UIST 2012 - Student Innovation Contest
25th UIST @ Cambridge, MA

Sponsored by

Generous support also provided by our corporate sponsors.

UIST 2012 | Student Innovation Contest

UIST 2012 Student Innovation Contest is now over...
Thank you to everybody who participated this year in the Student Innovation Contest! A full collection of photos can be found here. The contest winners are announced below. We were very impressed with the results this year and hope you had fun. See you next year!

Contest Announcement
Get your thinking caps on and ideas flowing for the fourth annual UIST Student Innovation Contest (SIC). The goal of the contest is to innovate new interactions on state-of-the-art hardware. We give you the hardware, and you show us what you can do. Contestants will demo their creations at the October 8th demo reception. The winners will be announced the following day. Continue reading below to learn more about the contest rules and awards.


August 24 [Fri] Complete contest registration form
August 25 [Sat] Travel grant notifications emailed
August 26 [Sun] Register for UIST Conference
August 27 [Mon] Hardware shipped to contestants
October 8 [Mon] Contest reception and demos
October 9 [Tue] Winners announced

The hardware for this year is a pressure-sensitive, multitouch touchpad from Synaptics.

This year, our hardware partner is Synaptics - an industry leader in human interface design. Synaptics has provided us with a revolutionary input device, code named "Jedeye". The pre-production prototype features high resolution, independent tracking of pressure and location for up to 5 fingers. Check out the demos in the announcement video to see what's possible with Jedeye. In addition to supplying you the hardware gratis, Synaptics is providing exclusive access to a pre-release of the Jedeye API and code samples. You'll have a chance to hack together some cool demos before everyone else gets their hands on the device. You even get to keep Jedeye after you're done!


1st Creativity - Team Dosukoi [video]
Yuta Nakagawa, Kwansei Gakuin University
Miki Suzuki, Kwansei Gakuin University
Shota Tanaka, Kwansei Gakuin University
Kohta Tsukamoto, Kwansei Gakuin University

2nd Creativity [tie] - Team Chimerical [video]
Elwin Lee, Carnegie Mellon University
Karthik Krishnamurthy, Carnegie Mellon University
Jason Hsu, Carnegie Mellon University

2nd Creativity [tie] - Team The Widget [video] [demo+source]
Sujun Kim, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Sujin Yu, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Jeongmin Son, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology

1st Most Useful - Team PowerMice [video]
Geza Kovacs, Massachusetts Institute of Technology
Aaron Epstein, Massachusetts Institute of Technologylege
Joy Chen, Massachusetts Institute of Technologylege

2nd Most Useful - Team Go Bananas [video]
Tien-Yun (Sky) Huang, Massachusetts College of Art and Design
Chun-Chieh (Michael) Feng, Boston University
Jaturont (Kid) Jamigranont, Massachusetts College of Art and Design

1st People's Choice - Team Jedeye Masters [video]
Paymahn Moghadasian, University of Manitoba
Xiang Guo, University of Manitoba
Srikanth Kirshnamachari Sridharan, University of Manitoba
Roiy Shpaner, University of Manitoba

2nd People's Choice - Team TteokPad [video]
Seongkook Heo, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Jaehyun Han, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Jiseong Gu, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology
Hayan Choi, Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology


  • Synaptics Sensor - Code Name: Jedeye
  • Tracking for up to 5 independent finger locations
  • Tracking for pressure values of up to 5 fingers
  • Device sampling rate is approximately 80 to 100 Hz
  • The device has a wired interface to your PC via USB cable
  • Jedeye API provided is Windows only
  • Code samples to get you started are written in C++
  • Samples are provided as multiple Visual Studio projects
  • Jedeye SDK contains helpful documentation to build your demos

You are welcome to write your own ports for different languages. However, we cannot provide support for other operating systems at this time. You can get access to tools that you might need (e.g., Visual Studio) through the Microsoft DreamSpark website.


To reserve a place in the contest and to receive a Synaptics Jedeye for development, contestants must complete the registration form below no later than August 24th 2012 at 11:59pm EST.

Remember one of your team members MUST be registered for the UIST Conference no later than August 26th at 11:59pm EST to participate in the contest and be eligible for travel grants.


  • Team Size: The minimum team size is 1; maximum is 4.

  • Team Composition: No two teams can have the exact same members. However, an individual can be on two teams.

  • Eligibility Requirement: You must be a student to participate in the contest. Students of all levels (high school, Bachelor's, Master's, PhD) are encouraged to participate. International students are welcome.

  • Registration Requirement: You must register for the contest and you must register for the conference. At least one student on your team MUST be registered and present at the UIST Conference. This is for three reasons: 1) You have to demo your idea, 2) You have to claim your prize, and 3) UIST is an awesome event.

  • Demo Ideas: During the contest voting period, teams will be allowed to demo one idea. Different demos of the same idea are permitted.

  • Hardware Provided: Each team will receive one Jedeye device. The device is yours to keep after the contest. You must bring the device for the contest demo, as no additional devices will be provided.

  • Hardware Modifications: Teams may not take apart the Jedeye. However, you can use the Jedeye in conjunction with other sensors, you may position it in interesting ways, and add things on to the base structure. Dismantling the Jedeye will disqualify you.

  • Additional Equipment: Teams must bring supporting computers and hardware to run their demos, including the Jedeye you received. No equipment will be handed out at UIST.

  • Questions: If you have any questions about the contest rules, please contact the contest chairs here.


Innovation comes in many forms, so we've decided to award prizes in the following three categories. The "Most Creative" and "Most Useful" category winners will be selected by the judges. The third category of "People's Choice" will be decided by UIST Conference attendees voting for their favorite projects.

  • Most Creative
  • Most Useful
  • People's Choice

The prizes are made possible through the generous support and donation from our sponsor Synaptics. Two winners for each of the three categories will receive the awards below. More importantly, you will have the respect of conference attendees, your peers, and bragging rights. You'll also get a spiffy trophy that you can show off to your friends and family.

  • First place, $1500
  • Second place, $500

We reserve the right to change the award structure based on a number of factors, such as (and not limited to) the number of participating teams.


This year, we have a new addition to the UIST contest and we will be providing two travel grants to encourage high school and undergraduate teams to participate and build demos.

  • 2 x $1000 awards
  • High school and undergraduate teams ONLY
  • 2-minute video with basic prototype and idea
  • Provide link to video in your team's registration form
  • Proof of student status after selection

The two travel grants of $1000 each will be provided to cover travel expenses and registration for two teams. These grants are to support high school and undergraduate teams ONLY.

To apply for the travel grant, you are asked to provide a 2-minute video with an explanation of your idea and a basic working prototype before the contest registration deadline [Aug 24]. The video should clearly demonstrate your idea and we will evaluate your submission based on the novelty of your idea and the quality of the prototype you will continue developing. Obviously, you won't have the hardware to get values for fingers pressed before the contest, but you can easily simulate this using keyboard keys as replacements. You should provide a public link to your video in the registration form.

If selected, we will contact your team for documentation of your student status to confirm the awards. The awards will be disbursed after the completion of the contest and successful demos at UIST.


The 2012 UIST Student Innovation Contest is being organized and co-chaired by:

  • Gabriel Reyes (Georgia Institute of Technology)
  • Julia Schwarz (Carnegie Mellon University)
  • Kayur Patel (University of Washington)

If you have any questions or comments, please contact the contest chairs:

Email Facebook Twitter


Special thanks to Patrick Worfolk, Cat Pham, Raymond Chin, Daniel Yang, and the entire Research & Development team from Synaptics. They helped with logistics, as well as donated the hardware and software to make this contest possible.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What if something happens the contest chairs 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?
A: Yes.

Q: Do I own the intellectual property (IP)?
A: Yes.

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: Are we allowed to develop our demos in languages other than C++?
A: You are welcome to write your own ports for different languages and develop your demos in any language. However, we are unable to provide any technical support for this.

Q: Is there a way to use the Jedeye on a different operating system that isn't Windows (i.e., Linux, Mac OS X)?
A: Currently, the Jedeye has only been tested for Windows. We cannot provide support for other operating systems at this time.

Q: Is the SDK open source? Can we make it open source, and post it online?
A: The SDK is not open source. Contestants are expected to not share the development kit or SDK outside of their team. Please do not post the SDK online.

Q: What is the sampling rate of the device?
A: The ForcePad is transmitting at approximately 80 to 100 Hz.

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 adviser help?
A: Ideas can be discussed with advisers, but core ideas should come from the team members.

Q: Do I get to keep the Jedeye after the contest?
A: Yes. Synaptics has donated the development kits for all teams to keep. Enjoy them and put them to good use!

Q: Can teams receive multiple Jedeye devices for interactive applications?
A: Unfortunately, no. We can only provide one device per team and that will also keep the contest fair. You can simulate the experience of a second device by using keyboard keys or other touch sensitive devices.

Q: Can I use the Jedeye for parts?
A: No, doing so will disqualify you. But you can add other sensors and parts. Also, you can incorporate the Jedeye into other objects/items.

Q: What happens if I wish to withdraw from the contest?
A: Teams are welcome to withdraw. Please email the contest chairs at least a week before the conference. Keep in mind you might be asked to return the hardware provided.

Q: How many people can be on a team?
A: Minimum 1, maximum 4. All must be students.

Q: I am NOT a student, can I still participate?
A: Unfortunately, no. The contest is limited to students at all levels (high school, Bachelor's, Master's, and PhD).

Q: I'm in high school, can I participate in the contest?
A: All students are welcome. However, you will have to be old enough and able to travel to the UIST Conference in Boston.

Q: I'm an international student, can I participate in the contest?
A: Yes. International students at all levels are encouraged to participate. You will be responsible for your own travel and arrangements.

Q: Is it possible to receive funding for travel and registration?
A: We have limited funds. Everyone is eligible to win the prize money. The only available funding for travel and registration is for high school and undergraduate teams through the travel grants. Your team must meet the stated requirements to be considered for the grants.

Q: I'm a graduate student (MS/PhD), am I eligible for the travel grants?
A: Unfortunately, no. The travel grants are limited to high school and undergraduate students only.

Q: How will you stop people from voting multiple times for "People's Choice"?
A: We encourage you to interact with conference attendees to show off your projects and ask them to vote for you. Student volunteers will be monitoring the voting boxes.

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.