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_banner02_600px.jpg

Tim Chartier at Davidson College has discovered that if you make things out of candy there’s no lack of volunteers to help you clean up. He takes images and transforms them mathematically into arrays of candy pieces. Here you can see President Obama, as rounded to the set of m&m color values. Mathematically, the algorithm picks the available color which is closest in red-green-blue-space to the average of the pixels it replaces.

Tim’s program has controls that allow the user to change the image, the candy, and the resolution.  Since Easter is coming up, you may find a use for this recipe to make another U.S. president, this time from 400 peeps:

As Tim notes on his blog, “The best part is taking it apart!”

More:
See all of George Hart’s Math Monday columns

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

Comments

  1. Anonymous says:

    New project: Candy Drawbot…

    But somebody else has to do it, I’m trying to lose weight.

  2. Cory Poole says:

    It seems like the applet on the website only allows you to use 3 preloaded images. A workaround for this if you wanted to use different images would be to use standard photomosaic software and then use pictures of individual candies on a white background as the images that make up the mosaic tiles. Presumably the math that these programs use is similar to that used by this program.

    I’ve used the freely available andrea mosaic to make photo and video mosaics previously and probably will play with this idea sometime soon.

    http://www.andreaplanet.com/andreamosaic/

  3. nycdesigner says:

    I would like to see an updated program that takes advantage of the 24 colors that are available in M&Ms at certain mall stores and specialty shops.

  4. nycdesigner says:

    I would like to see an updated program that takes advantage of the 24 colors that are available in M&Ms at certain mall stores and specialty shops.

  5. These are incredible! Thanks to Tim for sharing this cool tool – it recently inspired one of our users (@LukeSelfWalker) to create a pointillist of President Obama: http://www.desmos.com/calculator/g1ty27ovzk

In the Maker Shed