Project Profile

Goals of the project

Our goal is to create a multi-sensory, artistic, and interactive light emitting diode (LED) panel with the capability to engage people of all ages. By incorporating a near field communication (NFC) component, people that interact with the panels are assigned unique colors based on a disposable NFC sticker that can be placed on the bottom of shoes.

Nature of the Collaboration

Kyoko Fujimoto came up with the idea of an interactive dancefloor during her stage performances in New York. Trent Robertson, with his extensive experience in designing LED devices, created a schematic for a controller that uses four pressure sensors and an NFC reader. Noel Kawano designed and built a frame that houses the LEDs and controller device.


Computer Assisted Design (CAD) was used to design the printed circuit boards (PCBs) used in the device.

Programming in C was used to develop device firmware and its communication protocols.

Machining was used to create a 1-foot square panel with routed sections to house electronics


Arduino was used for the first prototype, but later designs utilized an atmega328p TQFP based custom PCB.

Fritzing was used to design the PCBs, including a 13.56MHz trace antenna for NFC communication.

32 individually addressable WS2812 RGB LED pixels are embedded in the panel facing inward, glowing through a sanded sheet of acrylic.

A total of 4 Force Sensitive Resistors are placed in each corner of the panel to allow multi-locational interactivity with body weight.

PCB mill was used to mill all necessary PCBs

LPKF ProMask and ProLegend were used to apply solder masks and silk screens to milled PCBs, resulting in a highly professional device.


The most significant hurdle in the design process was the frame of the panel. Original designs had a large vertical height, but later designs reduced material costs and safety concerns by becoming nearly flush with the floor.


The first official prototype consisted of a single panel with four pressure sensors. The second prototype included the NFC component.

Challenges encountered

Safety issues arose from the first frame design, which were addressed by reducing the height of the frame. This resulted in lower manufacturing costs, and ultimately resulted in much more even light distribution. This showed us that taking time to critically think about every aspect of the device before fabrication can avoid problems and streamline production.

Major outcomes

The project won the Judges Choice award at the Breakthrough Innovation Challenge, sponsored by the Shidler School of Business at UH Manoa.

Innovations, impact and successes

The NFC component is unique to our design, allowing for an unprecedented level of interactivity. A major local nightclub has expressed interest in installing the device upon completion.