DIT cultivates young tech inventors

18 Jun 2008

With the DIT Inventors Competition 2008, the institute’s incubation programme Hot house took inspiration from the words of famed computer scientist Alan Kay: “The best way to predict the future is to invent it.”

Staff and students alike were invited to submit their original inventions to the competition which is in its third year, as long as they could answer three questions: ‘So what?’, ‘Who cares?’, and ‘Why would anyone pay for it?’

The best overall entry went to Dr Charlie Cullen for software that can speed up the animation process with a novel feature that translates speech patterns into gestures in the making of animated film. Cullen is a researcher with the Digital Media Centre (DMC) at DIT.

The winner of the best postgraduate entry was Dr Miroslaw Narbutt, a researcher with the Communications Network Research Institute (CNRI), with his technology that can help telecoms operators improve on the sound quality of their VoIP (Voice over Internet Protocol) service.

Aircraft mechanics student Stephen Geary won the prize for best undergraduate invention with technology he developed that aims to take much of the turbulence out of flight.

DIT president Professor Brian Norton said: “This competition has become a catalyst for invention in DIT and each year the range and strength of entries increases.

“It is a great way for individuals to test the merit of their inventions so even if they are not the eventual winner, they have taken their ideas one step further.”

The competition is just the beginning as Tom Flanagan, head of commercialisation in DIT, said Hothouse will be “working with the winners to help them convert their inventions to jobs and cash.”

The winner of last year’s DIT Inventors Competition, Dan Barry, successfully licensed his audio technology to music corporation Sony who now use it as part of <i>SingStar</i> games series.

By Marie Boran