Madeline Ochoa, a Twitter user from California, had no idea that a casual mirror selfie she’d post on the network would go viral and baffle thousands of people all around the globe.
Depending on how the selfie was viewed, the pattern on the top that Madeline was wearing appeared to change. When people saw the original selfie she tweeted, it looked like her t-shirt was mostly grey. But on opening the photo on their phones, they saw the grey shirt change into a wavy-patterned black and white shirt. That wasn’t all. When zoomed in, the patterns changed to horizontal stripes!
So was it some illusionist’s magic trick that Madeline was trying to pull off? Turns out it was just an ordinary t-shirt from Forever 21 and the culprit behind the trippy patterns was actually a scientific phenomenon.
Science Behind The Trippy Shirt
This phenomenon occurs when the object being captured on camera contains repetitive details (in this case, stripes). If these details exceed the sensor resolution, the camera produces wavy patterns.
Imperfect alignment and interesting patterns lead to an optical illusion, known as the Moiré Effect. This basically occurs when the object being captured on camera contains repetitive details. If these details exceed the sensor resolution, the camera produces wavy patterns. This effect is actually quite common in everyday objects around us, but we generally tend to overlook such phenomenon in different sorts of fabrics and architectural patterns.
Another Bewildering Example
This is precisely why celebrities are told not to wear striped clothes on TV appearances.
Another manifestation of the Moiré effect can be seen whenever one semi-transparent object with a repetitive pattern is placed over another. Even a slight motion of one of the objects causes large-scale pattern changes.
In the picture above, the two objects contain repetitive concentric circles. As the smaller circles move, the interference between the repetitive shapes produces wavy patterns that shift with motion.
Moiré effect is most commonly seen during photography because of the interference of light with the sensor. It is for the same reason that celebrities are told not to wear striped clothes on TV appearances.
We’re pretty sure that Madeline has learned her lesson the hard way. After having her picture shared on Twitter by more than 70,000 users, she hasn’t been able to use the social network without it freezing on her. So here’s a tip for all you photogenic social media lovers– steer clear of stripe and dot patterns if you’re looking to put that picture on Instagram!
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