Oomvelt is our anglicization of the word umwelt that was used by an amazing German biologist and philosopher to describe how different human and non-human animals can have different worlds based on their ability to perceive each other even though they share the same physical environment at the same time.

For example, if you take a hike and study the ecosystem of a meadow you’ll learn that the bees can detect the flowers and the flowers have shapes and colors to attract the bees who help spread their pollen and so they have a relationship based on the ability to sense one another and neither is very concerned with the human walking through the meadow.

The human walking through the meadow may be hoping to see a bear in the distance but doesn’t want to get too close because the human’s perceptions let that person know if a bear is sensed then there is danger and the bear knows from its senses that the human can be a source of food and also a threat to the cubs so it’s probably also best for the bear to avoid the human walking through the meadow.

Thus, the human and bear share an umvelt just as the bee and the flower do all in the same meadow!

So, we use the idea of the umvelt to create robots that can communicate with animals to help make the world a better place to be!

More on the fascinating ideas and realities of umwelt (and umwelten).