Monday, July 11, 2005

Incredible Optical Illusions - UPDATED

Check out the incredible optical illusion at left. It's one of those checkerboards in which two different squares, in this case A and B, turn out to be exactly the same shade of grey. (For a full explanation and proof, check here.) Normally, when I see these types of illusions I can kind of squint and see that they're actually the same. Not so with this one; I actually had to put Post-It's on my computer to convince myself! (see below)

Incidentally, if you're into optical illusions, the mother of all optical illusion pages is Akiyoshi's Illusion Pages. Akiyoshi Kitaoka is an Associate Professor of Psychology at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan, and he specializes in the study and design of trippy "visual illusions" like the one below. Some of these are absolutely mind-blowing; you gotta' love a page with this serious warning at the outset:

Caution: This page contains some works of "anomalous motion illusion", which might make sensitive observers dizzy or sick. Should you feel dizzy, you had better leave this page immediately.

Tip O' the Hat (TOTH) to for adding image capability right into their package. The Checkerboard Illusion has been around for a while, but I was recently reminded of it and called to really examine it by a report on Rocketboom, a fantastic daily 3-minute news roundup featuring the adorable Amanda Congdon. Rocketboom is pretty much what we all wish the daily news shows could be: incisive, sharp, and witty.

UPDATE: I forgot to also mention Caltech Professor Al Seckel's homepage, which contains much info about optical illusions including a whole section on his extraordinary book, Masters of Deception: Escher, DalĂ­ & the Artists of Optical Illusion. Also check out the vast gallery at eyetricks. Lots to peruse here!

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