A 3D Model of the Normally 2D Schröder Staircase

Dr. Kokichi Sugihara of Japan created a 3D model of a Schröder Staircase that brings the famous optical illusion to life. The original illusion shows a 2D figure of a staircase is perceived as 3D, despite this seeming contradiction, Koichi’s model brought to light a different, but an equally mind-bending illusion based upon perception.

This object is an example of my experimental material to investigate the behavior of the brains, which are apt to misperceive 2D pictures as 3D objects when they are embedded in real 3D structures. The Schroeder Staircase, which is known as an ambiguous picture for more than 150 years, is decorated by real 3D side walls and support columns. As the result, we perceive new ambiguity, which is different from that of the original Schroeder Staircase.

The model won the prestigious “Illusion of the Year” for 2020 in The Best Illusion of the Year Contest.

Here are the second and third place submissions.