Completed Rigid USB Dance Pad

Rigid USB Dance Pad

Status: Complete

Links: Image gallery, Construction Guide

The rigid USB dance pad was an experiment to test a new switch design for the foot "buttons" as well as methods of interfacing with existing USB control systems. There seemed to be no point in buying dedicated USB controller chips or programming a microcontroller when a USB gamepad could be had for nearly the same expense (and is already programmed).

Assembly instructions are available in The Construction of a Rigid Dance Pad Using Common Materials. Excerpts from this guide were featured in the August 2007 edition of PCFormat Magazine. This design proved to be quite robust, but not very economical. It turns out that wood and plexiglass are relatively expensive when purchased in small quantities. The button design functioned adequately with aluminum foil contacts, but conventional solder did not adhere well. The problem was remedied with small screws that acted as binding posts for the wires that were connected to the USB control circuit. The screws had rounded heads so as not to interfere with gameplay and to avoid safety issues if playing in bare feet.

This project was never intended to be anything but a research/amusement platform, so the design was purely functional.