The Ames Room: Engineering a Human Giant or an Optical Illusion?

Can you figure out the illusion?

You can clearly see this man is at least nine feet tall. His shoulders touch the ceiling of room which looks like it has a standard eight foot height, or is it a brain-bending optical-illusion?


The Ames Room: Engineering an Optical illusion

An Ames room is a distorted room that is used to create an optical illusion. Likely influenced by the writings of Hermann Helmholtz, it was invented by American ophthalmologist Adelbert Ames, Jr. in 1934, and constructed in the following year.

The room is created with no right-angles. It’s designed to be viewed from one point of view, where everything looks correct. From any other angle, the room looks completely distorted. What’s cooler about the Ames room, is when humans are added to the scene, and it really begins to play with your mind. It’s really just like Alice in Wonderland, people seem to grow and shrink before your eyes!

Creating an Ames Room is not easy. The original was built in 1934, many decades before complex CAD or 3D rendering software. Everything was done by eye, paper and complex calculations!

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Adam Beck

Director of Marketing at CADENAS PARTsolutions | A Marketing graduate from the Miami University, Farmer School of Business in Oxford Ohio, Adam has years of experience in marketing and design for a variety of industries.