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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 now, what exactly is an Ames room illusion, how does the Ames room illusion work, and how do I make my own Ames Room?

Let’s find out all the answers to our questions below!

The Ames Room Illusion
Photo credit Anne-Kathrin Pauli

The Ames Room Illusion

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

With the 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, an 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 kinds 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 lets 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 a Protractor, ruler, shoebox/cardboard box/A3 piece of card, pencil, sellotape, colored pens, and paint.

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

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

Or if you are a visual learner, check out this how-to make a names room tutorial:

If your kids like this amazing Ames room illusion explanation, then take a look at our amazing STEM experiment next. Did you know STEM Education has many benefits? Read more about them here.
Here are our most popular science activities for kids: Dancing Grape Experiment, Fizzy Ice Project, and How to Grow a 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.

Pin This Optical Illusion Room Project

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The Ames Room Illusion an Optical Illusion Room

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