FINGERS ON THE PULSE Maureen Walkingshaw, BT’s Director of Human Resources presents the 3rd Place Intermediate Group Technology Category Award to Jack McEllin, Seán Murphy and Conor Reilly from Davitt College for their project, ‘The world at your fingertips’.?Pic: Fennell Photography
Young Scientist awards fit Mayo like a glove
Transition Year students from Davitt College, Castlebar, who participated in the 2013 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition in the RDS last week, took third place in the intermediate group section in the technology category.
The group, accompanied by science teacher, Mr Aaron Tonry, was one of four that were representing the Castlebar school.
Jack McEllin, Conor Reilly and Seán Murphy, who came up with the project – entitled ‘The World at your Fingertips’ – received an all expenses paid trip to San Francisco and Los Angeles, sponsored by Analog Devices. They also won €2,500 for the school’s science lab.
The project involved the design and construction of a robotic glove which can be used instead of a mouse on a computer. The device could be further developed for use in the music and physiotherapy sectors.
Speaking to The Mayo News about the win was group member, Seán Murphy said that the group wanted to make something that would ‘make a computer more fun’. “We are all interested in technology and games, and we knew we definitely wanted to enter the competition with something that would interact with a computer like the Nintendo Wii or Xbox Connect,” he explained.
The group began their research last November and worked together over Christmas to build the electronic glove.
Seán said that the group knew that if they managed to ‘pull it off’ they would attract attention.
Although the group have an all expenses paid trip to America to look forward to, the young men won’t be simply holidaying. They will first present their project to engineers at Analog Devices’ office in Limerick, then present to professors and engineers at Stanford University, and visit high-tech industries in Silicon Valley in Northern California.
Seán is hoping he and fellow group members will also get to tour the Apple and Google companies while visiting the area.
The principal of Davitt College, Ms Bernie Rowland, told The Mayo News that she was thrilled with the group’s success. “It was great to see dedication and hard work being acknowledged,” she said, adding that their future looks ‘very bright’. “This will help them greatly in the future in the IT industry. I don’t think they realise the significance of it yet,” she said.
Although stating that the school is well resourced, Ms Rowland said ‘everything helps’, referring to the €2,500 they will receive from the group’s success.
With the involvement of group member Jack McEllin, the school will be developing a programming and coding course with the National University of Ireland, Galway, in the coming weeks.
Mayo’s young scientists
Mayo recorded other successes as Shauna Dixon, of Mount St Michael in Claremorris was third in the Junior Individual category for her project on biomass fuels and dust extraction.
John Armstrong, David Glynn and Michael Loftus took second place in the intermediate section of the Social and Behavioural Sciences section for their project, ‘Learning to lie’ – a study into the development of children’s ability to lie.
The competition, which is in its 49th year, saw over 550 projects being displayed and attracted an estimated 45,000 people to the RDS last week.
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