Washington University - St. Louis' IEEE chapter is undertaking a large engineering project that will bring together students and faculty in many areas of engineering including Electrical, Computer, and Mechanical.
This project, dubbed the "Vertigo Dance Floor" (VDF), is based upon work done by a group of MIT students in the spring of 2005. We have worked closely with them to purchase their pre-made controller boards and gain some useful (and time-saving) insight into board firmware. A picture of the MIT project is above. See their site for more details of their project--it is worth the look.
Most broadly, the VDF is an 8 X 16 foot modular dance floor that is easily transportable. Each of the 4 modules is a self contained light display that interfaces with a computer via USB. Audio visualizations, patterns, scrolling messages, and games can be displayed dynamically in real-time on the floor, making for the ultimate party decoration.
The modules are divided into "pixels" that are 6 x 6 inches and contain Red, Green, and Blue LEDs. The LEDs are connected to drive chips that are then connected via an I2C serial bus to a microcontroller, which is in turn connected to a Serial-to-USB converter and then to a USB hub.
The Floor will be easily transportable to all kinds of events ranging from large scale "dances" to smaller private parties and gatherings. The floor will be rented out for the aforementioned events, thus creating a fundraising opportunity for the WU IEEE chapter. It can be used to display text messages to advertise for upcoming engineering events, as well as provide entertainment with building sized games of Teris, for example.
The floor is in the preliminary construction process right now, more details to follow!
The floor is set to debut at Vertigo, the All-school Dance party / Rave hosted by WU Encouncil on November 12, 2005.