How 3D glasses work

The only thing that makes going to the movies better is watching your favorite movie in 3D! But how does wearing glasses make movie characters pop out of the screen? And why don’t all glasses do this? This experiment will help you understand how polarization makes this all possible.

Materials

  • 3D glasses
  • A mirror
  • Science notebook
  • pencil

Directions

  1. Look into the mirror while wearing your 3D glasses.
  2. Close one eye. Does your reflection look any different?
  3. See what happens when you close your other eye. What’s different?
  4. Write down your observations in your science notebook.

Explanation

In order for movies to appear in 3D, you must wear polarized, or 3D, glasses. Polarized means that the glasses filter the light based on how they are traveling. Light typically moves in a spiral, moving both vertically (up and down) and horizontally (side to side). One of your lens only shows you the light that moves up and down, while the other lens only shows light that moves from side to side. This is why when you look in the mirror with one eye closed, one of your lens gives off no light.