The Rolling Motion In This Video Is Only an Illusion

When you first look at this video, you might be pretty sure that you know what you’re seeing. Upon first glance, it looks like a small circle comprised of white dots is rolling within the circumference of a large, red circle. Pretty straightforward, right? But about 30 seconds into the video, we’re given some new information that changes everything. Apparently, the circle of dots isn’t actually rolling inside the larger circle and that entire rolling motion is just an illusion.

How is that even possible?! It’s clear that the dots are rolling, right?

As weird as it seems, the small, white dots are actually NOT rolling within the larger circle; in fact, they’re all moving in a straight line. Each small, white circle is on its own path, one that only goes back and forth across the larger circle. There are eight white circles in total and each of them is moving on their own path, with each one timed to the paths of the other circles. This synchronization of the eight paths creates what looks like a rolling circular motion – in reality, we’re just seeing a bunch of white circles go back and forth across a circle.

The best way to realize what you’re watching in this video is to see the white circles get added one by one. This way, you can separate the individual circles and see their unique paths; breaking this illusion down into pieces makes it much easier to see the big picture!

How to solve the rolling illusion.LittleThings
Originally created by Arthur Shapiro and Alex Rose-Henig of American University, this illusion has been named one of the top illusions of 2014 by Scientific American. The whole point behind the video is a change in perspective; Shapiro and Rose-Henig created the moving balls to simulate the overall impression, or illusion, that all of the movement involved is circular – but if you were to simply change your perspective, you’d see everything in the video is straight.

What an extraordinary message! A little change in perspective goes a long way.

It’s truly amazing how this video was designed and made, especially considering how on-point the timing had to be. I can hardly wrap my mind around the concept, let alone designing and animating it so perfectly like this. An award was definitely warranted, in our opinion.

And, let’s be honest, how mesmerizing is this? I swear, I’ve watched it three times and I couldn’t look away! Maybe it’s the trippy music in the background or the rhythmic motions or the mind blowing fact that the video isn’t what it appears, but it’s actually hypnotizing.

Either way, this is a fun mind game to get you through you mid-afternoon slump at work! And have fun showing it to your friends and co-workers, they’ll be just as boggled as you are!

What do you think of this optical illusion? Did you see the trick right away or did it take you some time to realize what you were seeing? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.