Putting a modern spin on the phenakistoscope

Putting a modern spin on the phenakistoscope

Arduino TeamFebruary 26th, 2021

The phenakistoscope was invented in the 1800s as a way to view a series of moving pictures on a spinning disc. While the traditional implementation is ingenious in its own right, Nick Lim has created his own take on this venerable concept, using strobing light to break up frames instead of the slits-and-mirror arrangement of the original.

His system utilizes a repurposed CD-ROM BLDC motor to rotate the discs — featuring original phenakistoscope patterns that were printed out and pasted onto the CD — and an overhead array of strobing LEDs to visually fixture images in place.

An Arduino Nano controls the device, regulating motor speed and direction via a pair of L293D ICs, along with strobing frequency using a MOSFET. The result is a looping mini-video player that a number of people can observe at the same time!

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