Wild and Wacky Mirror Math Tricks

Andrew Hicks is a mathematician, but unlike most of his colleagues, he produces work that even the right-brained can love. Hicks uses complex calculations to fabricate strangely shaped mirrors that do all sorts of tricks that mirrors have never done before. Here’s a selelection:


Unlike the mirror in your bathroom, this one doesn’t reverse the image it’s reflecting:


Most driver’s-side mirrors have a 17-degree field of vision, because anything more would create a badly distorted image. Not this one though–it has a 45-degree field of vision, so the driver receives far-greater information about all the cars around her:


Mirrored Christmas ornaments offer panoramic views; they can reflect an entire room around them, but everything appears warped. This one doesn’t, even though it reflects a full 360 degrees:


Wide-angle mirrors bend vanishing points–hence the fish-eye effect of most wide-angle lenses. Check out this mirror, which corrects perspectival warping:


This gadget doesn’t come across as well in a picture but the effect is amazing. Anamorphic images have been used in art for hundreds of years: This famous painting by Han Holbein seems to have a smudge in the foreground, but viewed from an oblique angle, the smudge reveals itself as the distorted image of a skull. This mirror also produces an anamorphic image–that is, the image it’s reflecting can be discerned from only one viewing angle.


So far, these are just research projects, but the applications are mind boggling. Any suggestions?