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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  • snowflake3478
    snowflake3478Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 11:38 am
    *Opens realizes that it is all videos and remembers i am at school and cant watch videos* OfF
    • shootingstars
      shootingstarsThursday, January 16, 2020 at 7:28 pm
      Same here! xD
    • dogwhisper2010
      dogwhisper2010Thursday, January 16, 2020 at 7:32 am
      wait what? *pow ( mind explodes)
      • ishisme
        ishismeWednesday, January 15, 2020 at 10:14 am
        nobody listens to techno
        • mrverdon
          mrverdonThursday, January 16, 2020 at 5:55 am
          Thank you for agreeing !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
        • school54312334
          school54312334Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 9:01 am
          • jerry66
            jerry66Wednesday, January 15, 2020 at 8:56 am
            This is Very INTERESTING
            • hensleyjoseph
              hensleyjosephTuesday, January 14, 2020 at 7:13 pm
              So cool!
              • shamblinkason
                shamblinkasonTuesday, January 14, 2020 at 1:39 pm
                That was cool :0
                • oewfdm
                  oewfdmTuesday, January 14, 2020 at 1:20 pm
                  Whoa. that was cool!
                  • oewfdm
                    oewfdmTuesday, January 14, 2020 at 1:20 pm
                    Whoa. My mind has been blown. : o
                    • kinchin
                      kinchinTuesday, January 14, 2020 at 11:02 am
                      the dual axis was my favorite