This exhibit demonstrates symmetry in mirror reflections. A visitor stands with the edge of a large mirror bisecting his/her body, while hiding half of it. To a spectator, the visitor still appears whole because of the bilateral symmetry of the human body and the reflective quality of the mirror. Using these concepts, a person can appear to hover, fly, lose and gain weight instantaneously and make extra arms and legs appear out of nowhere.
Each side of this exhibit is an arrangement of silver Christmas tree ornaments packed together against a black background. Each sphere reflects its six neighbors, along with their reflections of one another, ad infinitum. Each spherical surface reflects a unique image of the world from its vantage point, in the unique direction of the viewer's eye. If a finger is pointed at one sphere, its image in all others will point directly at one sphere. This curious properly of all the images is due to the spherical symmetry of the reflectors.
At this exhibit a type of reflector is created by the placement of three mirrors arranged at right angles to each other. Light rays that enter the corner exit along parallel paths equidistant from the vertex of the three mirrors. Visitors see themselves with their dominant eye centered at the vertex. Corner reflectors come in handy whenever you want to reflect light back to its source. Reflectors on cars, bicycles and highway markers are often made of many tiny corner reflectors. When a car's headlights hit these reflectors, light reflects back to the driver.
At this exhibit visitors duck under and into a large three-sided wooden enclosure with mirror-covered inner surfaces. Myriad reflections of the person, the mirror corners, and the museum visible above and below the mirrors stretch into infinity.
At this exhibit, two people sit on opposite sides of a "one-way" mirror. This mirror reflects 1/3 of the light, transmits 1/3, and absorbs 1/3. By adjusting the amount of illumination falling on themselves, visitors combine their faces into a single merged image with features from both of them. How much reflected light, and how much transmitted light is seen, depends on how bright the lighting is on each side. At some level of brightness on each side, you will see both transmitted light (your friend's face) and reflected light (your own face).
Look into infinity is an exhibit that enables visitors to explore reflections, and reflections of reflections. The exhibit consists of two large rectangular mirrors facing one another. Small lamps illuminate the space between them. The two mirrors reflecting each other form a tunnel stretching into the distance. Visitors view these reflections and look into infinity by means of eyeholes drilled into the outer mirror.
This exhibit demonstrates hand-eye coordination by letting the brain "see" a scene which is contradicted by what it "feels" through touch. Normally a person's tactile sense and vision agree. It may feel strange when the two disagree. This is done with mirrors which appear to be a window because of the symmetrical exhibit built around it.
Most people have encountered kaleidoscopes; few have played with a completely adjustable one, or even opened a fixed one to see how the symmetrical image is formed. This exhibit demonstrates how kaleidoscopes work. Two mirrors are hinged together; one is fixed in place and the position of the other is adjustable by the visitor. A painted red spot is located near to but not touching the mirrors. Visitors change the angle between the mirrors from zero to 90 degrees and observe how many images of the red spot can be seen in the mirrors. Visitors see multiple images of the red spot because the light from the red spot can reflect back many times between the two mirrors.
This exhibit shows visitors a very convincing real image of a spring. Visitors are invited to "touch the spring". The spring can be seen but not touched. This is because the spring that visitors see is actually an image created by reflection. A large concave (curved) mirror reflects an image of an actual steel spring that is hidden under the platform where the image appears. A small flashlight is provided to shine on the image. Visitors may notice that when shining the flashlight on the image of the spring it forms highlights and shadows just like a real object would. Since a concave mirror is used the image of the spring is formed in front of the mirror; making the illusion more pronounced. If a flat mirror were to be used, the image of the spring would appear to be inside the mirror.