I recently went to a museum of miniatures. I was delighted by the craftsmanship, the perfect fidelity with which dedicated artists faithfully created the illusion of reality, on an exceedingly small scale.

At one point I saw a life size table and chair. Next to this tableaux, in a little glass case, I was delighted to see a precise reproduction of the full size furniture, perfect down to the tiniest detail. I admit I was vaguely disappointed not to see, within that little glass case, another still smaller case, containing recursively tinier versions of the scene, echoing down to infinity.

In a few years, as mixed reality glasses start to become practical, and then very common, the experience of seeing such miniature worlds might change. We may come to expect them to be inhabited, full of tiny animated people going about their day.

Every once in a while one of those exquisitely formed tiny people will turn to look at us, noticing the presence of giant beings in their midst. I find myself wondering whether that tiny person will turn to one of her companions, and point to us. “You know,” she might say, “until recently we didn’t have the technology to do that.”

3 thoughts on “Miniatures”

  1. Croquet had a micro-world portal as well.
    I cut the recursion at 1 level, but it would happily recurse forever.
    I never worked out what a proper transition would be for the user when they jump into the micro-world.

    The link is an image showing me looking at a window containing a micro-world that contains my rabbit avatar looking at the window with, in this case, an empty micro-world. I used clipping planes to to bound the micro-worlds, and couldn’t figure out a way to do that recursively, as the containing clipping planes needed to still be active when you rendered the contained object.

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