Eadweard Muybridge

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Eadweard J. Muybridge

Eadweard J. Muybridge ( 9 April 1830 " 8 May 1904) was an English photographer of Dutch ancestry who spent much of his life in the United States.

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Eadweard J. Muybridge
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The series of galloping horse images on the Google home page that seems to spring to life at the press of the play button is there as it is the 182nd birth anniversary of Eadweard J Muybridge, the man behind the first ever galloping horse moving image. This 21-cell doodle that merges one of the earliest forms of video with the power of the Web also gives an apparition of the Google logo using the Google colours (blue, red, yellow and green) on selected boxes.

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He is creator of the zoopraxiscope - an early variation of (can also be considered to be the first) the movie projector. Muybridge first demonstrated the zoopraxiscope in 1879.

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The galloping horse, that is also the inspiration behind the Eadweard J Muybridge Google doodle, was an experiment called 'Sallie Gardner at a Gallop' that finally put to rest the debate over whether a horse's all four hooves get off the ground at the same time while it trots. The answer was a yes, as proved by a series of 24 photographs that was later shown on Muybridge's zoopraxiscope.

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The galloping horse was actually a mare, owned by the then Governor of California Leland Stanford, called Sallie Gardner and a man called Domm was the jockey riding her.

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A zoopraxiscope is a circular disc with a sequence of images and when the disc is rotated it gives an impression of motion.

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Later developments in film projection such as Thomas Edison and William Kennedy Dickson's Kinetoscope drew inspiration from Muybridge's zoopraxiscope and therefore the English photographer has been recognised as a pioneer in photographic studies of motion and motion-picture projection.

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Google recreates Eadweard J Muybridge's experiment and builds a modern-day JavaScript powered version of the zoopraxiscope. The Google doodle version of the 'Sallie Gardner at a Gallop' used 12 frames from the original set of photographs and then moves them on the browser at a progressively increasing speed making into use the powers of modern web technologies to give an impression of motion that Muybridge demonstrated more than 130 years ago.

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Muybridge's zoopraxiscope on display at Kingston Museum.

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