Unitasker Wednesday: True Mirror

All Unitasker Wednesday posts are jokes — we don’t want you to buy these items, we want you to laugh at their ridiculousness. Enjoy!

This week’s unitasker will (not) amaze you! This week’s unitasker will (not) blow your mind! This week’s unitasker is the $200 True Mirror:

The True Mirror is a (not) exciting black box with two mirrors set next to each other at a 90º angle! For $200!

I (don’t) know why you would want such a thing, as the product description says you want it so you can “See yourself with vibrancy and beauty-your natural self.” I guess it’s possible that the resourceful among you could hang two $15 mirrors in a corner of your home or just snap a quick digital picture of yourself with your cell phone to get the same inverted reflection — but why would you do that when you could spend $200 on this?!

10 Comments for “Unitasker Wednesday: True Mirror”

  1. posted by Anali on

    While I would never buy a true mirror(they go up to $900 for a full sized one, whaaaat?), if I ever get a chance to see myself in one I will take it!

  2. posted by susan on

    I had to read it 3 times to figure out what it was. Seems useless.

  3. posted by ruth on

    It’s not really an any “tasker” though, more of a curiosity. http://www.nytimes.com/2004/08.....k-fat.html

  4. posted by Jay on

    I have a medicine cabinet on my bathroom wall with 3 seperatly hinged mirrored panels. The panels each show side view and are fully adjustable and lay flat when not using. It has lots of shelves inside for storing stuff and it cost $40.

  5. posted by Char on

    I usually get a good chuckle out of the unitasker posts but…. I actually have one of these and really like it. I think this weeks unitasker moniker was more due to it being a overly priced object, not its function. It is a mirror. I see $200 mirrors all the time in decor magazines.

  6. posted by Martin in NYC on

    I discovered True Mirror in person in the company’s then-storefront in NYC’s East Village many years ago and never bought one – b/c they were very expensive – but have been fascinated by the concept ever since and, after rediscovering it (in a more accessible form) through your post, want to defend it. (I have no connection with the company.) The point of the mirror isn’t getting across in the blog post or the comments.

    The True Mirror isn’t just some multi-mirror contraption. The key is the word true.

    When we look in a normal mirror we take for granted that what we see is a true reflection: that what we see is how we look. But in fact, we are physically unsymmetrical – subtly so in most people. So what we see is not what others see; others see the opposite of what we see (opposite in a left-right sense).

    And it’s what others see, which is our true appearance, that counts. What *we* see in the mirror is untrue; it’s a reverse image.

    The True Mirror was engineered to show us what others see – what we *actually* look like as opposed to what we think we look like when we look in a normal mirror. The difference can be so unsettling that I imagine many would not want to see the true image because it upsets our self-perception.

    As a practical matter there’s nothing we can do about one nostril being larger than the other or a mole being on the opposite side from what we think (not that thinking is usually part of the process). So in my non-expert opinion I guess that the True Mirror image for most people would be just a curiosity – it wouldn’t have a practical benefit.

    But for visually more-sophisticated people, and especially those, like models and some actors, whose looks may be their fortune, the True Mirror might lead them to “package” the elements in their appearance (hair style, makeup) a different way.

    And the True Mirror would serve anyone as a reality check: something that shakes up their automatic thinking in a way that might lead them to question other assumptions they make in life. Oh, one could go on being philosophical about all this. And that may be the real point of True Mirror.

    Thanks for your excellent blog and I hope that this comment is taken in the constructive spirit in which it was intended.

  7. posted by ruth on

    @Martin, that’s a lot of what the old NY Times article I linked to said – well put!

  8. posted by Amber on

    There was an excellent episode of RadioLab (called “Symmetry” I believe) that talks about this mirror and the painstaking task of making one. It was fascinating. As was the entire phenomenon of facial asymmetry and how what we see in a regular mirror is not what other people see when they look at us.

    But I’ve been able to accomplish the same effect to a degree by using my iPhone camera, the one on the side with the screen. I believe it takes a photo that is “flipped” in the way that people see you, not in the way you see yourself in a regular mirror. It looks so, so different!

  9. posted by Ben on

    The gym I (seldom) frequent has the ‘$15’ Equivalent of this, by nature of two mirrors aligning at the right angle.

    … Though they’re not designed for that purpose, so the dimensions are slightly off.

    Now, when I gawk at myself as I’m towelling off in a corner, there’s a small, barely noticeable but still quite eerie section me missing in this mirror. Really odd.

  10. posted by Max on

    A true mirror actually possess properties a standard mirror does not. If you *think* and iPhone or any reversed image is identical, you have missed the point of a true mirror. Without ruining the ‘secret’, a true mirror gives a natural 3D reflection, depending upon the size and viewpoint. The ‘two facing mirrors’ concept is not used today. The box shown likely would have been used by a traveling salesman in 1900 to sell the idea; you would have paid for a full length version, evidently in NYC.

    Without knowing this part of the puzzle; that is the large mirror actually performs beyond most ability to explain, makes the box, today, appear not unlike…say…a small Coleman display tent at Target. This model tent may be fine for Ken, Joe and Barbie, however, out of context, proves to be another “Why?”

    Unlike in 1887, today a ‘true mirror’ can be created in seconds from the proper available materials-like magic. Sadly, today, it appears to be just that.

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