Another of Peter’s Projects

By Peter

In addition to writing Coiled, I also teach from time to time. I work with middle school students, primarily from groups who are underrepresented in technology. I come up with creative technology projects and get them involved. The latest one I’ve done is to create a dance game, kind of like Dance Dance Revolution, working with Native American kids and teachers. The kids hand drew the graphical elements of the game using a Northwest Native design technique called “form line”. These drawings were scanned in and used in the user interface. Then they used sound editing software to mash up traditional and contemporary Native music for the “sound track” of the game. Then they brought it all together and added dance steps using XML, an industry standard data format. A couple of guys in the Native community built a wooden platform for the footpads that close a circuit when you step on the neoprene pads, and then that’s attached to a PC using a little circuit board from a company called Phidget.

We showed it off at the University of Washington’s First Nations Powwow. Check out my son trying it out on this YouTube video.  You can’t really hear the music (it was pretty loud in there), but you can see the graphics and get a sense of the game.