MEMODANCE: AN INTERACTIVE DANCE GAME

WHAT IS MEMODANCE?

Memodance is an interactive game prototype that uses whole body motion as an input interaction that is sensed. These days, we are exposed to new areas of gaming, that are seemingly more immersive and interactive, because of motion gesture recognition using kinects or accelerometers. Mostly though, these employ a screen to open up into the “realm” of the game world. Memo Dance, is a concept prototype that makes use of more complex body movements, including limb movements and using multiple modalities to foster interaction and feedback, such as sound, kinetic and visual, all related to the concept of dance, also in a way that allows participants to play amongst each other with motion.

HOW IS MEMODANCE PLAYED?

Memodance simple prototype demonstration

Memodance was designed as a future of the well known Dance-Dance revolution (DDR). With DDR, the idea was to mimic foot patterns by tapping the foot buttons that glowed. Memo-Dance works on a similar logic, but instead of mimicking footwork, the user needs to perform a dance sequence using 5 body parts (currently wrists, elbows, and head) that matches randomly generated music. The user scores for every successful execution of a series of dance steps. The dance sequences get progressively harder over time. Also, not only does the user perform steps corresponding to the music, but he also needs to re-create the music he was presented, through dance, since each of his movements effectively regenerate a note. The user can think of it as creating or playing music by dancing.

Team and role: Team of 2. I was responsible for the entire Arduino, Processing part of the prototyping and my team mate and I contributed equally to design brainstorming and storyboarding.

Duration of project: 2.5 weeks

Skills: Arduino, Design Thinking, Processing, storyboarding, rapid prototyping (for iterations on form factor)

Tools used: Arduino, Processing.

 DESIGN ELEMENTS

  • Arduino board for basic circuitry

  • RFID tags and sensor for motion sensing.

  • Processing for audio playback and score keeping visual output (This was for the prototype. Eventually, this would move to the mount itself, as represented by the sticker in the prototype, above the RFID sensor).

  • Wrist bands, elbow bands and head sweat band with encased RFID tags as actuators for movement

  • Mount for encasing circuitry and sensors

INTERACTIONS AND DESIGN CONSIDERATIONS

  • Affordance - Simple, “in position” infographic icons were used, to help the user learn the output sequence of notes and build association. Lights were flashed behind each of these icons when the output sequence of musical notes are played.

  • Affordance using color coding - Lights flashed behind the icons on the left and right are color coded yellow or red, to match the red and yellow markings on left/right hand bands with RFID tags.

  • Multimodal output is employed by the system, to convey the sequence, using lights and sound notes. Initially, the user might depend on the visual cues, but eventually, will build association to the tone of the note generated.

  • Users are incentivized to produce music, something like playing an instrument, but through body movement, which we feel is a novel concept. This could influence their speed and “smoothness” of movement depending on the sound it produces.

  • Sport sweat bands were used for arms, wrists and head, to encase the RFID tags. These were a good choice considering the exercise the participant will receive while playing the game.

  • RFID was a chosen so we could prototype a non-touch input interaction

  • Extra on present on screen animations for visual interest

  • Game score is displayed on a Pie Chart on the middle of the game mount in an easy to read fashion, so that the score can be glanced at from a distance, without reading numbers.

FUTURE OF THE CONCEPT

  • Start of more complex movement recognition of various body parts

  • Dance face offs between people to increase complexity

  • Use of active rfid instead of passive

  • Start a culture of creating music through dance, instead of creating dance for music!