A small fly the size of a grain of rice could be the Top Gun of the fly world, with a remarkable ability to detect and intercept its prey mid-air, changing direction mid-flight if necessary before sweeping round for the kill.
Imagination is where ideas start: in the mind’s eye. The ability to think creatively – to dream the impossible – is behind the technological developments that have transformed the world. Science, suggests the second of four Cambridge Shorts, is an art.
A gene for red colour vision that originated in the reptile lineage around 250m years ago has resulted in the bright red bird feathers and ‘painted’ turtles we see today, and may be evidence that dinosaurs could see as many shades of red as birds - and perhaps even displayed more red than we might think.
As you’re driving to work along a busy road, your eyes on the traffic lights ahead, hoping they won’t turn to red, you pass signs warning of roadworks, ads on bus shelters… Suddenly a dog runs out in front of you. What are your chances of seeing it before it’s too late?
A new online game is helping researchers explore whether high-contrast patterns during motion, such as stripes and zigzags, help to protect animals from predators.
Experiments have identified a dedicated information highway that combines visual cues with body motion. This mechanism triggers responses to cues before the conscious brain has become aware of them.
Research reveals plumages exhibit less than a third of possible colours birds can see.
A technique for testing the peripheral vision of young children could be given a boost – thanks to the inventors putting it into the hands of Cambridge students.