Test Your Brain With These Spellbinding Optical Illusion Contest Winners


Magic Tic-Tac-Toe was one of the top ten finalists at the 2019 Best Illusion of the Year contest (Credit:Illusionoftheyear.com)

Now celebrating its fifteenth year, The Best Illusion of the Year is a fun contest hosted by the Neural Correlate Society in collaboration with the Museum of Mind. The competition encourages scientists and artists to showcase their ingenuity and creativity by submitting their best illusion through a short video. Here are this year's top 3 illusions selected by fans from the top 10 finalists in an online vote on December 13, 2019.

2019 Winner — Dual Axis

American game developer Frank Force took home the top prize of $3,000 for his spellbinding Dual Axis Illusion. The mirage features a deceptively simple illustration of the Greek ichthys fish symbol that seemingly defies logic by rotating around both the vertical and horizontal axis at once. Though visual clues introduced by Force allow the brain to perceive it revolving around a specific axis for short periods of time, the clever illusion returns as soon as the hints are removed.

2019 Runner-Up — Change the Color

University of Tokyo researcher Haruaki Fukuda's mind-boggling illusion, which alters an object's color based on movement, took home the second prize of $2000. In Change the Color, viewers will first see what appear to be rows of alternating red and green dots moving from top to bottom. However, if they focus on the animation long enough, the dots suddenly turn to yellow and start to move from left to right!

2019 Third Prize — The Rotating Circles

Ryan E.B. Mruczek and Gideon Paul Caplovitz, professors at the College of the Holy Cross and the University of Nevada, respectively, won the third prize and $1,000 with their submission, The Rotating Circles. In the mesmerizing video, a small circle is traveling along a perfectly circular path, until other moving circles are introduced. The original circle then appears to alter its path, either moving horizontally, vertically, side-to-side, or even in a triangular motion!

Closely observe all the illusions, including top-ten finalist, Magic Tic-Tac-Toe (below), and vote for your favorite one by adding your comments below.

Resources: illusionoftheyear.com, scientificamerican.com, gizmodo.com

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  • whoami11somwone
    whoami11somwoneWednesday, February 19, 2020 at 5:58 pm
    My favorite illusion is the dual axis one.
    • littleone
      littleoneTuesday, February 18, 2020 at 5:24 pm
      I like that game 🎮
      • kittyndogonews
        kittyndogonewsThursday, February 13, 2020 at 5:16 pm
        I love optical illusions it's so cool
        • pekulypy-157119259858
          pekulypy-157119259858Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 8:38 am
          its sooooo amazing
          • pekulypy-157119259858
            pekulypy-157119259858Wednesday, February 12, 2020 at 8:37 am
            • danicakes121
              danicakes121Friday, February 7, 2020 at 11:34 am
              That is so cool
              • runt_irnoblock
                runt_irnoblockFriday, February 7, 2020 at 9:29 am
                This is amazing!! What a way to go!!!!!!!!!!!!!
                • unipup_dogonews
                  unipup_dogonewsWednesday, February 5, 2020 at 4:02 pm
                  These mind illusion tricks are so cool. Like if you want to learn how to make one of them
                  • nitinnarayank
                    nitinnarayankTuesday, February 4, 2020 at 7:45 pm
                    Excellent Illusions and a very fun read!
                    • pickles85256897
                      pickles85256897Tuesday, February 4, 2020 at 9:56 am
                      that was cool really cool