Mike Davey's Turing machine

Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 4,045
edited 2017-11-26 - 13:12:50 in Customer Projects
Have you guy's seen Mike Davey's Turing machine video on his web site http://www.aturingmachine.com/ ?

It uses the Parallax propeller chip and a Turing machine is a kind of a robot, so it's fair game for this forum. The design is really amazing and it works.


  • Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi) Posts: 22,519
    edited 2010-03-19 - 05:46:31
    Oh, that is truly a marvelous machine! The way it clickety-clacks with such precision and draws actual 1s and 0s on the tape is entrancing. I remember studying Turing machines in college. But they were just dry theoretical constructs for the mind. I never thought I'd ever see anyone actually build one! To a computer scientist watching this thing in action, the equivalent would be a biologist watching evolution unfolding before his eyes. Totally logical, yet completely magical at the same time!


    Post Edited (Phil Pilgrim (PhiPi)) : 3/19/2010 4:27:09 PM GMT
    “Perfection is achieved not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away. -Antoine de Saint-Exupery
  • Brian_BBrian_B Posts: 818
    edited 2010-03-19 - 15:58:16
    AWESOME! , Some great code for seeing how the TSL1401 works to see different shapes smile.gif



    "Imagination is more important than knowledge..." Albert Einstein
  • Robert TRobert T Posts: 71
    edited 2010-03-19 - 17:47:50
    WOW, that is truly one of the finest pieces of hardware/software/mechanical projects I have seen.
  • mdaveymdavey Posts: 14
    edited 2010-03-19 - 20:56:18
    Thanks for the kind words, you're making me blush. I'm the builder of the Turing machine. I had been keeping it a bit of a secret, but it's time it came out to the world. It wasn't really a secret, but I was waiting on two things. First I wanted to get the Web site done before I posted it. Also it's been entered in the Propeller chip contest and I didn't want to influence it or steal Parallax's thunder. The Web site is pretty much done, and the contest is going to be announced soon, so the timing it perfect.

    It's a project I've had in the back of my head for about two years now. After I finished the Nickle-O-Matic I found I really enjoyed very mechanical/electrical combination. While I had build many robots before, I found this free form style of building something just for fun was great. So I spent two years with the idea just sitting there unsolved. I knew I wanted something that looked and felt like the machine that Turing described. The problem was how to get it to work, how to write and erase over and over on a long tape. And the tape had to be long enough that people wouldn't complain that it wasn't infinite. As a mater of fact when I told my son what I was going to build, the first words out of his mouth was, "where are you going to get the infinitely long tape", he's a math major after all. I had played with dry erase markers and knew they had potential, but the tape part had me stumped. When I stumbled on 35mm film leader I knew I had the answer. One side is painted white with a matte paint, the other side is glossy plastic, it was perfect.

    Building took from November until February, so about four months of evening and weekends. I knew the Propeller chip was the way to go for this. I had used it for a few robots before including the Nickle-O-Matic and knew it work be prefect. The fact that there was an object for SD cards made that part easy. I was a little concerned about the TSL-1401 line scanner, because I couldn't find that anyone had used it with the Propeller before. It turned out to be pretty simple when I finally sat down to work out the code, but I had a lot of examples from other peoples attempts and the BS2 code. Even being pretty stingy with IO pins I ended up using all 32 of them if you count the 2 for serial IO.

    It's always nice to have a project that works, and comes out like you planned. It's even nice to have people like you guys that know what goes into something like this say they like it. If there are things that people want to know about it that aren't on the web site (http://aturingmachine.com) please let know.

  • Brian_BBrian_B Posts: 818
    edited 2010-03-19 - 22:01:10
    · I sent your website to·a friend of mine and he·wrote a blog on your machine.


    ·I told him that I downloaded the code and was interested in building one ,with your permission I would like to try.

    ·Thank You
    · Brian


    "Imagination is more important than knowledge..." Albert Einstein
  • mdaveymdavey Posts: 14
    edited 2010-03-19 - 22:21:32

    It's very nice to have someone like Clive write about my machine. I've followed his work since Bebop to the Boolean Boogie came out. Anyone is welcome to copy, build and expand on what I have done. That's why I've tried to post as much information as I can. I look forward to what other do.

  • WhitWhit Posts: 4,096
    edited 2010-03-20 - 01:50:27
    Absolutely amazing! Great job Mike.

    Thanks for posting Martin_H!


    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney

    "We keep moving forward, opening new doors, and doing new things, because we're curious and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." - Walt Disney
  • Martin_HMartin_H Posts: 4,045
    edited 2010-03-20 - 11:08:19
    You're welcome Whit.

    I stumbled across Mike's video on You Tube last week, and ever since I've been telling co-workers, e-mailing friends, posting pointers on forums, and practically stopping people in the street to tell them about it.

    So Mike sorrry if I stole your thunder by announcing it before the official announcement, but I couldn't keep the secret.
  • mdaveymdavey Posts: 14
    edited 2010-03-20 - 13:20:19
    Martin, I don't mind at all that you posted about it, no thunder stolen at all. It's been great to see people interested in it.

  • John R.John R. Posts: 1,376
    edited 2010-03-20 - 13:36:35
    When do kits go on sale? This would be great on the office desk!

    Awesome work, bringing the "classic" to life!

    John R.
    Click here to see my Nomad Build Log
    John R.
    Beaver Dam, WisCOWnsin
    Quando Omni Flunkus Moritati
  • sylvie369sylvie369 Posts: 1,618
    edited 2010-03-20 - 16:29:40
    Holy smoke, that's amazing. The video is really clear as well - you're quite good at explaining the device.
  • kf4ixmkf4ixm Posts: 529
    edited 2010-03-20 - 18:51:29
    Amazing! Congradulations!!!
  • DesslokDesslok Posts: 22
    edited 2010-03-21 - 15:53:50
    WoW, that is mind blowing. Could you imagine if Turing could have seen this? THat is incredible!
  • JRetSapDoogJRetSapDoog Posts: 834
    edited 2010-03-27 - 09:19:29
    Gizmodo blogged about it as well:· http://gizmodo.com/5503234/a-diy-turing-machine.· The propeller-based controller board is shown at 2:15 into the video.
  • SeariderSearider Posts: 290
    edited 2010-03-28 - 01:57:51
    Fantastic work. What a great job of bringing together so many things from Vision, to servos, to Stepper,·to SD card, LED and LCD outputs and more. Very impressive and inspirational


    Michael Boswell

    "One problem with the internet is that you can never tell if a quote is real or not" -- Abraham Lincoln 1842
  • Moved to "Customer Projects"
  • mdavey : Truly a beautiful piece of engineering on your part. The simplest of concepts solving the worlds most complex problems. Amazing !!!!!!!!

    Thank you for sharing...
  • I remember seeing this thing at UPEC back in 2010, it's very well made and satisfyingly mechanical. Surprised I never saw it featured on here as much, I'm glad it's getting highlighted again now.
    Projects, tutorials, and more! http://microcontrolled.com/
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