Find all your DIY electronics in the MakerShed. 3D Printing, Kits, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Books & more!

By George Hart for the Museum of Mathematics

Math_Monday_banner_600px.gif
tea-cosy-1.jpg

Cellular automata are mathematical systems that can generate surprisingly complex patterns from very simple rules. Camilla Fox worked out a way to knit cellular automata patterns by using two colors of yarn. One of the two colors is brought to the front for each stitch according to a simple rule based on the colors of the three stitches in the row above it. The above image shows a tea cosy I commissioned from Fox based on the Rule 110 cellular automaton, which is mathematically interesting because it is proven to be Turing Complete.

tea-cosy-2.jpg

A second tea cosy, also following Rule 110, but with a different first row as its random initial condition, leads to a different instance in the same family of patterns.

More:

Gareth Branwyn

Gareth Branwyn is a freelancer writer and the former Editorial Director of Maker Media. He is the author or editor of a dozen books on technology, DIY, and geek culture, including the first book about the web (Mosaic Quick Tour) and the Absolute Beginner’s Guide to Building Robots. He is currently working on a best-of collection of his writing, called Borg Like Me.


Related
blog comments powered by Disqus

Featured Products from the MakerShed

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 25,882 other followers