This “mind-numbing” optical illusion has been out and about the internet for quite some time, with everyone applauding the genius mathematician behind the miracle of a straight bar passing through a curve. While it seems baffling and truly astonishing at first, a closer look clears everything out in a flash. The concept requires no detailed calculus and differential equations to be explained or recreated, instead some common sense and a very basic acquaintance with geometry.
The video clears out how the rotating device manages to pass the pole by breaking it down into three pieces: the curved hole, the rotating straight pole, and the rotating base on which the pole sits and turns. The first notable thing is that the pole is attached at an angle rather than perpendicularly to the base; which helps the straight pole’s base to pass through the hole first. Then, the rest of the pole also slowly passes through the curve, working upward until the whole thing fits.
So the trick is to allow one cross section that passes through the hole at a time, starting with the bottom, rather than the entire pole, which explains why it doesn’t just smash into the curved hole.
Interestingly, the hole doesn’t have to match the shape of the pole at all. Instead, it matches a cross-section of the shape which is created when the pole is spun around a circular axis.
The video below explains in further details on the mystery!
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