Strong tech presence among BT Young Scientists

10 Dec 2007

With the BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition less than a month away, the 66 entries in the technology category among the final 500 shows a growing interest in the area among both Junior and Leaving Cert students.

Of the four categories – biology and ecology sciences; chemical, physical and mathematical sciences; social and behavioural science; and technology – the technology category encourages innovation in applications covering the internet to communications to biotechnology. These are the very research areas that benefit much from the government’s recent investment of €920m in science infrastructure.

Among this year’s entrants is an unusual and innovative internet project: a web browser for the colour-blind. Adam Keilthy and Conor Scully from Sutton Park School in Dublin are entering this project in the junior age group and have designed a web browser that improves visibility as well as the marketing impact of company logos by increasing the contrast of how colours are displayed.

Another junior group entrant is in the area of communications: Hayley O’Dea and Elain O’Brien from the Dominican College in Wicklow are developing a solar charger that will make use of the sun’s energy to power a mobile phone.

Entries from the senior cycle are showing much promise, with Colm Glennon and Domhnall McGowan of Summerhill College in Sligo showcasing ‘Keylogger – A Hacker’s Best Friend’. The aim of their project is to highlight and prevent hackers from gaining access to private information on other people’s computers.

Keylogger is a computer programme that records the keystrokes on an individual’s keyboard and is often used by IT security specialists to monitor what information passes through computers in their care.

Meanwhile technologies for alternative energy generation is always a popular topic and this year Louis Gates-Hardiman from Gonzaga College in Dublin is working on a domestic wind turbine that can generate energy using conversion ratios created by high-speed lightweight induction elements.

The exhibition, which will run in the RDS from 8-12 January, had an increase of 11pc on the number of entries on last year.

The top prize for overall BT Young Scientist is €5,000 as well as the chance to represent Ireland at the EU Young Scientist contest.

By Marie Boran