Moire Effect

The InnerPulse really has got me excited about mono-color, left/right mapped glasses. Whether it’s the 6V circuitry or the lensed sticky-outy LEDs, this setup really shows what can be done with white LEDs.

Having only recently got over a fundamental aversion to left/right flashing in general, it’s been challenging having only the left/right glasses with which to run the InnerPulse through its paces. Fortunately, I noticed something that has had me quite captivated.

A few posts back I included a diagram that showed how each eye is connected to both brain hemispheres. If this is so, why is our visual field so conspicuously wider than it is tall? Why is there such a clear sense of left and right eye? With both eyes exposed to an essentially identical stimulus, why is their individual input visible?

After much tweaking of brightness for best effect, and a good amount of eye-rolling behind closed lids, I’ve concluded that what we see during an AVS session has a lot do do with where our eyes have focused. As there’s nothing to focus on, it’s a bit of a lucky dip, but my eyes seem to relax into infinite focus. This would mean that the eyeballs are swivelled so that the lines of sight are nearly parallel. This would give the effect of two overlapping circles of vision – more or less what is perceived.

By imagining myself to be looking at objects closer and closer, I noticed that the AVS visuals gradually converged. The closer I focused, the more the two circles of vision overlapped. After convincing myself that I could look at the space between my eyes, whatever part of the brain is responsible for managing binocular vision agreed to simply overlap the two images.

With both sides flashing at the same rate, 180 degrees out of phase, the two regions of flashing become one region gently flickering.

The real fun starts when the two sides are not synchronised. Even as the area of overlap of the two fields increases, the interference pattern between the images from each eye becomes more distinct. Once the space-between-the-eyes is properly targeted, the moire effect emerges in full glory. AudioStrobe CDs that I have previously been indifferent to have burst into a new life.

The moire effect is seen in lots of visual illusions. It’s the pattern that appears when one set of lines (or dots, or concentric circles) are overlaid and moved/rotated. The points at which the lines cross, or come extremely close, are optically thickened (lines merging due to reaching our eyes’ maximum resolution), producing a pattern. Google “Moire Pattern” for examples.

I plan to spend a lot more time investigating this phenomenon. There’s lots of details in the imagery that need further attention. There’s a brilliant wavering line down the centre that comes and goes with focus. Is there anything in the visuals that give a sense of which hemisphere is contributing what? As the fields approach perfect registration, the impression of sliding two sheets of photographic film over one another becomes unavoidable. I’ve considered before the possible function of the striate cortex, the multilayered region of the visual cortex. Is the layer structure so literally similar to image layering in, say, Photoshop?

All I know, just for now, is that this is viewing technique that has opened up a whole new realm of visuals and another window into the functioning of the senses. And once again, I wonder. I wonder if this is how most people see things anyway, and why have I taken so long to catch on.


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