The ambidextrous moving sofa problem is to find the planar shape of maximal area that can negotiate right-angled turns both to the right and to the left in a hallway of width 1. The current best known solution was found by Dan Romik, and is shown here.
The moving sofa problem asks: what is the shape of largest area that can be maneuvered through an L-shaped hallway of width 1? This animated image made by Claudio Rocchini shows one attempt to solve this problem.
A deltoid is a curve formed by rolling a circle inside a circle whose radius is 3 times larger. Similarly, an astroid is a curve formed by rolling a circle inside a circle whose radius is 4 times larger. The picture here, drawn by Greg Egan, shows a deltoid rolling inside an astroid. It fits in a perfectly snug way!
This image, drawn by Xah Lee, shows a deltoid and its catacaustic. The deltoid is the curve traced by a point on the perimeter of a circle that is rolling inside a fixed circle whose radius is three times as big. It’s called a deltoid because it looks a bit like the Greek letter delta: $\Delta$. The catacaustic of a curve in the plane is the envelope of rays emitted from some source and reflected off that curve.
This image, drawn by Greg Egan, shows a cardioid and its catacaustic. The cardioid is a heart-shaped curve traced by a point on the perimeter of a circle that is rolling around a fixed circle of the same radius. The catacaustic of a curve in the plane is the envelope of rays emitted from some…