Technology And Entertainment
Most of our current technology depends on optical illusions. Most of these illusions are entertainment. This section will tell you how movies, television, virtual reality and entertainment like magic and houses of mirrors use illusions for fun. Television is actually an optical illusion. You are not really seeing a picture, but lots of tiny luminescent dots that gather together to form a picture. These dots move so quickly that the image seems to be moving.
These days movies are full of special technical effects that rely on illusion. Movie makers have always used tricks. Two of those tricks are superimposition and 3D movies. Superimposition is when two film clips are shown at the same time. This makes it look like the actor is appearing twice in the same shot or that someone is falling off a building when they are really just lying on the ground or standing in front of a blue curtain.
You can see 3D movies if you where special glasses. Because the glasses have one green lens and one red lens, you are seeing the picture differently through each eye. Your brain puts them together to form a 3D image. One of the latest technologies is virtual reality. By using headsets and gloves with the aid of a computer, you can see imaginary scenes that move as you move responding to what you do.
Magicians were originally called illusionists and depended on tricks that deceive the eye. By using sleight of hand, a magician can move an object without the audience seeing. Some magicians such as David Copperfield is so good at illusion that he can do a trick that makes the audience believe he is flying through the air. To learn a magic trick, click here.
For many years the use of mirrors have also been used to create illusions. Because light bounces off mirrors and appears to make it bend, amazing effects can be made. This is called refraction of light. For example, your body looks distorted when you are standing under water from the waist down. Another thing that affects illusions using mirrors is bends in the mirror. A mirror that is curved inward is called concave. Concave mirrors appear to make things look long and skinny. A mirror that curves outward is called convex. Convex mirrors make things look wide and fat. These types of mirrors are used in a "house of mirrors" at fairs and carnivals.
For a fun activity involving concave and convex mirrors and how they distort a body, click here.