Eagle Eye And The Extra Dimension

As the enchanting seeds of the sacred Eywa tree dance tantalisingly close to my nose, I reach out to touch them.

When the terrifying pack of viper-wolves, pounce towards me bearing their fangs, I instinctively flinch away and push backwards into my seat.

Yes, like thousands of others across the globe, I am experiencing life in all its glorious three dimensions on planet Pandora.

A dangerous yawn

For the cost of a cinema ticket to the box office blockbuster, Avatar, I am being transported into an extra dimension. It just takes a ticket and, of course, the special glasses to fully enjoy that added dimension – the magic of 3D.

Here I should probably confess to being something of a screamer and a jumper when it comes to cinematic experiences. I am not the ideal movie companion as I never react well to surprises  and have the tendency to squeeze any available arm – my grip tightening as the on-screen tension builds – until the arm’s owner might politely point out that I am hurting them.

Not for me the 360 degree Cinemax experience – I simply don’t enjoy the sensation of swooping and diving over canyons and mountains  – being of the: “if God had wanted us to fly he would have given us wings” school of thought.  Despite appreciating the scenery from an eagle’s eye viewpoint, all that ducking and diving actually makes me feel rather unwell.

But all of these new and unusual “viewing experiences” has made me think about our sight and the way we perceive things.

Take, for example, our swooping eagle – he has his eyes positioned on the front of his head as do other predatory animals like wolves and snakes.

Glenn Carp, at the London Vision Clinic, explained to me that this gives these hunters “binocular vision” – reducing their field of view in favour of “stereoacuities” – or the ability to detect differences in distance. In short it means that they can attack their prey with deadly accuracy.