Two-dimensional cellular automation game inspires retro synth
Regular readers will be familiar with the retro wooden wonders of Love Hultén. Over the years, the Swedish designer has created wood-encased games consoles, classic games, computer replicas and music makers. His latest project is called the Evoboxx, a synthesizer based on the zero-player Game of Life from 1970.
The only player input for the Game of Life is before it starts, where an initial configuration is created and then you just sit back and watch. The brainchild of British mathematician John Horton Conway, the fascinating game takes the form of a 2D grid of square cells that are either populated or not. Each cell interacts with its immediate neighbors and, following a set of specific rules, populations either grow or die off.
The Evoboxx works in a similar fashion. After opening up the wooden clamshell box and powering on, the musician populates a blank screen with patterns, using a quartz crystal scroll wheel to position the "cursor" onscreen.
Various starting patterns can be chosen using dials to the right of the 8-inch LCD display. The evolution cycle is then set off and the sounds generated are determined by the life and death of cell patterns on the screen.
Processing power for the setup comes courtesy of a battery-powered Raspberry Pi, the speed of the output can be altered by the player and the sounds can be heard in real-time through a mono speaker.
While some of Hultén's gorgeous and captivating builds are made available for sale, this one isn't so you'll just have to make do with the video demo below.
Project page: Evoboxx