# VIDEO: Missing Cubes Optical Illusion

By on April 8, 2013, with 43 Comments

If you haven’t had the chance to see this “Missing/Extra Cube” video that went viral recently, here’s your chance to see it now! Norberto Jansenson has re-thinked famous missing-piece illusion (original version included triangle), and then presented it in much more appealing and effective manner.

The idea behind this toy is somewhat identical to “Preposterous Puzzle” and “Confuzzle“. Norberto starts with a wooden frame filled entirely by 63 cubical pieces, where he then starts rearranging them. By the end of the video he ends up with few extra pieces on his side. Let’s see if we can solve this illusive puzzle one more time!

43 Responses
1. Ramyak Rohan Mohanty says:

HOW DID YOU DO THAT!!!!

This is entirely impossible!!!!!!

How the hell can anyone remove matter from a box, without leaving any space in between!!!!!

Einstein would be surprised!!!!!

• Katie says:

It’s rearrangement stupid!

• penny says:

The whole pieces are cut in a way that a little bit of some of the cube-like background seems to be the same as it is taken apart and put back together. Which in reality,if you look at all the “cubes” throughout the vidio, some are distorted,proving enough of the “cubes” are taken away to seemingly have more or less room for the individual “cubes” depending on if it is adding or subtracting the single “cubes” at the end.

2. z2d4th says:

How is that? any explanation?

• Katie says:

REARRANGEMENT!

3. Scott says:

Notice that the squares aren’t equal out of the box. He’s switching the top 2 big pieces during the filmimg. This wouldn’t work live.

• Ron Callhoun says:

wrong

• Nick says:

I tried it in real life, just cut out the chocolate (FRONT PAGE) GIF on the 3rd frame and do the steps, it works. I still don’t get it but yeah.

4. Andrew says:

This is similar to the sliding photos. Note he doesn’t measure the units, just counts them.

The trick is done by ending AND beginning with things that are not quite perfectly square. The angle of viewing makes it impossible to see if they are square or elongated rectangles.
The box contains 7*49 ‘units’ at all times. When he moves them over, he makes an entire row of 7 just a little bit smaller (1/7th smaller). The extra unit he removes effectively contains the amount he stole from 7 of the units.
At the end, one entire row is 3/7ths smaller than when it started, (almost half smaller. )
To make it work right, that row has to start out being too tall by a small amount (vs. square), and end up being to short by a small amount.

• Scott says:

That is exactly what I thought. It depends on elongation / perspective (anamorphosis) effect to distort the pieces which hides the subtraction of space while retaining the number. It is explained very well above.

• corralesid says:

yes youre right. theres have been some post here about that moilussion.

• penny says:

Exactly!

5. Tom says:

Cool but if you are making a video that the whole world may see, at least put on a shirt and don’t point with your middle finger (just saying).

• Max says:

beautiful idea…. but what a scrap man! shave it please :-)

• tienuien says:

OMG! You must be an usa citizen! Get over it!!!

• Cerridwen says:

Some cultures use the middle finger as their pointer, while the index finger (American’s pointer finger) is considered offensive. Think about which finger you pick your nose with!

• Ffej says:

I’m pretty sure I have the god given freedom to point with whichever finger I damn well please.

6. Joe Black says:

Pretty cool, but I see what is happening. The pieces cut at angles cut through the small squares. So when slide over they match to actually form new whole squares that they were previously made with different proportion, thus adding an additional square by the increase in the proportion. Not a very good explanation, I know, but I see it happening. Great illusion!

7. tre says:

Weak.

8. Tia says:

It’s really cool, and really clever, but there are a number of cuts in this video. They appear to be for speeding the video along, but they generally occur when the hands are taking the blocks out of the wooden box, therefore suggesting that we may not be looking at the same number of blocks as we were before.

Also, the box is a lot looser when the three blocks are removed, than it was with them “in there”. The hands cannot pick the box up to show us in the same way, because the blocks are too loose and may fall out!!!

9. Annie says:

I can sort of see why, but not exactly how.

If the cubes are a bit smaller, shouldn’t they be shaped differently ?

The white t-shirt and the open pointing hands show that he has nothing hidden, no sleeves, no cuffs, no pockets.

10. robbe says:

I have to say its pritty easy,
look at 0:38 the screen switches and look to the left bottom block thats left in the box it changed from shape you just paste another video on 0:38 thats the ilusion

11. Juno says:

Don’t always believe what you see. Or at least look carefully.

First off all it is a 10 quadrilateral pieces puzzle (not 63 cubic pieces) and 63 squares are painted on these arranged pieces.

When he take out the pieces from the box, there is a cut in the video. Speeding the video? Not at all. What could he do in between if not taking other pieces?

And after that, when all the blocks are on the table, look carefully at the diagonal line created over the second block. You think it look the same as it was in the box? These don’t look like squares to me.

And to put them back, same cut, same place.

(I hope I’m clear enough, English is not my first language.)

12. brooks says:

The “magic” here is not slight of hand, it is in slight angles and “tolerances” across long runs of blocks. IF you watch carfully after the gentelman begins to re arrange the pieces into a grid there are uneven lines of blockes in the middel of the field. Hard to see at this angle but there there. Perhaps this explanation of a similare missing area illusion will explain:

It is a very powerful effect but it is accomplished by slignt differences in angles.

13. Dave says:

We need to keep in mind that it is an illusion! I think that the film breaks are for switching pieces. (As noted by Scott, above!) When he aligns the blocks after having removed them, they noticeably don’t line up in the middle. All he is supposed to have done is remove the pieces from the box and assembled them exactly as they were.

14. Missing-Square says:

This is a nice variant of the missing square illusion. Just do a search about “Missing Square” to find out how it works.

15. Anonymous says:

There are no video tricks or anything. The simple explanation is that after the swap, the squares don’t exactly match up, but the difference is so subtle we don’t notice. However, with so many squares it makes a large difference.

16. Phil says:

Come on, everybody can see the cut at 0:35. The rectangle you can see outside the box at 0:50 is not what has been inside the box before. Same thing when he does it backwards, cut at 2:20 and what you see afterwards is obviously less than what was in the box.

17. V.H. says:

The squares on their side are half as wide as they are when they are flat. He turns a square quickly whenever he rearranges the whole thing, so he can add or remove another square. The camera angle and lighting stops us from realizing the height difference.

18. Moses Moore says:

Close, but not quite. I can still see the gaps between the pieces despite the camera angle.

19. Monika says:

I think Tia hit the nail on the head with the cuts. Both times when he moves the pieces out of the tray there is a cut. Afterwards the pieces don’t match any more, so he must have changed something!

20. Virgineer says:

Some pieces are definitely swapped at 0:38, check out this screen shot taken at 0:55 and look at the middle rows

• Besucherin says:

The swapping is intentional and wasn’t done during a cut – the whole video is about rearranging the pieces, and the result was achieved with the rearrangments he visibly made in this Video.

BUT your screenshot still shows how this illusion actually works: The rearranged pieces don’t fit together as well in the end as they did in the beginning. It can only be pulled off because the differences between neighbouring pieces are relatively small – like in that screenshot – and don’t show up that much in a video taken from that angle.
But those small differences add up to enough space to cover for those three small pieces.

Notice how in the end the pieces appear to be rather loose inside the box, as opposed to the beginning. That is because three pieces were taken out and nothing was replaced during a cut.
The space of three rectangles is simply relatively evenly distributed between 60 other rectangles.

21. Tuck says:

I’d love to have this in real life. As a math teacher, I’d love to show this to my kids. Would I have to make it myself or can I buy this somewhere?

• Cerridwen says:

Tuck, as a math teacher you know the addition problem? 3 men rent a room @ \$30 (10 each). The clerk realized he forgot the \$5 discount & sends the bellboy to the room with five ones. Bellboy realizes that 5 does not divide evenly into 3 so he pockets \$2. Guests then think they paid \$9 each = \$27. 27+2 (that the bellboy has)=29. Where’d the last dollar go?

22. Trey says:

It doesn’t really matter to me how it was done..it was entertaining and thought provoking (as is evidenced by the comments.)

I can’t see the video. It plays the Rooftop Impossible Illusion. The same happened with the Spider’s Tank one. Anyone else with the same problem?

24. Alina says:

I really like this missing cubes. Just cool.

25. Stef says:

Of all the illusions I have seen in my time (and I have seen a LOT), this type is one that fascinates and astounds me. The sheer imagination that the person who discovered this kind of illusion must have had. 10 out of 10!

thats just uhh wow!

27. anomynous says:

NO WAY!!!!

28. KAI SHO BRAND says:

That explains everything.

29. kiana says:

DUDE when it first came on there were 63 cubes and when the thing stopped for a moment then I coanted again there was 66 THE LITTLE CHEETERS IM TEN AND I FIGURED IT OUT