Tips&TricksTaking a glimpse into animal world: new camera system uncovers UV vision mysteries

Taking a glimpse into animal world: new camera system uncovers UV vision mysteries

Animals see differently
Animals see differently
Images source: © Adobe Stock | Weronika Nawrocka

7:10 AM EST, February 1, 2024, updated: 4:33 AM EST, March 7, 2024

The world of animals remains relatively enigmatic and foreign to human experience. The behavior, growth, feeding, and mating habits of animals have intrigued not only scholars but also the general public for centuries. Recent advancements by international scientists have led to the development of technology that provides us with glimpses into the rich diversity of animal perception. Moreover, there's more to this than meets the eye.

Researchers propose that by reconstructing colors as seen by animals, we can better understand them. The new tech allows us to discover how animals communicate and interact with their environment. With an accuracy exceeding 90 percent, could this innovation represent a landmark in the field of animal science?

Animals view the world in unique ways

It merits mentioning that animals perceive their surroundings differently from humans. Many of them can see within the ultraviolet (UV) range which lies outside human visual perception. Teams of scientists from the University of Sussex in the UK and the Hanley Color Lab at George Mason University in the US have introduced this ground-breaking technology. Their project aims to enhance our understanding of animal vision and communication.

There's no denying that previous attempts have been made to ascertain the extent of animal visual perception. However, these attempts constituted time-consuming processes and studies, requiring specific lighting conditions. Importantly, prior equipment lacked the capability to record moving objects.

A camera that emulates animal vision

Through effective collaboration, the scientists succeeded in developing a unique camera and the software needed to operate it. Consequently, they managed to record videos depicting the view as possibly seen by various animal species. The footage features animals in motion under their typical light conditions. It's also noteworthy that the novel system can record videos across four visual channels: blue, green, red, and UV. Initial tests of this new technology indicate a high level of precision, achieving up to 92 percent accuracy in representing animals' perception of different ranges.

Exceptional technology crafted from readily available devices

The joint research team from the University of Sussex and George Mason University has truly achieved something unique. The entire modern camera system, designed to replicate animal vision, was assembled using market available cameras housed in a modular unit. For the construction of the frame, a 3D printer was utilized. It is crucial to note that the operating software of the printer is open-source. This allows the wider research community to freely use, enhance, and apply this technology for further studies.

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