Fascinating Products That Fool the Eye

Photo: Eye Think, Inc.
Photo: Eye Think, Inc.

A few years ago I told you about an exciting new line of products that was coming out of a company called Eye Think, Inc. I first saw the board books, with titles like Gallop and Waddle, that seemed to have moving pictures on their pages. Then I stumbled upon the CineSpinners, discs you hang in a window and, as they spin, their pictures seem to move.

And then I showed you the fun Strobotop LightPhase Animator. My kids had a ball with this one, and showed every visitor who came into our home for months after we got our sample.

My friend Rufus Butler Seder, the inventor and artist behind the company, is at it again.

He recently sent me a sample of his newest product, something called a Gallop! Scanimation Lamp. It uses the same optical illusion technique as the books and CineSpinners, but in the form of a lamp. As the lamp turns, the animals seem to run, jump, and swing.

It’s a six-sided lamp, and the animal panels are interchangeable and flippable so the user can rearrange them in front of any colors they like and aiming in any direction. Three extra animal panels are included (nine animals in all), making thousands of possible customizable combinations. The soft light that spotlights the active subjects is the perfect brightness to make this a wonderful night light.

I truly wish I’d had this product when my kids were sleep- fighting preschoolers. At the time I searched high and low for any product that would be a soothing addition to their nightstands, and might distract them long enough to let their bodies give in to the sand man. This lamp would have been perfect. It is subdued and mesmerizing. I can just imagine how effective it would have been for innocently lulling my hard headed little ones to sleep.

Scanimation Lamp Photo: Judy Berna
Scanimation Lamp Photo: Judy Berna

It would also make a nice addition to an office bookcase or desk. It’s relaxing to watch and a great conversation starter. Warning: This sample video is very soothing. If you’re having trouble with afternoon sleepiness already, I don’t recommend clicking on it.

I was thrilled to receive Rufus’s gift because I respect him so much as an artist. He’s a man trying to make a living doing what he loves. I am in awe of his talent and the way he is always finding new ways to share his incredible talent with the world. One project, his Lifetile Murals, blows me away every time I see a sample of it.

Rufus has taken his eye-fooling art to a much higher level with these unique tiles. Early on, his goal was to make something that could fool the eye that didn’t need special lighting, electricity, or moving parts. He succeeded with the smaller products. But he didn’t stop there. By putting his technique onto tiles, he can create murals that seem to actually move as you walk by them. Their motion comes totally from the way the art on each tile fools your eye. The videos of these exhibits will baffle your senses.

Here’s one at the St. Louis Zoo, that seems to be a series of Sea Lions frolicking in the water…but it’s all just flat tile that fools your eye as you walk by.

And check out this display at the Reggie Lewis Track and Athletic Center in Boston, MA. As you walk along the exhibit, Reggie seems to be running, jumping, and vaulting. Again, just flat tiles.

And this is one of his newest projects, the Amazon Rain Forest section of the Miami Zoo.

If you only click on one of these samples, click on this one. Rufus himself installed it at the new Copernicus Science Center, in Warsaw Poland. It’s a breathtaking walk through the constellations, as they come to life. The mural is 80 feet long and took Rufus’s Lifetile team eight months to create.

The really cool thing is, you can have your own Lifetile mural. There are options for sale on the Eye Think, Inc. website. And get this… You can also send Rufus a picture of your child, and he can create a tile mural of them that seems to come to life. I can’t imagine how excited a grandparent might be to receive something this custom when the holidays roll around.

If you’d like to see any of Rufus’s murals in person, here is a list of the places he’s done installations. And if you’d like one of his brand new Scanimation Lamps, for yourself or a special geek kid in your life, you can get one for under forty dollars. Just click on this link.

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