What mistakes we did while developing the LED dance system?

This is the show we did for Slovak Music Awards:

Our very first Tron Dance performance


As I told you in my last post, it was not so bad in the end. But we made several mistakes I'd like to share.



The first and most important problem was the timing. We simply rushed too much. The complete system with the suit production was developed in one month. There was not enough time to develop the system. I see it now, but of course I wasn't able see that back then. I really thought it would work out somehow. Whenever you develop something new and more complicated than your usual daily job - beware of the unknown. It was too much of “unknown” for us there.


LED strips

The most important technical problem was the strip itself. We wanted to produce ultimate LED strip :) ... But while doing it, we completely forgot what we've learnt about the LED strips in last 5 years. It's one of the most sensitive technology widely used in events. It's perfectly reliable if you install it on a rigid surface. But it's definitely not a good idea to let it bend all the time.

ultimate LED Strip
The main cause of our problems -  
the "ultimate" LED strip


The idea of attaching the strip directly onto the suit was simply a bad idea. And it was even worse with the new "ultimate" LED strip. The 384 LEDs per meters looks great. But the strip was simply too sensitive to be installed on the suit where it's always bending in different directions. Not to mention, the tailors could not stitch the LED strip without crossing it sometimes.


 1. version of LED suit receiver connect to battery
The first version of our wireless LED Suit Receiver with battery pack - it failed too...


The third huge mistake we did was the electronics. LED strips always require a lot of power and if you forget some detail in the wiring it's really easy to burn the processor and the remaining electronic components inside the LED Suit Receiver. Although we had tested the hardware in our lab new issues started appearing after we installed it on dancers' body. We also found out the aerial was good when it sat on our table, but not when it was close to dancer's body.




Another problem was the wiring. The wires were just not long enough. You probably ask how could we have done such a stupid mistake. Well, sometimes I ask the same question ... The main part of the problem were the arms and the legs. The cables were long enough while streched in stable position. But when the dancers started to move they weren't enough anymore. Maybe if the dancers just stood still, it would have work ... but then again the Tron Stand Show doesn't sound very appealing :) ...


 First LED suit in which were LED strips inside the costume
The LED costumes after we've fixed them - they were working, but never for a long time


We had a lot of sad days after the show. We've tried to fix most of the system problems and we were quite successful. And that success led us, at least according to the number of YouTube views, to the most successful Tron Dance performance we have ever done ...



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