Take a 3D tour of Paris -- as a rat

Digital simulation offering a view into animal vision reveals that rats have a distinct visual disadvantage when touring Paris landmarks. They do squeeze into places for free though.

A hawk's-eye view of the Place Vendome. All Eyes on Paris

Let's say you're a cat touring Paris, and you swing by the Place Vendome. What does it look like? Well, a lot like what humans see, it turns out, only much greener. That's because cats are dichromats and don't see the color red.

I viewed the Place Vendome from a feline perspective while scrolling around All Eyes on Paris, an interactive 3D digital simulation that shows the City of Light through the eyes of common critters.

Now on display at the Futur en Seine international digital festival in Paris, the project aims to teach about animal vision by letting you see a bit of the world as a cat, dog, bee, hawk, or rat would. And let me just say that rats don't have Paris anywhere near as gorgeous as they do when Pixar takes them there.

They don't see colors at all, All Eyes on Paris reminded me, and what they do see is a total blur, which is why we often spot them scurrying along walls. Their vision is good up to about 6 inches in front of their noses. Hawks, it turns out, have much better detail perception than humans, and bee eyes also trump ours in some respects.

The digital project, developed by user interface design firms Current Productions, Dassault Systemes, and Octarina with the help of a veterinary ophthalmologist, has users facing urban situations such as exhaust pipes and rain to find out how animals move around and perceive the city. It also includes games in which players have to circumvent the constraints of animal vision to get the best score.

Do note, however, that enjoying the 1st arrondissement as a dog requires having the 3DVia player for Windows installed.

Rats are at a distinct visual disadvantage when touring the Place Vendome. They do get free admission, however. All Eyes on Paris

About the author

Leslie Katz, Crave's senior editor, heads up a team that covers the most crushworthy (and wackiest) tech, science, and culture around. As a co-host of the now-retired CNET News Daily Podcast, she was sometimes known to channel Terry Gross and still uses her trained "podcast voice" to bully the speech recognition software on automated customer service lines. E-mail Leslie.


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