Music

Two-dimensional cellular automation game inspires retro synth

Two-dimensional cellular autom...
The life and death of cell patterns onscreen determine the sounds generated by the Evoboxx
The life and death of cell patterns onscreen determine the sounds generated by the Evoboxx
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Sound generation for the Evoboxx is based on a zero-player game from 1970 called Game of Life
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Sound generation for the Evoboxx is based on a zero-player game from 1970 called Game of Life
The life and death of cell patterns onscreen determine the sounds generated by the Evoboxx
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The life and death of cell patterns onscreen determine the sounds generated by the Evoboxx
Musicians begin by selecting cell patterns using the dials and then letting the synth sounds evolve
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Musicians begin by selecting cell patterns using the dials and then letting the synth sounds evolve
The lower section of the Evoboxx features a quartz crystal scroll wheel for positing the cell pattern cursor onscreen
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The lower section of the Evoboxx features a quartz crystal scroll wheel for positing the cell pattern cursor onscreen
The Evoboxx outputs sounds through a built-in mono speaker
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The Evoboxx outputs sounds through a built-in mono speaker
While some of Love Hultén's gorgeous and captivating builds are available for sale, this one isn't
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While some of Love Hultén's gorgeous and captivating builds are available for sale, this one isn't
A battery-powered Raspberry Pi provides the processing power need to bring the Evoboxx to life
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A battery-powered Raspberry Pi provides the processing power need to bring the Evoboxx to life

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.

A battery-powered Raspberry Pi provides the processing power need to bring the Evoboxx to life
A battery-powered Raspberry Pi provides the processing power need to bring the Evoboxx to life

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

EvoBoxx - Game of Life

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