DIY Spinning Disc Optical Illusion


Are you team Peppa pig or Masha & the bear? 

Do you know that they are just drawings put together? And do you know who makes those mere cartoons to move?

It’s YOU and your amazing brain that makes the Peppa pig drawings to move and dance and jump and give them life.

You think we are kidding?! No, we are not. 

We will show you why and how does it work.

When you watch an animated cartoon,  the pictures change so quickly that your brain cannot anymore differentiate between multiple pictures and puts them together to create one animated moving image. 

So basically it’s an illusion created by your brain.

Since we are all not blessed with such great artistic skills to draw the Peppa. We will explore this Optical Illusion using a simpler activity.

Purpose: To explore what makes rapidly spinning discs to form full patterns from an incomplete series of patterns/symbols.

Products & materials required:  Havi ElementsBattery, Power, Motor Driver, BO Motor without gears, disc(s) made out of cardboard, Sketch pen. 

Activity: Design and build spinning discs to form different patterns.

  1. Take the cardboard and draw a circle (with a diameter of at least 3 inches).
  2. Cut out the circle carefully.
  3. Draw a series of arcs around the disc in 2 parallel circles using sketch pens. As shown in the image below.
  4. Poke a hole in the center of the circle with a pin.
  5. Push the shaft of the motor into this hole. Make sure that shaft should be perfectly fitted to the hole.
  6. Prepare the circuit (power-motor). 
  7. Provide power to the power element.
  8. This will turn the motor on and the disc will start spinning.


What do you see when the disc is moving?

The series of arcs are forming full circles.

Why do you think is this happening? 

Can you connect this to the Peppa pig movement we discussed earlier?


The answer to the magic like phenomenon we witnessed is Optical Illusion. 

What is Optical Illusion?

Optical illusions happen when our brain and eyes try to speak to each other but the interpretation gets a bit mixed-up.

Optical illusions use light, patterns, and color to create images that trick our brain.

How does Optical Illusion work?

When we look at an object, we are seeing the light that bounces off the object and into our eye. It takes less than a second for our brain to process this information. In that amount of time, optical illusions tell our brain to focus on parts of the image that aren’t really there.

To Explore Further:

Experiment further by drawing different patterns yourself.

Download & print the disc patterns here: Experiments with Optical Illusions

Disclaimer: The cartoon animation is not completely based on optical illusion. There are more principles involved.

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