On November 4, the 9th China Smart City Technology and Creative Postgraduate Student Design Competition was held in Hangzhou. A team composed of four graduate students from the School of Design at Shanghai Jiao Tong University won the first prize, and their tutor, Professor Han Ting, won the Outstanding Instructor Award.
The Competition is organized by the Department of Degree Management and Postgraduate Education of the Ministry of Education, co-sponsored by the Chinese Degree and Postgraduate Education Society and the Youth Science and Technology Center of the China Association for Science and Technology. It is the only national competition recognized and guided by the government specifically for graduate students. The event is based on the concept of “Creativity inspires wisdom and innovation drives development.” It focuses on the theme of smart cities to stimulate graduate students’ innovative awareness and improve graduates’ abilities in innovation and practice, as well as for service to country, society and enterprise. Since 2014, the competition has been successfully held eight times. This year it was held in Hangzhou, focusing on creative design. It attracted a total of 2,194 candidates from 234 universities (research institutes) across the country, and a total of 1,942 valid works were submitted. After preliminary review, a total of 166 teams were selected for the finals. After on-site demonstration and defense, this competition selected one champion, one runner-up, one second runner-up, 20 first prizes, 41 second prizes, and 93 third prizes.
The team members from the School of Design were Zhang Chenqi, Yu Cong, Hou Xiangning and Chen Shuting. The team has a background in design and computer science, focusing on the field of health promotion. Team members have published more than 10 high-level papers including listed in SCI and SSCI indexes, secured five patents and software copyright authorizations, and won the 7th China Postgraduate Smart City Technology and Creative Design Competition
Han Ting is a professor at the Design School of Shanghai Jiao Tong University, a doctoral supervisor, and a dual-appointed professor at the Medical Robotics Research Institute. He also serves as the deputy director of the Industrial Design Branch of the Chinese Society of Mechanical Engineering and the deputy director of the Computer-Aided Industrial Design Committee of the China Cartographic Association. Han Ting is also a member of the National Steering Committee for the Degree Program in Design Education and a member of the Teaching Steering Committee for Industrial Design Education under the Ministry of Education. He has published three monographs, published more than 50 high-quality papers in CSSCI, SCI, and SSCI, and authorized more than 10 patents and software copyrights. He has won second prize for international teaching achievement awards (ranking fourth), first prize for teaching achievement awards in Shanghai (ranking first), second prize for teaching achievement awards in Shanghai (ranking first), second prize for academic achievement awards in disciplines of social sciences in Shanghai (only ranking first) and other awards.
The project “Balance Challenge” is a sensory interactive product system developed based on Kinect, targeting adolescents aged 10-13. This system integrates professional balance training exercises into sensory interaction, creating a user environment that is easy-going, vibrant, and characterized by a predominant low-polygon design style, taking into account the movement capabilities, cognitive psychology, and interests of adolescents in this age group.
The product aims to enhance the interest and enthusiasm of adolescents in balance training through gamified design, combining sports training with sensory interaction. Simultaneously, it expands the usage scenarios for balance training, improving the balance capability of adolescents, preparing them for more challenging sports activities and preventing sports injuries.
Upon entering the product and selecting a character, players proceed through four natural scenes—summer, autumn, winter, and spring. Each scene incorporates 19 selected professional balance training exercises, matching the difficulty level with the corresponding scene. The entire product has a duration of approximately 5 minutes and includes a total of 154 training movements.
In the middle of the pathway, designed prop combinations appear. Players must assume the corresponding posture to obtain the props, with higher scores awarded for more accurate movements. The training difficulty gradually increases.
As the scenes change, the props also correspondingly change. In the summer scene, the props are ice cubes; in winter, they are flames, and snow piles are introduced as obstacles, along with jumping and dodging movements. The props for the final spring scene are designed as water droplets.
When adolescents acquire props, the total score in the upper-left corner of the interface changes in real-time. Additionally, the interface on the left side presents a front view and score for the current prop combination, providing real-time feedback on prop acquisition and scoring. This feature helps both adolescents and teachers understand the current training progress.
After an 8-week controlled experiment, it was observed that "Balance Challenge" had a significant positive effect on static balance ability during closed-eye and single-leg standing. It also contributed to a more balanced development of lower limb strength and notably reduced the risk of injuries.
Subjectively, both the adolescents participating in the study and the physical education teachers generally expressed positive attitudes toward their overall experience with the product.
The product has been showcased at various events, including the Future Lab Education Exhibition, " MakerFaire Carnival, Yudeyao Art Museum Digital Art Festival, and the 10th Anniversary Creative Design Works Exhibition of Shanghai Design Capital. "Balance Challenge" has garnered significant affection from numerous adolescent users. In the future, the product is expected to feature richer game content and gameplay, allowing it to evolve and grow alongside adolescents.
Feedbacks from the students:
Zhang Chenqi: This is my second time participating in this Competition, but offline for the very first time. The defense process in Hangzhou was more impressive than online. Our team could communicate with the judges and teachers face-to-face and show our project to them. We were very honored to be recognized and win the first prize. I would like to thank our tutor, Professor Han Ting, and my amazing team members. Finally, I would like to thank the organizing committee for their careful arrangements.
Yu Cong: I am extremely proud and honored to win the first prize as it is not only an affirmation of our efforts and innovation, but also recognition of my focus and love for the medical and health field. In the future, I will continue to explore and develop more innovative products that meet social needs and bring more convenience and fun to people’s lives.
Hou Xiangning: Participating in this competition was a very challenging and unforgettable experience. We encountered various difficulties during the design and development process, such as: how to make the product more usable and easier to use while also improving its appeal to teenagers and the technical problems encountered during development. With the help and collaboration of our tutor and senior fellow students, I improved my design thinking and insight capabilities, and honed my scientific research and practical capabilities. This experience not only gave me a better understanding of the needs of teenage users and market dynamics, but also made me deeply aware that pursuing innovation and solving real problems requires hard work and perseverance.
Chen Shuting: Our project aims to improve the balance ability of teenagers through the combination of technology and design, allowing them to exercise and improve their skills in games. This is our understanding and practice of technology and healthy living, as well as our care and expectations for the growth of young people.
During this process, team members supported each other and continued to optimize. Every failure makes us more determined to find success, and every success makes us more confident to face challenges.
Thank you to the judges for their recognition and to our team. It is their efforts and persistence that make our designs stand out among many outstanding works. We will use this award as a starting point to pursue higher goals and create a better future with greater enthusiasm and determination.
Editor on Duty: Yan Cheng