Watch This Mesmerising Zoetrope Grow

By Sarah Zhang on at

The below GIF is mesmerising, but what on Earth is it? But one of many bio-inspired designs created by Nervous System, a design studio that uses 3D printing to recreate patterns found in nature, including corals, cellular colonies, and this trippy fungus-looking thing.

According to the designers, the animation shown here is an homage to 19th-century zoetropes — early motion picture projectors that consisted of a drum containing a set of still images. When a zoetrope was rotated, these still images were animated to produce the illusion of motion. This particular "zoetrope" was inspired by research into the development of leaves and flowers, highlighting the fact that complex, ruffled growth patterns can emerge from simple surfaces as they grow preferentially along their edges. I could stare at it for hours.