College of Science
SUSAN FARNAND IS AN ASSISTANT PROFESSOR IN THE PROGRAM OF COLOR SCIENCE IN THE COLLEGE OF SCIENCE. HER RESEARCH INTERESTS CENTER AROUND HUMAN VISION AND PERCEPTION AND COLOR SCIENCE. HER CURRENT PROJECTS SPAN A RANGE OF VISION SCIENCE, IMAGING SCIENCE, AND COLOR SCIENCE APPLICATIONS INCLUDING 3D PRINTING, INDIVIDUAL DIFFERENCES IN ELECTRONIC DISPLAY PERCEPTION, EYE-TRACKING, VISION HEALTH, SMARTPHONE IMAGING, AND CULTURAL HERITAGE REPRODUCTION.
In the area of human color perception, current projects include two with PhD student Matt Ronnenberg involving 3D printing, a technology which is advancing rapidly from a process for generating single-color prototypes to printing full-color products from a variety of materials. This advancing technology requires increased understanding of the parameters needed to define an appearance gamut for color 3D printed objects. Ronnenberg and Farnand are evaluating the effects of surface structure on color appearance and working to develop a model for determining 3D color differences using deep neural networks.
Another area of human color perception being explored is how individual color vision differences, which can result in colors that match for one observer and being strikingly different for another observer under identical viewing conditions, are manifest on various electronic display technologies. PhD student Hao Xie is working with Michael Murdoch and Susan Farnand to develop a predictive model of individual color vision differences between commercial display pairs, which will allow manufacturers to potentially avoid adverse effects on display calibration, characterization and, ultimately, performance.
Dr. Farnand uses eye-tracking in her research of human perception. Her PhD student Mingming Wang is constructing an automotive simulator centered around an HTC Vive® headset equipped with an eye- tracker, and a car seat and steering wheel to provide an immersive driving experience. A series of specific driving hazards have been designed using the virtual reality 3D engine Unity®. The simulator will be used to investigate how humans gather visual information while negotiating complex driving scenarios. This information will provide a valuable reference for autonomous vehicle companies.
Smartphones are becoming universally available. Dr. Farnand and collaborator Anthony Vodacek are working with PhD student Katherine Carpenter to develop procedures for collecting color information using smartphone captures for improving agricultural applications such as evaluating crop ripeness, documenting the impact of global warming on growing cycle trends, and detecting diseases or insect pests. She is also working with PhD student Anku to evaluate smartphone capture user preferences in color rendition, especially for images containing people, grass, sky, wood, and sand, to provide insights useful in the design and development of cameras and displays for these devices.
Dr. Farnand also has an interest in visual health. Through the course of a retinal detachment and related cataract surgery, she has monitoring the color vision difference between her two eyes. This has now stabilized with the left eye appearing slightly yellowish and the right eye being slightly bluish when used individually under average lighting conditions.
Diabetic retinopathy is a leading cause of blindness. Annual dilated retinal eye exams with an ophthalmologist substantially reducing the risk of blindness. However, many diabetic patients do not have this exam for reasons such as limited access, cost, and inconvenience. Dr. Farnand and collaborators Rajeev Ramchandran (Flaum Eye Institute, University of Rochester) and Christye Sisson (Medical Photography, College of Art and Design), have been supporting teams of engineering, medical photography, industrial design, imaging science, and physics students in projects to design and build a low-cost, portable, non-mydriatic (not requiring pupil dilation) retinal camera.
Dr. Farnand also served as a guide for a team of senior mechanical engineers that researched, designed and constructed two 16th century bookwheels following the basic design of Italian inventor Agostino Ramelli and using largely period-appropriate materials and modern manufacturing techniques. A bookwheel is a rotating bookcase designed as a way to easily cross reference multiple, often heavy, tomes. The wheels are now displayed at the Cary Graphic Arts Collection at RIT and in the University of Rochester’s Rossell Hope Robbins Library in exhibits designed by a Museum Studies student under the guidance of Dr. Juilee Decker.
Finally, Dr. Farnand is working with many others throughout the Institute in efforts, headed by Dr. Mark Fairchild and Dr. Joseph Baschnagel, respectively, to initiate a Minor in Applied Cognitive Neuroscience and to develop a graduate program in Cognitive Science at RIT. These are expected to be fertile areas for opportunities for the study of the brain and mind.
College of Science