Mirror, Mirror.

3D Print this Amazing Optical Illusion

Ambiguous Cylinder

The optical illusion “Ambiguous Cylinder”  has been driving everyone crazy on Reddit. Finally, there is now a 3D printed solution to put your confused mind at rest.

The ‘ambiguous cylinders’ illusion was created by Kokichi Sugihara, a professor of engineering at Meiji University in Japan. Due to its mind-boggling capabilities, it has won the second prize winner in 2016’s Best Illusion of the Year contest. This competition is community-run to remind everyone that “all perception is illusory to some extent.”

You may also have had your mind twisted by Sugihara’s work before as he created the impressive anti-gravity slopes, which was the winner of the Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest 2010.

For this year, Sugihara resorted to what’s called ambiguous cylinders. Squares and circles aren’t the only illusion you can generate with this technique. Watch this marvel:

Bildschirmfoto 2016-07-04 um 14.27.27

If you still haven’t got your head around these 3D printed cylinders, and we don’t blame you, make sure to check out a simpler version created by Sugihara known as the “ambiguous garage roof illusion”. You can find the PDF on his website.

As with all illusions, the ambiguous cylinders rely on the viewer looking at them from a certain angle as well as some interesting placed folds, which appear to be curves.

Bildschirmfoto 2016-07-04 um 14.24.42

Here’s how the Ambiguous Cylinder Optical Illusion Works

Although this may appear as a trick of the light or the camera, it is a genuine optical illusion, but how does it work? To answer this, and help us all out, a YouTuber has solved the mystery by simply using a 3D printer to reverse the illusion.

You can download the file for 3D printing here. If you don’t have a 3D printer at hand, you can have the part printed by a professional 3D printing service. To get the best price, please use All3DP’s price comparison service.

You’ll notice from the video below that when it comes to the direct views of the objects compared to their mirror images, a variation of different interpretations of the 3D printed shapes can be had.

Although they may initially appear as vertical cylinders, their sections all appear to be different meaning at one angle they appear to be circles, whereas another they look like rectangles.

The catch of this fantastic optical illusion is that you cannot correct your interpretations even when the object is being moved in front of you.

Although, logically you know that the illusion comes from the same shape, it is difficult to understand the true shape of the object which means the illusion does not disappear.

The direct views of the objects and their mirror images generate very different interpretations of the 3D shapes.