6J11.30 - Persistence of Vision - Stroboscopic Disks, Praxinoscope, Thaumatrope, Phenakistoscope, and Zoetrope

Code Number:
Demo Title:
Persistence of Vision - Stroboscopic Disks, Praxinoscope, Thaumatrope, Phenakistoscope, and Zoetrope
Integration of Light Pulses by the Eye
Area of Study:
Optics, Human Biology
Stroboscopic Disks, Strobe Light, Variable Speed Motor/Rotator or Record Player, Flip Books, and Zoetrope.

Attach the desired disk to the rotator of record player.  Illuminate the disk with the stroboscope.  When the speed of the disk and the rate of the strobe are adjusted properly a variety of effects can be seen.  Disk 1 will show a swinging pendulum.  Disks 2 and 3 will demonstrate simple methods of calculating the speed of the stroboscopic interrupter.  Disk 5 will have readable word and logo's.

The chicken and cage illusions are meant to be spun by hand.  Although they are separate images, when spun, they will appear as one image of the chicken inside the cage.

The illusion of the multi-sectored disk is one where you move the disk in very fast and small circles for another viewer.  Flipping the disk 180 degrees will make it seem that the spot which is on one side disappears.

NOTE: Much practice and dexterity are required.

The flip books are successive still images or cartoons that when flipped very fast seem to give continual motion.

The Zoetrope is another example of persistence of vision.  It is basically a hand held film projector with a short continuous loop film.  Just view the film through the slits as it is rotating and the object will appear to move.

A set of optics tops are with the Zoetrope and can be used for demonstrations in 6J11.11 and 6J11.55.

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Disclaimer: These demonstrations are provided only for illustrative use by persons affiliated with The University of Iowa and only under the direction of a trained instructor or physicist.  The University of Iowa is not responsible for demonstrations performed by those using their own equipment or who choose to use this reference material for their own purpose.  The demonstrations included here are within the public domain and can be found in materials contained in libraries, bookstores, and through electronic sources.  Performing all or any portion of any of these demonstrations, with or without revisions not depicted here entails inherent risks.  These risks include, without limitation, bodily injury (and possibly death), including risks to health that may be temporary or permanent and that may exacerbate a pre-existing medical condition; and property loss or damage.  Anyone performing any part of these demonstrations, even with revisions, knowingly and voluntarily assumes all risks associated with them.