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The Top 3 Most Spectacular Optical Illusions of 2016

The Top 3 Most Spectacular Optical Illusions of 2016

Anger, fear, or some form of frustration are the typical reactions we have when we realize what we’ve seen isn’t, in fact, what we’ve actually gotten. But our emotional dials do tend to swing back for vastly more pleasurable readings when the switcheroo-in-question is an optical illusion. Illusion of the Year lived up to its name again recently by ranking and rewarding 2016’s most appealing tricks. Some put new spins on classic gimmicks. Others use contemporary video tools to perform even-more-specific glamours. At least one showcases a feat of engineering that baffles viewers from any and all points-of-view. Enjoy the top three below…

#3 Silhouette Zoetrope

Christine Veras of Singapore’s Nanyang University inverts the very concept of humanity’s oldest animation technique here, positioning the avian models outside the center of the zoetrope such that slitted flickers make their varying flight positions seem continuous.

#2 Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion

Are these rounded cylinders, or squared pillars? Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University has crafted uneven little constructs whose very design seems to change fundamentally depending on which height they’re viewed from. What’s most remarkable? Unlike the precise vantages needed to make certain street murals seem 3D, these “ambiguous cylinders” maintain their illusion from many angles. Really, you’d have to hold them up for close inspection to find where the fix is.

#1 Motion Integration Unleashed

Mathew T. Harrison and Gideon P. Caplovitz at the University of Nevada, Reno, demonstrate how “drifting” in a little B&W graphic can often suggest motion more strongly than motion itself can convey. And if that description seems a bit confusing, then good–that’s exactly what trying to track the placement of hypnotic patterns in the duo’s video feels like.

There are seven more illusions in the list of winners–would you have ranked them differently? Share your thoughts on which ones were actually the best in the talkback.

Featured Image Credit: Illusion of the Year

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