Retina-inspired ENcoding for advanced VISION tasks  (RENVISION)

Our Goal

The retina is a sophisticated distributed processing unit of the central nervous system encoding visual stimuli in a highly parallel, adaptive and computationally efficient way. Recent studies show that rather than being a simple spatiotemporal filter that encodes visual information, the retina performs sophisticated non-linear computations extracting specific spatio-temporal stimulus features in a highly selective manner (e.g. motion selectivity). Understanding the neurobiological principles beyond retinal functionality is essential to develop successful artificial computer vision architectures.

RENVISION's goal is, therefore, twofold:

  1. to achieve a comprehensive understanding of how the retina encodes visual information through the different cellular layers;
  2. to use such insights to develop a retina-inspired computational approach to high-level computer vision tasks.

To this aim, exploiting the recent advances in high-resolution light microscopy 3D imaging and high-density multielectrode array technologies, RENVISION will be in an unprecedented position to investigate pan-retinal signal processing at high spatio-temporal resolution, integrating these two technologies in a novel experimental setup. This will allow for simultaneous recording from the entire population of ganglion cells and functional imaging of inner retinal layers at near-cellular resolution, combined with 3D structural imaging of the whole inner retina. The combined analysis of these complex datasets will require the development of novel multimodal analysis methods.

Resting on these neuroscientific and computational grounds, RENVISION will generate new knowledge on retinal processing. It will provide advanced pattern recognition and machine learning technologies to ICTs by shedding a new light on how the output of retinal processing (natural or modelled) allows solving complex vision tasks such as automated scene categorization and human action recognition.