Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Optical illusions

In short order, I have found some of the best optical illusions on the web - and the best site to view more...
You will be amazed to learn that the blue and the green in the image at the top are the same color! I found the image here and there is further explanation here.
The illusion in the center appears to spiral, but it is in fact made up of 4 circles that do not touch each other! The image is here and is from the blog of psychologist Richard Wiseman.
Your eyes alone are animating the illusion at the bottom, which I found here with a tip on how to make the movement stop.
The powerful illusion here is called the Pinna-Brelstaff illusion and is animated because moving toward and away from the static image causes the rings to rotate. I first saw it at a Ripley's museum. The example and explanation are among 84 Optical Illusions and Visual Phenomena on the website of German professor of opthalmology Michael Bach. It is this site that I have found to be the most accessible, comprehensive, and informative regarding optical illusions - though I have only scratched the surface.
Coincidentally - and not the catalyst for this post - comes the weird news that a sculpture that functions as an optical illusion is being installed in the middle of a roundabout it Middlewich, Chesire, England. The segmented arch by local artist Stephen Charnock will appear complete from certain angles. Reminds me of some of the etchings by M.C. Escher and sounds interesting, but I'm not sure it's a good idea to entice drivers to take their eyes off the road - this from someone who tapped the car in front of me when my eyes were drawn to an ugly temporary sculpture placed in a median I passed every day...

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