What do you see through this 'scope?

Two orange and cream exhibits about 5 metres apart. The text 'Hyperscope' is on the nearest exhibit.
Two purple and cream exhibits about 5 metres apart. The text 'Pseudoscope' is on the nearest exhibit.

A Pseudoscope and Hyperscope enhance and disrupt your sense of depth perception.

How it works

Look at shapes or friends nearby through each special viewing scopes (Hyperscope and Pseudoscope) and see how your sense of depth perception is enhanced, or even turned inside out! Both the Pseudoscope and Hyperscope were built by Terry Pope of Phantascope.

Things to try or ask around the exhibit

  • Do people and things appear strange through each 'scope?
  • How does the view between the Hyperscope and Pseudoscope change?
  • Which 'scope represents what would you see if you pushed your eyeballs out sideways?

Background

The Hyperscope and Pseudoscope alter your stereovision, so people look strange and some things seem to be ‘inside out’. When you use the Pseudoscope or Hyperscope, your brain receives very different signals from each eye and it fuses these signals to create an image with exaggerated stereoscopic depth.

Normally, your eyes are about 6.5 cm apart, but the:

  • Hyperscope creates the illusion that your eyes are 41.5 cm apart,
  • Pseudoscope creates the illusion that your eyeballs are 35.75 cm apart and your eyes have swapped sides. This creates bizarre stereovision effects: the background becomes foreground, and the foreground recedes.

Both the Hyperscope and Pseudoscope also alter your sense of size constancy. Size constancy is how your brain judges the size of things that are nearby or far away. When you look at something that is far away, the object projects a small image onto your retina. If the object moves closer, the image it projects onto your retina grows much larger, but your brain allows for the distance before assuming that the object is gigantic. In other words, your brain combines information about retinal images and distances to generate an idea of the real size of the object.

Finding the science in your world

The Hyperscope can be used to study speculative geometry, archaeology (surveying), crystallography, architecture and art.