Electric Sheep

I just found this awesome screensaver / distributed computing project today called Electric Sheep. In short, it’s a screensaver that shows you awesome animations while using your idle CPU to create new ones in the background.

Here’s a couple sample images:


(Images by Scott Draves and the Electric Sheep)

Why “Electric Sheep”?

An homage, it turns out:

The result is a collective “android dream”, an homage to Philip K. Dick’s novel Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

More Background

They have screensavers written for Windows, Linux, and Mac platforms, where the idea is to create some pretty awesome art while your computer is in screensaver mode. When the screensaver is active, it downloads recently completed “sheep” (high-quality MPEGs) from the sheep server, and displays them for your viewing pleasure. Meanwhile, in the background, it also downloads some XML data sets to run through an algorithm which creates frames for these “sheep”. When the frames are done, it sends them to the sheep server. Ultimately, your computer contributes to creating new art while showing you the current stuff!

Behind the scenes, the screensaver is running code called Flam3, to create “Cosmic Recursive Fractal Flames”, and smooth animations between them. A human designer, using one of the tools available at that site, describes the fractal they want. Then, the Electric Sheep in the distributed computing network crunch the numbers to generate intermediate animation frames.

Very Cool.