Thread Drums


Description
Our design is a drum set under shoes. It is inspired by Irish tap dance. We try to make the shoes to have variable sound. With treading different part of shoes, it can control the PC to play different drum tracks. Therefore, with the Tread Drums, bandsman, like Bass player, can practice with two music instruments at the same time, and tap dancers can have more music effects.


System Design
The system is composed by 4 electronic device units, an Arduino UNO board and the software in PC. The electronic unit is a high-sensitive pressure sensor (Piezo drum kit) in parallel with a 1M ohm resister (Fig. 1).
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(Fig. 1 Piezo drum unit, http://dlnmh9ip6v2uc.cloudfront.net/tutorialimages/DrumKitLanding/small_soldered.JPG)

Circuit design is shown in Fig. 2. Each unit connects to an analog port on UNO board and the ground port. When the sensor gets hit, the sensor will produce a voltage up to 5V. therefore, within the unit circuit, the current is generated and it will be retrieved by the analog port. When the input value is over a threshold, the board will send a message with analog port name and signal value to serial port. Simultaneously, the software keeps listening the serial port. Once it gets input form buffer, the software will parse the message, get the analog port number and signal. After that, it will play a soundtrack corresponding to that analog input.
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(Fig. 2 Circuit design)

Every two sensors are attached to one shoes. One is near the toe cap and the other near the heel. While tapping the toe or the heel will make a drum sound from PC.

Demo


Source Code

Find the source in github


Challenge
The biggest challenge is fixing the sensor at the bottom of the shoes. As the wires attaching to the sensors are very thin, it is very easy to make soldered pot detached or pull the wire cut. Then we realize that a wireless module is required for this project as the wires make it difficult to dance. So far it will work with slightly tapping.

Future Work
We expect to add a BlueTooth or other wireless module to the UNO board so that the board could be detached from computer and attached within the shoes. This will make the system more usable. And we also think to add more music tracks and encode the combination of simultaneous hitting so that it can make more music effort without additional sensors.