve got five inches
before it becomes blurry. But there are some
schmancy cameras out there. How do they compare
to your eyesight? And would you ever want
to replace your eyeball with a camera? It’s eyeball versus
camera smackdown. [BELL DINGING] Round 1– Which
one focuses better? And what does it
mean to be in focus? Yeah, it means that your
image is sharper and clearer, but how do you make it sharp? Imagine this enormous
chocolate bunny as a bunch of small, brown
dots in the shape of the bunny. Light rays hit
each dot and bounce off in diverging directions. To form an image, you
have to use a lens to bend the rays
back into a dot, and then they diverge again. If your camera sensor
or your eyeball’s retina is right where that dot
forms on that sweet spot, the image will be in focus. If their position is off,
the dot is going to blur and then all those
dots will blur together and you’ll be out of focus. So a camera focuses light
with a glass lens, which doesn’t change shape, but it
can move backwards and forwards as you adjust the
focus, and that will put light from objects
different distances away and focus on the camera
sensor, on that sweet spot. Your eyeball, on the
other hand, doesn’t have a lens that can move
backwards and forwards, but instead uses the ciliary
muscles around the lens to bend the shape of the
lens so it focuses on objects different distances away. So thanks to those super
fast muscles around your eye, a healthy human eye can focus
from infinity to about 10 inches in front of your face
in a third of a second, which is partially why, when
you look around a room and you’re focusing on objects
different distances away, it kind of seems like
everything’s in focus, because your eye is
changing focus so fast, your brain doesn’t
have time to notice that things are out of focus. Now, the best cameras claim
that they focus about five times faster than the human eye. But they don’t always focus
on what you want them to. Auto focus can get a bit manic. An affordable auto focus
is way less accurate compared to your eye. So for versatility, round
one goes to the eyeball. [BELL DINGING] Which contender is better
at capturing moving targets? So a camera captures
things that are moving by using a really
fast shutter speed. That is, it opens and closes the
shutter of the camera really, really quickly. In essence, you’re
freezing a moment in time. Before cameras, humans didn’t
even know how horses galloped. It wasn’t until the 1870s
when Eadweard Muybridge took some of the first
high-speed photographs to figure out how horses move
their feet when they run. So we can’t resolve
a horse’s gallop, but we still have a lot
of really cool tricks to make sure that when you move
around, you get a clear image. If you move your head
around, your eyes will move the opposite
direction of your head to make sure that
the same spot is staying in the center
of your field of view. Your eyes don’t necessarily move
when you move your head around. This is called the
vestibulo ocular reflex. Or if you’ve ever
watched someone’s eyes as they’re riding
in a moving car, their eyes flick back and
forth, because they’ll follow an object, like
a tree, until moves out of their field of view. And then they’ll focus
on the next image. This is called the
optokinetic reflex. Think about how cool
these reflexes are. You definitely can’t swing
your camera back and forth and hope to get a nice photo. I tried. So I’m going to
call this one a tie. Knowing how horses
gallop is pretty cool. But reading road signs,
kind of important. [BELL DINGING] Final round– which
one is smarter? OK. So your eyeball has
the processing power of your brain behind it. Those stabilizing
reflexes, refocusing in a fraction of a second,
that’s all your brain. Plus, it’s got some
other really cool tricks, like piecing together
two different images from either eye into one single
3D image or automatic color correction in
different lighting. But this automatic
color correction is also why we can be
fooled into thinking square A is different from
square B when they’re the same and why people argued over
the color of this dress. And camera technology
is just getting better and more intelligent. Engineers have been
able to replicate some of the capabilities
of our eyesight in cameras. Cameras can automatically color
correct in different lighting. And some cameras
can recognize faces. But again, lots of these
advances in camera technology have been to mimic
the human eye, which has been the model for cameras,
not the other way around. So this round goes
to the eyeball. So the eyeball beat the
camera in the smackdown. [CHEERING] But it was never a fair fight. I mean, the eyeball has
the processing power of the brain behind it. Now this all brings
me to the question, would you ever want to replace
your eyeball with a camera? Well, scientists are
already experimenting with this kind of
cybernetics in devices like the Argus II, which is a
device where the wearer wears a camera on some glasses
that take a picture and then send that to a
converter box, which sends an electrical signal back
into electrodes implanted on your retina that your
brain then has to interpret as something like sight. One woman wearing
the Argus II claimed that she could
see light and dark and could distinguish
some pixelated shapes. So wearing this device,
you don’t automatically see like a normal person. Your brain has to take
those electrical signals on your retina and reinterpret
those as something like sight. But you might have
a sense that’s different than any of the five
senses that the rest of humans have, which is a
pretty cool notion. For more information
on how the eye sees, check out this video I made
on the perception of color. Thank you so much for watching,
and happy physics-ing. Many of you know
that Physics Girl is part of PBS Digital Studios. And exciting news–
PBS Digital Studios has been nominated
for a Webby Award. So if you want to support
this amazing network of educational
channels on YouTube, check out the link in
the description and vote for PBS Digital Studios.

100 Replies to “Could you replace your eye with a camera?

  1. I feel like the "affordable auto-focus" point is moot. If you're getting an eye implant, it's going to be very expensive anyway, so any included auto-focus capabilities are going to be a no-brainer, not to mention effectively a necessity.

  2. You forgot to mention the eye's blindspot and how poor vision is outside of the fovea. Not only that, a lot of these pros for the eyeball should really go to the brain for processing and reflexes. If we could control a camera with our brains in the same intuitive manner as our eyeballs, then a camera would be a far superior replacement for an eyeball.

  3. All three images of that dress are blue in black… Some people just have faulty color correction filters.

  4. Can we bring up that when we get to the point of having a full practical interface for replacing eyes with cameras, we could use cameras that register colors in a wider range than the "visible light" spectrum, thus enabling us to actually see a much broader array of colors, even giving us colors we've never even been able to imagine. Think about thermal imaging built into your eyes, honestly I want to see infrared, ultraviolet and the like, give me camera eyes that can see at least as broad a range of colors as a mantis shrimp (they have 18 different color cones as compared to humans with the 3) seriously, all the "ultraviolet" and "infrared" seeing cameras we have take what they're gathering and on the display dial it up or down into the visible spectrum so we can see it. I want to be able to see it. I don't need to be able to see gamma rays or radio waves, but give me UV and infrared gosh darn it

  5. Unless they discover a treatment or cure for presbyopia, farsightedness caused by loss of elasticity of the lens of the eye, occurring typically in middle and old age, a camera lens might be a welcome replacement if the technology advances enough. I suffer from the condition and it sucks to be so dependent on glasses with progressive lenses where the different fields of view typically needed for most things are in different parts of the lenses and the area I can see is much smaller than what I used to be able to see before I developed this condition.

  6. 3:15 physics girl, hold on! For comparison you had to move your Eyeball "freely" ….your camera doesn't have some kind of stabilisation, but it would have if it would be a part of our body

  7. Hey! We have way more than 5 senses: balance, temperature, and the positions of our limbs, are a few of the ones past the standard 5.

  8. Cameras can track better than eyes we gave cameras that can track ballistic missiles. We have cameras that can see other galaxys and can see the atom we have cameras that can see nukes going off. Our eyes are a jack of all trades but a master of none.

  9. But someone has already replaced their eyeball with a camera, way back in 2011 –

  10. I would really like if there was a camera that replicates the signals that the eye sends to the brain, and that we could mAke a camera which can send the signals that an eye would send if it saw other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum,so that we could create an eye like camera so people could see other parts of the electromagnetic spectrum and that this camera had cone like “cells” that mimic the cones from animals that have more cones than us,so we could see other shades of colors

  11. What about resolution, low light performance, dynamic range, and color depth? Many cameras on the market today either rival or surpass the human eye in those regards.

  12. After my months and months of grieving over Michael from Vsauce not posting as often as i would like him to, you came to the rescue in fulfilling my scientific needs!.

  13. Hypothetically speaking?  Do we know the resolution (eyeballs and brain processing) that a person with healthy eyes and 20/20 vision?

  14. unrelated, but not even the brain can recognize images sometimes, i.e. instagram photos of nonsense to the brain unless you spend a whole minute to recognize A PART of the image or less

  15. So if you could use a camera as an eye, could you program the camera to where you can see more than just the RGB color spectrum i.e. uv, and such?

  16. Eh, you know that the actual signal our normal eyes send to our brains is all kinds of wrong: it's inverted, has a blindspot in it and stuff like that. Brain takes what inputs are available and interprets them so that they map to subjective reality as usefully as possible.
    Give a blind person some kind of visual input and let their brain figure out how to make it useful.
    Takes getting used to but humans are very adaptable.

  17. The eyes have a blur effect so that it wouldn't overwhelm the brain with information when there's lots going on.

  18. Optokinetic reflex…
    My parrot…

    When I hold my parrot in my hands and spin around, instead of moving just the eyes, he starts shaking his whole head.

  19. Huh that thing is like Geordi's visor from Star trek tng. I always wondered why they didn't just clone new eyes for Geordi.

  20. Then again, you can put a camera behind a telescope or microscope and gather /way/ more light and with far longer exposure times than your eyes do, at resolutions far beyond human vision. Also cameras are not necessarily limited to just visible light, and with filters can increase contrast (like specific emission lines) which is also pretty cool.

  21. Can I use the processing power of the brain to run a video game? You should make a video on that

  22. Imagine in the future replacing your eye with a camera that sees all wavelengths of light, so you could make your eye see in infrared, UV, x-ray,microwave, radio or even gamma and most importantly normal light, and you could mix and match different wavelengths.

  23. The Bible says that we are wonderfully made.. … Your videos prove that, in many ways

  24. I want a camera as both of my eyes because i'm blind in the top and bottom of my left eye and fully blind in my right eye.

  25. If my eye sight gets too much worse, I can't say I would not consider it, assuming we could do that in a reasonable way. If we hook the camera up to the brain, and it has the brain behind it, we might be able to make one that can get close one day.

  26. You clearly you and your knowledge value could happen choice you make #mediamatters absolute truth factually development uni-verse impractical script/u/re how to potato

  27. this is terrible science.
    round 1 is completely unknown because the human eye only has one spot that it focuses on. a camera controller has to scan the entire image and figure out where the focus should be centered, then figure out the focal distance. a camera transplanted into a person would only have to worry about keeping the exact center in focus. much simpler.
    round 2 is not a tie. your eye has the exact same problem as a camera. they both have to focus on and track a single object at a time, and are blurry when moved. the brain filters out that blur. as a matter of fact, it even edits your sense of time so you don't notice the missing instant between movements of your eyes.
    round 3.. again, ridiculous. the color correction, combining of two images, etc., would still be done by the brain with the data fed to your brain from the camera.

  28. I've always wanted my eye to be a camera and capture pictures and videos of my life and stuff.
    Plus, my eye always had better resolution than my cheap camera… lol.

  29. if you are still checking old videos, Rob might be someone to talk to about actually implanting a camera for an eye

  30. Good Job Physics Girl… Humans have been 'blindly' copying nature forever… wake up scientists.. Biomimicry is the only Intelligent Science.. for proof of why Saturn has a HEXAGON on top check out the video of my discovery on my channel… also for a scary look at what clouds look like in South Florida nowadays…

  31. I realise that you know that the whole comparison is a bit wonky to begin with. But with that in mind, it doesn't make a lot of sense to compare the eye with the camera if the eye then wins "because it has the brain behind it" – so would the camera, if you could opt for the replacement!

  32. One thing that our eyes are way better at cameras that she failed to mention also is that our eyes are way better at seeing in low light scenarios and infinitely times better compared to the size of lenses needed for low light photography. We have even have a whole different special set of photoreceptors in our eyes suited for low light situations, of course it is blurry but by the time our eyes get to that point your camera won’t even be displaying an image or the image will be so blurry you can’t even possibly tell what the general shape even was. Another thing our eyes are a lot better at is showing contrast in intensity of light. A big issue with photography is glass causing reflections because of differences in light, but for whatever reason our eyes don’t usually have the same issue or the effect is greatly reduced compared to that of a camera in the same spot.

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