Vision: Challenges and Prospects

author: Pawan Sinha, Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT
published: Sept. 8, 2010,   recorded: June 2003,   views: 2822

Related Open Educational Resources

Related content

Report a problem or upload files

If you have found a problem with this lecture or would like to send us extra material, articles, exercises, etc., please use our ticket system to describe your request and upload the data.
Enter your e-mail into the 'Cc' field, and we will keep you updated with your request's status.
Lecture popularity: You need to login to cast your vote.


In a fraction of a second, most of us can recognize a face in a crowd, or make out a face from a blurry image. Pawan Sinha focuses on our uncanny ability to recognize faces as a way of getting at one of the key problems of neuroscience: how our brains represent and then encode objects. He theorizes that facial perception is a holistic process: we broadly take in the relationship, for instance, of eyes, nose and mouth. He tested this hypothesis by creating a computer program that could similarly grasp facial structure, and the program was able to “see” a face within a larger picture. In his Hirschfeld Project, Sinha is trying to distill the caricaturists’ understanding about the important landmarks of a face. He’s discovered that you can shrink an image of a face to 13% horizontally or vertically, and it will still be recognizable. Sinha’s work on how the brain perceives faces has immediate application in security surveillance systems, pedestrian-alert systems for cars, and in robotics. But closest to Sinha’s heart is a new project in India, home to 30% of the world’s blind, where he will assist and study children with recovered sight following congenital blindness.

Link this page

Would you like to put a link to this lecture on your homepage?
Go ahead! Copy the HTML snippet !

Write your own review or comment:

make sure you have javascript enabled or clear this field: