As humans find themselves forced to mate with our robotic overlords I suspect there will be some dancing. And what better way to teach us how to dance than with motors tucked into our socks?
Designer Pascal Ziegler built these wild wearables to teach “dancing pairs choreography.” They’re basically vibrating socks. There is an Instructable here so you can make a pair of your own but basically you need some vibrating motors, some sensors, and an Arduino. An app tells the motors to buzz, allowing you to position your feet properly, and a feedback loop lets the system tell you how to dance the Foxtrot, the Mambo, or the Charleston.
We equipped the socks with pressure sensors and vibration motors to monitor and guide the feet movement of the pair dancers. These are controlled by a master application running on an Android phone. The steps are indicated by vibration signals at specific positions of the foot, at the heel for a forward step, etc. When a user makes a mistake or gets out of sync, negative feedback is provided. It is possible to dance in the socks for several minutes without making a mistake.
The ostensible mission for these socks is to teach new dancers without much instructor supervision. This means the instructors can focus on other things, like preparing for the big couple’s dance-off at 2001 Space Odyssey with the mature yet confused young woman who just wants to experience life in the Big City and get away from the small-minded folks down in Bay Ridge, Brooklyn – as you do.
“Our goal is to increase the quality of dancing lessons in general,” said Ziegler. “In dancing classes, students learn many new steps in a short period of time. Often it is hard for them to translate the theoretical movement into dancing steps synchronized to music and rhythm. Unfortunately, dancing teachers don’t have the time or students don’t have the money for 1-to-1 supervision, especially concerning repetitive instructions, which can result in frustration of both sides.”
So get ready to solder some socks, Dancing Kings and Queens, and let’s show them how we do the Electric Buggaloo, the Electric Fug, and the Electrified Mashed Potato. How low can your amperage go?