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Ever heard of phyllotactic spirals ? John Edmark was inspired by these naturally occurring leaf patterns to create a series of sculptures he called “Blooms”.

This is the starting point for our project, Phyllo.

As John Edmark explains in this instructable, he spins a Bloom under a stroboscopic light to create the illusion of a flower blooming.

In our project, we will build upon this and:

  • Color each petal individually from the inside with stroboscopic LEDs.
  • Play colorful animated patterns on the sculpture (such as falling or rising petals, lines, spirals, rings…).
  • Display animation patterns across neighbouring phyllos: when two sculptures are close enough, they can synchronize and the animations will propagate from one to the other, creating globally coherent phyllotactic patterns.

Here’s a simple 3D simulation as a basic example of a revolving spiral:

More on phyllotaxy

The Golden Angle and packing leaves:

A mathematical analysis of phyllotactic spirals:

Some history

These spinning sculptures are an updated version of the zoetropes and phenakistoscopes of the early 19th century. They are the precursors of modern Motion Picture.

Take a look at this modern 3D zoetrope:

We will keep you posted as the project moves forward. Stay tuned !