Rev and alternative input devices

Scott Rossi scott at
Wed Feb 2 03:32:26 EST 2005

Recently, Nicolas Cueto wrote:

> From a BBC article about young pupils learning Spanish by dancing (!), I was
> interested to discover that a "dance-mat" can be connected to a PC. This got
> me pondering...
> ... are there other mat-like input devices for the PC?
> ... could this dance-mat or other such devices interface with Revolution?
> ... how would such an interface be scripted ("on leftFootUp"?!)?
> The idea of combining Rev with a wild input device like this, well, my
> primary-grade learners would go gagga over it.

A quick Web search discovered this:

The difficult part is finding some way to trap the mat signals over USB.
USB communication has come up repeatedly on this list and as far as I know,
no one has successfully implemented this in Rev, aside from using a USB
serial adapter on older(?) Mac systems.

(My hope is someone will prove me wrong and say "Hey wait, we've been doing
USB with Rev for years!")

On a related note, I once did very much the same thing as you mention above
with a device called the Sega Activator
This ring sits on the floor of whatever room you're in and bounces infra red
beams off the ceiling.  You stand in the middle of the ring and move your
arms and legs to interrupt the beams and thus trigger events.  Using an
adapter provided by a now long defunct company, you could enable the
Activator to control a Rev (then MetaCard) stack on your computer.

I made a virtual sound machine that kids at my son's preschool could stand
in and trigger sound effects in time with a music track.  At first it worked
but I forgot kids' tendency to repeatedly pound on something to see what
happens.  They would stand in the Activator and block the beams for several
seconds, thus creating long loops of sounds that would effectively lock up
the machine until the sounds were done.  I should have limited the number of
times a sound could be triggered so the kids couldn't overload the system.

Anyway, not an answer to your question, but maybe a little helpful advice.


Scott Rossi
Creative Director
Tactile Media, Development & Design
E: scott at

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