Watch these pieces of acrylic morph into something else before your eyes.

Optical illusions have fascinated us for the longest time, but when Professor Kokichi Sugihara of Meiji University began devising strange objects that look entirely different when viewed using a mirror, he left our brains hopelessly scrambled.

Sugihara is a mathematician and artist whose optical toys have won him numerous awards at the international Best Illusion of the Year Contest, all remarkable achievements that inspired him to create even more mystifying objects. Today, his creations continue to amaze his ever-increasing fanbase.

▼ Clean, sleek, and extremely clever.

Resembling something like a four-pointed star, a 180-degree rotation immediately transforms angular lines into smooth round circles. A mirror completes the illusion, showing that the object looks completely different when viewed from the opposite side.

Despite Sugihara’s love for smoke and mirrors, he is not one to leave others in the dark, picking up the toy to reveal ingenious contours designed to fool our eyes.

▼ One of his simpler toys is the arrow that always points to the right.

▼ It’s hard to believe it actually looks like this from another angle.

Gradual height difference creates the illusion of rounded edges, as seen in the left end of the arrow, while sudden elevation of the edges gives a distinct pointed visual effect.

▼ Next is a clover that turns into a heart,
with a mirror to show how it looks like from different viewpoints.

The design for this particular toy is actually quite complex for such a straightforward transformation, making full use of the viewer’s fixed perspective for its two shapes. Like the two objects before it, the clover-and-heart would likely appear to be a random piece of acrylic when not viewed from the intended angle.

▼ How did Sugihara even come up with something like this?

The best optical illusions often employ ways to fool our minds into seeing straight lines when none are present, or to hide something in plain sight. Sugihara may be a mathematician, but his ambiguous toys that strike a fine balance between intricacy and simplicity make him a magician of a very distinctive kind.

Source: Instagram/physicsfun, YouTube/Meiji University via Kotaro
Featured image: Instagram/physicsfun
Insert images: YouTube/Meiji University

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