Continuing his highly-regarded work in the illusion community, artist and mathematician Kokichi Sugihara won the 2018 Best Illusion of the Year award for his Triply Ambiguous Object. The piece includes a paper with an image, a small flag, and two mirrors. Watch the video above to see it in action.

The object generates three different interpretations when it is seen from three special viewpoints. Most of existing ambiguous pictures/objects, such as Necker cube and Schroeder staircase, generate only two interpretations.

The present object consists of a 2D picture of a rectangular structure and a pole with a flag. The picture is placed on a horizontal surface and it is seen in slanted directions so that one group of parallel lines appears to be vertical. Then we perceive three different structures because they are compressed in different directions. The pole with a flag represents the direction of the gravity, which strengthens the illusion.

Triply Ambiguous Object by Kokichi Sugihara
The annual award was founded by Susana Martinez-Conde and Stephen Macknik, authors of the books Champions of Illusion: The Science Behind Mind-Boggling Images and Mystifying Brain Puzzles and Sleights of Mind: What the Neuroscience of Magic Reveals about Our Everyday Deceptions.

Watch more of Professor Sugihara’s illusions on this site, including his mind-blowing illusions with math, the Impossible Rooftop & Folding Ladder Illusions, and the award-winning Ambiguous Cylinder Illusion.

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