A Comprehensive Guide to Dome Mirrors
A dome mirror is a device that is spherical in shape with a curved (convex) design and a reflective film coating on either an acrylic or unbreakable (polycarbonate, Duramir or PETG) surface used for observation, monitoring, surveillance, safety and security purposes. The term dome mirror is more of a broad term or description as there three distinct types of a dome mirror; full dome mirror, half dome mirror and a quarter dome mirror. Think of it this way; trucks, cars, motorcycles, and boats are all vehicles, but they all are very different and distinct in design and serve different purposes. This comprehensive guide is to help you understand just what a dome mirror is, the purposes and uses of a dome mirror and the many different alias dome mirrors are known by.
A dome mirror can also be known by a variety of different names such as a security mirrors, security domes, convex dome, safety dome, spherical mirror, panoramic mirror, warehouse mirror, hallway mirror, ceiling dome mirrors, surveillance mirror, fish eye mirror, and observation mirror. All of the various names can create confusion and uncertainty even though the functionality is pretty much all the same. A dome mirror is primarily targeted at those with a need to bring hard to see areas into better view. These areas can vary drastically in nature. They can be large open spans such as a warehouse or large retail store to confined spaces such as a narrow hallway in an office or a prison cell. One of the most important things to remember is the how the three different types of dome mirrors (half dome mirror, full dome mirror, and quarter dome mirror) relate to a need. They are all “dome mirrors” indeed but they all have very different and unique designs and purposes. PC’s, laptops, PDA’s, tablets, cell phones and smart phones are all computers but each device has its own identity and purpose. What engineer would use a handheld device to draw up blueprints? What fishing charter captain would carry a PC on their skiff just to check the latest weather conditions? By the same token, you wouldn’t use a quarter dome mirror on a ceiling to provide a bird’s eye view of an area when a full dome mirror is needed and you wouldn’t use a full dome mirror in the corner of a wall to view traffic down either side of a hallway that a quarter dome would provide. It’s crucial to understanding what type of dome mirror is needed in the task at hand. Another important factor to keep in mind is that the images in a dome mirror are much smaller than images in a round convex mirror or rectangular convex mirror. This is a product of the curvature, height and width of dome mirrors. Dome mirrors are indeed convex in nature but the geometry is in sharp contrast to round and rectangular convex mirrors.
A Full dome mirror is exactly one half of a sphere such as the shape of a ball cut in half. Full Dome mirrors provide a 360 degree field of view which means images are reflected in every direction. Full domes are often referred to as a 360 degree dome mirror, 4 way mirror, or a panoramic dome mirror. A full dome mirror is the best dome mirror to cover large areas especially when multiple domes are used in conjunction with each other. The may be suspended from a ceiling with chains or flush mount. Full dome mirror applications include warehouses, retail stores, and hospitals providing overhead surveillance.
A half dome mirror is a full dome mirror cut in half. Imagine your morning cereal bowl cut it half and you have the resemblance of a half dome mirror. Half dome mirrors provide a 180 degree field of view. The half dome mirror is also known as a 180 degree mirror or T intersection mirror. Half domes are most often placed on a wall along areas where 3 intersections meet such as hallways, isles, and corridors. This intersection resembles the letter “T” hence the name T style mirror. A half dome mirror is common in offices, warehouses, retail stores, hospitals, and reception areas. Half dome mirrors may be placed anyway up on down a wall and can also be ceiling mounted as well.
A quarter dome mirror is one quarter of a full dome mirror. Their appearance is that of a bowed out triangle. Quarter dome mirrors provide a 90 degree field of view. A quarter dome mirror is commonly referred to as a 90 degree mirror, corner dome mirror, and L intersection mirror. Quarter domes mount in a corner of a wall at the top of the ceiling and allow for complete viewing of the area. The intersection of two walls resembles the letter “L” so this is how the term L intersection mirror was coined. A quarter dome mirror will be found in hospitals, clinics, offices, elevators, prison cells, etc. Even with large quarter dome mirrors, images appear much smaller than they do in round convex mirrors so please be cognizant of this when considering quarter domes.
A Drop in dome mirror is a handy type of dome mirror when the installation has a drop ceiling, suspended ceiling, T bar ceiling, false ceiling or grid ceiling. This type of ceiling is common in modern commercial construction and has metal grids with ceiling tiles most often made from mineral fiber, wood panels, or metal or plastic. Drop in domes are really a full dome mirror with a platform type base. The mirrors are half a sphere (full dome) and normally offered in a 22” diameter. Drop in domes can be ordered to fit a 2’X2’ (24”X24”) ceiling tile space or a 2’X4’ (24”X48”) ceiling tile space. The drop in dome is composed of an acrylic material and is offered in a mirrored finish, see through finish, or a smoked dome finish. Drop in domes offer fast and easy installation in offices, restaurants, and retail shops with drop ceilings.