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3D Staircase Wins 2020 Best Illusion Of The Year Contest

When it rotates, it seems to shift directions right in front of your eyes.

We often judge the world around us by what we see. It’s little wonder that we do, considering the fact that most of our brainpower is geared toward our sense of sight. That is why, when we see something, we tend to believe it. Then again, all we need to do is see one good optical illusion, and our world of “what you see is what you get” can come unraveled.

People not only enjoy looking at optical illusions, but there is also a group of individuals that enjoy creating them. There is even an annual event, the “Best Illusion of the Year Contest,” that is joined by thousands of people who send in their best work. It even took place in 2020 and the winner’s list is now available.

One of the better known optical illusions is the “Schröder Staircase”. You may not know it by name, but German natural scientist Heinrich G. F. Schröder first published the 2D version of that staircase in 1858. Depending on the way you look at the staircase, it may appear differently and it seems to be endlessly shifting in front of you.

Photo: YouTube /Best Illusion of the Year Contest

Typically, it is drawn as 2 different panels, and when you look at one panel, the top of the stairs appear to be on the left but looking at the B panel makes it look like it is running in the opposite direction.

Dr. Kokichi Sugihara, a Japanese Professor of Engineering won the first prize in 2020. He created a 3D model of the famous illusion, and when it rotates, it seems to shift directions right in front of your eyes.

He said: “This object is an example of my experimental material to investigate the behavior of the brains, which are apt to misperceive 2D pictures as 3D objects when they are embedded in real 3D structures. The Schroeder Staircase, which is known as an ambiguous picture for more than 150 years, is decorated by real 3D side walls and support columns. As a result, we perceive new ambiguity, which is different from that of the original Schroeder Staircase.”