What you see is what you’ve not got

We’re all used to optical illusions. There’s a pleasing puzzlement in seeing something which we know cannot be ‘true’, but looks like it is, followed by the satisfying resolution of understanding just how we were tricked.

Every realist painting is also an optical illusion in getting us to perceive depth in what we know is a flat image, and one fascination of hyperrealist paintings is their illusion of being more real, more detailed, and clearer than real life.

Kokichi Sugihara, a mathematician at Meiji University in Japan, accomplishes an extraordinary sleight of mind in his Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion. This goes far beyond any illusion which I have seen before, to the point where the only feasible explanation is magic.

His explanation, in the form of a scientific paper published online in Symmetry, is mathematically elegant, but I suspect most will be left thinking that it was, after all, mathemagic.

I think it’s time for a short break in a darkened room.

Thanks to @adambanksdotcom for drawing my attention to this. The image shown is a still from Kokichi Sugihara’s demonstration posted on YouTube.