Stunning reverse engineering app among DCU winners

24 Apr 2015

A pretty brilliant computer aided design (CAD) app developed by Liam Sexton has won the students’ prize at this year’s DCU President’s Awards for Innovation.

Studying biomedical engineering at DCU, Sexton’s cool reverse engineering CAD app allows you to basically create computer designs of products by merely showing them to your phone’s camera.

You pick up an object – for his example, Sexton used a standard inhaler – press on the app’s camera and record its shape.

The app uses reverse engineering to extract information from the physical object, using it to create a computer model.

The technology basically enhances product design processes by allowing a member of the design team to quickly create electronic drawing files when away from the office that can then be sent to the desktop team for further modelling and analysis.

This could prove a real timesaver for engineers, and is the first presentation on this video.

Four winners, four innovations

There were four winners in total across three categories, with the academic and research category seeing two projects tie for the top spot.

The research team at DCU’s Biomedical Diagnostics Institute developed an incredible bowel cancer screening test – in collaboration with Randox Laboratories – with diagnostic improvements offering the potential to save thousands of ives.

This significant breakthrough in the screening for bowel cancer could be available for widespread use within the next two years.

A DCU spin-out called AmbiSense that uses sensors to monitor greenhouse gases shared the prize.

AmbiSense platforms are used in landfill management, coal mining safety and for monitoring fracking processes, with the company – which employs five people – having already raised €500,000 in funding.

The awards are run by Fujitsu, with David Delaney, director of innovation at Fujitsu Ireland, glowing in his praise of those who won awards.

“Fujitsu is proud to sponsor the DCU Innovation Awards again this year. We are all living in a period of incredible opportunity and in a society that facilitates and respects our right to these opportunities,” he said.

“The proliferation of readily accessible powerful communications technology provides enormous opportunity for the creation of new social and economic value through innovation. The high standard of entries for this year’s awards once again demonstrates that DCU is fostering the knowledge, attitudes, confidence and tenacity required of its students and staff to realise their potential in these exciting times.”

No need for paper

The final winner was in the admin and support staff category, where David Molloy developed GURU. It’s a cloud-based system to monitor student academic performances, doing away with the need for paper.

“The innovative ideas showcased here today underscore DCU’s commitment to delivering real impact through innovation, whether here on campus or to the wider public,” said Professor Brian MacCraith.

“Solutions are being generated at DCU for real problems such as bowel cancer, greenhouse emissions, student mental health and other innovations that seek to improve existing processes in design, information management and student experience.

“Through this partnership with an industry leader such as Fujitsu, we will continually strive to create an environment where the innovative talents of our staff and students can flourish and succeed.”

Presented by David Delaney, Director of Innovation at Fujitsu Ireland, and Professor Brian MacCraith, President of DCU, the awards encourage and recognise innovative achievements by DCU students, researchers and staff.

CAD image, via Shutterstock

Gordon Hunt was a journalist with Silicon Republic