Meanwhile, blog reader Jason Peck sent me this image with the following question:
This is a pretty neat photo, but I really can't figure out exactly what I'm looking at. I know it’s an illusion, but I can’t figure out how it works. Something tells me its Photoshopped, but I could be wrong. What do you think?
Let me turn the question over to you first. At 6:00 p.m. Eastern time I’ll post the answer I came up with.
Added at 6:00.
I can hardly add to the perceptive explanations in the comments, explaining that this is a real object. I agree, and here's what I said to Jason:
These three dimensional illusions do exist as real objects, and I believe this one is real. They're only viewable from one angle. In this case the horizontal piece coming across the middle is actually in front of the right hand vertical bar, but it is beveled in such a way as to look like it is tucked behind.
The giveaway is the cast shadow from that central horizontal bar. It travels diagonally down the figure and then across the floor grid and stops just to the left of the watch, proof that the horizontal leg is unattached.
Blog reader Jay Meinhardt actually created the figure in his CAD program. That's awesome. Thanks, Jay, and thanks everybody for your great explanations.