Enhanced visual experience from next generation VDU


Traditional visual displays, such as LCD TVs and computer screens, reproduce a broad array of colours by combining three primary sources (RGB) which match the sensitivities of the normal photoreceptor cells (cones) in the human eye.

Melanopsin is a photopigment that is found in a newly discovered type of photoreceptor cell (known as ipRGCs) in the retina. In 1999 it was discovered that melanopsin stimulation (by blue light at ~480nm wavelength) regulates the circadian clock – sleepiness and alertness – during the 24 hour solar cycle.

More recently, Robert Lucas, University of Manchester Professor of Neurobiology (who contributed to the 1999 discovery) and his research group have advanced the understanding of how melanopsin also contributes to visual perception.

The technology

A projector based demonstrator has been completed which shows how images appear much more vivid, textured and brighter when a fourth ‘dimension’, melanopsin stimulation, is introduced.

Including the new melanopsin stimulation also increases alertness in people using the display.

This technology can be developed for use in visual displays such as smart phones, tablets, TV screens and projectors.

Methods of image-processing allow this display to be used in conjunction with existing digital image and video formats.

A camera capturing more vivid, natural looking images by including a fourth ‘melanopsin’ dimension.

Key benefits

  • Better user perception due to melanopsin stimulation.
  • Better quality of colours and images.
  • Improved alertness and concentration during display use.

Intellectual Property

  • An international patent application (PCT) was filed in February 2017 and subsequently published as WO 2017/137756 A1.

This patent, in which meta-brightness is defined as an appearance of brightness caused by melanopsin excitation, covers the method of processing received colour image data (which is in a colour space such as RGB) and converting it to a second colour space (which comprises at least four colour primaries) which enables the addition of meta-brightness to selected areas of the image, whilst maintaining the originally intended perceived colours. The patent claims include a display for outputting an image and a camera which can capture meta-brightness.

A second patent was filed in April 2018 which is intended to protect the method we have developed to allow more than three colour primaries to be used to present patterns containing modulations in melanopsin stimulation and/or increased colour gamut while retaining good colour representation by taking account of differences in colour matching between central and peripheral vision.


This technology is applicable to:

  • Smartphones, tablets, televisions and computer screens.
  • Projection screens to enhance the visual experience (Events and conference industries, Cinemas etc.).
  • Military and civilian instruments that require high performance from the subject over long period of time.
  • Virtual reality devices.
  • Digital cameras.
  • Medicine, as a method for diagnosing disorders in the melanopsin system and sleep or circadian rhythms.
  • Medical equipment providers to enhance the quality of advanced diagnostic machines.


The technology is available for collaboration and licensing.


UMIP Contact

David Eales
IP Development and Partnering Manager

T: +44 (0)161 306 3153
E: david.eales@umip.com