Microsoft Research Blog

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Students Get Creative with Touch Mouse

November 2, 2011 | Posted by Microsoft Research Blog

Posted by Rob Knies

Snail Interface

It’s always interesting to put new technology into the hands of university students and see what they can devise, and such was precisely the case during the Student Innovation Contest, held in conjunction with the Association for Computing Machinery’s 24th annual Symposium on User Interface Software and Technology (UIST), held Oct. 16-19 in Santa Barbara, Calif.

Thirty groups participated in the contest, for which Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft Research, and Microsoft’s Applied Sciences Group supplied each student with a Microsoft Touch Mouse, customized specially for the contest, and exclusive access to the publicly available Touch Mouse API, to gain visibility to the real-time sensor information from the touch sensor on the mouse.

The participants received three instructions:

  • Experiment and combine the Touch Mouse with other devices and sensors.
  • Use creativity to write new applications for the device.
  • Demonstrate novel thinking by using the mouse, familiar to all computer users, in unique ways.

The winners satisfied those qualifications and more:

Most Creative

Most Useful  

Best Implementation

In addition, two teams were chosen by their UIST peers as winners in the People’s Choice category. Snail Interface, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, took first place, and Grip to Identify: Super-fast login using your grip pattern, from the Korea Advanced Institute of Science and Technology, was second.

“I knew it was going to be a great contest,” said Chris Harrison, a judge from Carnegie Mellon and a former intern at Microsoft Research Redmond. “Creative students paired with Microsoft Hardware is always a recipe for something exciting. Ideas ranged from funky to functional. We had snails with multitouch antennas for feeling out food, all the way to mice that can sense who you are.”

If you’re interested in learning more about how the Touch Mouse journeyed from research to store shelves—ushered along by Hrvoje Benko and John Miller of Microsoft Research—see this story from earlier this year.


Derived from the original Microsoft Hardware Blog post.