Limerick students narrowly miss out on top US prize at Shannon Airport technology event

Nick Rabbitts

Reporter:

Nick Rabbitts

A happy group from Ard Scoil Mhuire, at the Irish Technology Leadership Group’s young innovators in Shannon Airport with Dragons Chanelle McCoy and Barry O’Sullivan

A happy group from Ard Scoil Mhuire, at the Irish Technology Leadership Group’s young innovators in Shannon Airport with Dragons Chanelle McCoy and Barry O’Sullivan

LIMERICK students missed out by a whisker on a trip to America at a major technology event held in Shannon Airport.

The Irish Technology Leadership Group’s young innovators event drew 1,000 students to Limerick’s local airport last week.

There, they were asked to imagine life more than 30 years on from today and come up with products which would meet challenges in the future.

While a team from Gort, Co Galway went away with the overall prize of a trip to the Silicon Valley, and the chance to meet representatives of some of the world's top tech firms, Limerick students were not far behind.

Students from Ard Scoil Mhuire in Corbally came second in the contest with their pitch for a product called ‘Flashband’. 

This is a wearable tech product for children and teenagers and their parents or guardians.

Parents are not always keen on their young children having a phone but there are a number of key activities that both the parent and child or young teenager currently try to do and certainly in the future will need to get done.

It is designed to help youngsters stay in touch with their parents – they can use it as a bus pass, a personal alarm system, all with their parents monitoring them if necessary.

The team also thought about how some parents might pay for what might prove an expensive piece of kit – with a suggestion the medical card could be used as a means to discount the device, given the role it could play in youngsters’ lives.

For their part, Gort's students developed 'Plastic Penneys’, an incentive scheme to reduce single-use plastics.

Speaking at the ITLG Young Innovators event, Corbally man, John Hartnett, who heads the group, said: “Stimulating entrepreneurship and sustainability is key to what ITLG Young Innovators is all about, and the winners of today’s challenge represent those vital attributes for business today.”

Dr Vincent Cunnane, the president of the Limerick Institute of Technology (LIT) added: “We’re very proud to have driven Young Innovators since the beginning.

“This event reflects much what LIT is about – excitement, passion, innovation, the intersection between academia and real-world expertise.

“Gort Community College were worthy winners, addressing a key challenge in our world today and creating a win-win solution which is the key to every successful business. It’s great to see students and teachers practice innovation skills and opening doors to the possibilities of the future,” Dr Cunnane added.

The chairman of the Shannon Group, Rose Hynes, explained: “This event represents a huge opportunity for our young people, to share their ideas with successful global entrepreneurs and to understand that they can unlock their own potential and succeed on a global scale by being creative and innovative. We are delighted to be partners in the ITLG Young Innovators event.”

Taking place during Science Week 2018, the ITLG Young Innovators event is backed by a number of local blue-chip companies like Dell EMC, Modular Automation, Johnson & Johnson, Kemp, WP Engine, and Jaguar Land Rover.

A number of smaller firms including Carambola Kids, Innovate Limerick, the Limerick Chamber and Shannon Chamber have also lent their support to the event, alongside the University of Limerick, Mary Immaculate College, Foróige and CoderDojo.