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The CellularRecombomat: a cellular automata video synth that plays itself

Tim Stevens

When von Neumann created the first system of cellular automata in the '40s it was purportedly to study self-replicating robots. It's taken this long for someone to finally figure out his true intentions: powering trippy video synthesizers. Enter the CellularRecombomat, a masterful example of circuit bending featuring a VTECH Lesson One, a Zenith portable DVD player, and cellular automata circuit board from synth extraordinaire Critter and Guitari. The genetic parameters (algorithm, width across the grid, and generation lifespan) are adjusted by three antenna-mounted optical sensors based on what's happening on the screen, meaning this thing effectively plays itself. But, for a little hands-on manipulation, the silver spheres on either side can be touched and caressed to "freak out the video sync and audio in wondrous ways." Check out a video of those wondrous ways on display after the break.

[Via MAKE]

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