This year, the IEEE 3DUI 2015 Symposium will hold the 6th annual 3DUI Contest - 3DUIdol. It is open to anyone interested in 3D User Interfaces (3DUIs), from researchers to students, enthusiasts, and professionals. The purpose of the contest is to stimulate innovative and creative solutions to challenging 3DUI problems. 3DUI 2015 will be co-located with IEEE Virtual Reality. Due to the recent explosion of affordable and portable 3D devices, this year's contest will be judged live at 3DUI. Contestants are required to bring their systems for live judging for attendees to experience them.


The 3DUI Contest is open to anyone interested in 3DUIs - researchers, students, hobbyists, and professionals, or anyone else. Contestants can use any software and/or hardware to develop their solutions.

Problem Description

Build a Virtual Musical Instrument (VMI) with at least one innovative 3DUI (3DUI VMI). The first requirement is that the interaction techniques to play the music with the newly developed VMI have to be 3DUIs, which excludes “classic” interaction hardware such as keyboard and mouse; these may be used, but not to play the instrument. Virtual environments and display systems can be part of the solution but do not count as 3DUIs. The proposed 3DUI VMI could be an innovative remake of an existing instrument, a combination of multiple music instruments, or a completely new creation, but should focus on an innovative 3DUI.

The second requirement for the 3DUI VMI is that it be able to play simple notes and chords. We will provide two sample scales and one sample chord, which have to be playable using the 3DUI VMI and which will be performed as part of the ending ceremony of the contest together with all contestants. Thus, this scale specifies the minimum requirement to the 3DUI VMI capabilities.

The third requirement is that the 3DUI VMI also needs to be able to play chords. It is also fine if your 3DUI VMI supports predefined macros for chords, like those from digital instruments such as keyboards, where you only have to press one key to produce a three- or four-note chord. For example, when a user is playing single notes, such as the C note, the 3DUI VMI may automatically play a pre-generated C chord. These features should be accessible through the 3DUI of the VMI using specific interaction techniques, separating the playing of simple notes from playing chords. A further optional feature of the VMI could be to enable the user to play beats.

The fourth requirement is that the use of the 3DUI VMI can be simply learned, such that the given scale is very easily played by everybody who can read music. The contestant can also design an interaction method for people who cannot read music to play the scales and songs. Nevertheless, the 3DUI VMI should be versatile in the sense that it can also be used with other scores than the one provided. The judges may have surprising scores to test the 3DUI VMIs during the demo.

The fifth requirement is that you are able to play the song “Frère Jacques” as provided by the contest organizers with your solution, and one song of your choice. Frère Jacques will be performed as the ending ceremony of the 3DUIdol together with all contestants, where the performance quality will not be part of the contest.

In summary, your proposed VMI should...

  • … be constructed with a focus on an innovative 3DUI to use the VMI,
  • … be able to play simple notes and scales
  • … be able to play chords,
  • … be simple to learn and use,
  • … be effective, able to play the song (called “Frère Jacques”) provided by the contest organizers, and
  • … be versatile, play a song of your choice.

The VMI could optionally support…

  • … playing predefined chords and
  • … playing beats.

In addition to the live demo, contestants must submit a 90 second video and a 2 page abstract, which describes how they developed, evaluated, and iterated upon their solution, and describes related previous work, and how their system is novel. The judging criteria are novelty, effectiveness, and usability of the interaction methods.


Additional Material

To focus the contestants’ work on the 3DUI creation, some sample sound generation libraries are provided here:

  • FluidSynth [Recommended] - “FluidSynth is a real-time software synthesizer based on the SoundFont 2 specifications and has reached widespread distribution. FluidSynth itself does not have a graphical user interface, but due to its powerful API several applications utilize it and it has even found its way onto embedded systems and is used in some mobile apps.” [General Information][API at sourceforge]
  • OpenAL - “OpenAL Soft is an LGPL-licensed, cross-platform, software implementation of the OpenAL 3D audio API. […] OpenAL provides capabilities for playing audio in a virtual 3D environment…” – [More Information].
  • Unity3D - If the contestants are using Unity3D, feel free to find libraries needed in the Assets Store. For evaluation purpose, a description and usages of the library must be submitted with the project.
  • Pure Data - “Pure Data is on open source visual programming language. Pd enables musicians, visual artists, performers, researchers, and developers to create software graphically, without writing lines of code…” – [More Information].

Some sample installations

To give a clearer insight what is meant with VMI, here is an example of an existing solution. Please keep in mind that your solution submitted to the contest should focus on an innovative 3DUI for using the VMI and this example is just one option that should not restrict your ideas and creativity in any way.

“Mogees turns everyday objects around you into unique and powerful musical instruments. Play the world!” [Project] [Kickstarter project].

Contest Registration

Teams should register for the contest by December 15 via email to with the following information: team name, team members, affiliations, and contact email.

Important Dates

  • Contest Registration Deadline - December 15, 2014
  • Submission of two-page abstract (for proceedings) and short video - January 3, 2015
  • Notification of which entries are accepted - January 10, 2015
  • Live Contest at 3DUI - March 23-24, 2015