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Glider Stream Display
game of life gliders on an endless procession
Meetings: none
Type: hardware

Status: planning
Contact Person: Gunstick (mail)
QrCode: QR-67875bc851cecedb79ca047f25554bf1.png

The glider is one of the basic shapes in Conway's game of life and also the logo of the hackerspace movement.

The idea of this project is to have a huge LED display showing only gliders going in the same direction. Like an endless band. In fact sort of christmas moving lights, just the geek way. This will not be a complete life simulator but hardwired. So it only can display gliders, nothing else.

The animated gif on the right shows the normal glider pattern but rotated 45 degrees. It looks quite different compared to the usual diagonal display. This stream is taken from the first ever glider gun with period 30:


So if we use a period 30 for the gliders, one can in future development build the glider gun to go with the stream. If for cost or complexity reasons the period has to be smaller, a period of 15 is possible too, but the gun is a big beast

Tasks to solve:

  • hardwiring of the LEDs so it's a glider-only display
  • logic to control the whole thing (I think about some 30 bits in shift registers)
  • I have no idea how to switch a dozen LEDs with one gate. Transistor? Yeah, I'm bad in electronics :-)

So far I have my idea about the logic by using a period of 8. There are effectively 4 lines of LEDs. Each LED's status is taken over by the next one after a period of 4. Now with a period of 30, which is not divisible by 4, every glider is 2 steps behind. Or other way formulated: every second glider is behaving the same way. It should be possible to wire the even and odd glides together so the period of 30 can be kept.

The cabling could be a headache :-) Are there 4*30 connections needed? Because of time symmetry it's only half of that. Still there are then 60 different pins from the logic to drive the LEDs. Maybe I can come up with a more elegant way with a bit more logic and less wires.

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