David Carpenter, Maker Of Glass Eyes

Ocularists are specialists that mix art and science to create artificial eyes.  The profession has existed since the 5th century and is one we don’t often hear about, yet it is a service for people to create a cosmetic artificial replacement eye that is tremendously important. We’ve featured the work of David Carpenter before here on Webvision, and now there is a wonderful post over on Spitalfields Life about David Carpenter, the Chief Ocularist at the Moorfields Eye Hospital with wonderful photography by Patricia Niven (@PatriciaNiven).

What It Looks Like To Be Colorblind, Part II


Screen-Shot-2016-09-07-at-7.17.37-PM

We’ve linked to posts before about what it looks like to people who are colorblind complete with animated gifs, but there is a new resource of gifs from the U.K.’s Clinic Compare that have a more film like quality and include a wider variety of color blindness forms.  We include a number of them below including green-blind/Deuteranopia, blue cone monochromacy, red-weak protanomaly, blue-blind/tritanomaly, green-weak deuteranomaly, monochromacy/acrhomatopsia, red-blind protanopia, and red-weak protanomaly.

gifs are rather large, so give them time to upload.

ht: @boingboing for the link.

Continue reading “What It Looks Like To Be Colorblind, Part II”

Basic science: Bedrock of progress

Basic science

 

There is an excellent editorial in the 25 March 2016 edition of Science Magazine from Francis Collins et. al. re-stating the NIH position on support for basic science.  This is important for anyone applying to the NIH for grants as well as those reviewing NIH grants as the central question should be: “How much will the proposed work advance understanding and progress in the field?”.

Why Do Goat Eyes Look The Way They Do?

There is a new Explorer special based on an article in the latest issue of National Geographic with Michael Stevens (@tweetsauce), Unlocking The Eyes that is well worth checking out. In the video above, Michael interviews Marty Banks and William Sprague about why many prey animals like goats have the eye anatomy they do. i.e., why are their eyes have horizontal pupils and why their eyes are positioned on the sides of their heads?

 

Losing His Sight, This Photographer Chases the Light

This short video features the art of Steven Erra, a photographer who is losing his vision due to a retinal degenerative disease, yet is generating beautiful work by light painting.  Steven is a member of The Seeing With Photography Collective, a group of sight impaired artists who are making waves in the art world through their imagery and inspiring the work of both sighted and non-sighted photographers alike.

How Animals And Humans See The World Differently

There is a short video from National Geographic that is a companion to an article by Ed Yong (@edyong209) in National Geographic here.  The photography is wonderful as is typical of National Geographic and is well worth your time.

For a more detailed read on the evolution of vision, be sure to check out this Webvision chapter by Trevor Lamb, Evolution of Phototransduction, Vertebrate Photoreceptors and Retina.

Amazing .gifs By Blind Artist, George RedHawk

George-Redhawk-09

George RedHawk is a legally blind artist who’s medium is animated gifs and his work is truly stunning. There is a really interesting portfolio of his work on Graphic Art News as well as some background on how he manages to create these amazing works here.  In short, he uses photo morphing software to morph one image into another, then he makes animated gifs.  Check out his website for more work from his portfolio of on-going works titled “The World Through My Eyes” here.

The Mystery of Neanderthal Large Eyes

Neanderthal skull

The extinct Neanderthals had orbital eye sockets that are much larger than ours.  Recently, there has been an discussion covered in a fascinating article linked the other day on the BBC discussing the large orbital eye sockets of the Neanderthals and whether these eye represented a reason for the Neanderthals’ demise or not.

Helga Kolb noticed an interesting discussion about this from two other pioneers of vision research, Bill Stell and Clyde Oyster his resulted in some interesting commentary between them on their Facebook accounts. Continue reading “The Mystery of Neanderthal Large Eyes”

How To Make A Prosthetic Eye

One of my favorite movie lines is in Blade Runner when Hannibal Chew tells Roy Batty that he designed his eyes. Until reality catches up with science fiction, eye design is still in the hands of designing prosthetic and attractive, but non-functional eyes.

This intriguing video features David Carpenter of the Ocular prosthetics division of Moorfields Eye Hospital discussing how to make a prosthetic eye to replace one lost due to trauma or disease.  Every year, David and his team craft 1,400 customized prosthetic eyes for patients, filling a fundamental cosmetic need.

Evo Devo Connectomics Of Sensory Circuit For Visual Navigation

EvoDevo vision

There is an interesting paper from an evo devo perspective out of the Jékely laboratory, looking at the connectomics of some of the earliest of organized visual systems in the Platynereis dumerilii larva.  They have described a visual circuit consisting of 71 neurons and 1,106 “connections”.  The cool thing about this study was that they were also able to combine behavioral experiments with ablations revealing the ability to detect spatial light, directing movement or taxis in the direction of the light.

Its too bad I did not visit with them last time I was in Tübingen as it would have been good to talk connectomics and techniques with them.  I am encouraged that they used serial section transmission electron microscopy to perform circuit level analysis as we think its the right approach for circuit level analysis, though I worry that the resolution was too low to image gap junctions, though they did mention looking for them.  Regardless, I would have loved to see their setup and talked with them.

 

 

Notable Paper: Reproducibility in Science

Reproducability in Science

This article by C. Glenn Begley and John P.A. Ioannidis is not specifically vision related, but is more generally applicable to research integrity and is well worth a read, in particular the following paragraph:

“What has shaken many in the field is not that investigators are unable to precisely reproduce an experiment. That is to be expected. What is shocking is that in many cases, the big idea or major conclusion was not confirmed simply when experi- ments were performed by the same investigators when blinded to their test samples versus control samples.2 The explanation for this was evident when the precise methodology of the experiments was reviewed. Investigators typically performed their experiments in a nonblinded fashion, so they were able to see what they were anticipating to see, and their research bias was thus able to be confirmed.18 Observer bias has long been recognized to be a problem in preclinical studies and beyond, so this result should not be surprising.19 Confirmation bias in scientific investigation unavoidably makes even the best scientists prone to try to find results or interpretations that fit their preconceived ideas and theories.20,21”

 

Continue reading “Notable Paper: Reproducibility in Science”

Prado Museum Opens Expo For The Blind

Prado blind exhibition

The famous Prado Museum in Madrid has opened up a new exposition for the blind by making a combination of elaborate copies of six of the museum’s masterworks through 3D printing and painted reproductions.  The whole idea is for the blind to be able to touch the works and open up a whole new arena of accessibility to the visually impaired.

The Prado is one of the museums that we here at Webvision have not yet made it to.  One of these days, that will have to happen.

Update 05/26/2015: NPR has a wonderful article on Morning Edition about the exhibit here.