The 30 Computers Sculpture Project
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Computer Virus Sculpture #8:

Power Supply Virus (2013)

The sculpture is a representation of the HIV viral envelope. The inspiration for this specific sculpture and for the Computer Virus sculpture series in general came in 2009 when I first saw Russell Kightley's image of the HIV-1 envelope shown below. Since then I have learned that this biological virus is one of several types of viruses that have an icosahedral shape.


Copyright Russell Kightley Images,

The Science

A virus has many different components. At a basic level a distinction must be made regarding the structure of the viral envelope and the structure of the viral core contained within. As scientific knowledge and techniques advance the ability to observe with greater and greater precision. The icosahedral shape of the HIV envelope has been recognized by many, using a variety of techniques. One study used electron microscopy and a variety of preparatory techniques concluded that "...the images were consistent with an icosahedral shape of the virus."[1] Beyond the shape of the viral envelope, the HIV virus has other distinguishing features such as nodules or knobs on its surface. According to Ozel et all [2] "All HIV strains shown an identical organization of knobs on the virus envelope. The surface of an 'ideal', well-preserved HIV particle is studded with 72 knobs arranged in a T=7 laevo symmetry."
Within the envelope is the HIV core, the shape of the core is an elongated buckminsterfullerene cone, which looks like a stretched version of a truncated icosahedron or soccer ball. [3,4]


[1]M.V. Nermut, C. Grief, S. Hashmi, and D.J. Hockley. " Further Evidence of Icosahedral Symmetry in Human and Simian Immunodeficiency Virus," AIDS Research and Human Retroviruses. October 1993, 9(10): 929-938.
[2] Ozel, Pauli, Gelderblom, "The Organization of the envelope projections of the surface of HIV," Archives of Virology, 1988, Volume 100, Issue 3-4, pp 255-266.
[3]Barbie K. Ganser et al, "Assembly and Analysis of Conical Models for the HIV-1 Core," Science 283, 80 (1999).
[4]Flint, S. Jane, L. W. Enquist, Vincent R. Racaniello, A. M. Sklaka, Principles of Virology, Third Edition, ASM Press, 2009. See Chapter 4, Box 4.7 on page 114.
See also Triangulation numbers

The Back Story

The materials used in this sculpture include circuit boards and 72 toroidal inductors from PC power supplies. The computer sculpture series began in 2009 with the inspiration from Russell Kightley's image of the HIV-1 envelope. However, at the time I was only able to reclaim 30 toroidals from the computers I had. It was not until 2012 that I was able to establish a relationship with Potomac eScrap that I was able to get access to another 42 power supplies in order to get the necessary materials to complete this sculpture.

Toroidals ready to be attached as nodules
Building the Pieces
Power Supply circuit boards cut as equilateral triangles
Power Supply circuit boards cut as equilateral triangles

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