This Pointing Arrow Illusion Will Seriously Mess With Your Brain

Things are not what they seem. If you ever needed proof, there's an arrow we could show you, one that points to a different kind of truth.

But be warned – once you've seen it, you'll never look at the world quite the same way again, thanks to the mind-melting brilliance of Japanese mathematician and optical illusionist Kokichi Sugihara.

“Spin this arrow 180 degrees and it still points to the right,” the description reads. “[O]nly in a mirror will it point left (and only to the left).”

The obvious answer for how this works is magic. Sugihara is some sort of wizard, and we’re all being subjected to his heretical ways. God help us all.

The other possibility is that it is science. If you watch the video, the arrow is tilted up to reveal its true shape, sort of an oblong object with two pointy bits.

If you then place a mirror behind the arrow, it appears to point in the opposite direction continuously. A clue!

View this post on Instagram

Right Pointing Arrow: spin this arrow 180 degrees and it still points to the right- only in a mirror will it point left (and only to the left). Another incredible ambiguous object illusion by mathematician Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University in Japan, the inventor of this illusion and art form. A clever combination of reflection, perspective, and viewing angle produce this striking illusion. ➡️ Follow the link in my profile for info about where to get this illusion arrow and other amazing items featured here on @physicsfun #illusion #ambiguouscylinderillusion #ambiguouscylinder #geometry #mirrorreflection #physics #ambiguousobject #kokichisugihara #physicstoy #math #mathtoy #mathstoy #optics #opticalillusion #3dprinting #perspective #science #scienceisawesome

A post shared by physicsfun (@physicsfun) on

What's so amazing about this illusion is that even when its workings are revealed to you, your eyes and brain instantly fool you again when the arrow is placed back on the table – unable to resist the diversion of the strange shape's curves.

If you like that, you'll love an even more bewildering example of the same visual mischief, in what Sugihara calls his 'ambiguous cylinder illusion':

In this one, we're not dealing with arrows, but with a configuration of square-looking prisms, which actually turn out to be perfect cylinders. Or is it the other way around?

Even more confusingly, some of these geometrical shape-shifters seem to be inter-linked with one another, but their reflections suggest otherwise, depicting clearly separated objects.

"The direct views of the objects and their mirror images generate quite different interpretations of the 3D shapes," Sugihara explained back in 2016.

"We cannot correct our interpretations, although we logically know that they come from the same objects. Even if the object is rotated in front of a viewer, it is difficult to understand the true shape of the object, and thus the illusion does not disappear."

That's right, Sugihara. The only thing that seems to have disappeared around here is my fleeting certainty in the shape of known reality, but hey, that's okay.

10/10, would have brain melted again.

Comments