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December 21, 2012 AT 8:01 am

Math Professor Invents Non-Reversing Mirror

From techfragments:

When you look in a normal mirror, the image you see of yourself is in reverse. But a mirror invented by Drexel University mathematics professor Dr. R. Andrew Hicks shows you your face without reversing its image. Other trick mirrors can show a non-reversed image to a viewer by locating two mirrors at right angles, such that looking at the glass shows basically a reflection of a reflection. The Hicks non-reversing mirror is different- it is one single, smooth curved piece of glass which shows a non-reversed image.

Hicks’s work with remarkable mirrors gained media attention this past summer when one of his inventions, a driver’s side mirror that eliminates the blind spot with minimal distortion, received a U.S. Patent. The curved driver’s side mirror has a field of view of about 45 degrees, compared with 15 to 17 degrees of view in a regular driver’s side mirror. (“Wide angle substantially non-distorting mirror” United States Patent 8180606)

Now his non-reversing mirror is getting another kind of attention. It is now on display as part of an art exhibition in a New York City gallery by artist Robin Cameron, who was inspired by Hicks’s story after she discovered it through online research. Hicks and Drexel University have loaned her the non-reversing mirror for use in her group of artworks entitled “P-R-O-C-E-S-S-E-S.”

“The mirror specifically relates to this particular grouping of work because it is about process. I wanted to know more about what leads someone to make a non-reversing mirror,” Cameron said.

(love the Isaac Newton shoutout in the photo above)


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2 Comments

  1. I think they’re overstating the ‘invention’ part of this, isn’t it a well-known optical technique? As soon as I saw the headline and before I saw the article or the photo I thought “it’s just a curved mirror, isn’t it?” And I’m no physicist/optical engineer/thingo.

    You can see the same effect by looking into a spoon.

  2. @perlun: I suggest you read the entire article, which explains where this ‘invention’ part comes in. This isn’t a simple concave mirror.

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