I found this interesting article on a new camo pattern that is being developed by W.L. Gore and Associates. This pattern, known as Optifade, utilizes military technology, along with the science associated with deer’s vision. Very interesting indeed. Some snippets:
The Optifade camouflage pattern, created by W.L. Gore & Associates (the makers of Gore-Tex fabric), represents a break from the colored leaf patterns you see on stereotypical camo clothing. In fact, it looks a lot like the mostly monochromatic blocks-and-dots now used on military duds. That’s no mistake: One of the advisers on the Optifade project was retired Lt. Col. Tim O’Neill, whom some regard as the father of modern-day military camouflage.
The design includes a big, blocky “macro pattern” that is meant to make the human form hard to spot when it’s on the move (just as a tiger’s stripes break up its outline). There’s also a smaller-scale “micro pattern” that helps hunters blend into their environment when they’re waiting to ambush a deer (similar to the function served by a leopard’s spots).
But that’s not all: The fabric’s colors and patterns were fine-tuned to take advantage of the particular way deer and other hoofed animals (known as ungulates) process visual information. Jay Neitz, an animal vision scientist at the Medical College of Wisconsin, was called in to lend his expertise.
The Optifade pattern is specifically designed to fool a deer’s lower-resolution eye, Neitz said. And the color scheme does away with the usual forest green and brown. Instead, it emphasizes blue, black, white and gray – because those colors, plus yellow, are the only ones that a deer sees.
The eyes of a deer have the receptors for blue and yellow, but not for red, Neitz explained. As far as they’re concerned, red is just another shade of gray.
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