Arduino Uno powers this Game of Life clock

The Game of Life (aka Life) can best be described as a cellular automaton created by the British mathematician John Horton Conway in 1970. Essentially, it is a zero-player game, meaning that its very evolution is determined by an initial state, requiring no further input. Simply put, an individual interacts with the Game of Life by creating an initial configuration and observing how it evolves.

The game made its first public appearance in the October 1970 issue of Scientific American, having been featured in Martin Gardner’s “Mathematical Games” column. As Wikipedia notes, the game is rather interesting from a theoretical point of view, as it has the power of a universal Turing machine, namely anything that can be computed algorithmically can be computed within Conway’s Game of Life.

Recently, a Maker by the name of Matthews created a Game of Life style clock. According to HackADay’s James Hobson, Matthews was originally inspired by another Game of Life Clock featured on HackADay a few months ago, although he did implement a number of critical changes.

”First, Matthews wanted a much bigger playing field, so he found a 16×32 RGB LED matrix. Second, he wanted the time to always be visible so it actually works as a functional clock,” Hobson explained.

“At the beginning of every minute starts a new Game of Life which plays over top of the time displayed. Three buttons on the top allow for many adjustments including brightness, timezone, speed, colors and even edge behavior.


The Game of Life clock is powered by an Atmel-based Arduino Uno (ATmega328) paired with a Chronodot RTC module to assist with accurate time keeping.

Interested in learning more about the Game of Life clock? You can check out the project’s official page here.

2 thoughts on “Arduino Uno powers this Game of Life clock

  1. Pingback: Plotting time with an Arduino Uno | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

  2. Pingback: What time is it? These DIY clocks say it’s Maker time! | Bits & Pieces from the Embedded Design World

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