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Can our eyesight framerate capability be improved through reverse magnification?

  1. Apr 21, 2010 #1
    Hi.Non-physics student posting here for first time purely out of curiosity. I was wondering if we could improve our ability to percieve high speed objects which move to fast to see, by, for want of a better phrase, using a big magnifying glass backwards. For instance, if a car moves down a 500 metre racetrack in say 1 second. If you were to get a huge glass lense (or glass block may be the right word), which is 500 metres wide next to the track but narrows down horizontally to 5 metres at the point where one is standing. if it is possible to treat the image on the glass as a seperately percievable entity, would you see a much smaller car travelling over a 5 metre stretch in the same amount of time, thereby travelling at 1% of the speed, therby allowing us to accurately percieve its motion.

    I know there may be several scientific flaws in the above paragraph, but i need help in identifying or confirming whether this is an actual possibilty/ occurence.

    I'm not even sure if its possible to have a glass block which performs such a function but i got the idea from turning a magnifying glass around, which makes the object seem smaller.

    At first i thought that as it is a smaller object it would travel the distance proportionately, therefore making the speeds the same, however if you were to concentrate on one point, this would simply only have to travel a hundreth of the distance of the original car, in the smae amount of time.

    If this were true, does it/ would it have implications in studying any other kinds of fast moving objects in the science?

    Moderators: I am relatively new at using forums and understand this post may be in the wrong place as I was not sure what type of scientific category it fell into, therefore please move it to a more suitable place if necessary.
  2. jcsd
  3. Apr 21, 2010 #2


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to PF.

    You seem to be describing angular displacement/speed: the angle through which an object moves across your field of view in a given time. Yes, if you reduce the angular displacement/speed by "zooming-out" on an object, it will be easier to see/track with your eyes.
  4. Apr 22, 2010 #3
    Thanks. Your reply summed it up in a much clearer manner.
  5. Apr 22, 2010 #4
    to explain this in easy terms:

    why not just back away from what your viewing, saves a lot of work in terms of moving that huge piece of glass as well as the figuring (grinding/polishing) of it to produce a usable image
  6. Apr 22, 2010 #5
    @ rdiiorio: yeah, after the first reply I started to think about it like that, I realised that what I was asking was actually a much simpler question than I first thought.
  7. Apr 22, 2010 #6
    There is a limit. The optical/neural construction of the human eye can perceive "changes" only to a certain degree.
    However, if, through optics, the field-of-view is made larger and the fast moving target smaller, the limit stays the same but can have "tracking" advantageous.
    In all cases, passive optics WILL NOT CHANGE the human eye's rate of change itself.
  8. Apr 24, 2010 #7
    with a bit more thought on the subject, yes with the aid of high speed photography.
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