Slow Dance

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You shouldn't believe your eyes!

You shouldn't believe your eyes!

“Slow dance” is a picture frame that makes real objects appear to move in slow motion. By taking advantage of the limits of human visual perception, this optical illusion sculpture appears to be doing the impossible — right before your eyes. Slow Dance combines technology, science, and art, in order to remind us of the natural mystery, beauty, and wonder that surround us every day.

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An ongoing experiment in wonder

An ongoing experiment in wonder

Play and experiment! YOU bring the objects to Slow Dance — it is a blank canvas for you to compose. From weeds on the street to flowers in the garden to bird feathers, each object will reveal a new slow motion world. After two years of playing with it ourselves, we are still enchanted when we try out a new object — the world it reveals seems to be never-ending. It will change how you will see plants and other objects forever. Different modes allow you to cycle through different dance patterns, some slow and smooth, and others that make the object appear to jump through space!


Many Thanks!

A huge thank you to everyone that backed us on Kickstarter!

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How loud is it? Is it safe to touch?

Incredibly quiet. The loudest thing is the object itself moving through the air, and the magnets can be adjusted to change the 'volume' of movement, so if you make the movement very large, it will create more noise. We can't hear a feather from 10 feet away in a quiet room. For the techies out there, we estimate it's around 30dB. And yes! Please touch it! If you touch the objects you will feel the secret that your eyes cannot see - that they are vibrating very quickly (80 times back and forth every second). It's a fun way to discover the illusion. The electromagnet is totally safe to touch as it is all at very low voltage and strength. It's fun for all ages.

Is the strobe light blinking safe for those with photosensitive epilepsy?

We are almost certain about this, but make no medical guarantees. describes most of these being caused at 5-30 flashes per second, where your eyes can register the flashing. This runs at roughly 80 flashes per second, and you can't see the flashing unless you wave your hand in front of it or shake your head fast. If you have any history of photosensitive epilepsy, please consult your doctor before using Slow Dance.

Does this work when it's under bright light (daylight or otherwise)?

Given that the effect is based on strobe lights embedded in the frame, when there is sufficient ambient light (like sunlight), the effect is greatly weakened. With the included brightness control on full, we've found it works for most indoor environments (even a few feet from the window), but when it's up against the window or outside in daylight, the effect is harder to notice.

What kinds of things can I put into Slow Dance?

Since the slow motion effect depends on vibrating objects very quickly, light objects that vibrate repeatedly work the best. So far I've found the best things are feathers, plants, and flowers. That said, I've also seen custom origami, bent wire, even googly eyes(!) in the mix, and look forward to many more surprises! I think it's useful to think of Slow Dance like a vase — you don't expect the things in it to last forever, but you intend to highlight their temporary existence. I've found feathers work indefinitely, plants depend greatly on the type (some dry out and get brittle, others seem to work for weeks), and most flowers last for the day, if that.

What is the warranty on Slow Dance?

Limited Warranty:

By using the product, Purchaser agrees to the terms of this limited warranty. Wonder Machines warrants that the product will be free from manufacturer defects in materials or workmanship for a period of three (3) months from the date of purchase. Purchaser's sole remedy for Wonder Machines' breach of this warranty is, at Wonder Machines' sole option, either repair or replacement of the product. To exercise this remedy, the purchaser must notify Wonder Machines within thirty (30) days of the expiration of the warranty period. The laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts govern this limited warranty; provided, however, that if, despite such choice of law provision, the laws of purchaser's jurisdiction require a longer warranty period, such longer period shall apply. EXCEPT FOR THE FOREGOING LIMITED WARRANTY, THE PRODUCT IS PROVIDED "AS-IS" AND "WITH ALL FAULTS," AND WONDER MACHINES HEREBY DISCLAIMS ALL OTHER WARRANTIES, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING WITHOUT LIMITATION THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR ANY PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

How can I customize Slow Dance?

Besides finding or creating objects of your own, if you want to customize Slow Dance further, you can update the code as it is open source and runs off of an Arduino code-base. Get started by going here.