St Killian’s College Garron Tower has, for the second time in three years won the Matrix Award for the Best School from N Ireland in the BT Young Scientist Exhibition at the RDS Dublin, January 2018.
Under the tutelage of Mr Sean Connolly three projects made it through to the 2018 BT Young Scientist and Technology Exhibition. All three projects were submitted in the Technology Category.
Rachel McAuley and Ellen Martin, Year 10 students, won 1st place in the Junior Group with their ‘Smart Desk’ project. The ‘Smart Desk’ is an interactive learning environment enabling children with dyscalculia to learn numbers using visual, auditory and kinaesthetic methods accommodating all types of learners.
The students developed a brightly coloured interactive desk which could be easily linked to a PC monitor and keyboard. The ‘Smart Desk’ would allow young children with dyscalculia, a development disorder resulting in difficulty comprehending numbers, to learn using a hands on approach by manipulating numbered discs which, when inserted into the correct position, would trigger songs and animations to play on screen.
Rachel and Ellen have continued their success when they took their project to the Big Bang Competition Finals in March (last week) at the NEC in Birmingham. At the competition the girls interacted with the judges and various industry leaders to explain their ‘Smart Desk’ application and were so impressive that they were runners up in the ‘UK Young Engineer of the Year 2018’ category with their project ‘Smart Desk’. They were also awarded the ‘GKN Global Award for Engineering’ and received a £500 cheque for the College.
The remaining two projects were submitted at senior level.
The ‘Dementia Aid’ developed by Claire McGuckian and Alexandra McCormick aims to help patients with early phase dementia to remember key events in their daily routine. The patient wears a tag on their person and when they wish to do a task such as make a cup of tea; the tag will trigger a short video of the task to be shown on a nearby screen or phone.
The ‘Dementia Aid’ is a visual cue system which could be used to increase independence of the patient within their own home for a longer time. The Year 14 St Killian’s students were highly commended by the judges for the work completed on this project.
Niall Black, Orla McNaughton and Ciaran Cairns focused on the development of a product to reduce the incidence of SIDS (Sudden Infant Death Syndrome) otherwise known as ‘cot death’, which results in almost 300 infant deaths in the UK each year. The exact cause of SIDS is unknown but experts believe certain stresses and the babies ability to control heart rate, breathing and temperature during these times of stress could be key.
The ‘Cot Death Eliminator’ is a device developed by Niall, Orla and Ciaran containing a temperature and humidity sensor which can be set to specific parameters. If the environment within the cot exceeds these parameters an alarm will be triggered which sets in motion a fan and a cooling pump to decrease the temperature of the mattress and reduce humidity in the cot. A text message alert will also be sent directly to the parents to inform them of the event allowing them to check on the baby.
The ‘Cot Death Eliminator’ was awarded third place in the Technology Category at senior level.
Mr Jonny Brady, Principal St Killian’s was delighted with the College’s success.
“I am absolutely delighted and proud of our three teams, all of whom did exceedingly well. This is our seventh successive year at the BT finals in Dublin and every year our students have gained an award.
To be awarded ‘Best School’ winners for a second time is a fitting accolade to both the commitment of our students and to Mr Sean Connolly who works unstintingly to ensure that our students get the most out of the BT Young Scientists experience. Well done to everyone”.
On Thursday of this week, St Killian’s were pleased to host a reception with BT NI to celebrate the successes. Rosy Billingham, PR, Public Affairs and Corporate Relation manager for BT NI attended along with the Mayor of Mid and East Antrim council, Paul Reid and aldermen Maureen Morrow, Geraldine Mulvenna and Colin Press
Photographs taken by John Curly McIlwaine