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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Non-reversing mirror

This mirror does not produce a "mirror" image, making it possible to read reflected text normally.

Hicks, a mathematician at Drexel University, Philadelphia, used computer algorithms to generate the mirror's bizarre surface, which curves and bends in different directions. The curves direct rays from an object across the mirror's face before sending them back to the viewer, flipping the conventional mirror image.

As well as neat tricks like this, Hicks' models make it possible to design mirrors that provide wide angled-views or eliminate distortion.
Driver-side mirror

Hicks' take on the driver-side mirror (top) provides much more information than the conventional kind.

The new design provides a massive 45° field of view compared to typical driver-side mirrors, which provide drivers with only a 17° field of view.

US regulations ban driver-side mirrors with a curved surface, but Hicks is hoping to sell his designs in markets such as Europe where they are permitted.
Parabolic mirror

Any shiny convex surface, like a Christmas tree bauble, can reflect a wide panoramic image. But objects are distorted so that they change size as they move across the reflection, even if their distance from the reflecting surface is constant.

This panoramic mirror reflects a full 360° along the horizon view without any distortion. As long as an object is at the same distance from the mirror, it appears the same size wherever it is reflected.
Perspective rectifying mirror

This mirror reflects a wide-angled view without distortion - straight lines in the real world translate to straight lines on the convex surface.

It was made for a stair-climbing robot at the University of Pennsylvania.

A camera pointed at the mirror can see a very wide-angled view in which the stairs appear straight, making navigation easier.
Infrared mirror

Mirrors may be used for reflecting any wavelength of electromagnetic radiation. This one reflects infrared light using a thin coating invisible to the eye.

It is designed for an imaging system that takes wide-angle infrared images of humans, revealing heat loss and even body temperature at a distance.
Cylinder mirror

Mirrored cylinders like this one are used in a painting technique called anamorphosis, which creates images that are only visible from a certain viewpoint, or through a distorting mirror.


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