What Does Zoopraxiscope Mean?

The zoopraxiscope was an early moving picture technology that emerged in the nineteenth century. According to some sources, it was patented by William Lincoln in 1867, while many sources also state that Edward Muybridge “invented” it in 1879. The zoopraxiscope helped to pave the way for the Lumiere machine and successive motion picture technologies.


Techopedia Explains Zoopraxiscope

The zoopraxiscope was a system in which the viewer looked through a small vertical slit in a solid opaque medium. As the patterned apertures moved around, it conveyed the sense of motion. The zoopraxiscope made use of early “frame animation” in which each frame is drawn slightly differently in a sequence. That led to effective optical illusion of movement.

Now, new forms of computer animation have emerged to rival traditional motion picture technologies. The idea of using physical frame film, let alone simple drawn images, has become obsolete. Visual effects and animation work have been brought alive to new heights by big data and engineering. Items like the zoopraxiscope are now largely confined to museums.


Related Terms

Margaret Rouse
Technology Expert

Margaret is an award-winning technical writer and teacher known for her ability to explain complex technical subjects to a non-technical business audience. Over the past twenty years, her IT definitions have been published by Que in an encyclopedia of technology terms and cited in articles by the New York Times, Time Magazine, USA Today, ZDNet, PC Magazine, and Discovery Magazine. She joined Techopedia in 2011. Margaret's idea of a fun day is helping IT and business professionals learn to speak each other’s highly specialized languages.