This App Enables Us to Interact With Objects in the 4th Dimension
A new iPhone and iPad application let's people manipulate objects in the mystifying, geometrical fourth dimension.
We move within a three-dimensional space, and yet, in the realms of math and metaphysics, we have posited the existence of a fourth dimension. And not just that: in Einstein’s physical model, the fourth temporal dimension implies, in spatial terms, a realm of complex and pure geometry.
In his novel Flatland, Edwin Abbot gives narrative voice to a square, an entity that inhabits a two-dimensional space and therefore cannot entirely perceive a three dimensional object like, for instance, an apple. It can only see its edges or its silhouette. In a similar manner, we can only conceive of objects in the third dimension.
Luckily for us, our imagination has a useful ally that enables it to materialize in the virtual realm. The iPhone and iPad app, The Fourth Dimension, allows us to interact with 4D objects and change their shape in a series of fun, educational exercises. The touchscreen allows us to deconstruct a polyhydric and multidimensional figure: the tesseract, or hypercube (a cube in 4D). For some, this may be more confusing than stimulating, but for the math aficionado, it’s little less than epiphanic. The developers say that this is the only way we could ever “touch” an object in 4D without having to use lab-equipment that is incredibly pricy, dangerous and, up till now, entirely theoretical.
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