Jaume's discussion elsewhere reminded me of something I stumbled onto some time back.  If this isn't a for-real "trick of the eye," I'm not certain what is!

No, that's NOT an animated GIF; it is indeed a JPEG ... and I'm sure someone somewhere has an explanation for what and how it does what it does.

Meantime, stare and go crazy or not, as you prefer!

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It's because of the way they are shaped, (and the colours, I suspect) makes the eyes think that it's in motion if you're not looking directly at it. When you look directly at one, then it stops the trick.
Close - it has to do with the way motion is 'reported.' This pattern gives a number of 'clues' that motion is occurring that can only be dispelled by direct focus. Ever look at a fan blade - first clue of circular motion is lack of focus - which occurs here in all circles except the one you focus on.

BTW - there is a secondary illusion in each 'wheel' - though the patterns are concentric circles - they appear to be continuous spirals.

Second, fan blades can often look like they're going the wrong way or change direction. This effect relates to how animation works - your eye reports only about 16 images a second to your brain - so the 'direction' of the blade is based on what makes most sense in that regard. Since your lights (in US) blink 60 times a second (50 in Europe) there are 60 frames of which your eye will pick out approximately 16 - and this often results in incorrect or even variable interpretation of rotation.

Another clue is logical - notice the wheels are aligned to agree with the way gears would turn - given yet another clue; the little bumps in the pattern.

So - all wheels that are out of focus trigger the other indicators of motion and, rather than simply 'decide' the circles are stationary but out of focus, your brain 'decides' they are in motion.
Secondary illusion in every wheel - the black, white and dark green 'objects' are arranged in a pattern of concentric circles. However, they appear to form continuous spirals.
I used to have that as my wall paper on my desktop and a few people asked me to remove it because it made them dizzy to look at it when they walked past.

It is a lovely optical illusion.
Neave Strobe

also, if you are interested in optical illusions, you must find out about Dr. Richard Wiseman

He finds things like this on a regular basis and posts them on his blog. He's quite interesting.
Thank I just added it to my RSS feed, as if i don't have enough distractions already.
sorry, Jay
No worries, it is my own fault, I am terrible at pruning down my information feeds.
Damn you sacha! Damn you straight to hell!
Omg eff you sacha..now I have another stoner activity that involves screwing up my eyes more!
Yeah, Neave Strobe is better than heroin.
majorly trippy! kept my kids quiet for a long period of time! LOL




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