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Optical illusions have fascinated people for decades, gaining more attention than ever in the social media era. As you’ve scrolled through your feed, you’ve likely seen a picture of a stationary object that seems to move in either a clockwise or counterclockwise direction, known as an optical illusion. The formal name for this type of image is “Pinna-Brelstaff figure.”

Scientists may be a little closer to understanding how the mind tricks us into believing these still objects are in motion. A team at the Chinese Academy of Sciences had already identified the area of the brain that creates that illusion, so they set out to get to the “why.” Looking at male rhesus macaques, which process the illusion similarly to people, they found cells within that part of the brain that perceive the images as being in motion.

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Disturbingly, studies have discovered that today’s furniture is far more flammable than furniture built several decades ago, a problem if your home catches on fire. This discovery has led scientists to seek out materials that will possibly slow down a home fire, giving occupants a chance to exit and firefighters more time to extinguish the blaze.

The mechanical engineering department at Texas A&M has come up with a coating that may do the job. The coating has the potential to cut down on the flammability of the polyurethane foam found in much of the furniture sold today. Best of all, the coating is made from natural elements.

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Plastics have come a long way in recent years, especially when it comes to products like eyeglasses and computer monitors. The antireflection coatings found on certain products are great for reducing glare and keeping eye strain at bay.

A new development could take antireflective coatings to the next level. A group of researchers at Penn State have created an antireflective coating that makes a piece of plastic transparent, meaning that it would look like it isn’t even there. The technology could prove essential to high-altitude unmanned aerial vehicles, which deal with an unusual amount of glare. It would also be ideal for the domes that cover security cameras, where glare can obscure the video.

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