Simple! Errrrr…Then I jumped on a plane and headed back to New York and rode my motorcycle as quickly as I could to Connecticut, and met with Chris and Mike, and said, there’s got to be a way to build this thing… right? Mike laughed at me, but Chris said bring it on.
(6 months later)
And so, it’s with that same kind of pride that you get when you fix a bug and a 1000 line program compiles on the very next try that I proudly introduce the Illuminato X Machina.
The Illuminato X Machina is the result of an Open Source collaboration between David Ackley from the University of New Mexico, Liquidware, and Illuminato Labs. It’s what you’d expect if Complex Adaptive Systems met Open Source Hardware at a bar, drank too much and had a love child that was raised on Physical Computing child support in the suburbs of Modular Electronics. Then one day that child spontaneously cloned itself hundreds of times, and decided to hold hands with all of its clone siblings so that it could play a crazy N^2 O*log(O) game of telephone. Or something like that.
It’s a small “motherboard cell” that can interchangeably link and connect up to other cells, either rightside up or upside down, to adaptively route packets and power to its neighbors, like a grid of biologic cells, passing nutrients and resources to their neighbors. Also, each board can program its neighbors using a dynamic bucket-passing bootloader that allows any given cell in the grid to over-ride or re-program neighbors.
Each cell runs a 72 MHz ARM processor with 56 digital I/O pins, and the ability to accept power from any one of its 4 edges. This means that the cellular grid can expand in any direction, and the reversible interconnections mean it can grow like a crystal in any orientation. I've uploaded more pictures to my page on Flickr too.
The Illuminato X Machina boards will be available in a limited quantity run that's ready 2 months, so I've put them up for pre-order here. Basically, it is like the Borg of open source, DIY physical computing… it’s crazy, and 7 guys and gals will be hacking it like mad over the next couple of months :-)