Impossible Atomium Sculpture


Before I begin with today’s optical illusion, let me ask you something that has been over my head for the last couple of days. Those of you familiar with our Chrome plugin (one that features daily optical illusions in your Chrome browser), might actually provide me with needed information. It seems as of recently (for the last couple of days, to be precise) people started downloading the plugin like crazy. Don’t get me wrong, there’s nothing wrong with it – it’s just that I noticed huge spike in installs, which I can’t explain. I suspect the plugin was featured or recommended somewhere, yet I can’t seem to learn where. So my question is this: if you found this site in the last couple of days through our chrome plugin, can you share where did you learn of it before you installed it? How did you stumble upon our “Optical Illusion of The Day” Chrome plugin? Did you saw it featured somewhere like Chrome Store homepage or something? This info would really help!

Onto the illusion now! The strange Atomium-like impossible object below was created by Pawel Hynek in 2006. I bet you would have hard time constructing something similar on your own! After a while you get used to the idea this thing can’t exist on it’s own, and how it was probably brought to life in digital environment. Never the less, I admire the hyper-realistic result Pawel achieved. Does it remind you of a famous Brussels Atomium monument (this one)? BTW: The Atomium monument was originally built for Expo ’58 (1958 Brussels World’s Fair). Designed by André Waterkeyn, the monument consists of nine steel spheres connected so that the whole forms the shape of a unit cell of an iron crystal magnified 165 billion times!! The sculpture stands 102 meters (335 ft) tall.

  • jlf


  • Very cool!

  • Dave

    Love it~!

  • Dolphin

    Nice. I almost made something similar to this when I was probably 8.
    Very cool.

  • Phaeton99

    “Tesseract” come to mind…

  • Noah

    its just a cube, the angle is what gets you

    • Jasen

      It’s not just a cube. If it were a cube, the holes to insert the metal connectors from the middle ball would be facing us. It is either a very well constructed shape to fool us into believing it is impossible, or it’s doctored. Either way, very awesome.

  • person

    look at the top bars they are outlined with black, must be edited

  • That’s awesome!

  • Cherry Blossom

    Amazing! I love how it seems to change but stay the same, if you know what I mean? I think it’s just a cube though. Still , love it!

  • Mike

    This is a very good illusion. It’s similar in nature to any number of the Escher clone illusions you’ve posted previously, such as the lego version of the never ending staircase. I love that a simple camera angle can seem to connect disconnected points, creating a seemingly impossible object. I don’t suppose you have another photo of this object from a different angle that you could post or link in the nea6r future?

  • brooks masterton

    It is a truly spectacular illusion and I like the extra affect from the lable on the plastic case “Non Euclidean dimensions”. As I inspect the designe visually I love the sensation on my mind of trying to find a 3 dimentional resolution and never being able to see one.
    brooks masterton

  • Christy

    love how it messes with my mind


    i found from google chrome add gadget feature

    • Vurdlak

      thanks, just found out through one of the comments.

  • Brenda

    Learned of this site from google about3 weeks ago.

  • yodel

    I made that before with linkin’ logs easy

  • David


    BTW, I found the site by browsing available gadgets on Google Chrome, installing, and then clicking onto this site once in a while.

    • Vurdlak

      yes, seems Google Chrome has new kind of store for Chrome users where it was featured

  • James Howde

    OK. I’ve moaned about a couple of the ‘illusions’ recently, so to balance it up this one is brilliantly simple and very effective for it.

  • Marie

    It showed up on the Google home page.

  • Johnene Anderson

    I found in the gadgets.

    Yup the sculpture is a dandy illusion-I’m a sculptor, but not on the computer. Very cool!

  • paul

    new computer on Monday – used chrome for the first time. Voila!

  • Alex

    it’s a hexagon that’s flat

  • Paulgo

    From my perspective,this appears to be a real object but if you look closely,you will notice that the four struts pointing to the RIGHT are not actually fully TOUCHING the links.
    I think this is a case of forced perspective using the exact angular shot from the camera.

    What does everyone else think?

  • MrDynamite00

    Chrome now has a new launch page that gives us the option to only feature apps that I’ve downloaded from the webstore or, instead, recently visited webpages. The webstore now has a single page that lists tons of apps right at the beginning; your plugin was at the top! I really enjoy it; keep ’em coming.

    • Vurdlak

      Great! Just learned of this through Chrome, off course because of your helpful answer. So much thanks for pointing this out!

  • mini

    i think its a cube

  • Stuart

    Escher strikes again, love these illusions. Anyone know who did it first??

  • Cool!!!

  • Moustache1020

    It’s obviously a constructed image, but it’s constructed very well. And for those of you with no attention to detail; look at the container? Noneuclidean dimensions? hello? it’s a joke inside the image?

  • Steve

    I found the gadget on while browsing gadgets for Google chrome on Oct 23. Glad I did!

  • Jo

    It was listed among other gadgets available and I liked it.

  • Danielle

    Brilliant. It looks like a mixture of forced perspective AND digital manipulation. It’s obviously doctored, nonetheless done very well.

  • Alex


  • Georg Knopher`

    Fascinating feature. Re your inquiry. Actually discovered you while on Opera’s search engine playing mahjongg at nabisco games.

  • fagg dick man

    i really like this i just wanna get on top of it and suck another guys dick woooooooo!!!!!!!!!!!

  • kuyfytfngfjyufjuyfkuygukyg

    seems possible.

    • kuyfytfngfjyufjuyfkuygukyg


  • froggy

    its actually possible, the top, bottom left and bottom right are in front, while bottom, top left and top right are behind them. I’m 12 and it didn’t take me long to figure this out. here’s a hint: (look at the sphere in the middle to see what i meant.)

    • froggy

      wait… i take that back… i didn’t notice the ones on the sides. (sorry…)

  • Ginger pickles

    It is my favorite …. I have this picture for some years on my profile

  • Anonymous

    I found the plugin just by looking over the list of Google gadgets. I like optical illusions, so I downloaded it.

  • Anonymous

    If you are looking at the topmost sphere, it looks like a cube, but if you focus on the center, it looks flat.

  • Anonymous

    It also depends on how you look at the rods. Pretty easy to figure out.

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