Friday, November 10, 2017

Aaron Hannon, from St Muredach’s College, Ballina, Co Mayo was this afternoon named the overall winner of SciFest 2017.

His project EnableArm – a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity and will go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania next year.

Aaron was presented with the SciFest 2017 SFI Intel ISEF Award by Dr Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at SFI.

EnableArm was inspired by Aaron’s late grandfather who suffered from limited hand dexterity due to a stroke.

It is a fully functional device capable of shaving facial hair for people with limited use of their hands.

The device was created through technical research to develop the physical, electrical and software aspects. A mannequin head was used to test the device and an android app was designed to allow greater ease of use.

Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO, said: “This year is the ten-year anniversary of SciFest and it is wonderful to see the level of talent, enthusiasm and determination on display today.

“The aim of SciFest is to develop a love of STEM and of inquiry-based learning.

“Those values are very much evident here today, with students from around the country demonstrating the incredible work that they have put into their projects and experiments.

She added: “I wish to congratulate all the participants here today, as well as their teachers and their parents who have given them such wonderful support.”

Minister for Education and Skills Richard Bruton said: “We live in a rapidly changing world and our education system must respond by equipping our young people with the skills and knowledge to thrive in such an environment.

“That is why I have placed such an emphasis on the teaching and learning of STEM in my role as Minister, as part of my overall ambition to make Ireland’s education and training service the best in Europe within a decade.

“Indeed, I will shortly launch a comprehensive STEM plan which will outline how my Department proposes to ignite a passion for the STEM subjects in all students.

“The STEM subjects are crucial for equipping our young people with creativity, adaptability, problem-solving and critical thinking– skills which are so important for their future.

“SciFest is an excellent initiative that supports and enhances what we are trying to do at a government level and I am very impressed by the standard of projects displayed here today and the amount of work that students and of course, teachers and parents have put in to each and every one.

“I congratulate all the students, their families and mentors but in particular to Aaron on his winning entry.”

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