Saturday, October 29, 2005

Philipp und Alex - artificial life forms

OK just this once. I am doing it because last time I showed Philipp the Blog he was completely puzzled about this straaange language. Yesterday was Friday so this was the Quintessenz get together. The was a tremendous amount of hard-to-evaluate activity on the other side of the glass wall. I decided to go home - but it was allready to late for that move. Philipp was showing to a bunch of enraptured kids his new biomechanical contraption(ok they weren't that enraptured because they are used to touching strange electronic customized devices). It was as if it fell right out of the squashy game-pods of Cronenbers famous eXistenZ! The 4x4 LED-DIsplay, 64 Shades of Red, 2-Axis Accelerometer, 8 Buttons, 2 Analog Inputs and a PIC18f452 - pod was blinking with a charcoal hue at every touch. IN FACT the whole device is motion-sensitive and the tiny light leds produced a liquid movement as if under gravition pull.
Touching the buttons ment that the leds began blinking in a regular pattern akin to the cromatophores that contract in Cephalopod skin - giving signals like the 'language' used by those tricky squids! Hey now i remembered yet again the discussion with Cotenescu Ion - about the (en)cephalopod communication - using your body as an overall display!

The wax case of the pod had a strange jade-like surface and was shaped together by close friend Michael. The insides of the devies are visible and behind the leds the circuits themselves began to glow with a fluorescent blue. A was intent upon surprising vlad in his appartment, so we went directly to him. Somehow Philipp reminds me of the mad scientist in Back to the Future building time machines as customized cars. He is really an incredible guy, could very easily calculate for you on a piece of tiny paper all the possible mutations of his cellular automata - a number close to a zillion? He is very patient with us mere mortals, striving to understand the most simple of algebraic formulas. But he makes it easier to understand and he obviously used his self-replicating digital life forms to embelish goa parties. It is not all al-go-rythms, rules and situations. On his Memory Stick - Philipp has a series of celular automata build with a free software that you can download easily. The idea comes from famous Mathematician John von Neumann - one of the founding fathers of the computer. It should work on Mac and PC! Out of a plastic bowl came another technical wonder - a device that could spell out invitation to hack into the linux meeting next month on a pair of leds - if you moved the piece latterally very quick !
Most of thses devices use a lot of simple laws physical and hold the potential to change the way we see the sourrounding world.
We live in a world of tinkering and wonderful inventions. We loose sight of that when we move out of the school labs and into so-called 'real world'. It is good that guys like Philipp and Alex keep remining us how things work. I guess we all need a teacher to initiate us into the wonders of doityourself/discoverUrself. He must have had good teachers himself, because I think pedagogical skills somehow relate to your own past experiences. Ok, maaaybe you also must be a member of the Vienna Cibernetic Circle. Next, Philipp showed me a recording of a motor made out of elastics, the spikes on wheat and other such simple and non-electronic parts.

Alex pulled out of his bag a small book with a black cover cotaining a lot of strange glyphs. Published by Paranoia Press - this Bola Bola book is a sort of a pocket inventary of utopian solutions to all kind of problems. Each element is symbolized by a certain sign and everything is neat and selfexplanatory.

At some point he got out a Microsoft 95 CD that was transformed with superglue, a bottle cap and a bottle neck into a flying saucer. Ok i know i am overdoing it, but what can you call an inflated balloon on top of an old CD that is moving on the smooth surface of the floor by pushing out the air.


Blogger Philipp Tiefenbacher said...

you can download the free cellular automaton software at
the KybKreis Wiki

1:42 PM  
Blogger chookii said...

I just had a look at your "4x4 LED-DIsplay, 64 Shades of Red, 2-Axis Accelerometer, 8 Buttons, 2 Analog Inputs and a PIC18f452 - pod" and I think it's awesome how you did it. Right now i'm working on a project that requires me to build a controller for a wheechair. I'm thinking of using the 2-Axis Accelerometer (ADXL202EB) together with the PIC18f452. But i'm not quite sure how to program it. Can you please give me some idea how to connect the ADXL202EB to the PIC so that I can use it as a tilt sensor? I have a little experience with the PIC, which I program it in C-prog language. I would be very appreciated for your help. Please reply ASPA. Cheers!

9:00 PM  

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