From IoT hardware to software, and making in between, at Inspirefest 2016

18 May 2016

Martina Lawlor, senior software engineer, Intel (left) and Anastasia wearing the IoT butterfly dress at Inspirefest 2015. Image via Conor McCabe Photography

Last year, during the inaugural Inspirefest, some of Ireland’s best and brightest working within the field of the internet of things (IoT) demoed their hard work, and now, in 2016, it’s the turn of three more amazing people.

For many of those who attended Inspirefest last year, one of the most eye-catching moments was during the discussion on IoT and its progress, from an Irish, global and diversity perspective, ranging from building connected devices in your home, to planning an entire city.

One such student-led venture we saw in 2015 was Dublin City University (DCU) student Laura Browne, who showcased her award-winning concept, PowerScout, which uses multiple sensors to tell a person how much electricity they’re consuming in their household and what devices are causing the high bills.

On a grander scale, Intel’s senior research scientist in Ireland, Jessica McCarthy, discussed how IoT is being applied to Dublin with the company’s range of developed air quality sensors, which, with the help of Dublin City Council, were placed across the city to see in real-time how much pollution was being created by traffic.

Then, of course, there was the ‘butterfly dress’ developed by Ezra and Tuba Cetin, two sisters from Istanbul, Turkey, who stood back from their world of traditional fashion to develop their dress, which was rigged with an Intel Galileo board capable of sensing when a person would come too close to them.

Just as impressive is this year’s list of IoT aficionados attending Inspirefest, which includes Prof Linda Doyle, director of the SFI-backed CONNECT research centre for future networks and communications; Noel Murphy, Quark Engineering Manager at Intel, and Dr Nora O’Mhurchú, digital designer and curator at the University of Limerick (UL) and member of the IoT Council.

Return for some

Inspirefest 2016 marks a return for Doyle who, as the director of the CONNECT centre, has seen it come on leaps and bounds over the past year, with her also adopting the role as head of the new EDGE programme to attract more leading ICT researchers to Ireland’s third-level institutes in general.

Of similar good news for CONNECT was the announcement that the centre was to receive a new national radio test facility to develop devices for 5G connectivity and IoT.

Noel Murphy, meanwhile, is expected to take us back to the world of fashion and IoT, or any wearable device for that matter, with a look behind the development of the Irish-designed Curie chip.

IoT device

Intel’s air quality sensor being displayed on stage at Inspirefest last year. Image via Conor McCabe Photography

Focus on design and making

Murphy was the person leading the design of the Curie chip in Ireland and, following its official release in October of 2015, it is likely it will continue to power a number of wearable items for consumer goods.

Perhaps most famously the chip this year was the announcement that popstar Lady Gaga was to use the Intel’s Curie technology to develop a ‘unique musical experience’ that will meld music and technology together.

Finally, Dr Nora O’Murchú is one of Ireland’s leading advocates of design-thinking when it comes to IoT and technology in general who, during her interview with last February, said that, with an abundance of tech at our fingertips, there’s a growing confidence in creating and the maker movement.

So, to hear even more about what these fascinating people have to say about making and IoT, check them out at Inspirefest 2016.

Inspirefest is Silicon Republic’s international event connecting sci-tech professionals passionate about the future of STEM. Join us again from 30 June to 2 July 2016 for fresh perspectives on leadership, innovation and diversity. Book your tickets now.

Colm Gorey was a senior journalist with Silicon Republic