Salsa 1001 teaches the dance of salsa in four different stages - tutorial, beginner, intermediate and advanced. The dancer follows a foot on the screen as it moves from square to square. As the dancer steps on the squares, the corresponding squares light up on the screen, and a bolded foot appears to indicate that the dancer has followed a step correctly. Salsa music and a video of a figure dancing accompany the dancer as they master the art of salsa.
I have always loved to dance, and I love the idea of being able to easily learn a dance without having to take lessons. I also like the correspondence between the physical squares and the computer screen. This interaction is tremendously satisfying for the user and is great a way of learning something new, especially a dance step.
As the user comes up to the project, there will be a screen prompting the user to pick which level to start out with - tutorial, beginner, intermediate or advanced. The user selects this level by stepping on the square to which the level corresponds. The user is then given instructions on the screen, such as where to stand, what to watch for, when to step so they can be on beat, etc.
The squares are made up of conductive foam with sheet metal each side of the foam and a layer of plexi glass on the top. The foam and sheet metal act as a variable resistor, which can sense the amount of pressure placed on each square. The squares are connected serially to Director. Director takes the information it receives about the user's pressure on the foam and gives visual feedback according to these values.
Images of the squares, in their raw form, and the BX-24 breadboard:
How it works
The user is initially given a screen which allows him to choose a level - tutorial, beginner, intermediate or advanced:
In the tutorial level, the user is simply shown what the moves are, without music or video, in a very slow fashion:
In the beginner level, the music and the video are slowed down. The intermediate level is sped up a bit, while the advanced level is the actual song played in its real form. The user follows a foot, and as if steps on the right square, the foot is bolded to indicate that there was a match. There are also messages on the side, such as "way to go!" or "missed a square" or even "put more hip into it". Salsa 1001 can measure the pressure of the step, and if the user does not put enough pressure, it knows that not enough hip movement was put into it.