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2011-09-04 Turing-McCabe patterns
September 4th 2011
In 1952, Turing proposed a simple model to explain how the striped and dotted pattern observed on certain animals could form. He supposed that two chemical substances, the activator and the inhibitor, are present in the skin. The activator stimulates the production of the pigment, of the inhibitor and its own production. The inhibitor inhibits the production of the activator and of itself. The Turing patterns are obtained by letting the combination of the activator and the inhibitor evolves in time. Different patterns are obtained depending on the diffusion properties of the activator and the inhibitor. Here are a few typical Turing patterns.
The great idea of Jonathan McCabe was to combine several pairs of activators and inhibitors with difference ranges of action, in other words to pile Turing patterns of different scales and let them interact. The resulting patterns display very interesting fractal structures. Check his Flickr sets: Bone Music, Bone Music 2, Bone Music 3, Local Bilateral Symmetry Bone Musi and Dragon's Bones. Check also his Vimeo account.
More details about the implementation of the algorithm were provided by Jason Rampe, what motivated quite a few people to try their hand at it. Among them, Georg Kiehne released a program that allows to play with these patterns. He also had the smart idea to offer the possibility to use an image as a seed for the pattern. The video below shows Mona Lisa tortured once more, this time with Turing-McCabe patterns.
Mona Lisa decomposed into Turing-McCabe patterns, algorithmic animation
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