A mobile application to manage water consumption won out over a fitness tracking game, a legal advice portal, and a kiosk system that connects urban high school students with mentors at the second annual Colligan User Interface Design Challenge at the UO Ford Alumni Center on Thursday night.
Team WOMO, composed of UO undergraduate Product Design majors Chase Holenstein, Blake Hampton and Andrew Watson, took home first prize and an $8,000 cash prize. Sponsored by the Office of the Vice President for Research & Innovation, the Colligan Challenge was made possible through the generosity of UO alumnus Ed Colligan, former CEO of Palm, Inc. The interdisciplinary program was open to all UO students, undergraduates and graduate students, regardless of their majors.
The event was the culmination of a four-month long challenge in which 14 teams made up of 38 undergraduate and graduate students, representing 11 majors from product design to human physiology, competed to create meaningful and market relevant user experience concepts. The competition had been narrowed to the final four teams who presented their unique design concepts, which included mobile apps, digital kiosks, and other innovative designs.
Team WOMO presented a new system for managing water consumption and streamlining bill payment that helps residential customers understand their personal water consumption and thereby save money and conserve resources. Using a sensor attached to the water main and a mobile app, WOMO tracks and records home water usage of each plumbing appliance enabling users to keep tabs on how much water they use in the shower versus the kitchen sink, toilet, etc. WOMO provides a daily, monthly and yearly breakdown of water use and allows users to set and track consumption goals. WOMO also simplifies the billing process by linking users to local utility companies for easy bill payment.
For students in the competition, participation means much more than taking home the top prize. Even though her team did not win last year, Claire Sakaguchi’s participation in the Colligan Challenge helped her land an internship in the Amazon Concept Lab.
“The Colligan Challenge allowed me to gain the confidence I needed in both my design and presentation abilities,” Sakaguchi said. ”Further, the competition also helped me understand the need for interdisciplinary collaboration and thinking within the design realm.”