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 AndrĂ© 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.

45 Replies to “Impossible Atomium Sculpture”

    1. 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.

  1. 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!

  2. 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?

  3. 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

  4. Nice…

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

  5. 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.

  6. I found in the gadgets.

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

  7. 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?

  8. 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.

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

  9. 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?

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

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

  13. 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.)

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

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

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