Video: Impossible Slopes Illusion

magnet_slopes_optical_illusion_thumbIn 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.

93 Replies to “Video: Impossible Slopes Illusion”

  1. 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

  2. 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.


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

  4. 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.

  5. 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!

  6. 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

  7. 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.

  8. 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

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

  10. 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

  11. 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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…

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

  15. 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

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

  17. 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.

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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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 ;)


  23. 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

  24. 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.

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