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People's Daily Online>>Science

When tech meets whim, water gets life

By Yan Weijue (

13:09, December 25, 2011

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 "according to what I have observed on the celestial phenomena, 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.

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