Former students snag win in global contest

ULTRAHAPTICS Student Challenge team from UW-W places first in Italy

Jeffrey Wardon, Jr., Biz & Tech Editor

ULTRAHAPTICS Student Challenge team from UW-W places first in Italy

A team of University of Wisconsin-Whitewater students placed first in an international video game tournament held in Italy June 13-16.

The team, made up of several UW-W students and alumni, competed in the ULTRAHAPTICS Student Challenge against five other teams from around the world. UW-W’s team was the only group from North America to compete in the tournament. Some teams were comprised of college students and others had contestants who hold Ph.D. certificates.

At the tournament, the UW-W team debuted a game they titled “Hands of Time.”

Graduate Luke Lamberg (2018) participated in the UW-W team’s competitive effort at the summer tournament. The team was advised by assistant professor of communication Dr. Nick Hwang.

“We decided to focus on something health related, and decided to make a game for hand therapy patients,” alumna Nicole Nelson said. “Our ultimate goal with this project was to create a game that would be fun, encourage patients to complete their hand therapy exercises and also provide them with haptic feedback so they get extra feedback.”

“Using mid-air hand tracking, we created calibration and exercise tracking to accommodate users with little mobility and could show progress over time,” Hwang said.

 Lamberg said that despite initial uncertainty, he became more confident in his abilities throughout the weeklong tournament.  

“I can’t say I was completely surprised to win after my growing confidence through the week, but it still felt surreal,” Lamberg said.

“Being in a room with very large tech moguls [such as Facebook & Google] and being called up to the stage was awesome. It’s very cool to know I was recognized in front of those people.”