A student who designed a unique assisted shaving device wins SciFest 2017. EnableArm is an assisted shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity. Aaron Hannon will represent Ireland in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair 2018.
Friday 10th November – Aaron Hannon, from St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co. Mayo was this afternoon named the overall winner of SciFest 2017, for his project EnableArm – a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity and will go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania next year. Funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific, SciFest is an all-island STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students.
The final, held in the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin, was attended by Richard Bruton T.D., Minister for Education and Skills and Aaron was presented with the SciFest 2017 SFI Intel ISEF Award by Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at SFI and Sarah Sexton, Communications Manager, Intel Ireland. Aaron also won the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award for his work. Richie O’Sullivan, Director of R&D, Boston Scientific, Galway presented Aaron with a trophy and a cheque for €500. Aaron secured his place at the National Final after his success at the SciFest regional final in IT Sligo.
EnableArm was inspired by Aaron’s late grandfather who suffered from limited hand dexterity due to a stroke. It is a fully functional device capable of shaving facial hair for people with limited use of their hands. The device is user-friendly and was created through technical research to develop the physical, electrical and software aspects. A mannequin head was used to test the device and an Android app was designed to allow greater ease of use.
This year marks the tenth anniversary of SciFest and saw a record number of over 10,000 students participating in local and regional SciFest STEM fairs across the country. Since its inception in 2008, over 50,000 students have participated in the competition, reflecting a year-on-year increase of 23% in participation. Aaron was one of 42 students who went on to exhibit 26 STEM projects at the national final.
Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “This year is the ten-year anniversary of SciFest and it is wonderful to see the level of talent, enthusiasm and determination on display today. The aim of SciFest is to develop a love of STEM and of inquiry-based learning. Those values are very much evident here today, with students from around the country demonstrating the incredible work that they have put into their projects and experiments. Over the past 10 years SciFest has grown enormously and I am delighted that we have reached this important milestone. Previous entrants have gone on to develop their projects and become leaders in the areas of science, medicine, engineering, information technology and many other fields. I am really excited as to what the next 10 years will bring. I wish to congratulate all the participants here today, as well as their teachers and their parents who have given them such wonderful support.”
Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton TD said, “We live in a rapidly changing world and our education system must respond by equipping our young people with the skills and knowledge to thrive in such an environment. That is why I have placed such an emphasis on the teaching and learning of STEM in my role as Minister, as part of my overall ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade. Indeed, I will shortly launch a comprehensive STEM plan which will outline how my Department proposes to ignite a passion for the STEM subjects in all students. The STEM subjects are crucial for equipping our young people with creativity, adaptability, problem-solving and critical thinking– skills which are so important for their future. SciFest is an excellent initiative that supports and enhances what we are trying to do at a government level and I am very impressed by the standard of projects displayed here today and the amount of work that students and of course, teachers and parents have put into each and every one. I congratulate all the students, their families and mentors but in particular to Aaron on his winning entry.”
Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications, Science Foundation Ireland said: “Science Foundation Ireland is pleased to support SciFest, as it is so effective in introducing STEM to young people and in creating a love of STEM among second level students in Ireland. I want to congratulate the organisers on the ten-year anniversary of the event, and also to congratulate the students who take part, for the passion they show and the work they put in. Today’s events show that STEM is for everyone and that is an incredibly positive message.”
Other award winners at the final of SciFest 2017 were:
- Jack Nagle who won the SciFest 10th Anniversary Award for his project the Tractor Safety Award to automatically engage a tractor handbrake when the driver gets out.
- Adam Kelly who won the ISTA Award for his project on whether beet can beat other cattle feeds.
- Omar Salem who won the THEA Award for his project to protect aircraft from foreign object damage.
- Shannon McHugh and Ciara Keaveney who won the Abbott Ireland Award for their project showing the benefits of turf and wood ashes as fertilisers.
- Thomas Curtin and Dylan Moloney who won the Berlin Long Night of Science Award for their project which developed a height adjustable crutch.
A 19-year-old student from Mayo has been crowned this year’s overall winner of SciFest.
Aaron Hannon from St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co. Mayo won the competition for his project EnableArm – a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity. The device was inspired by Aaron’s late grandfather who as a result of a stroke was left with restricted hand movement. EnableArm can shave facial hair of people with limited use of their hands, and was created through technical research to develop the physical, electrical and software aspects. A mannequin head was used to test the device and an Android app was designed to allow greater ease of use. Aaron will now go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania next year.
This year’s competition was the 10th anniversary of SciFest, a science festival for secondary students across the country.
10,000 young people took part in this year’s event in local and regional fairs, with 26 projects involving 42 people selected to display their projects at today’s national final in Dublin.
Other winners included Jack Nagle who won the SciFest 10th Anniversary Award for his project which automatically engage a tractor handbrake when the driver gets out. Adam Kelly won the ISTA Award for his project on whether beet can beat other cattle feeds.
The 2017 SciFest National Final takes place in the Marino Conference Centre on Friday, 10th November.
This event includes a competition for the winners of the SFI Best Project Award at each of the 16 regional SciFest@College STEM fairs and a number of the regional runners-up. These latter were selected by a judging panel based on their project report books. Each participant will receive a Science Foundation Ireland Excellence in STEM award in recognition of their achievement at the regional fairs. The winner will receive a trophy and the opportunity to represent Ireland at the 2018 Intel International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
2017 has been an exciting year for SciFest, celebrating not only its tenth anniversary but also the fact that it has grown to become Ireland’s largest pre-college STEM competition. More than ten thousand students participated in SciFest 2017 bringing the total number of participants in the 10 years to over fifty thousand.
SciFest was set up to encourage a love of STEM through active, collaborative, inquiry-based learning and to give every young person, whatever their background or circumstances, the opportunity to achieve their potential in, and have an enjoyable experience of, STEM. Entry is free and open to all second-level students, thus promoting diversity and making participation highly inclusive and accessible.