Could we cope with True Mirrors?

  Brumas 23:10 04 Sep 2013

Seeing as there isn't much doing on the forum I thought I would put my serious hat on and put this on.

Ever since I studied physics, way back in the 60s at Riley Technical High School in Hull, I have had a thing about mirrors. We take the mirror image for granted as being a true depiction of what we see but, in reality it is a mirror image which is the complete opposite.

I have found this site which shows us what an true image would look like. Using an ordinary mirror or a true mirror for shaving, or ladies, for applying your makeup presents no problems but, finally getting to the point of all this, how would - or could your brain cope with having a true rearview mirror instead of a normal mirror in your car?

Looking in your rearview mirror the cars are actually driving on the wrong side of the road, something our brain sees and registers as being normal. Using a true mirror the cars would be seen to be travelling on the correct side of the road but would look strange as they would appear opposite in position to what we have been conditioned to accept as being normal - or have I got it all wrong??

  Brumas 18:03 05 Sep 2013

marvin42, reading back what I wrote doesn't explain exactly what I mean. When viewing the image in the interior rearview mirror as a standalone image, the cars are driving on the right because it is a mirrored image. Using a true mirror rearview mirror, the traffic would be driving on the left but the image would be switched.

It baffles me as I write this and try to make sense of it!

  hastelloy 18:45 05 Sep 2013

*Fruit Bat /\0/*

You're right when you say that our eyes see things upside down and our brains turn the image the right way up but wrong about mirror images. Light hitting the mirror at the top is reflected from the top - likewise for bottom, left and right - there is no inversion.

See interesting experiment


If you look at your reflection in a mirror, your left side is on the left side of the mirror from your point of view but on the right side of the mirror as seen by somebody at the side of the mirror looking at you. In other words it is inverted for you but not for the observer.

If you look at the rear view mirror in the car, the left side of the car behind is on the left of the mirror from your point of view and is therefore accurate (because you have your back to the object you're seeing in the mirror) as you are the observer. What you see in the mirror is what you would see if you turned round (not recommended when driving)

  iscanut 20:20 05 Sep 2013

Whenever I look in a mirror I always see someone else. Some old guy with grey hair, no idea who he is !

  Brumas 20:39 05 Sep 2013

marvin42 I follow what you say but still ask the question *could we cope with a rearview true mirror? *

  Brumas 20:40 05 Sep 2013

iscanut2 you have obviously got the same mirror as me ;o}

  Aitchbee 22:13 05 Sep 2013

I sometimes make funny faces [to myself] in the mirror, to try 'n' catch-myself-out ... just like this.

PS. Look out for the Chuck Berry impersonation [half-way-through.]

click here

  Brumas 22:20 05 Sep 2013

marvin42 sorry, I didn't read your link and realise now that perceptual adaptation would mean that the image shown in a rearview true mirror would eventually become accepted as the brain compensated for the image difference.

I will now tick this now having learnt lots, thanks all for the contributions, both factual and funny ;o}

  lotvic 23:46 05 Sep 2013

~Aw don't stop now, I haven't got it sorted out yet...

  hastelloy 08:16 06 Sep 2013

I guess we could cope with true mirrors after some time of using only true mirrors, as our brains would learn to accept the new images. But then I think we'd be confused if we went back to ordinary mirrors. Any volunteers to try the experiment?

  natdoor 08:58 09 Sep 2013

I can't believe that aitchbe has not pointed out that Rabbie Burns was the inspiration for the discovery of true mirrors. He wrote:-

"O wad some Power the Giftie gie us To see oursels as ithers see us!"

Of course, he was talking of personal traits as well as physical appearance.

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