Most animals see the world much differently than we do due to having different eye structure and mechanics. Some can even see the world in the ultraviolet range, which is completely invisible to us. But what if you had a digital filter that could convert images into animal vision?
Well, now such a filter exists thanks to new software developed by researchers at the University of Exeter, reports Phys.org. The software comes equipped with a number of presets for commonly studied animals, such as for blue tits, peafowl, honey bees, ferrets and some fish, but it can be easily recalibrated for most species.
The software has already been used in a wide range of zoological and ecological research to help scientists better understand animal behavior and how animals and plants use color to communicate, camouflage and attract mates. For instance, research conducted by the Sensory Ecology group has looked at color change in green shore crabs, human female face color changes through the ovulation cycle, and how nightjar clutches are colored to best camouflage themselves from predators.
"Digital cameras are powerful tools for measuring colors and patterns in nature but until now it has been surprisingly difficult to use digital photos to make accurate and reliable measurements of color. Our software allows us to calibrate images and convert them to animal vision, so that we can measure how the scene might look to humans and non-humans alike," explained Jolyon Troscianko from the Center for Ecology and Conservation at the University of Exeter.
"We hope that other scientists will use this open access software to help with their digital image analysis."
But the software doesn't have to be used just for research. In fact, anyone can download it for free online here. It could open your eyes to a whole new world, maybe even help with your gardening or beekeeping. Give it a whirl and see how your backyard looks to visiting pollinators, or even to your pets.
The reason the world looks the way it does to us is because human eyes contain three different cone cells, each sensitive to red, green or blue. Though it's impossible for us to see the world in more than these three primary colors, many birds, reptiles, amphibians and insects can see the world in four or more.
In order to allow users to also see the world through the eyes of animals that can see in the ultraviolet range, the software has a filter for that too.
Once you start seeing the world through the eyes of other animals, you may realize just how much of the world you're missing out on with your own eyes.