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exhibiting artists

ARTIST: Doug Bell

TITLE: A Survey Of Life

schematic of the piece

MATERIALS: brass rod, coffee stirrers, SMT LEDs, wire, solder, resistors, buttons, Cypress PSoC microcontroller in socket, regulated 5 Volt DC Power Supply.

DIMENSIONS: 12" x 12½"

DATE: 2007

DESCRIPTION: "A Survey of Life" will implement John Conway's Game of Life. The device will display known interesting Game of Life patterns and allow them to be "played". The control buttons will also allow the patterns to be edited, merged, and created.

Although a 23 x 24 cell field is on the small side for a Game of Life display, the working memory will be able to store a 90 x 90 cell pattern, and the control buttons will allow this pattern to be scrolled, zoomed, etc, even while it is generating. Using a zoomed display, it should be possible to get a high-level view of large patterns by having the PSoC program control the brightness of each LED to be proportional to the number of Game of Life cells it represents.

STATEMENT: I have a bachelor's degree in Electrical Engineering, but almost all of my paid work has been in software engineering. Electronics has been my hobby since childhood. dorkbot has inspired me to consider the possibilities of artistic outlets for my expertise and interests.

I hope with this piece to make apparent the simplicity, regularness and beauty of a "Charlieplexed" LED array when driven directly from a general purpose microcontroller. The connections of the entire piece will be fully visible. I also want the piece to make evident the amazing nature of John Conway's Game of Life.

Doug Bell
Seattle, WA
douglas_warren_bell AT


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