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Upside down google glasses

Eye experiments you don’t want to try at home

What better way to start our brand new blog than to recognise some of the most celebrated optical experiments in history. Many eccentrics, like Isaac Newton and George M Stratton, have conducted a very bizarre array of eye experiments over the years, all in the name of science… and a good thing too otherwise we might not be where we are today!

Isaac NewtonNow I don’t know if you know this, but alongside being ingenious enough to have discovered gravity, Newton also had an insatiable fascination with vision and light. So much so, that he was the guinea pig for a number of potentially perilous eye experiments that we don’t recommend for you to try at home!

His first experiment was at the age of 22. He stood in a dimly lit room and stared at the sun’s reflection in a mirror for as long as he could. His motivation isn’t entirely clear, other than wanting to know what would happen. He recorded no immediate side effects, although the symptoms quickly crept across his vision in the form of big white spots that marred his sight. These lasted for a few days and he stayed tucked away in a dark room until his sight was fully restored.

His second and most notorious eye experiment took place years later, and it was to test his theory that colour is infused when pressure is placed on the eye. Shockingly, this involved inserting a sewing needle into his eye socket and easing it behind his eyeball. To his delight, the result was colourful concentric circles appearing across his vision.

Man with with head piece of glasses prototypeThen there’s the work of George M Stratton, the psychologist who wore a pair of glasses that inverted what he saw, so that up was down and left was right. He wanted to test the connection between vision, the brain and perception, and his findings were incredible. After a few days his vision became adapted, and he began to see things the correct way up whilst still wearing the inverted glasses. When he stopped wearing them he saw the world upside down through his natural eyes, but as before it only took a few days to return back to normal.

Again, don’t try these at home! But if you know of any other amazing experiments to do with eyes, drop us a comment in the box below.