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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  • dfghjk
    dfghjkSaturday, January 25, 2020 at 9:24 am
    this makes me dizzy so, I will give it an a+
    • herminefanhd
      herminefanhdFriday, January 24, 2020 at 5:41 pm
      • rockheadarcher
        rockheadarcherThursday, January 23, 2020 at 11:26 am
        I Think I am very fond of the dual Axis one. I find it very deceptive, crucial to what out minds see.
        • flakeyxlolbit4e
          flakeyxlolbit4eThursday, January 23, 2020 at 8:44 am
          i love the change the color one iz so cool
          • foxblitzen
            foxblitzenThursday, January 23, 2020 at 8:24 am
            only the 2nd & 3rd illusions where actually illusions.
            • serena415
              serena415Tuesday, January 21, 2020 at 11:00 am
              There's nothing on any picture except the 1st one
              • gggggggamer101
                gggggggamer101Saturday, January 18, 2020 at 6:46 am
                0mg so cool
                • gycymity-156700707135
                  gycymity-156700707135Friday, January 17, 2020 at 8:54 am
                  the first and last one I under standed.The 2 and 3 I did not.they all were awesome!!!!!
                  • l3wist0n
                    l3wist0nThursday, January 16, 2020 at 5:31 pm
                    After the first video i just had to sit down for a moment😄😄😄
                    • wojo
                      wojoThursday, January 16, 2020 at 3:36 pm
                      the only one that had the dots is the only one with an allusion. it wasn't that mind-blowing, I'm sorry if i disappointed you but that is how I feel. 😢