Computers & Mobile Craft & Design Science
Teaching mirrors new tricks

Andrew Hicks, a mathemagician at Philadelphia’s Drexel University, has lately made headlines with one of those head-slappingly simple, brilliant, OMG-why-didn’t-I-think-of-that sort of projects: He makes mirrors. Not the run-of-the-mill flat mirrors most of us use every day for identifying vampires, but totally unorthodox, heretical, downright blasphemous mirrors with convoluted surfaces that do tricks I didn’t even know mirrors can do–like reflecting things the right way ’round! New Scientist has some nice photos, and PhysOrg the story.

2 thoughts on “Teaching mirrors new tricks

  1. American drivers use their side view mirrors wrong. You’re taught to position them so you can see the side of your car in them. There’s no reason you should need to look at the side of your car, unless you’re afraid of car-jacking leprechauns. You can’t see the front of your bumper or the back of your car, and yet you don’t go around hitting things all the time.

    If you use this standard positioning, you’ll basically get the same, overlapping view from both your side mirror and your rearview mirror… with the exception that in the side view you also get to see if the side of your car is still there. Yep, it’s just where you left it.

    If you angle your side view mirrors out about 15 degrees, you have no blindspot. Watch as a car passes you. It’s in your rearview mirror. Then as it nears the edge of the rearview mirror, it appears in the sideview mirror. As it reaches the edge of the sideview mirror, it’s in your peripheral vision.

    So this is a great idea. But an even better idea is for people in this country to start using their sideview mirrors properly.

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I am descended from 5,000 generations of tool-using primates. Also, I went to college and stuff. I am a long-time contributor to MAKE magazine and My work has also appeared in ReadyMade, c't – Magazin für Computertechnik, and The Wall Street Journal.

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