Diagrams of the basic structure of the eye and a webcam. Both begin with a lens system that allows focusing of an image on the screen. In the human eye, the screen is called the retina and it is covered with millions of light detectors (rods and cones). These light detectors are wired to the computer (brain). In the camera the screen is called the CCD (charge coupled device) and it is covered with millions of light detectors. These light detectors are wired to the computer.
The human eye model and the webcam partly disassembled.
The retina in the eye and the ‘retina’ of the web cam are both covered with electronic light detectors that are wired to the brain or computer. In the eye there are two kinds of light detectors: rods that detect intensity only and cones that detect colour. The cones come in three flavours: red sensitive, green sensitive, abd blue sensitive. Go to Seeing Colours for more details.
Colour vision in the eye is based on millions of cones that cover the retina. Here a yellow light causes the red and green cones to respond but does not cause the blue cones to respond significantly.
The ‘retina’ of a digital camera is a microchip with hundreds of thousands to tens of millions of light detectors. These detectors that are sensitive to red, green, and blue (RGB) are similar in function to the cones on the retina of a biological eye. This photo was taken through a high-power optical microscope at Victoria University of Wellington. You will not be able to see this level of detail through a school microscope.
Is this an error? Can a digital camera connect directly to the human brain? Increasingly it IS possible to connect electronic devices to human nerves, and yes, one can connect a camera directly to the optic nerve and have some vision. One day you may be able to go to your local electronics store and purchase the latest model ‘eye’ pop out the old one, pop in the new one, and have the latest vision features!