Google honours Joseph Plateau who helped in the development of cinema

Google honoured Belgian physicist Joseph Antoine Ferdinand Plateau, who invented the phenakistiscope which is one of the first forms of moving media that paved the way for the future motion picture and film industry.

The doodle is a pictorial depiction of the Plateau’s genius device ‘phenakistiscope’. “Inspired by the mesmerizing animated discs, the animated Doodle art was made to reflect Plateau’s style, with different imagery and themes in them on different device platforms,” Google said in its description of the Doodle.

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The Phenakistiscope has two disks, one with small equidistant radial windows for the viewer to look, and another containing a sequence of images. The animated effect is due to the result of the synchronization of the windows and the images with the rotation of the two disks. This projection of the photos led to the development of cinema.

Born on October 14 in Brussels, Plateau was one of the first people to demonstrate the illusion of a moving image. To actualise his device, the physicist used counter-rotating disks with repeating drawn images in small increments of motion on one and regularly spaced slits in the other.

At the age of six, the physicist was already able to read, making him a child prodigy. While still in primary schools, he was particularly impressed by a lesson of physics and wanted to discover their secrets someday.

In 1832, Plateau invented an early stroboscopic device, the “phenakistoscope”, the first device to give the illusion of a moving image. It consisted of two disks, one with small equidistant radial windows, through which the viewer could look, and another containing a sequence image. When the two disks rotated at the correct speed, the synchronization of the windows and the images created an animated effect.

The projection of stroboscopic photographs, creating the illusion of motion, eventually led to the development of cinema.

Plateau died in Ghent in 1883.

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