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The Godot Machine

What is a Godot Machine?

It is part of the human experience that we can find ourselves in a state of waiting for something that might eventually happen after a long time of waiting, or not at all.

The Godot Machine is a solar-powered piece of electro-“art” that tries to capture the desperate emotion that accompanies possibly pointless waiting.

The name is from Samuel Beckett’s famous play Waiting for Godot, in which two men wait for the coming of a certain Godot, who might arrive tomorrow, the day after, or never.

So what does the Godot Machine do?

1. Given some sunshine, a Joule Thief circuit starts charging a bank of capacitors.
2. Once charged to about 5V, the Arduino Nano is powered.
3. The Arduino generates a 20-bit true random number, which is shown on a 4-bit LED bar.
4. This number is compared to another random number, unknown to all, that was stored in eeprom the first time the circuit booted.
5. If equal, the wait is over, the machine stores this fact in eeprom and from now on the green LED and piezo beeper are activated (if there is enough energy).
6. If not equal, hope, despair, repeat.
…also, once in a while the generated number is made audible by the beeper, so you don’t actually forget that you have a Godot Machine.

Given that the probability to hit the Godot number is 1 over 2^20 or about one in a million, and the machine is not very fast, especially in winter and autumn, it could take years to find it. Your Godot Machine might even become part of your inheritance. While waiting for it to test the next number, you can fantasize about how your distant great great grandchildren may finally see it come to its conclusion. In short: it’s the ideal present for the upcoming holiday season!”

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