Wednesday, November 23, 2005

Our Floor

We made it on to a blog at University of California as well as MAKE . A comment on that site raises the point that we were not the originators of this idea. It is not a secret that MIT did this first -- we have a link to their site on the left and have mentioned this wherever appropriate (including the first post of this blog). The reason we've received so much publicity is that our school's media services division released a press release to all of their contacts to get the word out. Unfortunately, even though it was mentioned several times to various interviewers, the press-release appears to lack explicit credit to the students at MIT who pioneered this design. Also, the STL Post-Dispatch photographer did not have the opportunity to conduct an interview and as a result there are several inconsistencies in the photo caption seen in the paper and on

We may not have conceived the original idea but that does not discredit the hundreds of hours we have invested in this project, nor does it tarnish the giant working dance floor we ended up with. MIT, our helpers, Thomas (Germany) and Clint should all be commended for the effort it takes to get something like this going. The fact that, currently, there are only three dance floor projects of this type other than MIT's in progress speaks to the size this undertaking really is.

That said, we have made what we consider design improvements that make our floor uniquely our creation, even if the underlying circuit boards are of the same design. We made ours expressly portable in that two PCB's are integrated into a frame of concert staging that locks to additional frames for stability. We built the floor in an unused room on an upper level of one of the engineering buildings and were able to transport the floor down 4 levels and into the venue for Vertigo without too much trouble. Our custom software package introduces client/server interaction that gives flexibility in operation (like wireless or remote control), an easy-to-use playlist for loading and playing animations (as well as on-the-fly scrolling text) and other features. We also put in time to debug and stabilize power supply issues that result from the PCB design and high amp draw from the LED's.

Our first edition of this floor concept will be used in our lounge's window to entertain passersby, in Computer Science II (CSE132) as a final project for beginning CS students, and, of course, for more parties.

Props to MIT for starting this trend and getting everyone interested!

This is only the beginning for Wash U; we have learned much from the creation of Version 1 of the VDF. Spending hundreds of hours creating it has brought to light many ways to make it more reliable, to make it faster to build, and to create even cooler patterns and interactions.

We will be refining the concept further as time goes by. Stay tuned for the latest!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I say screw that guy. Yeah MIT originally started it, but look at what you guys have done. From the sound of it, your software is amazing! A java based system with a server/client setup? Thats awesome! Not everybody has the time to go and design their own circuit board. Why reinvent the wheel? Its great you can take a board built by someone else, and make it into one hell of a project!

November 23, 2005 8:50 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think I already ask this question but a pre packaged download and run .exe file style setup for the software would be really nice. For mass appeal and adoption it needs to be made simple.

I had the same problem when I tried to get the mit software to run. proprietary stuff does not make things easy.

February 16, 2006 1:49 AM  
Blogger TobiDelbruck said...

There's other interactive tactile and luminous floors. Check out our project: Ada's tactile luminous floor

March 26, 2006 4:24 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dance Dance Revolution was all the rage a few years ago, and you hardly see anyone busting out these dance mats during a party anymore, not since the Nintendo Wii and its bunch of quirky games were released anyway. The Metal Pad DDR Platinum Pro targets the hardcore dancers, as this special mat features nine stainless steel pads, a thick metal frame and hand rail for greater support, and a surface that offers three times the firmness of a standard filmsy dance mat. It weighs a whooping 35kg, so you can guess just what kind of stuff they put inside. Remember the Ultimate Dance Deck 2.0 that we covered yesterday? I can't quite but help myself to wonder whether this design was inspired by that or not. Still, it is nice to know that there are still people around who appreciate the joys of sweating it out on a DDR dance mat.

More high end ones:

March 19, 2007 10:00 PM  
Blogger saheet said...

just linked this article on my facebook account. it’s a very interesting article for all.

IEEE Project

November 02, 2011 5:40 AM  

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