OT Strange Metal Sculpture Effect

During a recent vacation trip to downtown Chicago, I saw a strange visual effect. There is a relatively new sculpture in the lakefront park, that is roughly kidney shaped. It is made from polished stainless steel and is highly reflective, and is large enough so you can walk through it.

If you look at your reflection while walking through it, your image is reversed. If you move your left arm, the reflected image you see has your arm moving on your right side. It is not the mirror image that you expect. Yet if you move "outside" of the sculpture, a mirror image is what you see.

Can anyone explain this unusual effect?

John Normile

Reply to
John Normile
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Upside up? or upside down?

It could be a convex reflector, either cylindrical (up up) or spherical (up down) whose focal length is , lessee... about a quarter of the the distance between you and it. I think that's right, if not that then half.

You can find the same effect in a polished spoon. get close enough, it's a magnifier, far enough away, it's 180 degrees off.

Or, more easily:

two mirrors at 90 degrees to each other. Was there a seam?

It is not the mirror image that

Reply to
Carl West

I was just in Chicago and noticed this sculpture in the new Millenium Park. Here's a picture:

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This sculpture is not only interesting for its optical topology, it is fascinating for anyone like me (a former shipfitter) to imagine how it can have been fitted together. It is made from stainless sheets, and they are only skip-welded (probably to reduce distortion) so it won't isn't watertight. The sculpture is in a park which is quite close to Lake Michigan and on a hot day a breeze blows beneath it and of course beneath it is also in shade, so it is a welcome place for visitors to cool off. It has many optical oddities. I liked it a lot.

Grant Erw> During a recent vacation trip to downtown Chicago, I saw a strange

Reply to
Grant Erwin

D*&%! Can you imagine polishing that thing??? I had enough work with my bow fitting.

Reply to
Glenn Ashmore

I learned something about plane mirrors last month that I hadn't realized before. It was sort of startling until I stopped to analyze it.

Step up to a mirror and make a couple of marks on it where you see the reflections of the tops of your ears.

Naw back off from that mirror and note that those marks continue to match your eartip span as you move away, no matter how far you move back.

If you use a ruler to measure the distance between the two marks you made on the mirror, you'll note it's exactly one half the "real" distance between your eartips.

This was described in an article which was pointing out that a mirror in which you can see your entire body only needed to be half your physical height if it is mounted the right distance up from the floor.

Jeff (Who still doesn't understandd why things are reversed left-right in a mirror, but not up-down..)

Reply to
Jeff Wisnia

reflected you in the mirror, but you are looking away from him with your back to him; in order to see the reflected you, you turn on the spot to look at the mirror, so you have turned from left to right with respect to your reflection; if you had decided to lean down and stand on your head to look at the mirror insted, the reflection would be reversed top to bottom (and you'd soon get a headache ;-) Martin

Reply to
Martin Whybrow

On Tue, 28 Sep 2004 13:43:39 -0400, "Glenn Ashmore" calmly ranted:

Yeah, how'd you like to wash the thing every week, too?

The next pic reminds me of the movie "Adventures in Babysitting"

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'd you like to wash those 45° (or are they 60?) windows?


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Reply to
Larry Jaques

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