About a week ago, the winners of the User Interface Software and Technology (UIST) Student Innovation Contest were revealed. The competition sought the best and most creative uses of the Microsoft Touch Mouse, a mouse that, rather than having the standard two buttons and a scroll wheel, features a capacitive touch sensor that detects the exact location of the user’s fingers on the mouse. 30 teams of university students joined the competition, resulting in some projects that could result in great games for the young ones.
There were more than a few terrific ideas, including one standout that paired the mouse with a custom massage mat controlled exclusively by different finger movements on the touch mouse. For the kids, students from the University of Copenhagen took a cute cloth elephant and transformed it into a potential interactive toy, using conductive wiring and the Microsoft Touch Mouse to make a computer representation of the elephant react differently when different parts of its body were touched. This kind of idea could lead to a brand new idea of playing with stuffed animals, allowing kids to actually create their stuffed animal adventures on screen.
Another project from students at Wellesley College used the mouse as the engine of a hand puppet of a little sheep in the game Where’s Bo Peep?, where the player moves the mouse around a game board, looking left or right with the sheep’s head, searching for Little Bo Peep. The hand movements translate into motions on the mouse that trigger audio bits that drive the story forward.
You can check out the other winners, and video demos of their projects, here. Who knew a mouse could be so much fun?