New Directions in the Detection of Polarized Light
OFFICE OF NAVAL RESEARCH GLOBAL ARLINGTON VA
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Polarization sensitivity, including particularly polarization vision, is an area of sensory neuroscience that has received a surge of interest in recent years. Aside from the esoteric Haidingers brush, the human experience of this type of visual capability is only possible through filters or other artificial aids, such as polarizing sunglasses, cameras and machine vision. As a result, we tend to think of this type of light detection as an oddity restricted to small sections of the animal kingdom, perhaps useful for navigation and water surface detection in a few insects. This exclusive view is quite wrong and, as we discover more about the uses of polarization sensing, it is becoming apparent that most animal groups are capable of detecting and using this type of light for a number of different tasks.