Big Eyes in the Ocean

Thumbnail Image


Publication or External Link





Coral reefs are the central hub in supporting diverse marine life and are facing escalating threats from global warming and human activity. Reefs are important to human life as they provide protection from coastal storms, and are a source of food and scientific insight. The increased need for motoring the life reefs necessitates cameras capable of capturing reef conditions over time in shallow to deep water. This research proposes a novel approach of combining insights from the visual biology of tarsiers with previous work that created affordable depth cameras for high-fidelity imaging. Tarsiers are remarkably small primates with a length of 9–16 cm and have the largest eye-to-head ratio of any mammal. Tarsiers’ vision systems utilize their eye size to take in a large quantity of light allowing them to efficiently hunt insects in low-light conditions. Applying this heightened depth perception to ocean imaging cameras can help improve image quality at depth with low light. The standard the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration advises for reef research and restoration utilizes large-area imaging to create 3D topographic representations of the reefs using structure-from-motion software. Previous research at Disney Research found a method of modifying the software of low-cost depth cameras to create detailed 3D representations of reefs. Adapting this vision system to depth cameras can augment the resolution, accuracy, and cost-effectiveness of coral reef imaging. By contributing to more affordable reef imaging cameras, more communities can contribute to the comprehension and monitoring of coral reef ecosystems amidst mounting environmental pressures.



Attribution 3.0 United States