Cellular Automata Explorer

Continuing my cellular automata theme, I’ve just finished a device to allow some hands on play, and exploration of the space of 1D cellular automata.

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I spent a while thinking on the interface, and settled on the row of switches to set the ‘rule’ for children of each possible 3 parent combination.

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The gorgeous jewelled indicators were taken from the World’s Largest Electronics Collection, which I picked up previously and had to make an elaborate set of shelves to hold.

I’ve left space for a 7 segment display on the right hand side, to show the rule number in Wolfram Notation. Sadly I don’t have any in my parts bin just yet, so it’ll stay blank for a while.

I spent ages playing with various diffusers for the LED matrix, and settled on this combination of rice paper with a clear polypropelene layer for protection.

The lasercut mask underneath is rectangular, but with rounded edges. I wanted something to show the connectivity in the simulation was much stronger in the horizontal (“Space”) direction than in the vertical (“Time”) direction.

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The colour matching of the LEDs looks much worse in this photo than in real life. Also occasionally these photo will ‘lie’ as to whether a single pixel was lit or not, since the LEDs are PWM’d to get brightness control.

Down the bottom left is a switch to specify whether the sim should start with a random configuration, or with a single centre pixel.

There’s three buttons to control the sim, Clear, Step (takes a single step) and Auto (steps continuously while held).

It’s rather satisfying to play with different rules and see how various patterns emerge:

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Rule 30 in action

Files are here for anyone that wants them: http://www.thingiverse.com/thing:1788244

It uses a pair of LED matrixes from Jaycar: http://www.jaycar.com.au/white-led-dot-matrix-display-for-arduino/p/XC4622

 

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3 Responses to Cellular Automata Explorer

  1. Pingback: Una máquina con botones y ledes para explorar los autómatas celulares | obiKuo

  2. Pingback: Una máquina con botones y ledes para explorar los autómatas celulares | Blog de Alcocer Sotil

  3. Pingback: Una máquina con botones y ledes para explorar los autómatas celulares – Tecnologia

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