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Animal Vision Services

Exeter’s expertise enable them to create images that simulate how the colours and patterns in a scene look to an animal

Published: 23rd March 2017
Animal Vision Services
The header image shows the difference between human (left) and bee (right) vision. Source: University of Exeter


Many animals see the world very differently to humans, regarding colour, pattern, and field of view. The University of Exeter can offer a range of services related to understanding animal vision in different contexts, from health and welfare to product testing.

Determining how animals react to their surroundings and visualise and detect objects is key to understanding a wide range of questions related to their welfare, training and performance, developing ways to effectively manage wild and captive animals, and developing and testing products.

Technology Overview

Their expertise covers several areas:

  • Visualising how animals see the world. Exeter’s expertise, equipment, and analytical approaches enable them to create images that simulate how the colours and patterns in a scene look to an animal, or how visible certain key features are. They have, and are working with a range of organisations to use these approaches to improve animal welfare, productivity, performance, and safety in industry and recreation.
  • Public exhibitions, outreach, and media. The university have extensive experience in creating visual displays for the general public and target audiences, including major exhibitions in the UK and abroad, materials and educational online games, and public lectures.
  • New product design and testing. Knowing how other animals see the world is vital in the successful development of many products and services. The university have worked with several companies to test existing products and design new ones, and to test what factors influence how an object or stimulus is seen and responded to. They have also worked to create new set-ups for imaging needed by industry.

Figure 1: Human (left) and dog (right) vision compared

Figure 2: Human (left) and bird (right) vision compared


  • Their team has worked with more than 20 different companies, charities, and organisations, such as the Natural History Museum, London.
  • The team are world leaders in using and developing photography and imaging tools for this purpose.
  • This allows the university to visualise objects and scenes as they appear to other animals and to take precise measurements of how they look to a wide variety of species.


Any industry where animals and wildlife impinge or interact with goods and services, or leisure activity.

  • Aviation
  • Horse and other animal sports
  • Animal training
  • Architecture/building design for wildlife
  • Land management/planning
  • Conservation, zoos, and aquaria
  • Museums and similar venues
  • Farming and agriculture


Actively accepting enquiries for consultancy, contract research and new product and service development.

IP Status
  • Know-how based
  • Commercial partner
  • Development partner