University of Sussex researchers create animal vision camera

University of Sussex researchers create animal vision camera

The system allows filmmakers to replicate the colours that different animals see, according to researchers.

A team led by researchers at the University of Sussex said the camera will help scientists understand how animals communicate and navigate the world around them.

Dr Vera Vasas, one of the authors of a paper on the work, said: “Our new approach allows researchers and filmmakers to record animal-view videos that capture the interplay of colours over time.

“Now we can fully appreciate how much information we missed when we were only photographing immobile objects in the lab.

“This newfound ability to accurately record animal-specific colours in motion is a crucial step towards our understanding of how animals see the world.”

An image taken using the camera (Image: Daniel Hanley (Creative Commons))

The system is built from commercially available cameras, housed in a modular, 3D-printed casing. The software for the camera is available online allowing other researchers to use and build on the technology in the future.

The camera works by simultaneously recording video in four colour channels: blue, green, red and UV.

This is then used to produce an accurate video of how those colours are perceived by animals, based on existing knowledge of the photoreceptors in their eyes.


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A study on the new camera, published in journal PLOS Biology, reports that the software used is open-source, allowing other researchers to access and build on this technology in the future.

Assistant professor Daniel Hanley, from George Mason University, Virginia, said: “We’ve long been fascinated by how animals see the world.

“Modern techniques in sensory ecology allow us to infer how static scenes might appear to an animal; however, animals often make crucial decisions on moving targets, for example detecting food items or evaluating a potential mate’s display.

“Here, we introduce hardware and software tools for ecologists and filmmakers that can capture and display animal-perceived colours in motion.”

University of Sussex researchers create animal vision camera

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