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A bouncing ball captured with a stroboscopic flash at 25 images per second.

A strobe light flashing at the proper period can appear to freeze or reverse cyclical motion

A stroboscope, also known as a strobe, is an instrument used to make a cyclically moving object appear to be slow-moving, or stationary. The principle is used for the study of rotating, reciprocating, oscillating or vibrating objects. Machine parts and vibrating strings are common examples. Intense flashing/pulsing light of various frequencies can trigger epileptic seizures in people who suffer from photosensitive epilepsy.

1 Types of stroboscopes

o o      

1.1 Mechanical 1.2 Electronic

2 History 3 Applications 4 Other effects 5 See also 6 References 7 External links

and high-intensity strobe applications. Sufficiently rapid or bright flashing may require active cooling such as forced-air or water cooling to prevent the xenon flash lamp from melting. The rotational speed is adjusted so that it becomes synchronised with the movement of the observed system. the object is visible to the observer. Xenon flash lamps are used for medium. Neon lamps were more common before the development of solid-state electronics. Neon lamps or light emitting diodes are commonly used for low-intensity strobe applications. The illusion is caused by temporal aliasing. [edit]Electronic In electronic versions. the perforated disc is replaced by a lamp capable of emitting brief and rapid flashes of light. at which point the object is seen to be either stationary or moving slowly backward or forward. a rotating cylinder (or bowl with a raised edge) with evenly-spaced holes or slots placed in the line of sight between the observer and the moving object. Alternately. followed by a cool-down period when power is removed. incandescent lamps have a brief warm-up when energized. These delays result in smearing and blurring of detail of objects partially illuminated during the warm-up and cool-down periods.[edit]Types of stroboscopes [edit]Mechanical In its simplest mechanical form. Typically a gas-discharge or solid-state lamp is used. since the holes/slots appear to just sweep across the object without a strobe effect. depending on the flash frequency. with the slots/holes moving in opposite directions. and extinguishing just as fast when the power is removed. but are being replaced by LEDs in most lowintensity strobe applications. The stationary hole or slot limits the light to a single viewing path and reduces glare from light passing through other parts of the moving hole/slot. The observer looks through the holes/slots on the near and far side at the same time. a single moving hole or slot can be used with a fixed/stationary hole or slot. When the holes/slots are aligned on opposite sides. The frequency of the flash is adjusted so that it is an equal to. which seems to slow and stop. commonly known as the stroboscopic effect. By comparison. because they are capable of emitting light nearly instantly when power is applied. Viewing through a single line of holes/slots does not work. [edit]History . or a unit fraction of the object's cyclic speed.

meaning "whirlpool" and σκοπεῖν . Other early pioneers employed rotating mirrors. French engineer Etienne Oehmichen patented the first electric stroboscope. when Harold Eugene Edgerton ("Doc" Edgerton) employed a flashing lamp to study machine parts in motion. As well as having important applications for scientific research. the earliest inventions received immediate popular success as methods for producingmoving pictures. In 1917.[1] building at the same time a camera capable of shooting 1. which he named the "Stroboscope". such as bullets in flight.skopein. and the principle was used for numerous toys. . The etymology is from the Greek words στρόβος .[2] General Radio Corporation then went on to produce this invention in the form of their "Strobotach". when he used a disc with radial slits which he turned while viewing images on a separate rotating wheel. Plateau called his device the "Phenakistoscope". or vibrating mirrors known as mirror galvanometers.strobos. Edgerton later used very short flashes of light as a means of producing still photographs of fast-moving objects. and it is his term which is used today.000 frames per second. a professional grade stroboscope produced by General Radio Close-up view of the 1540 Strobolume control box Joseph Plateau of Belgium is generally credited with the invention of the stroboscope in 1832.1540 Strobolume. meaning "to look at". There was a simultaneous and independent invention of the device by the Austrian Simon von Stampfer. The electronic strobe light stroboscope was invented in 1931.

Flashing lamp strobes are also adapted for pop use. The edge of the platter has marks at specific intervals so that when viewed under fluorescent lighting powered at mains frequency. as a lighting effect for discotheques and night clubs where they give the impression of dancing in slow motion. known as Fechner color. The strobe rate of these devices is typically not very precise or very fast.[edit]Applications Stroboscopes play an important role in the study of stresses on machinery in motion. the apparent color can be controlled by the frequency of the flash. provided the platter is rotating at the correct speed. The patient hums or speaks into a microphone which in turn activates the stroboscope at either the same or a slightly different frequency. The Benham's top demonstrates the effect. This will not work under incandescent lighting. The light source and a camera are positioned by endoscopy. [edit]See also Stroboscopic effect . In medicine. as incandescent bulbs don't strobe. For this reason. but it is an illusion generated in the mind of the observer and not a real color. As a timing light they are used to set the ignition timing of internal combustion engines. [edit]Other effects Rapid flashing can give the illusion that white light is tinged with color. the marks appear to be stationary. some turntables have a neon bulb next to the platter. Bright stroboscopes are able to overpower ambient lighting and make stop-motion effects apparent without the need for dark ambient operating conditions. stroboscopes are used to view the vocal cords for diagnosis of conditions that have produced dysphonia (hoarseness). They are also used as measuring instruments for determining cyclic speed. Within certain ranges. and in many other forms of research. because the entertainment application does not usually require a high degree of performance. Another application of the stroboscope can be seen on many gramophone turntables.

spoked wheels on horse-drawn wagons sometimes appear to be turning backwards. the free encyclopedia It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Stroboscope. the droplets appear to be suspended in mid-air. is an example of the stroboscopic effect being applied to a cyclic motion that is not rotational. This article does not cite any references or sources. (December 2009) Depending on the frequency of flash. (Discuss) Proposed since September 2010. A strobe fountain. Contents [hide]  1 Explanation o      1. so-called because in video or film. Adjusting the strobe frequency can make the droplets seemingly move slowly up or down. It also accounts for the "wagon-wheel effect". When viewed under a strobe light with its frequency tuned to the rate at which the droplets fall. Unsourced material may be challenged and removed.From Wikipedia.1 Audio conversion from light patterns 2 Wagon-wheel effect 3 Dangers 4 See also 5 References 6 External links [edit]Explanation . Please help improve this article by adding citations to reliable sources. the element appears motionless or rotating in reverse direction The stroboscopic effect is a visual phenomenon caused by aliasing that occurs when continuous motion is represented by a series of short or instantaneous samples. this is a normal water fountain. When viewed under normal light. a stream of water droplets falling at regular intervals lit with a strobe light. It occurs when the view of a moving object is represented by a series of short samples as distinct from a continuous view. and the moving object is in rotational or other cyclic motion at a rate close to the sampling rate.

[edit]Dangers . Furthermore. The stroboscopic effect also plays a role for laser microphones. the position of the spokes is seen to fall a little further behind in each successive frame and therefore the wheel will seem to be turning backwards. and the series of images will be perceived as if it is rotating backwards once per minute. For example. Sixty-one flashes will occur before the object is seen in the same position again. Hence. Filmed at 24 frames per second. the object will seem to be slowly rotating forwards.Consider the stroboscope as used in mechanical analysis. In fact. each photographically captured spoke in any one position will be a different actual spoke in each successive frame. action is captured as a rapid series of still images and the same stroboscopic effect can occur. the wheel will be perceived to be stationary. each flash illuminates the object at the same position in its rotational cycle. persistence of vision smooths out the sequence of flashes so that the perceived image is continuous. the spokes in each frame will appear in exactly the same position. each flash will illuminate it at a slightly earlier part of its rotational cycle. [edit]Wagon-wheel effect Main article: Wagon-wheel effect Propeller of a Bombardier Q400 taken with a digital camera showing the stroboscopic effect Motion-picture cameras conventionally film at 24 frames per second. Compact discs rely on strobing reflections of the laser from the surface of the disc in order to be processed (it is also used for computer data). no difference will be perceived. This may be a "strobe light" that is fired at an adjustable rate. The same effect occurs if the object is viewed at 59 flashes per second. so it appears that the object is stationary. DVDs and Blu-ray Discs have similar functions. If the same rotating object is viewed at 61 flashes per second. at a frequency of 60 flashes per second. but since the spokes are close to identical in shape and color. In the case of motion pictures. except that each flash illuminates it a little later in its rotational cycle and so. an object is rotating at 60 revolutions per second: if it is viewed with a series of short flashes at 60 times per second. [edit]Audio conversion from light patterns The stroboscopic effect also plays a role in audio playback. Although the wheels of a vehicle are not likely to be turning at 24 revolutions per second (as that would be extremely fast). If the wheel rotates a little more slowly than two revolutions per second. suppose each wheel has twelve spokes and rotates at only two revolutions per second.

For example. or by using high-frequency controllers that drive the lights at safer frequencies.Because of the illusion that the stroboscopic effect can give to moving machinery. double the nominal frequency). it is advised that singlephase lighting is avoided. thus any machinery rotating at multiples of 50 or 60rpm may appear to not be turning.[1] [edit]See also . a factory that is lit from a single-phase supply with basic lighting will have a flicker of 100 or 120Hz (depending on country. increasing the risk of injury to an operator. Solutions include deploying the lighting over a full 3-phase supply.

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