The students from Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast have been awarded for their project bringing a haptic football experience to visually impaired people.
Third-level engineering students David Deneher and Tim Farrelly of Trinity College Dublin and Omar Salem of Queen’s University Belfast were awarded Engineers Ireland’s Innovative Student Engineer of the Year award for their Field of Vision device.
The trio’s creation uses an advanced computer vision model to allow visually impaired people to experience football matches in real time.
The Field of Vision project has developed a touch-based handheld device that is portable and battery-powered, with Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and 5G connectivity allowing it to be used in football stadiums.
The device uses AI to analyse live video feeds of matches, translating what happens on the field to a tablet device through haptic feedback. The idea is to help the user to better experience the game, without having to rely solely on a commentators’ interpretation.
The student team is currently engaged in a pilot programme with Bohemians FC, which will allow them to conduct their first tests with visually impaired users. The trio has also received interest from Premier League clubs and the Qatar World Cup organisers, who are awaiting the results from these trials which will be taking place over the next few months. The students hope to expand their offering to cater to more field sports fans in the near future.
The award follows a series of wins for Field of Vision. After being selected for Trinity’s LaunchBox accelerator, the team were named best in show at the final demo day. Prior to this they were awarded top prize at the Student Entrepreneur Awards.
Accessibility was a common theme among the winning projects at this year’s Engineers Ireland’s awards, with Brandon Blacoe, Eibhlin O’Riordan and Ronan Murphy scooping the Innovative Graduate Engineer of the Year award for their customisable video game controllers from ByoWave.
The Proteus Controller lets users play video games with any iOS, Android, Windows or Xbox device. The graduates tested their design with gamers all over the world. The device will be available to purchase via ByoWave’s beta launch this October.
Caroline Spillane, director general of Engineers Ireland, congratulated the finalists and winners: “Each of our finalists demonstrated ingenuity, developing clever solutions to overcome challenges in industry and society. In particular I offer my congratulations to the Field of Vision and ByoWave teams for developing engineering solutions focused on issues relating to accessibility.
“I look forward to seeing the success of these exciting products as they come to market, including to football stadia, supporting greater accessibility for all,” Spillane added.
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