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Bioengineer: UC builds better color vision test for animals

UC biologist John Layne is studying fiddler crabs and other animals in his lab

Bioengineer.org highlighted research by University of Cincinnati biologists who are studying the color vision of animals.

John Layne, an associate professor in UC's College of Arts & Sciences, modified simple electronics to develop a color vision test for fiddler crabs. A crab is placed in a little glass arena under a tilted screen projecting a video illuminated in color by blue or green light-emitting diodes.

A video shows a looming stimulus, a fast-approaching round ball. The crabs consistently skitter out of the way when they detect the optical illusion, which helps Layne and his students test the spectrum of visible light they can see.

"We're using it to test color discrimination. For an animal to have color vision, what that really means is the ability to discriminate different wavelengths of light," Layne said.

Read more about the research.

Featured image at top: UC biologists are studying the color vision of fiddler crabs. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

John Layne sits at a video screen projecting a green ball against a blue background in front of a glass bowl.

UC associate professor John Layne explains how his color vision test works. It uses a stripped-down liquid crystal display illuminated with adjustable light-emitting diodes. Photo/Andrew Higley/UC Creative + Brand

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