Trippy visuals from mouse cursor visual feedback

Craft & Design

Check out this really cool video by Alex Schlegel created using a really simple feedback loop with a webcam, computer, and projector (no extra graphics processing):

Video experimenting with the feedback-induced patterns a webcam creates when viewing its own feed projected onto a wall. I connected a 1080p digital projector to my laptop and projected the laptop’s display onto a wall (the image was about 6ft. across). Next I connected a cheap webcam to my laptop and positioned it facing the wall, roughly centered on the projection, approximately 5ft. away, and as high as I could without casting a shadow on the projection. I started the webcam’s test program (the webcam seems to refresh at about 10-15Hz), maximized the window, and then filmed the wall using a digital video camera placed on a small tripod on top of the projector. As I filmed I experimented with different modes of mouse movement (freehand, circle, figure-eight, zig-zag, and random). I used Windows API calls from a program I wrote in Visual Basic to control the automatic mouse movements.

4 thoughts on “Trippy visuals from mouse cursor visual feedback

  1. Simon says:

    I think this is called howl-around and it’s how they did the original opening credits for Doctor Who.

  2. Anonymous says:

    hahaha very cool. you really got nothing better to do?? ;) liked how you described all the process. i’m going to try this someday.

Comments are closed.

Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

Becky Stern is a Content Creator at Autodesk/Instructables, and part time faculty at New York’s School of Visual Arts Products of Design grad program. Making and sharing are her two biggest passions, and she's created hundreds of free online DIY tutorials and videos, mostly about technology and its intersection with crafts. Find her @bekathwia on YouTube/Twitter/Instagram.

View more articles by Becky Stern


Maker Faire Bay Area 2023 - Mare Island, CA

Escape to an island of imagination + innovation as Maker Faire Bay Area returns for its 15th iteration!

Buy Tickets today! SAVE 15% and lock-in your preferred date(s).