This week held a visual challenge for our scientists. We challenged our brains and eyes and learned how we can trick them using the science of how our brains perceive motion.
First, we made a thaumatrope to help us learn about ‘persistence of vision’. We drew two separate pictures then glued them back to back placing a string in between to spin them as fast as we could. We learnt that as the two images pass by our eyes quickly, we are still processing one image when we see the next, so our brain merges the two together to see a complete image.
After we had mastered these, we tried to make a phenakistoscope. This works just like classic animation and movies; by rapidly showing one image after the other, each slightly different to the one before, a sense of movement is created. This is known as ‘beta movement’, and is the basis of any moving image we see on a screen. We used a template to draw on, then used a mirror to view back the ‘moving’ picture as we spun it.