In the Maker Shed: Game of Life Board

In the Maker Shed: Game of Life Board

Evolve or die! The Game of Life Kit, from the Maker Shed, is a simple electronic project that plays Conway’s Game of Life. Invented by Jeff Conway in 1970, it’s a mathematical game that simulates “colonies” that grow or die based on how crowded or lonely they are, and it’s known for the way it creates a beautiful organic display out of randomness. Make one kit and keep it on your desk, or attach multiple kit modules together to create a large display. Originally created by Dropout Design, this revision adds a few extra features. The kit is very easy to make, and an excellent first electronics project. It’s perfect for workshops, because at the end everyone can connect their completed modules together.


  • Each kit displays a 4×4 grid (16 LEDs) on a 3″x3″ board
  • Connect as many kits as you’d like, in any configuration, to create a larger game board
  • Runs on 2 AA batteries (not included), but can be easily modified to run on USB or wall-wart power
  • On/Off button saves power, also resets the display
  • Automatically resets if the colony has died or stagnated (regeneration)
  • Backward-compatible with older versions


Discuss this article with the rest of the community on our Discord server!

The Maker Shed is brought to you by Maker Media, the makers of MAKE Magazine, the Maker Faire, and much more.

Launched originally as a source for back issues of MAKE Magazine, the Maker Shed expanded rapidly to meet the demand for 'projects in a box,' otherwise known as kits. Now we have a little bit of everything for makers, crafters, and budding scientists, from Arduinos to sock monkeys to chemistry sets .

View more articles by Maker Shed