Dancing Zoetropes

I saw this zoetrope by Akinori Goto (http://www.thisiscolossal.com/2016/06/a-fascinating-3d-printed-light-based-zoetrope-by-akinori-goto/) and thought that it might provide a useful way of displaying multiparameter data.

I want to show how multiple dimensions vary in time and I would like to be able to hold an object in my hand that does this.  The picture below shows 13 parameters varying in a cycle.  Each parameter traces a loop around the central axis.  To keep the loops suspended, I connected them with cross braces.  This object lets me see how the rings change position over the course of cycle.  Dancing Zoetrope.jpg

To see the animation I needed to illuminate a thin strip of the model while it rotated.  To rotate the model, I put it on a cheap turntable running at 33 rpm.  To illuminate the model, I bought a red laser fitted with a diffraction grating so that it would cast a strip of light.  The laser isn’t very bright and so I can only view the zoetrope in a very dark room.  The result is shown below.  If you have the sound on, you will hear my dog Poppy complaining in the background.

With this green laser you can see the model and the animation at the same time. Green-sylvia.gif

I was surprised at how much of my wife’s personality came through in this.  I filmed her doing a couple of half jumping jacks.  I then went through frame by frame and plotted key points and then built a model in autocad, tracing the paths of her hands, elbows, feet, knees, etc.  The model was printed with strong flexible plastic at Shapeways.

My goal here is to use this as a way of showing how seemingly complex multidimensional data can be simplified if you look at it the right way.  Instead of being seen as useless open weave basket, this zoetrope shows someone dancing and if it were data it would make me think about the data differently.  Now I can ask higher level questions about the dance rather  concentrate on the shapes of the individual loops.






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