Ascending Ball Staircase Illusion

Close friend of mine gave me this animation. It’s quite obvious the author was heavily influenced by M.C. Escher, more specifically by his Ascending Staircase Castle and Waterfall Illusion. We all know in real world, this could never work. The same way forever-dream of scientists, Perpetuum Mobile can’t exist due to existing rules of physics. However, at least we can dream of it, and make visualizations with little help of the computers. You should read an article about this topic on Wikipedia, it’s quite interesting. When I was a kid I had constant ideas to build one of my own, something to do with balloons filled with helium and a water tap. Never tried it though… You can see another example done by Escher here. If the ball isn’t moving, wait for the .gif to load, or simply open the picture in new window, or simply click it.

44 Replies to “Ascending Ball Staircase Illusion”

  1. nice animated one, though i think i saw a black/white one by Escher… anyways, great site!

    (i think i just might have the first comment…)

    1. We are the losers are we?
      How old are you?
      Does being first give you pleasure?
      I cry for humanity.

  2. hey 3rd comment, i agree but dude, LOOSER;/ WTF are you trying to spell? it is spelled like LOSER. i agree with what you say but du!! 1st comment, stick it! you did not even send a comment! dudes who ever thinks that first comment is LOL FAH, tell me! and the illusion is freakin awesome!!

  3. I agree that it’s descending, but I don’t see that the moving object is a ball. It looks more like a little octopus to me. :) Anyway, a very cool spin on Escher’s illusion. I love Esher’s work.

    Anonymous (first, third, and eighth comments) just shut up. No one cares, and you’re only making yourself sound like an idiot. Vurdlak, if I were you, I’d be a little ashamed to have comments like those on an otherwise amazing site.

  4. Ya that is kinda getting annoying with the whole “first comment” thing are ya’ll in the first grade sireously!

    Cool animation though

    AWSOME WEBSITE ( i told my friend about it and she agree’s)

  5. yeh i also think its descending, but still REALLY KL ILLUSION! but i agree with Rachel – the ‘ball’ doesnt look like a ‘ball’ at all it looks more like a mini jellyfish to me.
    btw: ‘First Comment Sucks’ – u werent 3rd at all U WERE 7th!! IDIOT!!

  6. I always enjoy the impossible objects and scenarios. If you looks really closely it does look like a ball – a transparent ball so you can see the steps, making it look like an octopus or jellyfish.

  7. Loosers….its an ascending ball…thats the illusion. Its decending on 3 steps…and then ascending on the last one!

  8. woah… i’ve been staring at this for the las hour… i should go get a life… btw QUIT WITH THE FIRST COMMENT CRAP!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  9. An illusion bade by computer..pretty awesome to see but it kinda loses the illusion status as computers can be made to show anything

  10. yh i agree Anonymous – definitely a jellyfish! lol
    kl illusion as i said agen.
    arrghh im hungry. soz random!

  11. i know how it works. it’s quite simple actually. :]
    the staircase in general IS descending.. but each stair individually is slightly angled upward, making it so that as you go “down the stairs”, you end up pretty much staying on the same level all in all.

    if you look hard enough, you can see the ascending angle in each of the stairs, and that even the sets of bricks around the stairs are angled. :]:]
    btw. if yall have a myspace, add me.

  12. The picture looks like it’s both decending and accending at the same time. At the far right corner, it looks like its going up, but then it looked like it was going down. At first I thought it was going down

  13. I thought maybe that if the ground was on an angle or something, (like the mystery spot) it would go down while appearing to go up, maybe it could work, but I suppose it would have to be on the top of a hill or something with the correct angles. I don’t know. Just shooting in the dark.
    Also, if –erica is correct, I don’t think it would work, for then, as she said, the ball would be on the same level as itself and soon (after a push), not move at all. That’s what balls do on the floor, which is level.
    Again, I’m just guessing. I’m also proud to not mention the dummies who are ranting about being first-oops, too late!

  14. person above me. they are NOT judging the first person. have you even read what it said ?! it was not very nice. awesome illusion . but what is the thing going down the stairs ???

  15. The ascending staircase isn’t impossible, much like folding four corners of a box (to keep it closed without tape) you can fold each flap under the previous one to make it look like this staircase. The impossible part is that the ball is continually falling, although you could get a motorized ball/jellyfish to do this in real life.

  16. it seems to me like its descending,not ascending

    and, by the way, all you people who are talking about that first comment, just SHUT UP!!!!!!! it doesn’t matter so just drop it!!!!

  17. i did that with som sticks but then i was like omg wat the hell just happend …. then i got up for a donut and accidently stepped on it

  18. Is this really an impossible object? Not that sure… According to Einsteins’s General Relativity theory, space and time are not absolute. An object with huge mass like a black hole, cause distortion to space and time. Actually, all objects, like Earth do distort time and space (and aceleration, etc). Now imagine a set of black holes (or planets) where stairs are built between them. In space there is no “up” or “down”. It’s a relative perception for a given reference. And space is curved, not straight. Eascher stairs is an impossible object on Earth? Maybe, but in space not likely.

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