DDR Pad Project

DDR Pad Project

My proposal to create an interactive installation for SOAK (Portland’s Regional Burning Man event) was approved this last week, and I’ve got just a few weeks to put everything together.

One of the proposed components is a DDR Pad that people can dance on to control visuals. BenD, a local artist and Burner, donated a busted pad that he got at the good ol’ Goodwill bins. Now I have to figure out what’s wrong with it.


The end connecter is Playstation-style, which is fine, since I’ve got a PS-to-USB converter. Unfortunately, none of the buttons produce data when the pad is plugged in. Maybe something is blown out in the brain? I’m guessing that my first step is to get my multimeter back from Brandon so I can see if the buttons are registering on the brain. Definitely open to suggestion on troubleshooting this thing.


Most of the pads have been replaced with home-made versions. I can certainly cut new ones out of some nice acrylic, and even laser-etch the designs right on to them – that could be fun.

I’ve seen some DIY DDR designs that are much more modular – each pad wires into a screw-on post in its square, and the wires all go to breakout box which then connects to the brain. Since these things are so prone to breakage, that seems like a good way to save on upkeep. Also, the brain is in a terrible place right now, you have to flip the pad over and remove some 20+ screws to access. I think I should keep the brain in an external box so I can just pop that open to troubleshoot/fix problems as they arise.


  1. Posted by dan winckler, at Reply

    Cool! Yeah, I would definitely move the brain out somewhere else and keep the pad innards as simple as possible. Looking forward to seeing this in context. :)

  2. Posted by BenD, at Reply

    Nice work Surya. Too bad it won’t be ready for SOAK, but you’re putting that DDR pad to better use than I would.

    Thanks should really go to my sis for calling me when she found it. And my friend Aaron for going and grabbing it for me (it pays to have a friend that lives a few blocks from the bins).

    Can’t wait to see the master control station.


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