The Optics of the Mirage Toy

Stephen Wilk

How does a clever toy create a near-perfect illusion when all of the rays emanating from the object are located far off the optical axis?



You won’t make many friends if you decorate your office or lab with a popular version of the Mirage toy: It features a delectable sampling of candy that reveals itself as an illusion only when you try to grasp it. The mirage effect is uncanny, producing an almost flawless 1:1 image of the object.

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