Optical Illusion – How Does the Ames Room Illusion Work

Optical illusions will make you doubt your eyes. The Ames room illusion will make one person appear as a giant in one corner and the other as a dwarf.

But how what exactly is a Ames room illusion and how does the Ames room illusion work?

Let’s find out.

The Ames Room Illusion
Photo credit Anne-Kathrin Pauli

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The Ames Room Illusion

Maybe you already came across an Ames room in a museum.

With help of an optical illusion, it lets one person in one corner appear as a giant and the person in the other corner as a dwarf. Walking back and forth in this incredible room of illusion will either make you grow or shrink.

But to the viewer it simply looks like any other room.

But let’s start from the beginning.

What Is an Optical Illusion?

According to the Cambridge dictionary a optical illusion is:

Something that tricks your eyes and makes you think you see something that is not really there, or see it differently from how it really is.

Cambridge dictionary

There are many kind of optical illusions but in this article we are going to focus on the Ames illusion room.

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What Is an Ames Room?

An Ames room is a distorted room that creates an optical illusion. It was invented in 1946 by Adelbert Ames.

It let’s one person on one side appear much taller than the other on the opposite side.

How Does the Ames Room Illusion Work?

Time to explain the Ames room illusion:

The Ames room looks like an ordinary cubic-shaped room to the viewer but that is not true. In fact, the true shape is trapezoidal. One corner of the Ames room is closer to the observer in the front than the other. Also, the floor and ceiling are at the incline and the walls are slanted.

That leads the viewer to believe that two people standing in the same depth of the field but one looks like a giant and the other like a dwarf. But in truth, this visual illusion is only caused by the optical illusion room and one person is standing much closer than the other.

Those and more facts about the Ames illusion room can be found here.

The Ames room illustration below will help you visualize this amazing illusion.

Illustration from the Ames illusion room
Photo credit Dean Odell

How to Make an Ames Room?

Yes you can make your own Ames illusion room from scratch.

All you need for your Ames box is: Protractor, ruler, shoe box/cardboard box/A3 piece of card, pencil, sellotape, colored pens and paint.

Take a look here at this fun DIY Ames room from scratch project and build your optical illusion room. You can also find a free Ames room templet in the link. Happy crafting!

If that is to much for you, simply visit a museum or exhibition with an Ames room the next time you get a chance and be amazed!

If your kids like this amazing Ames room illusion, then take a look at our amazing STEM experiment and let grapes dance or grow your own rainbow.

Did You Know

Did you know that even the film industry takes advantage of the Ames room Illusion? For example in the movie trilogy Lord of the Rings when the hobbits look so much smaller than Gandalf.

There are many different optical illusions which also being used from magicians. Here some fun books about optical illusions and brain games.

Video chatting with family and friends can be fun! Try one of these 20+ fun video chat games to stay connected!

Pin This Optical Illusion Room Project

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The Ames Room Illusion an Optical Illusion Room

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