As a fan of optical illusion, this little toy caught my attention. Advertised as “Mesmerizing Fun!” the Strobotop is designed as a kind of LightPhase Animator which relies partly on a spinning top with images, and a strobe light.
The Eye Think design closely resembles a kaleidoscope in which the repeating moving image is circular, and part of the effect is dependent on the kind of lighting that is available/used. This specific design relies on the LightPhaser, which you have to manually adjust for it to work with specific Strobodisks.
The package listed on the website comes with 18 different disks, providing hours of random entertainment. The designs basically range from hypnotic shapes to moving animals and people. The package can be purchased for $25, and it comes with the main spinning top along with the 18 disks. It requires 4 AAA Batteries to operate, but it is definitely worth it for the amount of time you can spend with it, and with the ideas that you can come up with.
The company that makes the toys also sells a booster pack, which goes for about $10, and includes 12 more disks as well as 6 blank disks for you to design your own animations.
The toys are cool for a few reasons; first, it’s a very simple but amusing way to spend your time. Of course, while the entertainment factor is important, it’s also got an artistic appeal, especially with the option to customize your own disks. Finally, it’s instructive to an extent; with enough experience with the toy, it’s possible that children who play with it begin to understand the fundamentals of animation. Isn’t the teaching aspect an important and much needed part of entertainment today? I certainly think so.