ACM UIST Student Innovation Competition

Sebastian Stein and Mike Crabb

Students from SiDE received second place in the ‘Most Useful’ category at this years UIST (User Interface Software and Technology) Student Innovation Competition . Competition for this is fierce, with 97 students, 27 teams and 13 countries being represented, including teams from world leading universities. The team, consisting of Sebastian Stein and Michael Crabb and a third Dundee student, were tasked with creating a system that used this years chosen hardware: The PumpSpartk Fountain Development Kit.

Computer input can be more than just typing on a keyboard, or positioning a pointing device. Touch, gesture and spoken interfaces have all achieved significant commercial success. But on the output side, most devices still rely on traditional audio/visual displays. This year’s contest was all about getting creative with output. The Pumpspark Fountain Kit included 8 miniature water pumps and a prototype controller that can shoot streams of water up to 1 meter in the air. The system is both fast and precise, allowing for highly interactive Fluidic User Interfaces (FUIs) to be created.

The Dundee team created an ambient fountain which refills a glass to the top with water. An inconspicuously placed camera surveys the surroundings of the fountain and detects any glasses that are in the surrounding area. Once a glass is detected, one of the Pumpspark Fountain pumps rotates and adjusts its pressure according to the glasses position and starts filling. Helpful for the visually impaired and cool gimmick for the modern office!

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