How Tap Works

Getting Tap onto your PDA:

The first step in working with the Tap application is to install it onto your PDA. Your PDA needs to be running Palm OS 3.1 or higher with 230k free memory and beaming enabled. You can get Tap onto your PDA in three ways.

To hear the sound of your dancer's steps, enable sound on your PDA by going to System - Prefs and making sure sound is not turned off.

Working With Dancers

After you have Tap loaded onto your PDA, you can begin working with the dancer. Select items from the menubar to practice steps, improvise dances, choreograph dances, and save your dances. Your dancer will make many mistakes at first, but with practice it will master all of the steps.

Share Your Favorite Dances:

After creating a dance on your PDA using the Tap application, you can save your dances and share them with others.

Sharing a dance is easy, and can be done in several ways. First, you can beam a dance to another user who already has Tap by selecting "Perform" from the menu bar, then "Beam a Dance". If your friend does not have Tap, you can beam the entire application to them first (select "Tap" from the menu bar, then "Beam Tap), and then beam the dance.

You can also upload a saved dance to the web. The dances can be stored and shared at Tap's Dance Archive.

About Beaming

two PDAs beaming

Beaming is the simple process of exchanging data between two PDAs via their IR ports. Tap uses beaming in three ways.

  • First, the entire application can be beamed between users. In this way, the project can be passed along and can spread through a type of personal, user-to-user internet.
  • Secondly, if two people already have the Tap application, then they can beam to each other the individual dances that they created using the application.
  • Finally, in addition to being available on the web, Tap is also distributed through a network of physical beaming stations, described below.

Beaming Stations

Creative Time worked in cooperation with Dia to create a network of beaming stations placed in three public locations in New York City, in addition to the ones available at Dia Center for the Arts 548 West 22nd Street location, and the Whitney Museum of American Art, where Tap is featured in the 2002 Biennial.

The industrial design for the stations was created by David Reinfurt of O-R-G. Please visit Creative Time's website for more information about the public beaming network.

No PDA? No Problem:

If you don't have a PDA, you can still check out the project by installing the Tap screen saver, which allows you to experiment with the dance steps on your desktop.


As always, it is advisable to backup your data before installing new software. If your PDA freezes when beaming or receiving a beam and restarting doesn't clear the problem, then follow your device manufacturer's recommended resetting procedure.

Helpful hints:

  • Be sure you have at least 230 k memory free per dancer you load.
  • While beaming, try to hold the device within several inches and relatively still.
  • If you can't hear the tapping sound, check your system preferences to make sure System sound is turned on.