Beautiful Visual Interactions on a 240x320 TFT Display

As Cornell Electrical and Computer Engineering instructor Bruce Land describes it in this writeup, the Adafruit TFT LCD Display Model 1480…

Jeremy Cook
3 years agoDisplays

As Cornell Electrical and Computer Engineering professor Bruce Land describes it in this write-up, the Adafruit TFT Display Model 1480 is a 320x240 color LCD screen with 18-bit color specification. While that doesn’t sound particularly interesting by itself, when combined with a PIC32, graphics library ported by Syed Tahmid Mahbub, and using its SPI interface, it can reveal some very interesting patterns.

The first on display is a diffusion-limited aggregation routine, which “builds complicated structures from particles based on random diffusion of sticky particles.” What this means visually is that a random tree-like structure is built by what appears to be a cloud of pixel-snow, bouncing around until it finds a place to rest. The routine is handled by a Microchip PIC32MX250 running at 40 MHz, and connected to the screen via an “ECE 4760 Dev Board V2.”

The second experiment employs the same hardware, but instead of building something up, pixel-droplets fall out of a round ‘spigot’ They then fall down a series of three ramps, simulating the trajectories of water droplets falling at terminal velocity with turbulence. It’s strangely beautiful to watch.

Finally, a third setup using this hardware is a representation of a 1D wave equation. This wave/string can be wiggled with a potentiometer, and while it’s not actually about random particle diffusion, it still looks like it’d be particularly satisfying to try out!

Jeremy Cook
Engineer, maker of random contraptions, love learning about tech. Write for various publications, including Hackster!
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