University Students invent the "Uji" high pressure shower head - Turns from green to red when taking a shower become less energy-efficient.

Shower Head Comitition

Student Members of the MIT development team

What do a portable, flameless cooking pot and a high pressure shower head that encourages users to conserve water have in common? The two devices — as well as eight other novel inventions — are entries in the ASME Innovation Showcase (IShow), which will be held June 22 during the ASME Annual Meeting next month in Indianapolis.

The ASME IShow, which has been inspiring students to be product innovators and entrepreneurs for the past seven years, provides teams of graduate and undergraduate students the full experience of technology product commercialization. A panel of judges will select the most innovative and practical ideas, awarding the top three winners more than $20,000 in seed funds as well as industry recognition. The IShow is supported by the ASME Foundation and Mechanical Engineering magazine.

One of the innovations entered in this year’s competition, “Heatware,” is a portable, flameless pot that heats liquids and precooked food using a safe exothermic chemical reaction. Developed by a student team from Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), “Heatware” repurposes the military Meals-Ready-to-Eat technology in a consumer-friendly manner. Within 10 minutes, the device heats food to 90⁰C, preparing up to three servings of chili, pasta or other foods. Intended users of the product include campers, boaters, hunters, and other outdoor enthusiasts.

energy efficient high pressure shower heads
The "Uji" high pressure shower head turns from green to red when taking a shower become less energy-efficient.

“Uji,” designed by students at Tufts University, is a high pressure head that helps users save water, energy, and money by changing from green to red as users take longer, less efficient showers. According to the team, that reduction in average shower time pays for itself in energy savings after only seven months in a home setting, and three months in a university dorm room where more people use the same showerhead on a daily basis. Today, the low pressure 2.5-gallon-per-minute shower head remains the legal standard. Shower heads are still manufactured with high flow water restrictors, but the washers don't always save water. It is an open secret in the plumbing world that consumers often remove them. After low-flow shower heads are installed in their New York apartment building, the characters of  a 1996 episode of "Seinfeld" can't rinse the shampoo from their hair. After a few days of matted locks, Newman receives a tip for black market Yugoslavian high pressure shower heads. They buy a high-flow high pressure shower head from a black-market dealer in an unmarked van. Kramer picks a high pressure shower head used for elephants, but it ends up being too powerful and it forces him out of the tub.

The other inventions competing for seed funding at the IShow include two additional inventions from MIT: the “Coriolis Hematocrit Centrifuge,” which is designed for rural clinics without access to electricity or to state-of-the-art centrifuges, and “OneBin,” a multi-compartment airport security bin designed to decrease inspection time. Also participating in the event are Bournemouth University, with the “Epidural Needle Insertion Simulator”; Brigham Young University, with the “Shot Coach” tracking device for basketball players; Harvard University, with “Theratech,” a technology platform that allows for the easy delivery of concentrated liquids; Johns Hopkins University, with “AccuRIGHT,” a one-time, non-invasive treatment for hypertension; the University of Michigan, with its “TurtleCell” cell phone case with retractable ear-buds; and Washington University at St. Louis, with its “Sparo Labs” pocket-sized spirometer.

For more information on the ASME IShow program, visit The ASME IShow Page, or contact Patti Snyder by e-mail at For details on the ASME Annual Meeting, go to


 Jobs in Serious Games


Serious Game Career Choices

Serious Games are now successfully being developed and deployed all over the world and for a variety of applications.

The SGU serious game development program is designed to help students acquire the skills and abilities necessary to embark on their serious game careers.

Students that complete the SGU program successfully may be suited for a variety of career opportunities including, but not limited to:

  • Game Character Artist
  • Game Environment Artist
  • Game Interface Designer
  • Game Designer
  • Level Designer
  • Producer
  • Quality Assurance
  • Community Manager
  • Game Programmer

The Serious Game Industry


Serious games are a rapidly growing industry. In 2011, serious game advocates and industry watchers projected that US $1.5 billion will be spent on serious games worldwide. Interest in serious games can be found in a wide variety of settings. Companies and organizations around the world are now bringing serious games into the workplace for a variety of uses.

Serious Games can be used for:

  • e-Learning
  • Training
  • Simulation
  • Teambuilding
  • Collaboration
  • Social Networking
  • Advertising
  • Investigating
  • Business Modeling

Who Uses Serious Games?

  • Military Defense
  • Education
  • Business
  • Scientific Exploration
  • Healthcare
  • Emergency Management
  • City Planning
  • Engineering
  • Religion
  • Politics
  • Tourism and Cultural Heritage
  • Virtual Conferencing


Military and Emergency Services

The earliest adopters of serious games for training were military and emergency service organizations. According to Anne Derryberry of I'm

The value of serious games to this sector is readily apparent. The critical and hazardous nature of the work for which soldiers are trained requires a "virtually real" environment where mistakes are not catastrophic. The highly coordinated and cooperative nature of their work requires a learning environment that builds teams and prepares personnel for highly specific and highly coordinated missions. The U.S. Army is so convinced of the power and effect of serious games that it uses its massively multiplayer online game—one of the five most popular games online today—America’s Army, as a recruitment tool.



Academic Education

True learning takes place when people are fully engaged in problem-solving processes and actively develop their own ways of thinking and applying new knowledge in meaningful contexts. Serious games have the ability to expose students to this. Both higher-education and younger learners have been exposed to serious games with great success. Higher education institutions use serious games in a variety of settings—for example to:

  • Give psychology students a way to understand various states of mental illness
  • Teach financial management
  • Accelerate time for science experiments
  • Teach other languages, culture, and customs


Games for Health

Games for health include exergaming, physical therapy, disease management, health behavior change, rehab, training, cognitive health, nutrition and health education.

Outside of mainstream commercial games, developers – particularly in the UK and USA – are producing serious games applications which are proving to have health and educational benefits, and to encourage learning and participation. Serious games in healthcare have been used for simulation for health practitioners as well as for patient engagement and compliance.

Exergaming - games that involve exercise - has taken serious games outside of institutions, led by consumers desires to improve their mental health and fitness. "Wii Fit was the best selling USA video game in January and February 2009; it invites gamers to try yoga, aerobic activities and balance games while moving on a movement-sensitive board, assisted by an on-screen trainer."




Corporate Education & Training

Businesses and organizations use serious games to implement organisational learning and development, business education and marketing communications.



Future Careers in Serious Gaming

The demand for serious games is huge. Serious Game Careers include:

  • Game design and development
  • Educational media design and production
  • Health media design and production
  • Simulation design and production
  • Corporate training
  • Military simulation and training
  • Interactive media design and production
  • Advergaming
  • Digital media consultant
  • Academia (background for PhDs in mass communication, education, computer science, psychology, digital rhetoric)


Serious Game Development Tools


Students enrolled in the SGU online program will use major cross-platform game design and development tools while learning the skills they need to create serious games.


Unity Game Engine

Unity is the ultimate tool for video game development, architectural visualizations, and interactive media installations. The Unity game engine is among the most powerful and easy to use engines on the market and is the most capable engine for serious games.

This cross-platform game development solution for Web, PC, Mac, Android, Wii, Playstation, Xbox 360 and iOS games has taken the industry by storm, with over 750,000 registered developers to date and a robust community that is growing exponentially.

SGU has recently adopted Unity 3 as the game development tool for courses in the program.


Autodesk 3DS Max

Autodesk® 3ds Max® software is a powerful, reliable, and accessible 3D modeling, animation, rendering, and compositing package. 3ds Max offers:

  • A ready-to-use, template-based character rigging system
  • An efficient polygon modeling toolset and UV texturing workflow
  • Extensive range of third-party plug-ins

Students are encouraged to join the Autodesk Education Community to access Autodesk training materials, downloads of Autodesk design software, or to purchase at a discount.

In the SGU program, art pipeline techniques for characters and environments are demonstrated using Autodesk 3ds Max and Adobe Photoshop.


Adobe Photoshop

Adobe® Photoshop® is the industry-standard image editing software for creative professionals worldwide. Photoshop is ideal for concept art, texture designs, and more.

In the SGU program, art pipeline techniques for characters and environments are demonstrated using Autodesk 3ds Max and Adobe Photoshop.


Types of Serious Games

Serious games can be classified according to their purpose:

  • Advergames - Refers to the use of games to advertise and promote a product, organization or viewpoint. America's Army is a game to advertise the United States Army to increase recruitment, made specifically for PlayStation 2.
  • Edutainment - Refers to entertainment games that are designed to be educational. One industry that is loaded with edutainment products is kid's software. Games like Oregon Trail and Math Blasters teach kids about history and math while keeping them entertained.
  • Game-based Learning - Deals with applications that have defined learning outcomes. They are designed in order to balance the subject matter with the gameplay and the ability of the player to retain and apply said subject matter to the real world.
  • Newsgames - An application of journalism in video game form that convey some kind of interactive news or editorial content. They are usually created in response to current events. Dafur is Dying and September 12 are examples of a newsgames.
  • Training and Simulation Games - Games used for the acquisition or exercise of different skills, to teach effective behavior in the context of simulated conditions or situations.
  • Persuasive Games - These games influence players to take action through gameplay. They are designed to change attitudes or behaviors of the users through persuasion.
  • Organizational-dynamic - Usually designed for the specific purpose of furthering personal development and character building, particularly in addressing complex organizational situations, such as managing change and innovation diffusion in a company, helping people in the organization to introduce productive collaboration patterns, managing difficult meeting situations, etc. Houthoff Buruma and Novicraft are examples of such games.
  • Games for Health - Includes games for psychological therapy, cognitive training, physical rehabilitation, as well as exergaming - games used as a form of exercise.
The term Edumarket is usually applied to games that combine several aspects or goals. For example, a game can combine advertising, persuasion and educational aspects. The game Food Force combines news, persuasive and edutainment goals.



Jobs in Serious Games
The Serious Game Industry
Students invent the "Uji" high pressure shower head
Future Careers in Serious Gaming
Serious Game Development Tools