Cortical Dynamics of 3-D Surface Perception: Binocular and Half-Occluded Scenic Images
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Previous models of stereopsis have concentrated on the task of binocularly matching left and right eye primitives uniquely. A disparity smoothness constraint is often invoked to limit the number of possible matches. These approaches neglect the fact that surface discontinuities are both abundant in natural everyday scenes, and provide a useful cue for scene segmentation. da Vinci stereopsis refers to the more general problem of dealing with surface discontinuities and their associated unmatched monocular regions within binocular scenes. This study develops a mathematical realization of a neural network theory of biological vision, called FACADE Theory, that shows how early cortical stereopsis processes are related to later cortical processes of 3-D surface representation. The mathematical model demonstrates through computer simulation how the visual cortex may generate 3-D boundary segmentations and use them to control filling-in of 3-D surface properties in response to visual scenes. Model mechanisms correctly match disparate binocular regions while filling-in monocular regions with the correct depth within a binocularly viewed scene. This achievement required introduction of a new multiscale binocular filter for stereo matching which clarifies how cortical complex cells match image contours of like contrast polarity, while pooling signals from opposite contrast polarities. Competitive interactions among filter cells suggest how false binocular matches and unmatched monocular cues, which contain eye-of-origin information, arc automatically handled across multiple spatial scales. This network also helps to explain data concerning context-sensitive binocular matching. Pooling of signals from even-symmetric and odd-symmctric simple cells at complex cells helps to eliminate spurious activity peaks in matchable signals. Later stages of cortical processing by the blob and interblob streams, including refined concepts of cooperative boundary grouping and reciprocal stream interactions between boundary and surface representations, arc modeled to provide a complete simulation of the da Vinci stereopsis percept.