Saturday, November 05, 2005

We're getting there, and Publicity!

Yesterday we made much progress leading up to the final construction. We still have only one module completed however we have ALL cables sorted and taped in rows so we can just drop it into the cable channel and it's good. They've all been tested again as we had a few weak solder joints that were knocked loose.

The frame for module 2 is completely done. Today we will add the cable and then the tinfoil to this module. #3's wood is 80% cut, special notches are left. #4's is cut into strips and now must be altered to fit together. We plan to jam in the wood shop today to get as much done as possible. All the help we can get will be much appreciated.

The software team has many new features working but is slowed down by our lack of hardware. We aim to have 2 modules for sure done by moday with the other two by tuesday (an optimistic estimate) so that they can have full use of the floor to perfect the software.

Publicity for Vertigo and the floor in general is gaining more momentum. Today the School of Engineering PR department sent a press release to members of the media detailing our project (see below) and took information down for the school newsletter. Also, television news cameras may be at the event taking interviews and covering the floor and how it ties in with vertigo. We will be featured in Student Life, Wash U's student newspaper, next week as well. The floor has already been covered in EnSequitor, the engineering school's student-run newsletter (

Tonight the Vertigo publicity campaign will hit full swing as we begin painting the underpass to advertise the event and begin to flier the entire campus with vertigo fliers and the special ones for the floor itself (see below).

all in all, a good buzz is building!

The Press Release:

The talent and ingenuity of Washington University engineering students are being put to the test with a large-scale, computer-controlled dance floor that will light up the night on Saturday, Nov. 12. That’s the date of the Engineering Student Council’s annual dance party, Vertigo, to be held from 10 p.m. to 2 a.m. in Lopata Hall on the Washington University Hilltop Campus.

Comprising four 4 ft. x 8 ft. modules, the dance floor boasts 1,536 long-lasting and low-power-consuming LEDs that light to 4,096 different colors. Students are using substances as common as aluminum foil to achieve special effects. The dance floor, which makes use of one-half mile of environmentally friendly ribbon cable, can be controlled wirelessly by remote clients, thus facilitating visual interactions that were not possible in previous designs. The high-tech dance floor is based on one made by M.I.T. students last spring.

Students have worked hundreds of hours on the dance floor and are now putting the finishing touches on their project. They will be working on the dance floor through the weekend in 404 Lopata.

The dance-floor project is under the direction of the University’s chapter of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE). The software portion of the project has been completed as a project for CSE 456, a capstone course in software engineering.

For more information, visit the project Web site at or contact Pehr Hovey, IEEE chapter president, Brandon Heller, (hardware) Garrett Eardley, gse1@cec.wustl.eydu (software), or Cheryl Simon, (software).


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