Common dancing games use human computer interface devices, like accelerometers or camera systems, in order to detect the dancer’s actions. The actual skill level is rated by the amount of precision; the dancer is able to repeat a predetermined choreography.However, today’s social dances like the urbanized Hiphop, Funk and House culture is raised and kept alive by a more spontaneous approach. The idea of improvisation and the unpredictable creation, fill the core of those dance forms since more than 40 years. The cultural fundament is based within the idea to honestly speak up, communicate and create instead of simply repeating and simulating. Therefore dancing games, consisting of the idea to repeat the movements of a choreographer, contradict with the key aspects of speaking up and creating.The WiiPop Prototype aims to measure fundamental qualities of a freestyle dancer, like spacing, musicality and the incorporation of individual body parts in order to evaluate the dancer’s skill level. This concept enables the dancer to express himself, to be creative and to monitor the level of tools he uses in order to move.Dancing consists of both, small and big movements. Therefore we combine the Kinect Camera, detecting spatial movements of the user, with the body mounted Nintendo WiiMote, measuring fine impulses of the body. The melting of the two sensor technologies, offer the possibility to evaluate a complete and detailed view on the dancer’s behavior. Since social dances are mostly related to music and percussive events, we decided to enhance the system with a beat detection algorithm, measuring the dancer’s synchronicity in respect to the beats of the music.Wiipop, implemented as a video game, demonstrates the possibility to analyze and categorize dancing behavior. However, the main idea of this project is to investigate different software and hardware solutions to digitally encrypt the language of dance. This project does not intend to capture or judge the full poetry of dancing art. Instead, it aims to push the level of physical detection and algorithmically categorization.
The Wiipop System aims to measure the qualities of a very specific dance style called popping. Unlike classical ballet, contemporary dance or ballroom dances, popping is closely related to robotic mime and consists of clean mechanical signals. Hence this dance, offers a lot of possibilities to extract discrete information from the performed movements. For example the simulation of mechanical tools bouncing, locking and unlocking. Therefore the dancer performs muscular impulses (Pops) to the beat, which are isolated from swinging arms or jumps. In between those impulses the Dancer uses different transitions in order to transform into the next pose.Our implementation, to analyze this dance style, is based upon three data rooms.The information which is:
- extracted from the music.
- detected by a body mounted accelerometer (Nintendo Wiimote)
- detected by a depth camera (Microsoft Kinect).
By synchronizing the data of the camera system and the data of the accelerometer, we are able to evaluate a precise picture of the physical dancing behaviors. In order to monitor the musicality, we match the accelerometer values, indicating the pops of the body, against the extracted percussive events of the beat. By melting the detected musical and physical rating, we are able to approximate the dancer’s overall skill level.
The software is written in java based processing. The library to access the data forwarded by the Kinect camera is SimpleOpenNI (Max Rheiner).
The Kinect Camera
Interface and Interaction
Our main motivation to develop different concepts for the analyse of dance, is to explore new ways of performative art and choreographic productions. Especially the combination of a physical artist and media technologies in real time performances describe the core of our work. Hence we are looking for different concepts to make the language of dance accessible to digital worlds, in order to enhance the possibilities of life artistic computer interaction. The beautiful works of Klaus Obermeyer and Frieder Weiss for example, utilize camera systems and projectors to enable dancers interacting with the digital controlled elements of a theatre stage. The projects of those artists and many others have been a huge inspiration to us.