The Spinning Wheel

Any continuous movement in this spinning wheel is illusory. It is simply 2 different pictures of the same wheel flipping back and forth. The first picture shows the wheel at the start position. The second picture is the same wheel, but rotated 10 degrees. When we see the 2 pictures flipping back and forth we think the wheel is spinning!

You could say that the wheel rotates 10 degrees, then jumps back to 0, then rotates 10 degrees again...endlessly. Because the wheel looks like it is starting to rotate, and we "expect" the wheel to rotate, we tend to follow an illusory movement around the circle in 10 degree jumps. The wheel will "rotate" in either direction with a little concentration.

You can change the speed. Use the Slider to change the "flipping back and forth" speed. The illusion of rotation works at any speed. You can slow the wheel down enough to see both pictures of the wheel flipping back and forth. Click on the wheel to stop the movement.

Credits: Java Applet: 1998 Tony Azevedo.
Artist:  R. Ausbourne

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