As musicians, we never were exposed to or learned the language of dance. We know people dance to music, traditionally. But we could never really 'jam' with a dancer as much as you could with a musician. Upon meeting Ilya, who created pressure-sensitive gloves to bring audio tones to dance, we were inspired to create an instrument that dancers could use change the way the musician-dancer conversation is had.
What it does
The Danztaf visualizes movement and translates it into musical meaning in terms of beats and affectation. It allows musicians and dancers to collaborate and perform together
How we built it
We used an Arduino 101 as an onboard processor and IMU which provided the sensing. We paired this with a strip of addressable LED's which enabled us to do visual displays as well. We hooked up an onboard battery to make the setup entirely wireless, and worked towards implementing bluetooth communication. The arduino send acceleration data into a Serial to midi converter which then passes the data to a software called loopmidi which allows abelton to see it. From there the signals are linked to various controls which shape the soundscape.
Challenges I ran into
We had a lot of trouble implementing Bluetooth LE because this protocol does not have much PC support, and thus it was difficult to find an interface to receive data and send it to the Serial to midi converter. We didn't end up figuring it out and unfortunately our end result wasn't fully wireless. Lack of hardware was also a challenge we worked around
Accomplishments that I'm proud of
Nice animations, fitting a lot of electronics onto a pole, overall we executed the concept to an effective proof of concept. We made do with a bunch of dorm room electronics.
What I learned
Use of Arduino 101 API's for bluetooth, accelerometer data. midi signals.
What's next for DanceStaff
We'd like to work with a dancer to choreograph a performance. We think there are possibilities for a whole range of dance based instruments, and view this as a new area for exploration and experimentation.