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Daniel O’Brien from St Joseph's Secondary School, Rush wins SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin Street

Posted on April 8, 2019
Post-primary school students from schools all over Dublin taking STEM to the next level at SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin Street - 2019

Of the vast array of excellent projects exhibited at SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin St Campus - 2019, the top prize on the day, the SFI Best Project Award, went to Daniel O’Brien from St Joseph’s Secondary School, Rush for his project, “Seal Whiskers - Bioinspiration for Oceantech”. Daniel will go on to participate in the SciFest National Final where he will compete for the opportunity to represent Ireland at the International Science and Engineering Fair (ISEF) in Anaheim, California in May 2020.

Describing his winning project, Daniel O’Brien said: “In the ocean, there is difficulty in reliably tracking moving objects underwater, due to poor visibility. Sonar is a well-understood technology that has been used for many years, but it does have limitations in the tracking of smaller allusive objects in complex seafloor topographies. These limitations can include the reflection of surface waves and ‘scattering’ effects. My project investigates how an artificial seal whisker sensory system could help future marine robots explore the ocean, in an automated, computer-controlled manner.”

As one of the 16 regional venues hosting a SciFest STEM fair, SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin Street saw more than 130 students from schools all over Dublin, and neighbouring counties exhibit their projects put their knowledge of STEM to the test.

SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin Street co-ordinator Ciarán O’Leary said: “We’re delighted to have hosted another successful SciFest event in 2019 and the first SciFest event for Technological University Dublin. SciFest is always one of the most exciting days for us here in Kevin Street. We want to encourage our young people to take science, technology, engineering and maths subjects in school and College, to have careers in STEM areas, and to join the long line of successful Irish scientists who have made, and continue to make, some of the most important scientific discoveries in the world.”

TU Dublin will host two further SciFest events on its Tallaght Campus on 2 May and in Blanchardstown on 8 May.

SciFest is an all-inclusive, all-island science initiative, which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel, Boston Scientific and Specsavers.

Commenting on the SciFest@TU Dublin – Kevin Street regional STEM fair Sheila Porter, SciFest Founder and CEO said:
"As we mark the 12th anniversary of SciFest, more than 65,000 students have participated in the programme to date, and we are sure that 2019 will be another stellar year for projects in science, technology, engineering and maths. SciFest gives students an excellent opportunity to develop their interest in STEM and inquiry-based approaches to learning while developing their creative and problem-solving skills and learning to work in a team."

This year saw the introduction of an exciting new award, the Specsavers Making a Difference Award. A further new award this year is the Institute of Physics in Ireland award for the best Physics project. Among the other prizes on offer were the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award and the Intel Technology Award.

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