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Topic: Life Clock (Read 8 times) previous topic - next topic


Jun 28, 2008, 09:49 pm Last Edit: Jun 28, 2008, 09:51 pm by BroHogan Reason: 1
No, it doesn't tell you how long you're going to live. It's simply a combination of several things I've been working on these last few months.

The Life Clock plays Conway's game of "life" and displays the time and temperature as a marquee between games.

I had 3 pc boards made that connect together along with the RG matrix. Together, they make a sandwich - a Sanduino. (sorry Massimo)

The bottom board contains the ATmega168 and a MAX756 step-up converter that takes as little as 1 AA battery and steps it up to the 5V used by the board. It's pretty much the standard circuit found in the datasheet (and Adafruit's "MintyBoost") with the exception that the "LOW BATT" line is used to pull down the RESET line of ATmega when the battery gets low.

The middle board is sort of a shield for the first. Most everything on it is accessed via I2C. It contains a DS1307 RTC (with b/u battery), a DS1621 temp sensor, and a 24LC256 256K EEPROM. It also contains a MAX3232 for serial I/O, and loading sketches to the board from the IDE. Finally, it contains a piezo and an IR receiver so that a Sony TV remote can be used for input.

The top board contains a pair of MAX7221's used drive the RG matrix. (see http://www.arduino.cc/playground/Main/MultiplexMAX72xx for details.)

Conway's game of "life" was adapted from an example on processing.org and outputs through the LedControl library. It stops after a set number of generations or if the colony dies or goes into a single static pattern.

I wrote the marquee code to access the EEPROM for it's 5x7 font set, and preset messages. The marquee and game can be run in red, green, and orange (red+green).

The rest is just accessing the various devices.
The case is cherry wood.

Short video here - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bNNSmVmwCU0

I hope it may stimulate some ideas.
"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom."
~ Clifford Stoll


Wow, excellent work!


That looks really nice.   The construction details were interesting.  I like the sandwich design.

Since you have the RG matrix, could it be made to play two games of life at once, one red, one green at the same time?


Thank you both for comments.

Oracle, yes it can play life in three colors at once. Since the cell keeps the color it was "born" with, alternating generations between read and green gives all 3 colors. Very colorful. Thanks for the idea.

A few things I forgot to mention that may be helpful:
- a separate sketch is used to load the characters into EEPROM and to set the time
- I got 14 hours on 2 AA 2000mAH NiMH batterys
- it is also powered by a USB port
"Data is not information, information is not knowledge, knowledge is not understanding, understanding is not wisdom."
~ Clifford Stoll


This is excellent!  What is needed to pull off a simplified version of this with a plain Arduino Decimal?  I have an 8x8 matrix and got Life running on it without the Max chips (uses every free output).  What would be used to add appropriate clock capabilities to an Arduino board?  What else would be missing?  Again, nice work!   :)

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