So, a little background before I explain the Rescaler. The way our brains build the sensation of depth by comparing the differences between the left and right eye. 3d movies work by giving you different images for your right and left eye. So I've been thinking, what happens if you give someone really wide-set eyes? What I mean to say is, what happens to the world when the visual information we get isn't separated by 2.75 inches (the average distance between our eyes), but instead is separated by say a foot apart.
So Dave Tennent and I got together and recorded a scene with two cameras, set 6 feet apart. Get yerself some 3d glasses and check out these shots:
Although the first image looks like a crumpled tissue, it's actually a bed sheet I tossed into the air. With your eyes set 6 feet apart, the full-sized sheet looks like it is only about 4" by 5".
The second image is me. The size makes it seem like you'd be able to pick me up. That's because, to scale, I should look like I'm about 3 inches tall.
Theoretically, you could rescale anything. If you and your friend live at the top of a hill but a mile a part, you could rescale your city to look like a scale model. You could team up with a friend who lives a mile away to rescale some clouds and make them pretty awesome 3d images.
Well, a part of me wanted to achieve this rescaling without having to go way too digital, so I built a geeky-looking device with mirrors that rescales the space around me. Take a look:
This is a photo of me looking at the camera through the rescaling device. In the photo, you can see both of my eyes - set about an inch outside my face on either side. By using mirrors, I can virtually project my eyes, which sit about 2.75 inches apart, to an arrangement that is 6.5 inches apart, and two inches back.
Here's a close-up of one of the eyes:
This photo gives you a better sense of how I built the thing. That's just foam core, hot glue, and a few mirrors. Both mirrors are at precisely 45 degrees.
The effect is stunning. Your depth perception gets a whole lot better, especially when looking at objects that are far away. Because things are scaled down, my house sort of looks like a doll house.
Also, because this is so foreign to my brain, it all looks rather virtual. The space I'm looking at is a virtual extension of a 3d universe that isn't biologically natural to me. It feels like I'm playing a video game or interacting with a digital 3d environment.
And, to the same end, I get a little queazy looking through this thing. : P