AARON Hannon, of St. Muredach’s College, Ballina, has been named the overall winner of SciFest 2017 for his project EnableArm – a shaving device for people with limited hand dexterity.
He will now go on to represent Ireland at the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Pittsburgh Pennsylvania next year.
SciFest, now in its 10th year, is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel Ireland and Boston Scientific.
It is an all-island STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second level students.
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 is user friendly and 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.
Dr. Ruth Freeman, Director of Strategy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland, presented Aaron with his prize – the SciFest 2017 SFI Intel ISEF Award. Aaron also won the Boston Scientific Grand award for his work.
He secured his place at the national final after his success at the SciFest regional final in IT Sligo.
This year marks the 10th anniversary of SciFest and saw a record number of over 10,000 students participating in local and regional SciFest STEM fairs across the country. Since its inception in 2008, over 50,000 students have participated in the competition, reflecting a year-on-year increase of 23% in participation.
Aaron was one of 42 students who went on to exhibit 26 STEM projects at the national final.