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2009 March 14

Engineered Objects
Smaller "Highway Robber"

Calcyman's compact highway robber, 27 Feb 2009
Highway-robber glider reflector, recovery time 1244 ticks
Calcyman has constructed a much smaller Herschel-based "highway robber" glider reflector. These patterns are named for their ability to "steal" a glider from the edge of a glider highway -- a diagonal region of the Life universe along which many gliders may be travelling on closely parallel lanes.

A good highway robber can absorb a glider and produce an output signal, without disturbing gliders on nearby lanes, even one cell farther away from the highway-robber device.

Calcyman's new construction rebuilds the loaf bait and is ready for another glider input in 1244 ticks.

A perfect highway robber could extract a glider without disturbing any other nearby gliders, even one following on the same lane at the minimum distance of 14 ticks. Gliders on the next lane would never be disturbed, even while the highway robber was in operation.

So far, no perfect highway robbers have been built. They are known to be technically possible, but with current technology they would be very large and very slow. The key discovery would be a "bait" still life that would collapse quickly away from the highway when struck by a glider, and that could be catalyzed directly from an input Herschel without the catalysts getting in the way of the highway.