Persistence Of Vision

Everything is not as it first appears. This simple plastic ball looks purple until you swing it in a circle and reveal its true nature. Inside are three light emitting diodes (LEDs), which are red, green and blue. They turn on and off in sequence very quickly. When still, the ball appears purple because your eyes and brain don’t ‘refresh’ quickly enough to perceive the changing colours. However, when swung in a circle, the ball changes colours at different locations so the colours don’t merge with each other and the ball’s true nature is revealed. Now let’s not think too carefully about how this illusion is conveyed through video (because the camera doesn’t refresh quickly enough to perceive the colours changing either – so you have no hope of seeing it on YouTube even frame by frame).

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