Puzzles & Illusions
These puzzles and illusions give an insight into how their brain works and are fascinating for all ages. Can you really believe your eyes? The exhibition includes 15 exhibits and display banners.
Exhibition requirements

• A gallery with about 100 sq metres of open floor space.
• No electrical power required
• The exhibition must be supervised at all times when in use, preferably by staff accustomed to working in an interactive environment.

Exhibit list

Phenakistoscope – Set the disc spinning and look through the slots into the mirror to see a moving picture illusion.
Tower of Hanoi – Follow the rules of the game and try to move the discs from one peg to another. This takes more moves that you might imagine.
Bird in a cage – Turn the handle to spin the disc. There is a picture of a bird on one side and a cage on the other. If you spin fast enough the bird will appear in the cage.
Triangles and pyramids – Two puzzles which are harder than they look. Try and assemble the three flat shapes into a triangle and the four blocks into a pyramid.
Cafe Wall illusion – The wall is made from black and white tiles. They look crooked and it is difficult to believe they are laid in perfectly straight lines.
Hollow mask – Look at the face as you move from side to side – the nose appears to move in the wrong direction. This is because the mask is hollow but it is hard to convince your eyes to see it in this way.
String puzzles – Two puzzles for the enthusiast. Try to remove the ring from the loop of string and try to move the key to the other side of the door. These may take some time.
Moving spirals – If you stare at this slowly turning disc and then look at your hand you will see your flesh creep in the opposite direction. Your brain is compensating for the motion of the disc and takes time to return to normal when you look away.
Colour illusions – If you turn these black and white discs you should see faint colours appear. This illusion is caused by the way the lens in your eye focuses light.
Size illusion – These perspective illusions show that you cannot always believe your eyes. We are so used to things further away looking smaller that the brain takes time to be convinced otherwise.
Colour-banded snake – Try to join the striped segments to form a complete loop. There is a clue in the way the colours are arranged.
3-D pictures – Try these three ways of seeing in 3-D: simply stare at the picture and relax your eyes; look at the pictvres through the red/green glasses; and view the stereoscopic pictures in the mirror. See how good your brain is at making sense of the world.
Anamorphs – Look at the distorted pictures in the cylindrical mirror – you should soon see what they are.
Magic writing – Hold the clear plastic rod above the words and try to work out why some turn upside down while other remain the right way up.
Graphics illusions – Do you think you could build this cube or pick up these rods?