UL student wins prestigious award for invention

David Hurley

Reporter:

David Hurley

Darren Lehane pictured with his invention, NUTRIA [Picture: Liam Burke/Press 22]
A University of Limerick student has been awarded €2,500 after winning a prestigious James Dyson award for his invention – a revolutionary new tube feeding system for patients who cannot ingest food normally.

A University of Limerick student has been awarded €2,500 after winning a prestigious James Dyson award for his invention – a revolutionary new tube feeding system for patients who cannot ingest food normally.

Darren Lehane, 22, who has just completed his bachelor’s degree in product design and technology at UL, invented NUTRIA after witnessing the hardship of his baby cousin, Danielle who had to use a feeding tube shortly after her birth.

“It was horrible. She had an awful time. The tube kept falling out and the excess tube was taped to her face, giving her a rash,” he said.

NUTRIA will now progress to the international stage of the James Dyson Award and Darren will compete against design and engineering students from across the world for the grand prize of €36,000.

NUTRIA’s three-part system includes a nostril valve, which rests just inside the nostril, almost invisible from the outside, so excess tube is not exposed on the face;

In addition, it features a Terahertz radiation microchip, which shows the exact position of the tube inside the body on a smartphone screen, preventing the fatal consequences caused by mis-inserting the tube into the lungs and a re-engineered pump, which dramatically reduces the number of products and procedures involved in patient nutrition.

For more, see jamesdysonaward.org.