Sit back and enjoy these fascinatingly engraved ornaments. They seem to undulate and animate thanks to special patterns that, when rotated at a speed that coinsides with the shutter on the camera, makes a smooth animation, just like a zoetrope.

The stroboscopic patterns are designed in MATLAB and drawn by EggBot Pro on colored glass Christmas ornaments. The motion of the balls is controlled by a custom mechanism built using components from two Prusa i3 MK3 3D printers, like six stepper motors and two Rambo boards. On top of designing the patterns, which is Jiri’s hobby (when he is not busy with research) and building the whole contraption in a very short time, the team had to deal with issues including non-spherical ornaments, or how to use Rambo board to precisely control the velocity profiles. The story behind the creation of the video is full of serendipity and there is even one unintentional “Easter Egg” left in the video (well at least one that we are aware of).

These were created by Jiri Zemanek, and aren’t his first exploration into stroboscopic animation. Check out his YouTube channel, especially the video with the laser-egg syste!