When tech meets whim, water gets life

Updated: 2011-12-24 19:19

By Yan Weijue (chinadaily.com.cn)

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A micro blog account on a water fountain has attracted more than 30,000 followers within 48 hours of its birth on Sina Weibo, becoming latest cyber buzz on the Internet.

When tech meets whim, water gets life

Chen Longbiao, stands besides a water fountain and an automatic inducing system he invented at a computer lab in Zhejiang University, Dec 23, 2011. [Photo/CFP]

The micro blog, "Water Fountain in CCNT lab in Zhejiang University", launched by a PHD student in Computer Science at the University, automatically updates the status quo of a water fountain in the computer lab. When the water boils it uses flirty and endearing Internet slang common among Chinese netizens.

Its first message was delivered at 4:06 pm Thursday, saying "I have observed the celestial phenomena, which tells that the water is boiling." After repeating the line seven times in the two hours after, it took a sexy tone, yelling out, "Master, I'm hot, come and drink me soon."

The secret of its intelligence lies on an automatic inducing system, said Chen Longbiao, the designer and moderator of the micro blog account.

Chen has set up the system by attaching a camera to the water fountain. This camera monitors the indicator light on the fountain which reads red for boiling water and green for empty. The information is then sent from the camera to a program through a data cable connected to a nearby laptop, which will receive message delivering orders.  

He also said that he decided to invent the system, on which he spent 15 hours and 200 yuan ($32) after noticing his classmates' constant trips to the water fountain to check if the hot water was available.

"The intelligent push technology, which in our case is the hot water availability, is the trend for future Internet technology. It makes our life more convenient. "

The genius did not expect his micro blog to become the first trend at the first place and attributes this to the its language style.

"I guess it is because it has a cute air so many people get interested and are willing to forward the messages,"he said with a smile.

As the followers and praises keep rushing in, Chen believes there is room for bigger success.

"For now the camera can only detect hot water. It cannot tell if the cold water is out. I plan to work that out by setting a pressure test system or another camera at the joint, and then the micro blog will be able to remind people to renew the water."

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