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Light Steps!

Dance the dance robotic!
 
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Quite simply, this is a flexible mat that rolls up into a cylinder, embedded with an array of LED lights, one per square centimeter. It is large enough for two people and designed to take abuse, yet contain a thin layer of electronics.

A cable joins it to a computer, phone, or PDA. Wireless is an option.

Use preset steps, or download more sample steps from a website. Also, choose from several dozen salsa, tango, meringue, and swing songs. The software plays back the music and, in time, lights up the LED's to show the footwork for the dance. The feet for the lady are shown in magenta, the feet for the gentleman are shown in cyan. The scale of the footwork is calculated by the software.

This will allow people to get the mechanical movements and technical timing of dance down, so they can focus on the romancin'

This will also allow folks who do not have significant others to practice whilst at home, so that later on they can hit the dance floor and start romancin' right away.

The more expensive products will contain more LEDs and be more flexible mats for easier storage. Additionally, permanent studio installations can be done using the same software but with a much more durable lexan or glass surface.

mylodon, Dec 05 2007

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       This reminds me of those light-up disco dance floors, even though I'm not that old.   

       I'm not quite sure about this being able to roll up and unroll over and over again.
BJS, Dec 05 2007
  

       // able to roll up and unroll over and over again. //   

       Electroluminescent polymenrs could cope .... and electric blankets cope ok with being flexed. Besides, even if you use it every day, that's less than 400 cycles per year. Say you use it once a week and you can get 500 cycles out of it, that's still a ten-year average life.   

       You could do a big version for morris dancers ...
8th of 7, Dec 05 2007
  

       My hunch is that there's too much looking at the floor. If, come the real thing, you're trying to hold a more romantic posture, then the feel of the dance might be quite different, and much of your practise might go to waste.   

       Perhaps the device could provide a tactile cue for foot placement, rather than a visual one. Perhaps you could practise in special shoes which would be electromagnetically pulled towards the right spot so that your movements are really in time to the music, rather than lagging the music by whatever time it takes for you to look down at the LED and respond.   

       If you could sort out the 'head up / head down' problem with some tactile cue, then you could probably network a couple of these devices to provide a genteel alternative to cybersex.
pertinax, Dec 05 2007
  

       I disagree... there's a lot of looking at the floor but that happens anyways, except often in classes you are looking at the teacher's feet -- which is worse then looking at your own. This is just to ensure the reflexes work. Once the muscle memory is all settled in, you can look up and into the eyes of your intended lover with all the emotion you want.   

       I think the faster you get the technical part of dancing down, the sooner you can move on to the style and flair part of it. Obviously this misses all the armwork that goes into some of the salsa moves... but footwork, basic footwork, could use a little visual stimulation.   

       Some people will end up dancing like robots, but otherwise they would have never danced at all.
mylodon, Dec 05 2007
  
      
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