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Project title What is high-magnification stereoscopy?
Difficulty Level High school
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Our eyesight normally allows us to see things in three dimensions: width, height and depth. This is known as stereoscopic vision or commonly as 3D. The ability to perceive depth, volume and the distance between objects is important. When we look at a photo, television or a film we can only see things in only two dimensions. In the same way, high-powered microscopes lack any depth of field, so objects appear flat. In this article we describe how to convert these instruments to produce stereoscopic images. In order to perceive depth it is necessary for one eye to make the observation at an angle to the other. When this happens the brain fuses the two different images into a single stereoscopic one. It is the slight difference in angle that creates the impression of volume and depth. Normal microscopes can magnify between 50 and 1200X using a single objective at a time. The majority of these instruments are used in Biology, whilst others are used in metallurgy, mineralogy and other areas. The simplest models are equipped with a single eyepiece, whilst more complex one have binocular eyepieces and may be equipped to use a camera. Even though they have two eyepieces each provides the eye with identical images because a prism in fact splits a single image, thus the image appears completely flat. 
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