In my last post, I mostly explained what a zoetrope is and briefly about why I chose the zoetrope over my other up-cycle project ideas. In this post I would like to document the process I went through to build the zoetrope. The reason I chose the zoetrope was due to my fascination of our limitations as humans to only be able to distinguish 10-12 frames per second (FPS). When we get up to 24 FPS which is the frame rate movies are recorded with, we can only perceive fluid motion due to our brains inability to distinguish the separate images projected to it. The brain solves this by merging the images in such a way that we think there is a moving object in front of us. We still do not fully understand how the brain does this, as it happens in our brain’s integration center which is called the Insula. 

Before choosing the zoetrope as my project, I cycled through other projects which were interesting to me, but I felt most were more compatible with a final project for this class. My first idea was to construct a black-body which is an entity which perfectly emits and absorbs radiation, but this would have been too simple as an up-cycle project. My second idea was to construct a building or landmark from laser cut cardboard, the interesting part of this project is the fact it would be foldable to thin sheet when needed and unfolded into a 3D depiction of landmark, basically pop-out art, I felt this would be somewhat challenging as designing a 3D object which is foldable into a 2D object is a rigorous process. I ended up choosing the zoetrope as it had the balance of being straightforward to make and being interesting to me. 

I made the zoetrope with items I found laying around. I used a popcorn lid, black paper, double sided tape, glue, a bamboo skewer and a straw. I am still missing the images inside as I still haven’t decided to try and draw them myself or get a printed version online. One thing I enjoyed very much during this process is my use of a geometry trick to find the center of the popcorn lid. I did this by drawing two perpendicular lines at the edge of the lid, the hypotenuse which connects the ends of the lines must pass through the center of the lid, doing the twice I found the center at the point where both hypotenuses meet. Also, I added a dot on the lid as my estimation of whereI thought the center was before drawing the triangles.

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14 Comments. Leave new

Abdulaziz Alrashed
May 6, 2019 3:00 am

Great project Yousef. its functionality is very amusing. would you be able to replace the images if you wanted to?

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Hussam Alzahrani
February 17, 2019 11:10 am

I really like the idea of having a zoetrope for an upcycle project as there are many reusable materials that can be used to create one. In your presentation, I found your explanation from a technical aspect really helped me visualize the concept better. I think the end product looks great!

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I love the novelty of the zoetrope, it is a simple device that isn’t entirely practical but still is able to bring pictures to life in a purely mechanical way achieving animation. The whole idea behind it is just fascinating. Did you consider using something sturdier than paper to create it out of, it works but the device seems to be quite fragile. Overall the contraption is really fun and does the task it is meant to accomplish, nice work!

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It looks like it was a successful project. It was good to see how you solved problems that you encountered. It would have been cool to see more re-used materials than only the popcorn container lid. Perhaps re-used paper instead of new construction paper.

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William Benson
February 13, 2019 1:12 pm

This project is super cool. I have never heard of a zoetrope before, so I really enjoyed getting to see it in action. This is very original and it works well! Great presentation too.

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Great technical upcycle project. I enjoyed the technical facts that we learned from it. Maybe a second round could be mounting it on a spindle so you dont have to hold it by hand.

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Awesome! I love how you made something that’s very functional and artistic with these recycled materials. The zoetrope idea is really cool, and I like how you used math and geometry to precisely find the center of the lid

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This seems like a really cool project and I like the process. I think it would have been cool if the images inside had been a little larger.

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Nicholas Degenhart
February 13, 2019 1:11 pm

This was a really cool project. Your explanation of finding the center of the lid was very interesting. Additionally, how you needed to consider the highest frequency the human eye can capture was very cool.

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This project was a really cool use of recycled products! I am glad you were able to integrate engineering and art together. I did not realize the human brain can only see 12 frames per second since videos and movies usually do 24ish fps. Very professional.

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Jared Campbell
February 13, 2019 1:06 pm

I am pretty sure humans can see up to 1000 FPS. Either way I like your idea and the execution of the project. I need to do more research on what we are able to see to make things look fluid like a video. Maybe after 1000 FPS everything is blurry, and anything over 12 FPS looks like a video.

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This is a pretty cool project. I really like the creativity that this took and the math that you related to this. I was a little confused by you saying that the human vision can only see at 12 fps because I always thought it was more like 30-60 fps. Maybe you just need to spin the zoetrope faster!

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Your project is very unique. I am very excited to see the final product this week! The description of what exactly it is you are making was very well thought out and cohesive. Nice writing!

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Alexis Nibbelink
February 10, 2019 7:40 pm

Hi Yousef. Your project is very fascinating. I love the simplicity of it and how it can trick the brain into thinking it is much more. I’m glad you included a brief explanation on how our brains perceive the motion picture. I hope to be able to see it in action.

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