Spinning Arrow Illusion Gives Deep Insight into Perception

May 5 2018 -- 9:00 AM

Sploid picked up on the little head-scratching arrow, which was posted to Instagram by physicsfun, and then reposted to reddit. And although it may seem like straight-up Melisandre magic from Game of Thrones at first, there is a mind-blowing geometrical reason for why this arrow cannot be turned.

Sugihara, who's dedicated his life to mathematics and career to “the application of geometry to the engineering sciences,” has basically been developing a way for computers to take drawn 2D diagrams and turn them into 3D objects. This is essential for machine vision, which is key for mapping terrain and environment...which is crucial for everything from self-driving cars to robots.

Even more wild images created by Sugihara. Video: YouTube/ The Illusion Contest 

During his research into machine vision, Sugihara did something innovative: he tried to have a computer recreate a 2D drawing of an optical illusion--you know, like these, which really bend the ol' human brain. But instead of being brain-bended by the illusion, the computer simply created the 3D object, which Sugihara says could never have been imagined as possible with human visual perception systems.

This means the machines are making new shapes we literally can't conceive of by bypassing our normal assumptions about reality. And when you look at that non-spinning/spinning arrow, you're looking at a real-life manifestation of an object that has been designed by a computer based on a 2D optical illusion. An object we couldn't have ever thought of without computers.

via Giphy
How much does your brain hurt right now? What kinds of crazy inconceivable objects do you think machines are going to create next? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image: physicsfun, Fox

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