Christopher Carragher, a sixth year student from Our Lady’s Secondary School in Castleblaney, Co Monaghan, has been named the overall winner of all-island science initiative SciFest 2014.
Carragher won for his project 'Memory Buddy'. Using the time-management web application Google Calendar, the automated system assists people suffering from memory loss by setting alerts for appointments and reminders for medication through a series of flashing lights, sounds and also via the TV. Carragher – who was inspired by a family member who began displaying signs of short-term memory loss – also included a remote controlled drawer that presents medicine at set times, as well as a feedback facility that informs carers when medicine has or has not been taken.
Over 6,000 students entered SciFest this year – a record for the initiative – with 15 finalist projects exhibited at the Marino Conference Centre in Dublin earlier today.
“This year there was a very high standard of projects exhibited at SciFest," said Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO. "All projects exhibited show that when students engage with STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) outside the classroom, they bring their learning to a new level and produce amazing results. Participation in SciFest helps students to develop the skills sets essential for the next generation of creative problem solvers and entrepreneurs. The innovation and the creativity on display at the national final is a testament to the hard-work and dedication put in by the students and their teachers."
Carragher will now go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the USA next year.
In addition, Dundalk sisters Rachael and Shannon Ní Dhonnachadha scooped the Long Night of Science in Berlin Award for their project which examined the science of punching. The duo sought to discover if rotating the wrist before impact adds to the effectiveness of a punch, finding that the movement provides no increase in punch force.