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[Comments] (6) It's Around This Point That They Should Be Calling Me Mad: There are cameras that take a 360-degree panoramic picture. I assume there are also panoramic videocameras for filming IMAX movies. What if you got one of those videocameras and strapped it on a helmet around your head, and then wore goggles so that what you saw was a full panorama?

Your eyes already know to invert an image (since an image hits your retina upside-down), and how to merge two 2D images into a 3D image. Unless this is an inate ability, your brain must learn to do this by coordinating your sight with your other senses over time. So unless this behavior is fixed in childhood, it should be possible to change the way your brain processes your visual input. It should be possible to wear such goggles all the time and eventually adjust to having full-circle vision, perceiving things as though you actually had eyes all around your head.

Simpler experiment: If you wore lenses all the time that inverted everything, would your brain eventually learn to process the image exactly as it appeared on your retina?

More complicated experiment: could you also add cameras above and below the ring of cameras that formed the panoramic camera, creating a near-complete sphere of vision? At what point would your brain be unable to handle the additional information?

Who will volunteer for my monstrous Beholder-Man experiment (funding request pending)?


Posted by Seth Schoen at Thu Aug 12 2004 19:13

The inverted vision experiment has already been done, and it works. Try doing a Google search for terms like "inverted vision experiment". However, there is a lot of disagreement about how to interpret exactly what happens when you do this. Some people argue that the image does not actually become upright, but that you simply adapt to be able to use an inverted image as if it were upright.

Posted by Leonard at Thu Aug 12 2004 19:16

How is that different from the image actually becoming upright?

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Thu Aug 12 2004 19:20

Actually, there were experiments with opposing lenses, and poeple really did adjust to the reverse image.

The worst part people found was that once the experiment was over, they had to spend ANOTHER two weeks getting used to normal vision again.

Posted by Anton Olsen at Thu Aug 12 2004 19:22

I'm pretty certain that most people could adapt, but I'm not su sure I want to be the guinea pig.

Posted by Nick Moffitt at Thu Aug 12 2004 21:53

Speaking from personal experience, I find one effect of more extreme drunkenness to be a bizarre detachment from my senses and motions. This means that I spend a lot more conscious effort interpreting what I'm seeing and doing, and leads to clumsiness and idiocy as my instincts begin to fail me.

I'd love to know what the effects of alcohol on this experiment would be.

Posted by Gary Benson at Fri Aug 13 2004 09:09

I volunteer! Make me into a robot Mr Richardson!

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