Strobe Goggles: Your Ticket to Stardom!




About: I made a book with some new projects in it! It's called Marvelous Makeable Monsters. Check it out here: The Oakland Toy Lab is a community-based wonder lab for students to build, ti...

Why wait for the club when you can make the whole world appear in strobe all the time? Strobe goggles can reverse water drops, make your auntie look fly at dancing, and even give you mild seizures / migraines if you're lucky!

But seriously, these are a super fun way to make adjustable-rate strobe goggles to unleash a load of experiments you can do once you change your visual perception. Have fun!

  • What: Strobe Goggles!
  • Time: ~ 45 minutes
  • Cost: ~ $4.50, depending on sources
  • Concepts: Vision, Perception, Time, Permanence of Vision
  • Materials:
    • 1 pair sunglasses (grab 'em cheap!)
    • 1 DC motor (3V works great)
    • 1 battery pack
    • 2 batteries
    • 1 potentiometer (fancy word for knob, grab a 100k Ohm one)
    • 1 extra wire
    • 1 wee zip-tie (optional)
    • Cardboard (for disc)
    • Black construction paper (for disc)
  • Tools:
    • Scissors or X-acto Blade
    • Wire Strippers
    • Hot Glue gun / hot glue
    • Soldering iron / solder

Let's get strobing!

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Step 1: Get Your Stuff!

Get all that stuff together we just talked about!

Also, now's a great time to cut out your discs. Any circle would do, just make it large enough to cover a good portion of your field of vision. My circle was 6" in diameter, and the file can be found here.

Step 2: Pop Out Those Lenses and Slap on a Motor

Goodbye glasses! Time for something way more suave!

Glue on the motor with the tabs oriented vertically, and use lots and lots and lots of glue!

Looking good already!

Step 3: Glue on the Other Electronics

Pick a side that you're going to load up with your electronics. Glue on the battery pack and the potentiometer so that the wires can reach the motor. Again, use a boatload of hot glue.

Step 4: Wire Up!

Alright, it's wiring time! Clip down any wires to a length that works for you, and attach those wire ends to the tabs. Use tweezers if you want!

Here's a little diagram showing you the basic set-up. Nothing too fancy, here!

Step 5: Soldering Time!

Time to solder all those connections in place, which should be four places in all. Two will be to your potentiometer (left terminal and middle terminal), and two will be on your motor.

Step 6: The Strobe Disc

You'll want to glue the back construction paper on to cardboard to give it a little strength. The black side will be toward you (the wearer of the goggles) to get the maximum strobe effect by alternating between the black of the disc and the slice of vision when the wheel comes around.

The other side can be whatever you want, so go crazy decorating it!

When you're assembling, poke the motor end through and give it a little hot glue.

Step 7: Strobe Your World!

Oh, the places you'll strobe!

There's so much to see and unsee, that it's hard to contain here. Here are a few great things to stare at:

  • Anything that spins
  • Anything that bounces
  • Water dropping from faucets
  • Rain
  • Ripples in water
  • Puppies (they're just great in general)
  • Ripples in puppies (the best!)

Happy strobing and have fun!



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    13 Discussions


    4 years ago on Introduction

    This is not a good idea for people with seizures or migraines. Flashing light can induce them. Don't do it.


    4 years ago on Introduction

    For you Dads out there...........this is a great to do with your kids, have fun. I had a great time just reading this article.



    4 years ago on Introduction

    Great project! I did make it but can't see the button to submit pics. Real quick, I used a pizza box for the disc. Hot glued 2 AA batteries together and attached to the glasses. I have to turn the pot all the way up for it to work and that keeps it at the same speed. I would like to see it work at a lower speed. I pulled the motor from an old rc toy but without a multimeter I'm not sure what the volts are. My guess, somewhere between 1.5v-5v? Admittedly, I did use used batteries (I do have new ones). Is this why the strobe goggles only worked once the pot was turned up all the way? I suppose that's rhetorical as I know I can just simply switch the old for the new batteries. Anyway, thanks for submitting. My first completed instructable and I had fun doing it.

    1 reply

    Shawgwah, this is great news and congrats on making your first Instructable! What I think is really neat is that you substituted a bunch of parts for things you had, which is exactly the spirit of it, and shows you really understand what's going on. So so great. It all depends on your exact motor / potentiometer / battery set up for the exact resistance range that allows motor speed control, so definitely feel free to experiment with it all!


    nice effect. but maybe you should not using just only potensiometer for regulating the speed. it will make it hot, and sparks as you turn it.

    1 reply

    Hmmm, this is interesting and sparks would indeed be awesome (dangerous?) So far, we haven't seen any but if you do, definitely feel free to swap it out!


    4 years ago

    "And can even give you mild migraines/seizures if you are lucky!" ;p


    4 years ago on Introduction

    Another one to try! Is there any bad effect from the eyes taking turns to see? If you had two slots in the disc they would both see at once, and the disc might balance better (does it shake?)

    1 reply

    Hey stechi!

    This is a really great comment. We should try a double-slice disc indeed. An interesting thing will be that with two slices because of the spinning motion, the two slices will still reveal fields of vision in opposite ways for each eye, so we'll have to see what that does, too!

    And you're right, there's some definite nose vibration with these goggles, so that's a great idea balance-wise.


    4 years ago

    Great fun for all the family...... Unless there is a photosensitive epileptic in the family.....
    But apart from that, well done! Looks like some crazy fun ;)

    1 reply

    4 years ago on Introduction

    Ha, very funny!

    I have to say though, this gives me a headache just imagining the effect :)