This is a modern take on one of the earlist forms of animation. A Phonotrope is basically an elaborate Zoetrope unsing a turntable as a base for the construction. The truntable is set to spin a 45rpm, and figures are placed on it at carefully spaced intervals so they appear to remain in the same position but moving. The Phonotrope can be used to animated both two-dimensional and three-dimensional objects, and its depth means that it can also offer backgrounds.
Jim Le Fevre has demonstrated the three-dimensional capabilities of the device on his excellent Blog, I can't post the videos on here but you should go check them out:
I've included a video of 'Bead Spirals' by Graeme Hawkins to demostrate the beauty of the Phonotrope.