September 3, 2013
I don’t know how many times I’ve wondered about something and just didn’t have the brain power to simply analyze and figure it out. I think a lot of us are like that when it comes to assembling something or installing software. We try to do it without reading the instructions or after looking at the poor illustrations of what part goes where we give up and then might start to analyze it. Maybe.
Perhaps seeing through frosted glass isn’t something I’ve really ever thought about so I didn’t even have a chance to use my brain power on this one. But there’s a simple trick and a simple explanation. It also has something to do with optics. Just take a piece of transparent tape and press it on the frosted side of the glass/window. It won’t work if you put it on the smooth side.
Here’s why it works. The frosted side has a lot of irregular edges so light bounces every which way. It’s like a cloud in the sky. There’s light in there but it’s rays are so scattered that we can’t see through it. But, if we fill in the little imperfections on the frosted side with the adhesive part of the tape and smooth it down a bit what happens is the imperfections are filled in which makes the surface more like smooth flat glass. That won’t work on a cloud though. Kinda hard to smooth tape around that.
Yes, we are going to get into optics just a little bit here and this applies to any optical surface that is irregular. I’ll use the front of the eye as an example. But first, don’t put tape on your eye. The eye’s irregularity is a little different than frosted glass. A person with astigmatism might have some irregularity on the front surface of the eye that can be corrected with a gas permeable lens in a similar way that the tape corrects the irregular surface of the frosted glass. A gas perm lens is a hard lens so you don’t press on it to fill in the irregular surface of the eye. What happens is the tears of the eye fill in the irregular areas underneath the gas perm lens so the whole optics system becomes a smoother surface for light to go through. Astigmatism can be corrected with soft lenses but those work more like glasses rather than smoothing out the actual surface.
Back to the tape and the window. One suggestion. Some frosted surfaces are just a plastic film put on the glass or even just sprayed on film. Don’t press the tape down on all edges. You want an easy way to peel it off without having to scrape the tape off.
One more thing. You could make a smooth surface without using tape. If you can put water or some other fluid on the surface and then press a clear flat piece of material against that you will create a smooth surface to see through. Maybe try corn syrup but then you have to clean that off. This could get a bit messy but others have mentioned other syrups or honey.
Here’s a video of someone putting clear tape on frosted glass: