If you’ve ever wondered what it might be like to see the world as a lizard or a bumble bee or some other animal, you’re in luck: a new piece of open access software allows you to see how other creatures see the world.
Humans can only see the visible spectrum, but many animals see the world differently. A team of researchers from the University of Exeter have created a piece of software that convert digital images into animal colour spaces — including the UV spectrum and adjusting reflection, absorption, and spectra of light seen by animals — to replicate how they see the world. The image above shows an example: on the left is a human-visible scene of lizards basking on a rock; on the right is how the lizards themselves see the scene. Notice how the markings on the male lizard’s flank are more prominent on the right side.
Meanwhile, the image below shows a dandelion as seen in human vision on the left and honeybee on the right. The centre of the flower absorbs UV light while the ends of the petals reflects it — luring in the insect.
The software’s already been used by the researchers to understand colour change in green shore crabs and track human female face colour changes through the ovulation cycle among other things. Now, the software is available to play around with data available for you to see how insects, birds, fish and even ferrets see the world. Try it out.
Images by Jolyon Troscianko