The Game of Life will be chirped out at the Mattress Factory Museum this summer, by a BigBot created by artist Keny Marshall for Robot 250.

The installation is entitled prototype for an infinite array of semi-autonomous percussive devices, but can also be called Crickets. Crickets is a group of small robotic sculptures, each connected to its immediate neighbors via thin wires, that together form a net of robotic life that spreads across the Garden and over nearby structures, said Marshall. Communicating to their neighbors via signals in the wires, the robotic creatures activate and deactivate each other using Dr. John Conways rules for The Game of Life, Marshall said. When active, the creatures thump their noisemakers. When inactive, they are silent. The overall structure of the interaction resembles the way dogs talk to each other yard-to-yard…but much faster, in what Conway called, emergent complexity. Conways rules are very basic. As applied by him, cells or things in proximity to one another could live, die and come back to life, dependent on the number of neighbors it has. Each unit will have a single wooden knocker that it thumps in a given pattern depending on whether it is alive or dead. The result will be an ever changing harmony of cricket sounds, and robotic interactions throughout the garden.

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I did the electronic and software design for this project.