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optical illusion

Archimedes Lab Books to delight your eyes & your mind!


corner top left Kinetic Illusions 2

by Gianni A. Sarcone and Marie-Jo Waeber

"Time is an illusion. Lunchtime doubly so."
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Duchamp's Rotoreliefs
The Rotoreliefs are optical discs created by Marcel Duchamp, a French artist (1887-1968), which when placed on the turntable of a phonograph produced the illusion of motion in perspective. To make the illusion work you have to keep staring at the center of the discs
Hot-air balloon
rotorelief 1
rotorelief 2 Poisson
Fish in aquarium
Eclipse rotorelief 3
rotorelief 4 Verre
Stemmed glass

Hikone's Phenakistiscope
rotating discA Phenakistoscope is an optical toy. A Belgian named Joseph Plateau invented it in 1832. Plateau calls his invention the Phenakistiscope ('spindle viewer'), but it is also known under other names as: Fantascope, Phantamascope, Magic Disc or Kaleidorama. The Phenakistiscope is a cardboard disc with slots around the edge, and drawings between the slots, and when it is spun on an axle in front of a mirror, the viewer can see through the slots the reflections of the sequence drawings arranged on one side of the disc. The eye saw each picture only briefly as it moved opposite to the slot, and the view was then obscured by the disc until the next image was seen through the next slot, and so on. The sequence of images gives the impression of a continuous motion because it was designed to be cyclic. Here below is a GIF version of this toy drawn by Hikone.

How to make your own phenakistiscope toy.
• To see more optical toys click here.



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© 2005 G. Sarcone,
You can re-use content from Archimedes’ Lab on the ONLY condition that you provide credit to the authors (© G. Sarcone and/or M.-J. Waeber) and a link back to our site. You CANNOT reproduce the content of this page for commercial purposes.
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