What Is The Magic Behind 3D Glasses?

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision

The other day I read Pete the Cat and His Magic Sunglasses to my art class.  It is a sweet little book.  Poor Pete is in a mood and feeling quite grumpy.  He had the blues.  His friend Toad gave him some cool blue, magic sunglasses to make his blues go away.  “They help you see things in a whole new way.”- said Toad  And guess what, they did!  Short story shorter, Pete realizes that he can see things in a brand new way with or without the cool “magic” sunglasses.  Although somewhat off topic, I decided this may be a good opportunity to introduce a physics lesson about 3D glasses and how they work.  Why not?  3D glasses also help you see things in a brand new way.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision
How cool are these cool cats?

I started out going over some basics:

-When you see a normal movie that is called 2D (two dimensional).

-A 3D film is when you watch a 3D film on a flat cinema screen, but you see it in full three dimension. Because the film and the glasses are tricking your eyes.

Stereoscopic Vision– the single perception of a slightly different image from each eye.

The kids tried on the old school 3D glasses with red and blue lenses.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision

Like the scientists we are, we got to work asking questions and testing out what worked and what did not work.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision

We used a 3D Drawing Pad and we made a larger stereoscopic graph of our own using a special protractor.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision
We drew in black on our large stereoscopic graph and tested it out.
3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision
We made our own 3D glasses using color paddles.
3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision
We made rubbings and tested that out.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision

Overall we introduced something new and discussed it.  We experimented hands on to see what worked and what did not work.  I believe this is the best way to wrap your brain around something and start to understand it.

How red and blue glasses and stereoscopic graphs work:

The colored lenses in the 3D glasses allow each eye to only see the opposite color on the stereoscopic graph.  The brain fuses the two graphs together the focal point is pushed forward creating the illusion of depth.

Take this lesson a bit further:

  • Find out what animals see in 3D.
  • Talk more about polarization.
  • Study laser cut holograms.
  • Explore virtual reality…

Guess what.  It is not magic.  It is science.

3D, physics, Figment Creative, Art Class, Austin TX, STEAM, STEM, stereoscopic vision

One Comment

  1. Very cool! Performing these kinds of experiments with children is such a fun way to ensure that kids will retain scientific knowledge. And you’ll have fun with it too!

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