The back monitor is displaying exactly what the LCD next to the lens is displaying.
The output of the camera is displayed on the Macbook. As the viewer moves his or her head, the perspective of the bulb changes.
There's an old hack from about 9 years ago that uses a Wiimote to track head movements and creates a 3D effect by changing the perspectives of the objects on screen accordingly (https://youtu.be/Jd3-eiid-Uw?t=150). We wanted to build a camera that can capture a real-world object that can be used with this kind of technology.
What it does
Basically if you are viewing live video coming from the camera on your laptop you should feel like you are looking through a window into another world (instead of looking at a static image). So if there happened to be a person's face (lets call him Bill) on the other side of the window, if you moved your head to the right a bit, you would see more of the left side of Bill's face, and if you moved your head slightly up, you would see more of Bill's hair as if you were looking down at him.
How we built it
A bunch of cardboard boxes, an LCD, a cheap plastic Fresnel lens, posterboard, and a webcam. We used OpenCV for the head tracking and python to interact with the LCD.
Challenges we ran into
Getting a sharp image.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
Getting the thing to actually work.
What we learned
A lot about lenses and focusing. Also we figured out how to use OpenCV which is something none of us have ever used before!
What's next for Perspective Cam
Using one of the transparent LCD's on the market instead of a normal one, and a quality lens/CCD. These changes could make the hack into a proper camera that can take images of scenes and not just a single light bulb.