Picture of Looty
A Looty is a device that allows each of your eyes to gaze into the other. They were originally made by Jim Woodring, who stopped making them because he thought the effect was probably bad:

"I made machines and gadgets, devices to explore with. Stupid things. Like the Looty, which enables your eyes to stare directly into each other. It's a bad invention... I made a few to sell and then stopped because the effect is unnatural and probably harmful."

Oho! My sense of danger was piqued. I made quick stop to look at the original advert for it in the back of the <s>The Frank Book</s> (<-- don't know where I saw this ad, but I did. And now it's disappeared...), grabbed some likely materials and began.

Step 1: Tools and Materials

Picture of Tools and Materials
Alas, there are no pictures of the original online, but Jim's drawing makes it appear to be a beautiful affair in wood, with proper eye pieces. I went for a less refined version in cardboard. I'll try to be scant on the specifics of hacking up my particular box, and focus on the technical issues instead.

A box, roughly as wide as a human head, preferably a bit narrower.
Thin cardboard (Mine was sourced from a cereal box)
Greaseproof paper (To diffuse light)
Small, thin mirror
General purpose glue

Steel rule
Craft knife
Glass cutter
Side cutters (Not shown)
CD marker pen (Not shown)
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geekdude7 years ago
one time i had a pair of those wraparound sunglasses and when the light came in the side i could see my eyes reflected in the middle but they looked like one eye.
Would it be possible, if one were so inclined, to train each eye to look outward in almost the same fashion as a chameleon (except with forward facing eyes)? Or would that just give you the most intense eye strain headache ever?
Nachimir (author)  DeusXMachina8 years ago
Apparently, it's possible. I believe US helicopter gunship pilots are trained to move thier eyes independently when using the HUD in an Apache. How that's taught I have no idea, and whether or not a looty would be useful for doing it is completely unknown to me.
I call BS on that. Your eyes are slaved to each other. If you see very different things with each eye for any length of time, you get sore eyes and start to get serious eye fatigue. You can, however, train yourself to watch one eye then the other rapidly. Set up pool balls so you can find your blindspot, and be aware of it. Practise crossing your eyes. Get to work looking at autostereograms, stereograms and then try cheating at the "spot the difference" competitions. Learn to pull one eye as the one you are paying attention too, then switch for the other one. And learn to drive with one eye shut - the lack of depth perception makes it rather fun! Then switch eyes. :-) If you want to get really OTT, get some of the contacts that block the fovea centralis, so you cannot see anything out of the highest resolution part of your eye. After 10 seconds of that, you'll have a sore head. After ten minutes, you'll feel sick. After 10 days... You'll have the kind of perception that no-one outside "Heros" has. You can even get a set of mirrors and turn your world upside down. Your eyes actually show everything to your brain the wrong way up, but the brain learns to reverse it. After about 3 to 5 days, your brain will re-reverse things for you.
you are right about the eye strain because i can move each eye independently inwards wille keeping the other one straight and i can cross my eyes
what is ott
Over The Top
if you did get those contacts, what exactly would it do to your perception?
yeah then when you take away the mirrors, everything would b upside down and if ur driving ur pretty f***ed! lol
TossManual7 years ago
It's been a while since you posted this, and I thought you might want to see Jim Woodring's take on this instructable - in case you haven't already discovered it.

I'm working on my own version in plywood (after reading his critique), but I'm having trouble with the mirror alignment. As you say, the "reversed reflection" isn't so thrilling. The "cyclops" image is more "dangerous" feeling to me. And won't different people have different space between the eyes? Does it need to be adjustable?

Anybody know what you're supposed to see? I mean, besides the depths of one's soul...
Knex Rules8 years ago
I can make my eyes roll back into my head without using my hands, it gives me a slight headache. I do so by looking up as far as I can and then very very slightly close my eye, it freaks everyone out!
It would be more impressive if you used your hands.
Joe8579 years ago
I'd make one, but I'm afraid I'd end up with a lazy eye. >.>
Me too!
i have lazy eye, wonder what would happen if i made one and used it. hmm...
Ora backlash7 years ago
Maybe it would be the new cure for lazy eyes!
whopoder8 years ago
Cool! But need a reference, size of the box (dimensions). Who know how to make a stereo photo viewer?
big-mac8 years ago
wow! nice. i like it. its a pretty simple yet effective idea.
Mad Cat8 years ago
Whoa, that would feel wierd.
interesting. if you want small mirrors, they sell little round mirros about the size of a quarter at Wal*Mart. I'll have to try this. another cool eye trick: hold your eyelids open and let your eye "close" it will try to close but your fingers are holding it open, the result is your eyes roll back in your head and creep people out
irritant#98 years ago
Most importantly : wheredya get the cool rubber band box?
Nachimir (author)  irritant#98 years ago
My housemate has a girlfriend from Tokyo, she left it behind when she visited last :)
I thought so! I was wondering cuz I just looked at my desk and noticed that I have the same rubber band box! BTW I'm in Japan.
bruce868 years ago
I'd figure it would only be harmful if you are child and used this alot. Children born with misaligned eyes, without treatment might go blind. Their brains find the misaligned images very confusing so shuts off information from one eye to simplify the information coming.
Nachimir (author)  bruce868 years ago
I'd advise anyone taking heed of Jim's caution to familiarise theirself with his work. He operates on a very different plane ;)
paralyys9 years ago
I see the important question - the angel between the two mirrors not being addressed here at all.
Des6 paralyys8 years ago
Angel? Did someone see an angel?
ARVash Des68 years ago
duh that's how the whole thing works :P.
dredwolff8 years ago
OMG I'm BLIND! (just kidding) I don't think these things are dangerous, people can cross their eyes, and I even have a friend that can rotate one while holding the other still and rotate both in opposite directions. If anything it might give you better control over your eye muscles ;)
crapflinger8 years ago
i wonder if you'd be able to solve the lighting issue by putting some led's inside the box behind some form of filter? like maybe a couple leds in the nose bridge portion? or something like that? you could even have interchangable colored filters for the leds to make it even more disorienting
Doom_Goat8 years ago
nice, simple yet effective idea
radiorental9 years ago
I had my eye inspected after a nasty accident. I was able to see a reflection in the examination lense of the light shining on the back of my retina. So I was looking at the stuff I was looking with, at the stuff.. if you know what I mean. Very trippy image too.
Nachimir (author)  radiorental9 years ago
Being able to see my own retina has always been the cooloest thing about going to opticians :) Hope your eye was ok.
Yeah it always reminds me of red vines growing on a blue wall when i see my own retina!
graphak8 years ago
this can be done in the bathroom mirror with another portable mirror held at about 90 degrees perpendicular. I want to make your looty, but dont want to go find a glass cutter.
Nachimir (author)  graphak8 years ago
It can *kind of* be done that way, but without anything preventing your eyelines from overlapping, your brain just reconstructs a fairly normal looking stereoscopic image. The diagrams in step 6 give a more complete explanation.
guerroloco9 years ago
Cheaper than string? Amazing!
herbicide9 years ago
It looks to be 45 degrees.
That depends on what you mean by "45 degrees", each mirror is 45 degrees from the center, correct, and thusly 90 degrees from eachother making sure that the angle they meet is a so called "right" angle. It's basic optics, light shining on a reflective surface placed at 45 degrees will reflect the light out by 90 degrees, to reflect it back (so one eye can see the other) you thusly place another mirror on -45 degrees.
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