Depth Perception | Te Whiringa Kitenga Hohonu
A series of experiments illustrating binocular depth perception
We get information about how far away objects are from a variety of visual clues. But an important component of this aspect of vision is binocular depth perception, which requires two eyes. Here we explore this aspect of vision.
Binocular depth perception is based on the different locations of the image of an object on each retina. It requires two eyes. Students wearing an eye patch find it more difficult to judge distances.
Note that binocular depth perception does not work well at large distances. While we can determine pretty accurately which of two objects is closer at distances on the order of centimetres to metres using binocular depth perception, we cannot tell which object is further at distances of hundreds or metres or kilometres unless the distances are very different.
In addition to a video of the demonstration, we have a separate video of students playing ping-pong and basketball with eye patches. We were very surprised at how quickly they adapted to using only one eye!
Te Reo Māori Version
Te Reo Māori Version
See video for an interesting demonstration of binocular depth perception that students can show their families and another that requires more effort to set up.
Because wearing an eye patch could affect their normal vision, students should take care while moving around.
Individual teachers are responsible for safety in their own classes. Even familiar demonstrations should be practised and safety-checked by individual teachers before they are used in a classroom.
Notes, Applications, and Further Reading
You can find some useful discussion of human vision on the Hyperphysics web site among many others.
This teaching resource was developed by the Te Reo Māori Physics Project with support from
- Te Puni Kōkiri
- The MacDiarmid Institute
- Faculty of Science, Victoria University of Wellington
- School of Chemical and Physical Sciences, Victoria University of Wellington
- The New Zealand map shown on the poster frame above is used with permission from www.nz.com.
- We are grateful to Dr. Robert Jacobs, Associate Professor of Optometry at The Department of Optometry and Vision Science at Auckland University , for a number of useful conversations and suggestions.
- The astronomical photos are from www.starrynightphotos.com.
- The Taranaki photo is from the Natural Science Image Library.
- The photo of Milford Track in the South Island of New Zealand is from Margaret Brown of the MacDiarmid Institute.
- This resource was filmed partly at Te Herenga Waka Marae.