Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

How Many Megapixels Is the Human Eye?

By: Ashley Hamer

Find out how well a human eye compares to a cell phone camera.

August 01, 2019

According to scientist and photographer Dr. Roger Clark, the resolution of the human eye is 576 megapixels. That's huge when you compare it to the 12 megapixels of an iPhone 7's camera. But what does this mean, really? Is the human eye really analogous to a camera?

Photo by: Shutterstock

Shutterstock

Say Cheese!

A 576-megapixel resolution means that in order to create a screen with a picture so sharp and clear that you can't distinguish the individual pixels, you would have to pack 576 million pixels into an area the size of your field of view. To get to his number, Dr. Clark assumed optimal visual acuity across the field of view; that is, it assumes that your eyes are moving around the scene before you. But in a single snapshot-length glance, the resolution drops to a fraction of that: around 5–15 megapixels.

That's because your eyes have a lot of flaws that wouldn't be acceptable in a camera. You only see high resolution in a very small area in the center of your vision, called the fovea. You have a blind spot where your optic nerve meets up with your retina. You move your eyes around a scene not only to take in more information but to correct for these imperfections in your visual system.

The Wrong Question

Really, though, the megapixel resolution of your eyes is the wrong question. The eye isn't a camera lens, taking snapshots to save in your memory bank. It's more like a detective, collecting clues from your surrounding environment, then taking them back to the brain to put the pieces together and form a complete picture. There's certainly a screen resolution at which our eyes can no longer distinguish pixels — and according to some, it already exists — but when it comes to our daily visual experience, talking in megapixels is way too simple.

This article first appeared on Curiosity.com.

Next Up

Cobots: Robots with a Human Twist

What Does an Integrated Future of Man and Machine Look Like? Read on about the growing trend towards cobots that work in harmony with humans is transforming robotic use worldwide.around the world.

These 5 Creepy Churches Are Decorated With Human Bones

Halloween is here, which means now is the time to explore the creepiest places in the world. What we weren't quite prepared for, though, was just how many terrifying churches made from human remains there were out there. These five sacred buildings are straight out of a doom-metal video.

What 200 Hours of Rowing Does to the Human Body

The Impossible Row team burned through over 100,000 calories each from start to finish.

Scientists Have Pinpointed the Energy Limit of the Human Body

Scientists have pinpointed the energy limit fo the human body--basically, the maximum mileage we can get out of the tank. The takeaway? Pregnancy isn't that different from an ultra marathon. Read on to learn more about how your body burns energy.

At This Many Decibels, A Sound Would Destroy The Universe

Can a really loud sound create a black hole?

The Cecil Hotel Is Known as LA's Most Haunted for Many Horrifying Reasons

Don't be fooled by its fancy renovations—this hotel has a checkered history.

The Flu: How It Spreads, and How You Can Stop It

Every year like clockwork, we are confronted with the dreaded flu season. Scientists work tirelessly to understand Influenza and how we can prevent the spread.

How to Celebrate Mole Day

Because chemists just wanna have fun.

Australia Bushfires: How to Help

Help Discovery support victims and animals affected by devastating bushfires.

How Technology is Transforming Wildlife Protection

Learn how surveillance methods employing satellite tracking, drones and artificial intelligence are transforming wildlife protection.