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By on May 12, 2010, with 93 Comments

Video: Impossible Slopes IllusionIn this video below, miniature balls roll up the slopes just as if they were pulled by a magnet. This behavior seems impossible as it defies gravity, and the magnetic forces can’t help, as the balls are made of wood! I can assure you there are no fancy computer graphics. Just cardboard, glue, and some wooden balls. It’s a real scene, indeed!

This marvelous “piece of art” was created by Koukichi Sugihara, one of the top 10 finalists of the Best Visual Illusion of the Year Contest in 2010. Hence, you can even grab some building instructions off of his website, and construct your very own Magnet-like Slopes. You’ll quickly realize how Koukichi achieved this effect, after seeing the video. What is actually happening is that the orientations of the slopes are perceived oppositely, and hence the descending motion is misinterpreted as ascending motion. What is so remarkable about this illusion, is that it is entirely generated by a three-dimensional solid object and physical motion, instead of a two-dimensional picture.

Comments

93 Responses
  1. Care Bear says:

    Cover it with snow and we can all go skiing.

  2. Xaver says:

    Really really great illusion. I thought that it has to do with the point of view… but I had never expectet that the real object is that complicated! Amazing

  3. Cyn says:

    lol there’s a way to mess with my head before I’ve had coffee! This one was wild. I had sorted out intellectually how he had done it fairly quickly, but until he turned it around I just couldn’t see it.

    Awesome!

  4. Me says:

    OMG! It’s so cool!

  5. Draco says:

    Too Cool!

  6. rd says:

    Fantastic.

  7. Carl says:

    That is one of the best illusions you’ve posted in a long time. Great find.

  8. aytee says:

    very cool

  9. Living Sound says:

    One of the best!! Stunning.

  10. Fred says:

    This is an excellent illusion, reinforcing the notion that you can’t always trust what you think you are seeing.

  11. SkinnytheSkinner says:

    well, I knew from previous experience that it was just a point of view illusion, and that the balls were actually descending, but I just couldn’t see it until he turned it around.

  12. popesantaxiv says:

    Oh man that is so SICK!!!

  13. Barb says:

    I loved it. Thank you.

  14. edthedish says:

    WOW…..

  15. By far one of the best posted. I have no idea how it was done. It just blew my mind when he lifted the mini ramps. I am anxious to see more comments and opinions as to how it was done. Yes indeed!

  16. Hanna Bouma says:

    That is so cool! First I thought: It has to be done like this. But then I changed my mind, turns out it wás done like that, but just a little different! Awesome :D

  17. mage_cat says:

    Amazing, even though I knew how it worked I couldn’t see it!

  18. Chris says:

    it was obvious that it was slanted, but how do u position it and what angle do u put the camera at?

  19. Awesome Anonymous says:

    this is AWESOME cool trippy amazing and can fall under the ILLUSIONS category. no offense but a lot of these pictures and stuff just arent illusions. not that they arent cool. but this is an illusion site so im just saying.i love this site though and it is awesome.

  20. nockgeneer says:

    A favourite.

  21. Digit says:

    What can I say ??? A W E S O M E ! ! !

  22. Andrew says:

    the more marbles he puts on the more you can see the difference in the slopes lengths

  23. how does that work!its awesome!

  24. Colin Hoult says:

    Brilliant. One of the best illusions yet.

  25. Terra says:

    Absolutely one of the best illusions I have ever seen.

  26. FLEA says:

    Very cool! In my hometown, there really was a hill like this. We called it Magnetic Hill; when you drove along it, you could take your foot off the gas and it seemed like you were being pulled uphill, but it was actually a downwards slope. Natural illusions for the win!! xD

  27. mikayla says:

    it is a magnet!!!

  28. Cudel says:

    Fabulous

  29. anonymous says:

    i knew it was gonna be something like that, but for some strange reason i still cant see through the illusion.

  30. Joop Van Dijk says:

    Really cool!

  31. Monxy says:

    I knew that there was something like it, but I couldn’t see it. Great illusion though.

  32. Jess says:

    thats amazing :D

  33. tony says:

    Love it!!!

  34. anonymous says:

    creepy…

  35. Abbey says:

    I was beggining to doubt this website, but that is a great illusion! Brilliant!

  36. Jilly says:

    this is AWESOME, ………..awsome, I love this…..I thought that the movement must be downward, but I couldnt imagine how xD…….until I saw the whole video

  37. Valerie says:

    WOW! That is fantastic. I wasn’t expecting that, it has messed with my head. Will I be able to believe anything I see again? Best Illusion ever, really clever.

  38. Emma says:

    That’s so so cool!

  39. Rawr I eat Cookies says:

    WOW IT’S JUST LIKE MAGNETIC HILL IN MONCTON, NEWBRUNSWICK.

  40. galloots says:

    soooooooooooo sick

  41. Brooks says:

    The overwhellming power of mis direction due to manipulating perspective cues is trully awsom in this illusion [wow!} and over such a short lengty or distance ( the “ramps” see to be just a few centimeters long.) One of the strongest perceptul mis cue and contour illusions I have seen.

  42. AVERICK says:

    Ya FLEA straight up man I’ve been on that hill too. soo sick. Ya. This is a good illusion tho fo sho, kinda wish my driveway was like that…

  43. Jimmy Slater says:

    Now THAT is sweet..

  44. Seoane says:

    Impressive!!!

  45. Chris Levy says:

    very nice M8 so simply but all so Brillant
    Thank you :-D

  46. Tinker says:

    that was freakin stupifieing!

  47. Alfred Hadfield says:

    Hi Koukichi.really great ,totally blew my mind ,can i share the vid with others :-) absolute knock out ,

  48. Nikolai Scheel says:

    i know how they did it.
    the slopes are actually low in the middle and high in the edges. they just put the camera angle in a clever position.

    very well done. aw, who am i kidding, it was
    AWESOME!!!

  49. Nikolai Scheel says:

    i figured it out from the picture before i saw the video. the slopes actually go down to the middle.

  50. Ed says:

    This is simply amazing!!! What a great achievement! Koukichi is a f*cking genius!

  51. whatever says:

    they should sell that and make tons of money XD

  52. akki says:

    amazing video
    this one is awesome, one of the greatest illusion structure

  53. Erick B. Coria says:

    It is beyond cool, is amazing, extraordnary!

  54. Grease says:

    WOW, amazing…
    That is one of the best..
    Love to make one of them!

  55. a says:

    obviously it just is slightly tilted towards the camera…..

  56. Scott says:

    a says:
    May 16, 2010 at 8:15 am
    obviously it just is slightly tilted towards the camera…..

    No, it’s an illusion of shading of paper on the base that makes it look like the middle post is higher than the outer ones tricking our brains to think that the ramps are slanted up toward the middle rather than down.

  57. So exciting,it is so fun.

  58. Matsie says:

    that was mad!!! props Koukichi you are a legend

  59. Someone says:

    nice!

  60. JMAN12 says:

    I cant see the vid!! But it is awesome!!!LLLLLLOOOOOLLLLL!!!

  61. Massive Marbles says:

    Ingenious!

  62. Janmanni says:

    Great illusion! About the same principle as in this excellent illusion: http://www.moillusions.com/2006/03/dragon-illusion.html

  63. Why would I tell u? says:

    ABSOLUTELY INCREDIBLE!!!! by far the best illusion i’ve seen for a while. AND it’s a 3D shape, unlike most

  64. barb says:

    Ummm they are magnetized….??? so whats so great?

  65. Gman says:

    SICK. Really awesome. And no, they are not magnetized. Watch the whole video, stupid.

  66. Carissa Morse says:

    Wow

  67. prin09 says:

    They are not magnetized because they are made of wood. The balls are descending, but the slopes are at an angle so it looks like they are ascending.

  68. kiran says:

    nice……..but booooooring

  69. Kawaii-Ningyo says:

    This Japanese name or surnameee! xD! Illusion is very very nice and strange :) Sugihara-sama :)

  70. dragon fire 3000 says:

    THAT IS SO COOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  71. BIJU K SIMON says:

    If you know engineering drawing, then this is not an illusion.

  72. person with no name as far as u no says:

    this is epic lol it looks impossible almost =3

  73. mitch says:

    This reminds me of the toy where you try to get a ball to roll “up” 2 rails that that can be manipulated at slightly non-parallel angles

  74. Lupeboko says:

    if someone knows the title of the song used in this video, pls tell me!!!! pls i love it!

  75. Katie says:

    Hey,
    They used this optical illusion to explain “Magnetic Hill” in New Brunswick where people believed that when they drove down the hill then put their cars in neutral at the bottom, their cars were rolling backwards up the hill, when really they were rolling downwards… Check it out on youtube.com ;)

  76. shazz says:

    Damn…that is nice stuff

  77. yasirmalik says:

    woh!!!Nice

  78. Lanney says:

    Here’s something really similar and like this.
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vmkaVoLoFEU

  79. pop says:

    that was absolutly awesome

  80. Ryebread says:

    That is so cool. I gotta do that

  81. Everyone says:

    Cool!

  82. ITS LENNY says:

    This is the reason why i want to move to japan.

  83. mark schaefer says:

    YOU CAN PERFORM THIS EFFECT IN A CAR,GO TO THE MAIN STREET BEHIND ST PETERS, THE VATICAN, AND DRIVE AWAY FROM THE DOME IT APPEARS YOUR BEING PULLED UPHILL TOWARDS THE DOME AS YOU DRIVE AWAY FROM IT,IT GROWS INCREASINGLY LARGER!

  84. QWERTYUIOPASDFGHJKLZXCVBNM says:

    OMG I can’t believe it! I <3 OPTICAL ILLUSIONS!

  85. Lulahoop says:

    Fantastic illusion! One of the best I’ve seen so far! :D

  86. Mat says:

    Can you download something which teaches you how to make that?

  87. GenCat says:

    mind = BLOWN

  88. I says:

    calm down. its just cardboard/paper!

  89. Ali says:

    It may be a three dimensional solid object but what is helping here most is the 2D representation on a flat screen. The perception must be entirely different when the eyes have the entirely three dimensional object placed in entirely normal environment

  90. Nik Sis says:

    One of the coolest illusions!

    But what I really like in this video is its music!
    Even music has a mystery tone!

    Does anybody know its origin/composer?

    I would be grateful.

  91. jojo says:

    its the p.o.v they want you to see

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