The Desktop Contemplator Page

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November 2nd, 2012

I recently finished a project I call the Desktop Contemplator. This is a small personal light show that generates amazing images. I call it a Desktop Contemplator because it sets on my desk and distracts me with when I get stuck on something I'm working on. Often times just a little break in my thought process is all I need to again move forward and the Contemplator provides this.

The Contemplator hardware consists of an Arduino Uno connected to a SainSmart 3.2" 320x240 TFT LCD display. Total project cost some where around $40. The Contemplator software implements 16 different display patterns (which it generates in real time) including: the Mandelbrot set, Julia sets, plasma patterns, numerous spirograph patterns, star burst patterns, concentric squares and circles and much more. The code implements a lot of randomness to keep the generated images from getting stale. If you would like the Contemplator's Arduino sketch, it is available here.

This project (along with all of the construction details) appeared in the December 2012 issue of Nuts and Volts magazine. If you would like to read this article it is available here.

Front View of the Contemplator.

The front panel is made from walnut.

Notice the black cardboard I cut out around the display. This covers the white frame of the LCD display.

View from Above.

Here you can see the walnut and ash woods the Contemplator is made out of.

The enclosure turned out well and has a furniture like appearance.

Rear View.

A USB cable extends out the back. It is used for programming the Arduino Uno and for powering the Contemplator after programming is completed.

The Contemplator is a little larger than my coffee cup.

I do have a rather large coffee cup, however.

Random circles display pattern. Some circles are filled other are not.

Julia Set display pattern.

Pretty isn't it?

Another Julia Set display pattern.

The Contemplator generates amazing images like these as long as it is powered on. In fact image generation is all that the Contemplator does.

Why don't you build one for yourself ?

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