Axaj wrote:I was thinking something larger that makes something easier to utilize.
Boat-bits caught by snakes are surprisingly easy to make use of -- there have been at least half a dozen different mechanisms built into various patterns. Calcyman mentioned a couple, but there are other Herschel pulse dividers, and a "self-constructing" Herschel conduit, a way to catch a glider and turn it into a pi-heptomino and then a clean Herschel with another couple of following gliders, and some other non-Herschel-related reactions that can successfully test for the presence of a boat-bit.
This next part will be old hat to some people, and I may be wandering away from "something larger" into "something way too large", but here goes anyway: back in October 1996, Paul Callahan came up with a stable flip-flop circuit that produced a Herschel or glider output for every two glider inputs. Here are a couple of variants:
#C asynchronous toggle memory: Paul Callahan, 17 October 1996
x = 299, y = 323, rule = B3/S23
It's big and slow, but Spartan (easily glider-constructible). There's a third version that uses an Fx77 conduit instead of the Fx119, but it's even slower to recover.
Nowadays there are slightly faster Herschel-based flip-flops, such as
#C Herschel period doubler by Paul Callahan, 2 October 1997,
#C attached to a Stephen Silver reflector -- recovery in 497 ticks.
x = 263, y = 210, rule = B3/S23
But obviously, useful stable flip-flop patterns with glider inputs are still fairly big and slow. There are lots of smaller period doublers that are periodic -- i.e., patterns including oscillators as well as still lifes. Some examples are given here (LifeNews)
. But I'm afraid that's getting _really_ far afield from the original subject.EDIT Apr 2017:
If anyone does a search and ends up here, there's been a lot of progress on period-doubling "flip-flops" in the past several years, starting with Guam's semisnark
. See also the Stable Signal Converters
thread for mechanisms that could easily be blocked off to make spaceship eaters.