May 17, 2012
Junior Electrical and Computer Engineering student Wilson Pei was part of a Carnegie Mellon team named "Dr. Fishbowl" that took first place in the Game Design: Windows/Xbox category of Microsoft's U.S. Imagine Cup — the world's premier student technology competition. The Dr. Fishbowl team also included senior computer science major Steven Blessing, senior decision science and human-computer interaction major Christopher Reid, and junior computer science major Yueran Yuan.
The theme for this year's competition was "Imagine a world where technology helps to solve the world's toughest problems." Dr. Fishbowl created Redux, a game that responds to the U.N. Millennium Development Goal regarding environmental sustainability. Redux challenges players to turn waste into profitable, usable products.
"We chose to tackle sustainable development, and we wanted to introduce the idea of 'Cradle-to-Cradle' product development in a way that doesn't beat the player over the head. Instead, it's simply a part of the way the game is played," Reid said. "The catch is that there is only ever the same amount of material in the game world, and when you make something, you also have to store or use the byproducts that come out of the production process. Having to be responsible for your byproducts complicates things a bit."
"We worked hard and met a lot of great people along the way," said Reid. "We got the opportunity to exchange ideas and we also got a lot of great tools. Winning Imagine Cup itself was just icing on the cake."
Blessing appreciates the recognition.
"I was actually a fan of the fundamental concept behind our game and I really appreciated seeing that idea validated," he said.
More than 113,000 students registered for the U.S. Imagine Cup, and 22 teams qualified for the final competition held April 21–23 at Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond, Wash.
Microsoft awarded Dr. Fishbowl a $6,000 prize and will split a $10,000 donation among the School of Computer Science, Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences, and College of Engineering.