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UCIRA Artist Lisa Jevbratt releases new iOS app

October 5, 2013

Zoomorph – An alternate realities app simulating how animals see color

Developed with the help of color vision scientists, using scientific data, Zoomorph simulates how nearly 50 different species of animals see colors, including mammals such as cats, dogs, dolphins, deer, raccoons, rats, color blind humans, and also some species of fishes, snakes, crustaceans and many more.

Scientists learn about color vision in animals (human and non-human) by studying the physiology of the eye, specifically color receptors, and by doing behavioral studies. The data produced shows what an animal has the potential to see. How an animal actually experiences colors is difficult to determine – Zoomorph helps you imagine those experiences.

The simulation can be captured as an image and saved to the device, emailed or uploaded to Facebook and Flickr.

Most of the species represented in the app have one or two kinds of color receptors, “cones”, versus the three we possess. A couple primates with the same kind of color vision as us are included in the app just to show that we are not alone. Zoomorph is an ongoing project. Future versions will simulate the vision of species that have more kinds of cones than us and thus have the ability to see many more colors, such as several species of birds, fishes, crustaceans and insects.

The variations between the species with one kind of color receptor and two kinds of color receptors respectively is not large. The app includes a visualization tool that makes it easier to experience the differences.

Zoomorph is also available on the web at, There you can transform high resolution photographs into simulations and find more information about the project.

iOS App Programming: Charlie Roberts, PhD Candidate, The Media Art Technology Program, University of California Santa Barbara.
Simulation Algorithm Programming: Javier Villegas, PhD, The Media Art Technology Program, University of California Santa Barbara.
Concept, Direction and Design: Lisa Jevbratt, Professor, Department of Art and The Media Art Technology Program, University of California Santa Barbara.

Made possible by a grant from Creative Capital and from the Academic Senate at University of California Santa Barbara.

Compatibility: Requires iOS 6.0 or later. Compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. This app is optimized for iPhone 5.


To buy this app in iTunes click here.

Lisa Jevbratt Web Site

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