Cycloid Fun

Cycloid Fun

A cycloid is what you get when you graph a specific point on a wheel as the wheel rolls. I found this animation from Wikipedia to be very helpful:

Cycloid animation

I was curious if I could make my own cycloid using long-exposure photography. After a little experimentation, I ended up with this:

Long-exposure cycloid

Of course, it's not perfect, but there is a clear cycloid. To make it, I attached a red LED powered by a button-cell battery to the front wheel of my bicycle. I then had a friend slowly walk it through my darkened garage while I took a long-exposure shot. The breaks in the curve are caused by the LED being blocked by the part of the bike that attaches to the center of the wheel. The cycloid itself appears a little wobbly since we didn't roll the wheel completely straight. Despite it's flaws, I think my little experiment turned out quite well.

If I made any mistakes or omissions, please let me know. I would also appreciate any feedback.

Cycloid Fun