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.
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.