Magic Lens

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Magic Lens™ filters are a user interface tool that combine an arbitrarily-shaped region with an operator that changes the view of objects viewed through that region.
The notion of the Magic Lens was introduced in Toolglass and Magic Lenses by Eric Bier et. al., and a similar idea was presented as the Portal Filter in Perlin and Fox’s paper from the same conference. A Magic Lens is a transparent or semi-transparent user interface element which can be placed over objects to change their appearance and/or their interactive behavior

Showing a modified view of the selected region of interest while leaving the rest of the visualization unchanged, these tools extend the metaphor of a magnifying glass to include any sort of useful visual transformation of application data. They can be used to help the user understand various types of information, from text documents to scientific visualizations.


  • [Stone et al, 2004]: Maureen C.Stone, Ken Fishkin, Eric A Bier, The Movable Filter as a User Interface Tool,2004.
  • [Viega et al, 1996]: John Viega, Matthew J. Conway, George Williams, and Randy Pausch, 3D magic Lenses, ACM, 1996, Pages 51–58.
  • [Fox, 1998]:David Fox, NYU Media Research Lab, ACM, Composing Magic Lenses, 1998]