Tramore student’s research into injury rehabilitation wins SciFest 2020
Caoimhín O’Leary has been named the SciFest SFI STEM Champion 2020 for the research and development of an innovative video analysis measurement system for rehabilitating patients after joint injury or joint surgery.
A fifth-year student from Ard Scoil na Mara in Tramore, Co. Waterford, O’Leary will go on to represent Ireland at the Regeneron International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) next May.
O’Leary developed a video analysis measurement system for rehabilitating patients after joint injury or joint surgery. His system uses advanced computer software to measure joint and bone position. This form of joint measurement can be achieved remotely and is less slow and invasive then current physical standards.
Funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI), Intel Ireland, Boston Scientific and Specsavers, SciFest is an all-island STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students.
In SciFest, second-level students showcase STEM projects at a series of one-day STEM fairs traditionally held locally in schools and regionally at 16 venues in the Institutes of Technology, TU Dublin, DCU and St. Mary’s College, Derry; in 2020 the regional fairs were held virtually. The SciFest National Final also took place virtually, on a bespoke virtual platform that allowed students, teachers, parents and the general public from around the country to view and participate in the event.
Other award winners at the final of SciFest 2020 were:
- Conor Casey won the SciFest SFI Runner-Up Award for his project ‘AMSIMP: Using Machine Learning to Improve Numerical Weather Prediction’
- Aoibheann Mangan won SciFest Scientist of the Future Award for her project ‘Hospital Holly and Henry – A Mobile Trinal Interactive Solution to Eradicate Children’s Fears of Medical Procedures’
- Erinn Leavy and Sophie McCardle claimed the ISTA Award for their analysis of ‘Physiological and Running Metrics in 3K Cross Country Running in Comparison to Track and Treadmill’
- Alice Davoren and Emily Cullinan won this year’s THEA Award for their research into ‘The Effect of Greywater on Soil Nutrients and Earthworm Population’
- Giulia Baratta won the SciFest Life Sciences Award for her project on ‘Toxicological Investigation of Pesticides Using Paramecium as a Model Organism’
- Dara Newsome, Conor Bradshaw and David Hughes claimed the Intel Technology Award for their project ‘Specs – An Adapted Spectacle System for Dementia Patients’
- Sean Moloney and Michael Ware won the Specsavers Making A Difference Runner-up Award for their research into ‘The Challenges of Transitioning from Primary to Secondary School for Students with Autism and Development of an Information Book Addressing these Challenges to Help Ease their Transition’
- Molly Cunnane and Katie Hannelly won the Specsavers Making A Difference Grand Award for their project titled ‘Our Farmers – ‘Deaf as Doornails?’ An Investigation into the Effect of Machine Noise on our Farmers’ Hearing’
- Ellen Woodward won the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Runner-up Award for her project titled ‘‘Inside Out’ – A Wearable Device that Externalises Internal Emotion’
- Dara Newsome, Conor Bradshaw and David Hughes also won the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Grand Award for their project ‘Specs – An Adapted Spectacle System for Dementia Patients’
- Finn Nankivell and Cian Glynn won Berlin Long Night of Science Award for their project titled ‘Lost’
“The standard of entries has been extraordinary and it’s great to see scientific innovation and research continue to flourish despite ongoing limitations caused by Covid-19,” said Sheila Porter, CEO, SciFest. “The aim of SciFest has always been to develop a love of STEM and of inquiry-based learning and every year it is refreshing to see how the students of today continue to love and enjoy immersing themselves in science, technology, engineering and maths. The ongoing pandemic has shown the importance of science to modern societies and the students competing today will be the scientists of tomorrow.
“I wish to congratulate all the student finalists and I would like to thank all of our participants, their teachers and parents for joining us; we were delighted to see such great engagement with our new online platform. Finally, I’d like to extend huge congratulations to Caoimhín on his achievement in becoming the SciFest SFI STEM Champion 2020.”
Margie McCarthy, head of education & public engagement, Science Foundation Ireland, said: “SciFest is a great event for promoting STEM among students in an inclusive and rigorous way. It is inspiring to see all the work put into each project and I wish to congratulate all the students as well as their families and friends. Ireland is a global leader in many aspects of STEM and if we wish to build on this success in the future, we must encourage a love of the field among our young people. It is great to see so many innovative projects on display this year, it gives us great hope for the future of STEM in Ireland and we would like to congratulate Caoimhín on his success today”