Why do the human cones have the spectral sensitivities they do? We hypothesize that they may have evolved to their present form because their sensitivities are optimal in terms of their ability to recover the spectrum of incident light. As evidence in favor of this hypothesis, we compare the accuracy with which the incoming spectrum can be approximated by a three-dimensional linear model based on the cone responses and compare this to the optimal approximations defined by models based on principal components analysis, independent component analysis, non-negative matrix factorization and non-negative independent component analysis. We introduce a new method of reconstructing spectra from the cone responses and show that the cones are almost as good as these optimal methods in estimating the spectrum.
Presented at the SPIE Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XI conference, Jan. 2006.
Funt, B., and Xiong, W. "A Basis for Cones." Proc. SPIE Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XI, San Jose, Jan. 2006, Volume 6057.
Proc. SPIE Human Vision and Electronic Imaging XI
A Basis for Cones
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