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Unique assisted shaving device wins SciFest 2017

Posted by Schooldays Newshound, on 10/11/2017. Unique assisted shaving device wins SciFest 2017Tags: Teachers

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 today, 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. Aaron secured his place at the National Final after his victory 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.”

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.


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