Illusion: Nothing is as it seems

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Nye Parry's audio illusion teases apart the sine waves that make up human speech. Small speakers inside bird cages each emit one sine wave, which sounds like a clear chirrup from a bird. When all twelve speakers are in time, the human ear reconstructs the sound of human speech.


This creepy, crawly exhibit by Chris Sugrue plays with the boundary between the virtual and the real. As you watch the 'organisms' on the screen follow your finger tips and begin to climb your arm, we dare you not to cringe.


This untitled work by Gregory Barsamian is a phenakistoscope. What's that mean, you ask? Old-school animation, that's what. The work uses the principle of persistence of vision to fool your brain into thinking it sees movement.


Sit down, relax, close your eyes or flip through a magazine and prepare to have your hair cut, virtually. Put on the headphones and listen as a barber goes through the motions of cutting your hair. It's creepy and very, very impressive.


Watch the letters dance and jump in and out of the glass bottle. This display by Claire B and Adrien M uses Pepper's Ghost principle which enables objects to float in mid-air or transform before your eyes. The trick of the light exploits the tendency of our brains to perceive some images as three dimensional when they are actually flat on a screen.

Bring the kids along to Petrosains for this entertaining and enlightening exhibition that's all about the ways your mind can deceive you. Combining art, science and psychology, the exhibits exploit visual and audio illusions to show you how your brain works and can be tricked through sensory deception. The exhibition was devised by the Science Gallery at Trinity College Dublin, which worked with psychologist and author Richard Wiseman as well as magician and escapologist Paul Gleeson. With magic shows daily and innovative, interactive approaches to explaining displays, this is a great way to get kids and adults alike interested in science.

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