A Structural PVC Cyr Wheel

PVC is a great building material that can be used for everything from yurts and geodesic domes to pressure vessels. One thing we haven’t seen a lot of is bending PVC pipe. [Lou] wanted to build a Cyr wheel for his daughter, and instead of shelling out five hundred big ones for an aluminum version, he build one out of PVC using techniques usually reserved for woodworking.

A Cyr Wheel is usually a large aluminum hoop built for acrobatic performances. These performances are pretty impressive and look like a lot of fun, but the wheels themselves are rather expensive. Figuring PVC was a good enough solution, [Lou] built his own Cyr wheel for $50 in materials.

The build started off by laying out a jig on the floor. Two sheets of plywood were laid out, a radius for the wheel traced, and a bunch of blocks were glued to the perimeter of this mold. With the mold in place, a few pieces of PVC were flexed into position, clamped, heated with a hair dryer to relieve stress, and glued to a second course of PVC.

The process [Lou] used to build his Cyr wheel isn’t that different from extremely common woodworking techniques. In fact, it wouldn’t be unreasonable for [Lou] to build a wooden Cyr wheel with the same jig. We’re wondering how well this project will stand up to abuse, so if you have any insight to the uses of structural PVC drop a note in the comments.

Visualizing Ballet Movements with E-Traces

When we think of wearable technologies, ballet shoes aren’t the first devices that come to mind. In fact, the E-Traces pointé shoes by [Lesia Trubat] may be the first ever “connected ballet shoe.” This project captures the movement and pressure of the dancer’s feet and provides this data to a phone over Bluetooth.

The shoes are based on the Lilypad Arduino clone, which is designed for sewing into wearables. It appears that 3 force sensitive resistors are used as analog pressure sensors, measuring the force applied on the ground by the dancer’s feet. A Lilypad Accelerometer measures the acceleration of the feet.

This data is combined in an app running on an iPhone, which allows the dancer to “draw” patterns based on their dance movements. This creates a video of the motion based on the dance performed, and also collects data that can be used to analyze the dance movements after the fact.

While these shoes are focused on ballet, [Lesia] points out that the same technique could be extended to other forms of dance for both training and visualization purposes.

Origami Busts a Move with Dancing Paper

Origami cranes are cool, but do you know what’s cooler? Origami cranes dancing to the beat. That’s the challenge [Basami Sentaku] took on when he created Dancing Paper (YouTube link). You might remember [Basami] from his 8 bit harmonica hack. In Dancing Paper, paper cranes seem to dance all on their own – even performing some crazy spinning moves. Of course, the “magic” is due to some carefully written code, and magnets, lots of magnets.

Using magnets to move objects from below isn’t a new concept. Many of us have seen the “ice skating pond” Christmas decoration which uses the same effect. Unlike the skating pond,Dancing Paper has moving parts (other than the cranes themselves). Under the plastic surface are a series of individually controlled electromagnets. Each of the supporting dancers has a line of four magnets, while the featured dancer in the center has a 5×5 matrix. The 41 electromagnets were wound around bolts with the help of a Tamiya motor and gearbox.

The actual dance moves are controlled by C code which appears to be running on an Atmel microcontroller. Of course a microcontroller wouldn’t be able to drive those big coils, so some beefy TO-220 case transistors were employed to switch the loads. The cranes themselves needed a bit of modification as well. Thin pieces of wire travel from the neodymium magnets on their feet up to the body of the crane. The wire provides just enough support to keep the paper from collapsing, while still being flexible enough to boogie down.

Click past the break to see Dancing Paper in action!

Continue reading “Origami Busts a Move with Dancing Paper”

Hardsync – DDR Reimagined for the C64

hardsync

For those of you that like to play dance games, but [DDR] for the [PS2] uses too modern hardware for your tastes, [Hardsync] may be for you. Although the chiptune-style music coming out of the [C64] may not appeal to everyone, one would have to imagine that a game like this could have been a huge hit 30 years ago.

As for the hardware itself, it does indeed use one PS2 element, the dance mat. It’s hooked into one of the C64 joystick ports. In this case, the cable was cut, but it would also be possible to make a non-destructive adapter for it so as not to interfere with any future PS2 fun.

The program is made so that fellow retro-dancers can make their own songs. Each song is a discreet file, and can be reconfigured to your own personal mix. Be sure to check out the video after the break of this old-school dance machine in use after the break! Continue reading “Hardsync – DDR Reimagined for the C64”

Keepon finally gets a cheaper version

Keepon, the adorable bot meant to help autistic kids with its jovial dance moves, seems to finally be getting a cheaper version. The original cost $30,000 and did a lot more than dance. Actually, we got to play with it a little bit at CES a couple years ago. The commercial version most likely won’t have facial recognition or any of the other fancy features of the first one, but we hope it can dance well.  We’ve actually seen a couple home made versions and we’re hoping that the new one has some major hacking potential. The temptation to have one of these cute little bots around is made even stronger when you see that some of the money is going back into autism research.

Dance for a Dollar with the YayTM

The YayTM is a device that records a person dancing and judges whether or not the dancing is “Good”. If the YayTM likes the dance, it will dispense a dollar for the dancers troubles. However, unless the dancer takes the time to read the fine print, they won’t realize that their silly dance is being uploaded to YouTube for the whole world to see. Cobbled together with not much more than a PC and a webcam,  the box uses facial recognition to track and rate the dancer.

The YayTM was made by [Zach Schwartz], a student at NYU, as a display piece for the schools Interactive Telecommunication Program. Unfortunately there aren’t any schematics or source code, but to be honest, having one of these evil embarrassing boxes around is probably enough. What song does the YayTM provide for dancing, you ask? Well, be sure to check it out here.

EDIT: [Zack] has followed up with an expanded writeup of the YayTM. Be sure to check out his new page with source code and more info. Thanks [Zack]!

Robo-one dance competition

This year at the creepy robot dace-a-thon, also known as the Robo-one dance competition, we get to see the creepy brought to new levels. We thought the Lou Vega decapitated head bot was creepy, but somehow these people managed to make a biped out creep a hexapod. Watch above as this uncanny valley resident tries to shimmy into your heart. We really are impressed by these bots though. The world of robot dancing has come a long way, those little servo bags are doing a better job than us on the dance floor.