October 23, 2000
Tricks to amaze the brain in new 3-D exhibit at PSC
by Deborah Stone
"Adventures in 3 Dimensions," an exhibit that guides visitors through the history and development of 3-D, recently opened at the Pacific Science Center.
From Victorian-era stereoscopes and post-World War II View-Masters to modern-day applications, the exhibit captures the allure of this fascinating technology. Hands-on activities explore how the eyes and brain work together to view the three-dimensional world.
Visitors will learn how each of their eyes sees the world from a slightly different point of view. The brain combines the images of each eye into one picture.
This phenomenon, called binocular disparity, is the basic principle behind 3-D. A variety of wonderful interactive activities help demonstrate this amazing ability of the brain for assembling output from two eyes into one three-dimensional image.
Optical illusions such as Hole in the Hand and the Illusion Room manipulate perceptions and fool the brain. Practical real-world applications of the technology include topographic maps and aerial 3-D photographs.
There is also a 3-D gallery showcasing 3-D technology like holograms and classical paintings that show how artists throughout history have tricked the eyes to create the illusion of depth.
In addition, the exhibit features a theater shaped like a giant head where visitors step inside to watch a comic infomercial extolling the virtues of two eyes and a brain, the tools that allow people to see in 3-D.
Other activities include a pin screen that creates 3-D images and a stereo-vision test that examines binocular stereo perception.
About six percent of the population doesn't have stereo vision, either due to muscle problems in bringing the eyes into alignment or processing difficulties in the brain.
As with most of Pacific Science Center's exhibits, visitors will find "Adventures in 3 Dimensions" well laid out, easy to negotiate and appealing in its highly sensory interactives.
The exhibit runs through January 2001 with a specific end date to be announced. For more information call 206-443-2001.