Electronic Phenakistoscope!


Looking for a clever way to build a Phenakistoscope? Maybe you’re more familiar with its other names; Fantoscope, Phantasmascope, or perhaps its close cousin the Zoetrope?

If you’re still scratching your head, that’s okay — they have really weird names. What we’re referring to here is a type of optical illusion that mimics movement by showing a series of still images at an offset interval — this can be achieved by looking through slots, strobing a light (like in this case) or even by the use of mirrors.

This particular Phenakistoscope is a very simple but clever design that makes use of a recycled stepper motor from a printer, a CD as the animation disk, a strip of LED lighting, a few potentiometers and an Arduino to control the strobe. It works by synchronizing the strobe frequency with the motor rotation, resulting in the image in motion effect.

Stick around after the break for a full gallery of the build and a demonstration video.

And of course, to see it in action:

We also covered a great 3D printed Zoetrope a while ago that brought a bit of the third dimension into the animation!

9 thoughts on “Electronic Phenakistoscope!

  1. This plug-in is not supported.
    Please consider us tablet users (Android but not excluding iPad users). Javascript is always a good bet for good support.
    These comments aren’t only addressed to Hackaday…
    What was it btw?

    1. Android doesn’t support Flash – most tablets have this problem because Flash uses up the battery very quickly and tends to be unstable. You would have to manually install it and disable a security setting in order to see Flash-related content. Not everyone has made the transition to HTML5 widgets (sans Flash) so you’ll run into this problem frequently.

  2. Hi! Firts I wanna say congratulations for the project, It looks awesome! I’m making something similar but i’m having some problems with the led strip… When I use a xenon strobe light, it works. But when I use a led strip with a strobe circuit, I see the image very blurred. Did you have some issue like that? Any advice is welcome, thank’s.

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