Fractal Food Romanesco

John Walker wrote a great article called “Fractal Food, Self-Similarity on the supermarket shelf” about fractals in nature in general and specifically one of the most recognizable fractal shapes in nature, namely the shape of the “Romanesco (broccoli)“. The article explains the basics on how the shape can be replicated with a mathematical system called “Cellular Automata” and it also has some great photos.

Scientific Paper

Sang-Hoon Kim wrote a related scientific paper called “Fractal dimensions of a green broccoli and a white cauliflower” on the subject in 2004 at the Mokpo National Maritime University (MNMU) in Korea.


3D Broccoli

Aleksandar Rodic made a great 3D animation using a technique called procedural modeling to build the similar mathematical shapes of the Romanesco. He even wrote an article on how the 3D broccoli animation was made.



Sierpinski shapes in shells

Geoffrey Milburn wrote a great blog article called “I See Sierpinski Shapes by the Sea Shore” about mathematical shapes called Sierpinski triangles and how they naturally occur in certain types of seashells. Be sure to also take a look at his extended info on “Elementary Cellular Automata“.
And you can read even more about Cellular Automaton models on Wikipedia.


Fractal Antennas & Fractal Metamaterials

Fractal Antenna Systems Inc., recently have made some advances in their work relating to fractal antennas and their other related project called Metacloak. Fractal antennas have been around for a while now and as the technology is being implemented it is starting to have a big effect on modern communication technology including mobile phones. Fractal antennas help reduce the scale of communication & broadcasting equipment, not in the least antennas themselves, and also make it possible to have large data rates. You can read more general info about fractal antennas on Wikipedia.

Fractal Metamaterials

Another technology that is revolutionizing all of our current technology is nanotechnology, which is basically making it possible to manufacture certain parts & machines on a molecular level. Now by combining the recent developments in nanotechnology with their own fractal antenna technology, Fractal Antenna Systems have been making something which they call “Fractal Metamaterials”. Which is, from what i gather, basically sheets of multilayered nano scale fractal antenna’s. So by producing fractal antennas on a nano scale and layering them, you get a material that (when combined with certain other electronic technology) enables you to do some amazing things.


One such amazing thing is invisibility, yes by using the technology for fractal metamaterials, Fractal Antenna Systems is currently developing active invisibility cloaks for the military under the name of Metacloak. Although currently the technology only works to hide very small objects (of a few centimeters) and not for the complete spectrum of visible light, just a portion of it. It does show that the technology can also be used to hide radar signatures of objects, aswell as visible light (eventually). Recently Metacloak have made some improvements to the technology which enables them to actively turn the cloak on/off when needed. You can read about it in this Reuters news article about their new patent for Invisibilty On/Off ‘Cloak-On-Command’. You can also see more about the technology in the first episode of the History Channel TV series “That’s Impossible” which is dedicated to invisibility technologies.

Watch the complete episode in playlist on Youtube

Another company currently working on implementing fractal antenna technology in products (hopefully for more peacefull needs than the above company) is a company called Fractus.

Related links:

Fractal Design computer products

There is a new company in town that goes by the name of “Fractal Design“, which of course has very little to do with fractals but everything with clever marketing. Recently fractals are “hot” again, largely because there have been some more innovations in using fractal concepts in new research and design, all of which has resulted in the word “fractal” being injected into the news-streams and therefor into the eye of the public.

Although the products of “Fractal Design” do look well designed and affordable there is nothing much fractal going on other than the name. The company seems to be specializing in silent computer cases and related products for silencing PC noise (as used in home theater & media pc’s).

Fractal Design Painter

By the way don’t get the new company mixed up with the old Fractal Design company, there used to be a company called “Fractal Design Corporation” in the 1990’s, which was famous for a program called “Fractal Design Painter“. A program which was remarkable by it’s use of photobrushes with which one could paint. The company later merged into “Metacreations” and the software then became “Metacreations Painter“. And later this company in turn was sold, this time to the “Corel Corporation, which still sells the software as “Corel Painter“. There were eventually three different versions of the software, namely “Painter”, “Painter 3D” and “Painter Classic”.

All companies except Corel are now gone, but they all were pretty famous in the world of computer graphics and design. Corel currently still is quite well known, mostly for their “CorelDraw Graphics Suite” software. In my opinion Corel software is still definitely some of the most user-friendly and creative graphics software out there, as much as the software from all the above mentioned companies were.

Links: (Corel Painter) (CorelDraw Graphics suite)

Lost parameters due to windows screensaver

O no,

I was gonna do some testing with high resolution prints with one of my favorite fractals, but i found out that i lost the parameters for it. It seems i lost a few parameters from the “Splamcirs” set and the favorite is am missing especially and which i was planning to use for the test prints was:

I still have the image rendered in 2048×1536 though, which is good enough to get decent large prints, but which wasn’t enough for my testing purposes. All in all i think i am missing 4 parameters (Splamcirs zoom 1-4) Now i’ll just have to find the location again, which is gonna be hard but not impossible, because i don’t recall zooming in too deep for these images.

Update 2009-10-31: I have been able to find the location again and successfully have saved the location parameters and also (re)rendered the image in 40 Megapixel resolution for prints up to very large poster format (78″ x 52″ or 198.1 x 132.1 cm).

Ultra Fractal Crashes

The reason that the parameters are missing from my backup is probably that the parameters were never saved in the first place. It’s not the first parameters i’ve lost or even entire images. Not too long ago i was experiencing crashes in Ultra Fractal, it took me a while to find out the cause, but i did. Ultra Fractal was crashing when my standard blankscreen screensaver became active on Vista x64 SP2. I did on at least one occasion manage to recover an Ultra Fractal session from unresponsiveness after the screensaver became active which allowed me to save things, close it and reboot. But mostly i was not able to recover the sessions. The problem might also have been due to some irregularities with my Nvidia display driver for my Geforce 8600GT (silent) videocard. Not using any screensaver but only power saving functions stopped Ultra Fractal from crashing.

Fixing my Nvidia display driver issues

I fixed the irregularities with my Nvidia display drivers by uninstalling the old drivers and deleting all old Nvidia display drivers and references manually. To clean my windows from Nvidia display drivers i first tried to use special cleaning software called “Driver Cleaner Professional” (i tried Driver Cleaner.Net v3.4.1.0 to be exact) because it was recommended by many (ignorant, as i discovered) people also on the Guru3D website. The software completely crashed on every uninstall operation i tried on my Vista x64 SP2 system and noticed that the software could at best only uninstall certain drivers from a predefined list. Well the software did not work at all so i resorting to fixing it myself. Advanced users can use the same method for completely removing drivers from windows to resolve any reoccurring issues.

First uninstall the drivers from the Control Panel or from the uninstall shortcut in your Start Menu if it exists. If there are no uninstall options to be found for you specific hardware, Start the Device Manager (right-click My Computer>Manage>Device Manager) select the device you want to uninstall and click “uninstall from the top menu or right-click menu. Now open two Windows Explorer windows (one for search and one to show files) in “c:\windows\inf” (hidden folder) by typing in the location manually. Now click on Search in that folder, this is where things become a bit difficult if you have Windows Search installed, because you cannot use it to search inside documents in non-indexed locations, but it is always set as the default search method. So you must first use the windows search and find nothing and then click on “Use Search Companion” or “Search in File Contents” (depending on your windows), in this case i searched for “Nvidia”.

So what you should do is search for “Nvidia” or “Nvidia Display” (or search for the specific hardware you want to remove) in the “c:\windows\inf” folder (you can also limit the files to contain ” the word oem”). You should then find some files that contain info about the old drivers called something like “oem10.inf”. When the windows search is complete open the found inf files to verify that the found files are indeed the drivers references you wish to remove and close them. Now in the other Explorer Windows delete the found “”oem10.inf” files and their companion “oem10.pnf” files. Make sure you only delete the files containing “oem” in the filename to ensure you are not deleting windows standard drivers.

Nvidia usually also unpacks downloaded drivers to “C:\Nvidia” so be sure to remove the correct drivers from there aswell. Repeat the search and delete for all files with the word “physx” aswell, since these are separate drivers from the Nvidia display drivers. Beware if you have an Nvidia chipset on your mainboard that you only delete the display drivers and not your chipset drivers if you only want to fix display driver issues. Now you can reboot or shutdown and do a clean driver install.

To sum up the manual driver removal process:
1) Uninstall drivers from control panel, start menu or device manager
2) Search for the driver “oem” files (.inf and .pnf) in “c:\windows\inf” and delete them
3) Delete driver files from other locations (like “c:\Nvidia”)
4) Reboot or shutdown (shutdown is even better)
5) Install drivers for a clean install

You should have no more inherited driver issues after this.

That’s all for now,

– Saquedon.