|A curious device, a biowall installation - several exist at this current time
- is in essence, an organically growing computer composed of inorganic modules.
It might almost be described as an ultimate augmented reality system of a sort.
This ultimate in plug and play system technologies was developed by the Logic
Systems Laboratory of the Ecole polytechnique fédérale de Lausanne,
Switzerland. There, the original two biowalls still stand, each made up of tens
of thousands of individual, identical modules, stuck haphazardly together and
communicating with one another. Any visitor can add a piece to the biowall,
and thus grow it.
With the original walls, the construction of the modules is identical, but with
newer installations their individual modules may conform to any number of different
specifications. They are basically small, relatively flat squares, each covered
entirely by a display surface, capable of projecting a 16 pixel x 16 pixel digital
display. Inside, a programmable logic circuit, all identical, is housed. Between
the logic circuit and the screen is a touch sensor and under the logic circuit
is a networking node. That is all there is to them.
The units are simply stuck together on the wall, and as soon as they come into
contact with one another, they connect via internal networking to all their
immediate neighbours. Whatever instructions are on the logic circuit are activated,
and they start processing data.
If any one of the modules is touched, that pressure is recorded, and the unit
integrates that data, and passes it on to it's neighbours. To reprogram the
computer, pull a module off the wall, and attach another, or reattach the original