Beautiful Disorder

This is another application I made with my FPGA board. The configuration is essentially the same as the other synthesizer : FPGA > Monitor > Webcam > Laptop > Projector (more info here

This time, instead of drawing wire-frame polygons, it is based on cellular automata. The system is general enough to implement any automaton with a Moore neighborhood and up to four cell states.

In order to have enough control over the images, I had to add two additional controls: a PS/2 keyboard and a Nintendo 64 controller. You can use the controller to draw on the screen, control the speed and some other things. The keyboard selects the automaton rule.

The idea is to some day make an installation where people can pick up the controller, play with it for a few minutes, then get bored and pass the controller to someone else.

I used the N64 controller interface from, which seems to be dead now. The PS/2 keyboard interface is a design by the people at I also used some of the Spartan 3E Starter Kit design examples developed by Ken Chapman. Notably, the video line store an the rotary encoder demos.

The output resolution is 320x240, 8 colors. The fastest I tried to run it was about 40 frames per second. Theoretically, it could run as fast as 100fps without any modifications, but above 40fps I found it (very!) uncomfortable to look at the screen for more than a few seconds.

Once again, if you want the VHDL source code of this thing just send me an email and I will share it! checo22 [a t ] g mail. Be warned thought, turning this device into a headache machine is surprisingly easy!



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