Student Innovation Contest are
Get your thinking
caps on and ideas flowing for the
first annual UIST Student Innovation
The goal of the
contest is to develop new interactions
on unique hardware. This year, contestants will be
supplied with a prototype,
pressure-sensitive keyboard designed by
Microsoft Hardware. Each key is capable of reporting its press force
(8-bit resolution). All ideas are welcome,
whether useful or fun.
Contestants will demo
their creations at the October 5th
demo reception, where UIST attendees will
cast their votes. The winner will be announced the following day.
August 15 - Entry
deadline (via email, simply to reserve spot in contest - nothing due!) September 1 - Keyboard mailed. September 1 through October 4 - Development period.
October 5 - Contest reception, demos and
voting. October 6 - Winners announced.
Three awards are up for grabs: most useful, best implementation, most creative.
comes with a $2000 prize, bragging rights, and special consideration for a spot
at SIGGRAPH 2010’s Emerging Technology (E-Tech) demos.
UIST attendees will
find three voting cards in their welcome
packets - one for each of the three awards
to be given (most useful, best
implementation, and most creative). To vote, one simply writes the name
of the desired entry on the corresponding
card, folds it in half, and deposits the
vote in one of several boxes that will be
setup in the hall during the contest
reception. Results will be announced the
HOW TO ENTER
To reserve a place in
the contest and to receive a pressure-sensitive keyboard for
development, contestants must submit an
entry email to the contest chair no
later than August 15th, 2009. This email
1) Members of the
team and their affiliations (min=1, max=4.
2) Primary contact
name (one person)
Full shipping address (in order
to receive the pressure-sensitive
**Please see the full
FAQ if you had additional questions**
Teams must be unique
in the composition of their members
(whether a single person or more). People
can, however, be on several teams.
During the contest
voting period, each keyboard will be
allowed to demo one idea. Teams will not
be allowed to demo multiple ideas on a
single keyboard (i.e., switch between
different ideas). Different demos of the same idea
For the time being,
teams are limited to receiving a single
keyboard. Depending on availability, it may
be possible for teams to request an extra
keyboard (which would allow teams to enter
two ideas into the contest). If this is
the case, we will send out an email with
At least one person
on a team must be registered and present
The keyboard supports
an unlimited number of simultaneous key
presses. Information is transmitted over USB
using FTDI’s serial interface at
115200 baud (http://ftdichip.com/Drivers/VCP.htm). Several transmission modes are
present. Full details will be provided
when keyboards are sent out. We will also provide sample C#,
Java, Python, and Processing code. Teams, however, can use whatever
language they wish. Sample code runs under Windows and Mac OSX. Linux should work too.
Teams must bring
supporting computers and hardware to run
their demos, including the keyboard they
were sent. No equipment will be given out at
Q: What if
something happens the contest committee did not foresee? A: We reserve the right to change the
rules at any time.
Q: Can I publish a paper on
what I come up with?
Q: Do I own the
intellectual property (IP)?
Q: How long will I have to
develop my idea?
A: Teams will receive their
keyboards approximately six weeks ahead of the
conference. We will release sample code before then. Teams must register by August 15th to participate
Q: How do I enter the contest?
A: Refer to the "How to
enter" section above. You need to send us an email by August 15th to reserve a spot in the contest. Nothing is due at that time beyond the entry email.
Q: Does it cost anything to participate in the contest?
A: No. The keyboards are provided free-of-charge. However, at least one team member has to be registered for the conference.
Q: How complicated is the API? Do I need to be proficient in electrical engineering / hardware?
A: The interface is very simple and we provide sample code to get you started. Often it requires just a single line of code to open the port. You can then read data from it much like a file. See examples below:
myPort = new Serial(Serial.list(), portName, 115200);
Q: Am I limited to any
A: Teams can use
whatever language they wish. Obviously it will have to support serial
communication. We can only provide very limited support
for other languages. We can provide some
assistance for the sample code provided.
Fortunately, the interface is fairly
Q: Does it run on Windows / Mac OSX / Linux / other ?
A: We have gotten the keyboards working under Windows and Mac OSX. There is no reason for it not to work under linux. Other operating systems are possible too - they just need support for serial communication.
Q: Will I be able to demo
my idea on my own computer? A: Yes. In fact, it is mandatory, since we will
not provide any equipment at the conference.
Q: How long will the voting
period last (i.e. how long do I need to stand at
my computer for?). A: Only during the demo
reception on Monday night, October 5th.
Q: Who pays for shipping?
A: We will handle shipping.
Q: How are the keyboards
distributed? A: Keyboards are given out on a
Q: What happens if I wish
to withdraw from the contest?
A: Teams are
welcome to withdraw at any time. Please email the contest committee at
least a week before the conference.
Q: Will I have to fill out some paperwork?
A: Yes, there is a Microsoft release form you must sign before you can receive a keyboard.
Q: Who created the pressure-sensitive keyboard we will receive?
A: Paul Dietz in Microsoft's Applied Sciences Group.
Q: I live outside the
United States, can I get a keyboard?
A: Yes. If you live somewhere very remote, email us.
Q: I am not a student, can
I participate? A: Unfortunately, the contest
is limited to students.
Q: How many people can be
on a team? A: Maximum four. All must be students.
Q: Can I vote for my own
project? A: Yes.
Q: How will you stop people
voting multiple times? A: Student volunteers
will be monitoring the voting boxes.
Q: Can other people help me
develop this code? A: It is permissible to
get external help for bugs and other issues. People external to the team cannot
contribute large pieces of code (or ideas).
Q: Can my advisor help?
A: Ideas can be discussed with advisors, but
core ideas should come from the team members.
Q: Do we get to keep the
keyboards after we're done? A: Technically
they are on loan.
Q: What if only a few teams
enter? A: We reserve the right to change the
rules at any time. If a small number of people were to
enter, we are likely to award only a single
(potentially larger) prize.
Q: What if too many teams
enter? A: If there are more entries than
keyboards, we will send an email to registered
contestants to solicit sample ideas. Submitted
ideas will be kept confidential. Teams will not
be limited to the ideas they submit. The contest committee will conduct a
first round of voting based on the submitted
Q: Can I win more than one
award? A: No. The order of the awards is: “most
useful”, “best implementation”, and finally
“most creative”. Once a team has won one, they are not
eligible for the other awards.
Q: Are we obligated to go
to UIST if we receive a keyboard? A: At least
one team member must be registered for the
conference and attend. We may ask for proof of registration.
Q: How is the award money
split? A: Each winning team receives $2000. This will be split equally among the team