Freeform wire circuits are very “in” right now. In an era where makers and electronics enthusiasts can get professional-quality printed circuit boards fabricated and delivered in days, something about the handcrafted nature of freeform circuits is very appealing. Usually, however, the wire bends are all right angles and arranged in grids. Paul Gallagher’s Pollen8 freeform sculpture is different, and is made up of graceful organic curves.
Gallagher created Pollen8 for Hackaday’s Circuit Sculpture Contest, which is full of beautiful entries. As he explains it, Pollen8 was designed specifically to avoid “the harsh angularity of most electronic circuits, instead using graceful lines that attempt to mimic a more organic structure.” He certainly achieved that, and there isn’t a single straight piece of wire to be seen anywhere on Pollen8.
Of course, the Circuit Sculpture Contest isn’t just about the freeform wiring — contest entries have to actually do something. Pollen8’s function is to display an animated pattern of blinking LEDs, and those are controlled by a light-sensitive 555/4017 counter circuit. The 555 chip is an incredibly popular timer, and the CD4017 is a decade counter. Together with a photoresistor, they light up the LEDs with small variations that are dependent on the ambient light. The result is a gorgeous freeform sculpture and art piece.