Convex mirrors offer so many uses and outside, that they make a great, inexpensive security feature.
There are three types of security mirror ‘shape’ or form:
– The plane mirror is a flat surface and the object being reflected is the same size
– The concave mirror is shaped as in the inside of a bowl and are used for focusing light; the object reflected often appears larger than the original, as well as being upside down.
– The convex mirror is curved as in the outside of a bowl, in a slight dome shape; convex mirrors reflect a wider viewing area with the reflected objects often appearing smaller than what they are.
Using convex mirrors indoors are often used in ‘tight’ areas that can sometimes be found in warehouses, corridors, hallway intersections and can help in avoiding human ‘collisions’, especially when mounted on corners where these intersections meet. They can be mounted on the wall or on the ceiling. They can also be fairly light, being made from polycarbonates or metals and can have varying degrees of curvature. Some convex mirrors are made for use in specific applications, such as on forklift trucks; investing restively very little in a convex mirror can save on expensive repairs on forklifts in packed warehouses.
Convex mirrors outdoors have similar uses to those indoors, i.e. to avoid collisions. Again they can be mounted on the outside of building on the wall or in some cases on poles and are used to able to seeing reflected objects around corners or blind bends. The material they are made from may differ slightly to offer them robustness against the elements.
Convex mirrors are also an inexpensive security tool. When mounted on shop floors on columns etc., personnel can keep a close eye on suspected shoplifters.
Other applications for convex mirrors:
Vehicles – convex mirrors can be used as rear-view mirrors and some vehicles do have convex mirrors fitted, usually accompanied by a sticker stating ‘mirrors in the rear view mirror may be closer and smaller’. Some larger mirrors such as those found on heavy goods vehicles can also have a smaller convex mirror inset within the main wing mirror, offering the driver a wider angle when reversing or manoeuvring.
Inspection tools – when personnel need to see into small, tight spaces that cannot be physically accessed, convex mirrors, usually mounted on an extendable pole, can be used to inspect these areas. A light can also be used to illuminate the area with a common use for inspection mirrors being used for visual inspection for the underside of vehicles.
Automated Teller Machines (ATM) – many banks are installing smaller convex mirrors in their ATM machines so that customers can see behind them when making cash withdrawals.
Mobile phones – some mobile phone manufacturers are also realising the potential of small convex mirrors within the cell phone camera.
Convex mirrors are incredibly versatile and inexpensive with some clear advantages; they can be placed indoors or out and, despite being ‘on duty’ 24 hours a day, convex mirrors require very little maintenance after installation, apart from the occasional clean.
With the versatility in applications for convex mirrors it is easy to forget there are some distinct disadvantages to convex mirrors:
– Convex mirrors make objects appear smaller than what they are in reality, although it allows a wider viewpoint in a smaller pace
– Reflected images are distorted in shape as a result of the convex mirror shape; for this reason, it can be difficult to determine the actual placements of objects
– As a security measure, they do need to watched continually unlike surveillance cameras that can record 24 hours a day
Convex mirrors in vehicles can sometimes lead to misjudgement of speed as well as miscalculation of distances as a direct result of the mirror curvature in the car
– Convex mirrors have many applications for safety, security and increased visibility. Convex mirrors can be installed so that they are visible or not noticeable but all in all, it would be very difficult to manage in some situations without them.