Cyclobots

An automaton in the genre of toy by Chris Pressey, Cat's Eye Technologies, ca 1994

Try it Online

Cyclobots is an automaton that consists of a number of little virtual "turtle robots" called "cyclobots". Each cyclobot moves with a constant velocity, and tries to follow exactly one other cyclobot, adjusting its heading to point towards the cyclobot it is following. No cylobot is followed by more than one cyclobot.

A group of cyclobots tends to fall into one of several semi-stable patterns. The simplest of these is just a rotating circle, but more complex, trefoil-like patterns are more common.

Paradigms

(Illustration)

Defined by

(no specification or reference implementation on file)

Implementations

See Also

Commentary

I originally conceived of this automaton, calling it an "interactive desktop toy", in or around 1994, and implemented it immediately in Visual Basic. I remember the year because I wrote the first implementation of SMETANA in Visual Basic at about the same time.

The original implementation had a few features which are not present (yet) in the HTML5 version: cyclobots could collide with each other, and the user could use the mouse to attract/repel them from a chosen point.