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By on November 26, 2009, with 75 Comments

Greatest Impossible Animation Ever?David L’Heureux found this animated Gif online, and decided to share it with us. As the logic of the flowing object below is more than my mind can comprehend, I have to make a reference to the 4D Hypercube we talked about years ago.

Even though the animation below doesn’t need to be impossible at all, I decided to share it with you cause of it’s awesomeness. I want to say clearly, I’m aware we can’t show 4th dimension in our 3-dimensional space, but this is the closest I can explain 4th dimension to you in plain words:

Imagine you lived in a 1-dimensional space, and wanted to steal money from me. You could only move forward and backward on a straight line. Preventing you to steal from my safe would easily be done, just by placing a single dot (barrier) on the line between you and my safe.

In a 2D environment, imagine you lived in old Nintendo’s Super Mario world, and could move in all directions, except further and closer from the monitor’s surface. What is in front and behind the monitor would be unimaginable to you. Preventing you to steal from my safe would easily be done just by drawing a rectangle around my safe. Diverting over the rectangle would be impossible for you, since you couldn’t comprehend the 3rd dimension.

Now the person from 3rd dimension would easily pick up the content from the rectangle, leaving no damage to the rectangle barrier, since he wouldn’t even need to touch it. In a 3 dimensional world (our own), I would prevent you from stealing my safe, by placing it in a sealed box. You couldn’t open it from each of the 6 sides. But if an intruder came to my house, from a 4th dimension… now this is the tricky part to understand…. he would easily take the content out of the safe, without even needing to open it, nor would he touch it. Thus, resulting in undamaged safe, and missing content inside of it.

If you’re interested more in calculating the 4th dimension space, here is a good starting point.

Greatest Impossible Animation Ever?

Comments

75 Responses
  1. Alan says:

    This would be absolutely wonderful sitting on my desk at my computers!

  2. Nice, really hard to tell if it is actually moving its structure or if its merely rotating in a 360 degree circle.

  3. Brian says:

    It’s the mind of a women…

  4. egdirbr says:

    VERY NICE!!!

  5. Care Bear says:

    Well, now my mind is permanently blown. How do you expect me to get any work done with that running around in my brain?

  6. Chris says:

    this is actually possible to make. I actually have something very similar i bought a year or so ago. It’s not turning in on itself, it’s just rotating. Mine has a string attached to hang it and to make it work you spin it. quite cool.

  7. me says:

    O My GOSH THATS SO COOL

    (I dont get it though

  8. Carsten says:

    I think it looks more like a glass sculpture turning while somebody is taking its pictures….

  9. cecilia says:

    I loved it… Cool!!!
    The best I have ever seen.

  10. Elehas says:

    4th dimension is time.

  11. wow!! amazing!! is this impossible? it looks like it could work

  12. Josh Schultz says:

    From my understanding of it and from watching for a few minutes, its actually kinda simple….

    Think of a tube I guess…..the gif actually has a column shape to it which the “blue lines” go through, then heads back around the outside of the column and repeats….

    If you have a hollow column, take the blue lines and drop it through the column and back around the outside creating an endless loop.

    What is added with this is a swirling and spinning effects.

    Take the blue lines and now twist them on the inside and outside of the column, just like if you followed the outdent of a screw (if that makes sense)

    So think of a statue with these blue lines going through the column around and around and spinning all the time…..now take the camera and walk around the statue….

    Now you should have the full effect figured out….hopefully….and thats assuming I could explain it right…and that I am right in the first place :D

  13. anonymous says:

    i have a wire swirly thing with a ball in the middle and it spins around attatched to a string,
    it looks like the ball is moving up while the swirlys are going down but really they dont change positions, just spin round and round
    not sure if that makes sense, but hey

  14. Sammy Salter says:

    2nd comment is right, its merely rotating

  15. Sammy Salter says:

    also, another way to envisage dimensions is to think about the shape of the universe.

    space is supposed to “curve” so that if you set out in a straight line, you’d end up where you started, if you went on long enough. This initially seems ridiculous but bear with me.

    Imagine explaining to a one dimensional being a circle, where a 1D line is bent through the 2nd dimension to create a circle, where you end up back where you started if you continue forward long enough

    Imagine explaining to a 2 dimensional “flat” being a 3D sphere, where if you continue onwards long enough in a 2D plane bent through the 3rd dimension you would end up where you started

    Now attempt to imagine a universe with more than 3 dimensions, where 3D space is bent around in the 4th or even 5th dimension so that if you continue on long enough in a straight line you will end up where you started.

    The shape is made of 3 coils, each with only one turn and looping to connect to itself, all interlocked, creating the illusion when spun that there is a doughnut-like spiral turning itself inside out.

  16. popesantaxiv says:

    AIIIEEE!!
    I just spent half an hour looking at that thing and now I don’t know where I live or what my name is.

  17. Sammy Salter says:

    oops nope its one tube spiralled down through the centre three times and going up to the top around the outside – rotating slowly

  18. goots says:

    SO TRIPPY!
    i love it ! :D

  19. Bob Awsome says:

    The forth dimension is time in 3D space, and the fifth dimension in 4D space.

  20. sven says:

    wow that’s great! and i know the reality fault :P

  21. Gary Crandall says:

    Awesome! And an excellent explanation of dimensions. “I think, therefore I am….I think…”

  22. Danny says:

    Nice explaination of 4th dimension! For those that still don’t get it, I would like to clarify that even though time can be measured and have dimensions, it itself is not a dimension, and as such I beleive it cannot be travelled upon, only experienced.

    Time is a figment of our imaginations that we ourselves made up to make life easier, much like numbers.

    A hypothetical ’4th’ dimension would allow someone to solve such geometry problems as the Klein Bottle, by moving the parts out of the other three dimensions, just as a two dimensional mobius strip can be solved with 3d geometry.

    *phew* How many fourteen year olds will tell you that?

  23. Peet says:

    While I agree this is cool, it seems like a fairly simple object to make (at least if you know how to work with glass). I think Josh described it properly.

  24. Peter Gorham says:

    While I agree this is cool, it seems like a fairly simple object to make (at least if you know how to work with glass). I think Josh described it properly.

  25. 44calibergnome says:

    Could it be explained by a rotating sculpture being filmed by a camera rotating at a different rate and on a slightly different axis?

  26. rmarian24 says:

    ha! I love Brian’s comment!!

  27. Leon says:

    The real question is, how many bands are there? if you look at the outside it looks like 2-4 independant bands; look at the top and it even looks like they are entering at different points to the inner spiral. certainly not one. if you let your eyes follow the inside it’s one continuous flow.

  28. Adrian says:

    Am I the only one who isn’t impressed with this?
    Just looks like a rotating glass object…wow!

  29. Fried Calamari says:

    @ Elehas: the 4th dimension is time, but he is talking about the 4th SPATIAL dimension.

    I like the 3D work in this Gif. Got nice lighting and caustics going on with the sculpture.

    I have been looking at a still of the gif. trying to figure out its shape it looks tricky, I might try to recreate this if I have time. Would be nice to see this from the top view.

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  31. jijijdisjdf says:

    Simple. All it does is turn

  32. wicked! and isn’t the 4th dimension time? (according to einstein, anyway, lolz XD)

  33. m.francis says:

    I luv you baby, no shit!!!

  34. Erich says:

    We are, as I understand it, extremely 2-dimensional beings. Imagine the world: we can only move on it’s surface and on the surface of objects (buildings, mountains, caves). But, we can not move away (fly) or move into (dig) something, except when we use tools (aircrafts, tunnel drills). Otherwise, we are very much restricted by the surfaces on which we walk.
    The only thing we can do, is perceive the world and the universe 3-dimensionally, but we cannot move as we desire. Gravity and density are just two of the concepts which restrict our movements in the 3rd dimension, but there are more, such as need for an atmosphere or for a certain pressure.

    Time can be taken as a 4th dimension to describe a situation. If we could move freely forward and backward in time, I could go to a time before you built your box around your safe and easily steal your money! ;-)

  35. Nizati says:

    This would make a kicka$$ screensaver…….

  36. chiliguy says:

    Sorry to pop in here with a correction, but the “barriers” you discuss would all follow the n-1 rul for n-dimensional space. That is, in one-dimensional space, I am blocked by a zeroth-dimensional dot, as you had stated. But then in two-dimensional space, a one-dimensional line would keep me confined to my side. In three-dimensional space, a two-dimensional plane would be the minimum required to protect your money. So then it follows that a three-dimensional surface WOULD be a sufficient barrier in a four-dimensional space. The difference between such a surface here and in our three-dimensional world is that the three-dimensional barrier would effectively cut the four-dimensional world in “half” — leaving an infinite space on both sides of the barrier.

  37. Michael says:

    Just to note, I used Irfanview to extract the frames of the animation, allowing me to view it in forward and reverse at any speed and examine it in detail.

    I’m sure that it is a solid spinning object.

  38. Detective Kitty says:

    well i still really don’t understand 4th dimension but thats probably because if you’ve never seen something it’s hard to imagine it…but I love this I’d like this as a screen saver. I could probably stare at it all day…

  39. cszwei says:

    here is a 10min animation trying to explain higher dimensions up to the 10th

    http://www.tenthdimension.com/medialinks.php

  40. JAB says:

    I could stare all day too. This is the so said “BLACK HOLE” animation.

  41. Crenshaw Yeo says:

    In this case, what he means is 4th, VECTOR dimension, so time isnt exactly applicable. I know Time is considered a vector in some sense, being part of space time, but a 4th dimension in this sense would mean if you have a line, and you drew a another line so it would be 90 degree to the other line. then now you have to draw another one 90 degree to both lines (draw one coming out toward you, and extended out behind the paper.) and now the fourth dimension, draw ANOTHER line that is 90 degrees to the other 3.

    Hypercubes are absolutely amazing to think and ponder on. It really messes with your sense of reality

  42. Rakhtael says:

    To everyone saying this is just a rotating spiral, you’ve got to understand it’s absurd to try and precisely show four spatial dimensions in our three dimensions, let alone compress those dimensions into a TWO-dimensional screen. A cube, for example, might be understandable when drawn on a piece of paper, but go ahead and try to draw that same cube on a single line. In short, it’s about trying to convey the sense of four dimensions, trying to help us imagine it, not an accurate rendering of them.

    The gif in itself is very nice, I agree with the nice screensaver idea, perhaps it would also look nice just as a wallpaper…

  43. I also think it looks like a rotating spiral. I can’t see the impossible part. I think it would actually be possible to make that thing in real glass and put it on a rotating disk. THAT would be cool!

  44. Me, Myself, and iPod says:

    cool!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  45. Joshe[h says:

    There is ONE reapeat ONE 4th demisonal movie its really weird. Maybe you should find it and wacth it. But it is scarey.

  46. random human says:

    THAT IS SWEET!! the quality is amazing!

  47. RagingR2 says:

    This thing is cool. But, I hate to disappoint the original poster; there’s nothing strange or extraordinary about. No 4th dimension or anything, it’s just a 3D model of a spiraling tube shape.

    If you don’t see it you may have limited spatial visualization ability. ;)

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spatial_visualization_ability

  48. Jhobz023 says:

    Oh come on! There’s nothing special about it.. The thing is just rotating..

  49. Someone says:

    It Must Be 4-D

  50. Rikki Masters says:

    I don’t get it. It just looks like a spinng glass object to me. What am I supposed to be seeing?

  51. Fool says:

    Fools! I’ll admit that the gif does tend to freeze momentarily while it loops, but what you are MEANT to be seeing, is an (for the sake of this point, we’ll say “liquid glass” even though glass is normally a liquid) object that appears to feed into itself

    • jake says:

      Dude, chill haha, “Fools!” some people may get it and others may not. That is percisely the point of an optical illusion. Calm down buddy.

  52. Dark Dnight says:

    Where does 4D come into this object ? It is a coil thats folds over the outside and forms a double spiral.

  53. IDIOT says:

    ITS RUBBISH!

  54. Illusionist says:

    this is a simple illusion. the oject is not really spinning.. the water below it is the one that spinning. the object is just standing still.

  55. Sophi says:

    What you are seeing is one short movement, then it stops, and starts again. You can see it stop momentarily and then start from the beginning again. it ends where it would stop to make it look as if it keeps going into itself. If you look at the bottom, the inside coils spread out and go up. There are two coils going in opposite directions from each other at the same time and coiling around each other, thus causing it to look like one spiral. Just look at it a while, not just i one spot. It’s easier to comprehend after you forget about the “water” beneath it and think of the spiral as water itself, not glass. Don’t think about it as if it could happen in real life right now, that will make it easier to understand also.

  56. jessica says:

    That’s not a real illusion. I followed it with my cursor, and it’s no different than unwrapping a badly coiled bike cable.

  57. Slammer says:

    Haha it’s kinda like a barber shop pole, but 3Dish. I wouldn’t technically call it a illusion, but it’s still really awesome to look at!

  58. Grace says:

    The fourth dimension is time. In essence, it is impossible to calculate. Here are all the dimensions.
    Line
    Square
    Cube
    Time
    Tessecrat

    • Enrique Veogente says:

      THE FOURTH DIMENSION IS TIME a “Tesseract” is a mathematical illusion not a reality it is designed to imply another dimension in order to make theorists or cosmologists sound intelligent .. which they are not.

  59. Kirk says:

    uhmm..isn’t it both moving???

  60. thats pretty nice! gives a hyptonizing effect!

  61. Katau says:

    its not an illusion. the person who made…made it 2 repeat the same 2 position over & over.

    • Enrique Veogente says:

      its an illusion. but not impossible its just a mobius spiral rod with a glass like material,
      it is a perfectly obvious 3 dimensional piece
      that just spins …..but it is definitely
      COOL… :)

  62. nico says:

    first time i looked at it nothing seemed happening but second time hmmm now thats the illussion huh :p

  63. Kendelmar Hopkins says:

    Very Mobius I would say!

  64. pepe says:

    You guys really are thick. This isn’t an illusion for a 2d screen. Its a projection of a 4 dimensional object rotating in 3D space.

    What you are looking at is a computer render of an object with four spatial dimensions instead of 3. Its rotating on an axis our brains are not able to comprehend.

    Our brains cant comprehend 4 spatial dimensions but a computer can. This is essentially a 2d representation of a 3d representation of a 4d object. Its not an optical illusion. If you saw this in real life it would be though.

  65. eee efff geee says:

    it freaked me out at first >.< its awesome

  66. froggy says:

    it is so simple: it just repeats itself over and over forever.

  67. Rose Macielinski says:

    They should make little glass versions of these I would buy one :O

  68. icepetal says:

    Mindfuck

    this is awesome

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