Monday, March 1, 2010

Arecibo Message in Mosaic and 4D

Here's my latest building self-challenge - render the arecibo message in LEGO form.

Arecibo message as a 2d LEGO MosaicA basic mosaic (at left) wasn't much of a challenge. 23 rows by 73 columns is small for one of my mosaics, and the image itself is as basic as you can get. I decided to follow the Wikipedia article's lead and add some color to help showcase the various portions of the message.

Sure, it's interesting enough as projects go, but why stop there? I spent some time trying to think of a new way to show the message.

Eventually I realized that if I build the message studs-to-the side I could show the image two ways - in the 23x73 grid, but also as a continuous stream of data, allowing the viewer to walk along the length of the message and view it as it was beamed into bit at a time. I would capture the dimension of time...and show the message in 4D!

The first step was to rebuild the mosaic.

side by side

I used trans-clear plate for the "zero" bits - mainly because I had a ton of them on hand.

I decided to keep the false colors seen in the flat mosaic for the "ones". It adds a touch of visual interest to the long string...and also helps show where in the message you are. The proportions are bit squashed - LEGO plates aren't in a 1:1 aspect ratio. But The image is still legible, particularly with the studs-out mosaic next to it for comparison.

4d Arecibo Message - step 2

As you can see in this photo, you can disassemble the "compact" version of the message into the original data stream. The rows can be reconnected end-to-end.

4d Arecibo Message

This photo shows the start of the code. You can follow the full message by walking along the length of the model.

4d Arecibo Message

1679 LEGO plates were used to depict the message - each 3.2mm tall. The total length of the 4d-configuration is 5.37 meters, or 17.6 feet.

To see more photos, check out the full set on Flickr.

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Anonymous Judy F. said...

What an interesting mind you have. I wonder if it has ever occured to anyone to analyze native american bead work for binary messages by lining them up as if they were a transmission like that.

March 7, 2010 5:44 PM  

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