May 8, 2009

Gecko vision could lead to better cameras

The way nocturnal geckos perceive color could lead to better cameras and contact lenses, researchers in Sweden said.

The geckos are among the very few creatures able to see color at night, said Lina Roth, a researcher at the Lund University.

The key to the exceptional vision is a series of distinct concentric zones of varying refractive powers, Roth and her team said in a study published Friday by the Association for Research in Vision and Ophthalmology.

The gecko's multifocal optical system comprises large cones which are 350 times more sensitive than human cone vision at the human color vision threshold.

Geckos can process varying wavelengths of light simultaneously on the retina, which lets them generate sharp images for at least two depths, Lund said.