Aoife’s App Helps Drowsy Drivers Stay Safe

A project designed to help drowsy drivers stay safe on the roads has won the top award at this year’s SciFest@ITSligo.

Of the 145 projects exhibited at the Institute’s Knocknarea Arena, the overall prize on the day for Best Project went to Aoife Kearins, a fifth-year student at the Ursuline College in Sligo for her project “Eye Opener – helping drowsy stay safe.” The award is sponsored by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI).

Her project consists of an app in the form of a wearable device which measures body temperature.

“Body temperature drops between 1 and 1.3 degrees in the 20 to 20 minutes before you fall asleep,” explains Aoife. “So, the thermometer in the wearable monitors the body temperature and sends the data to the app. It then notifies the driver when their body temperature drops that they are likely to fall asleep soon. This will encourage the driver to pull over and take rest.”

Aoife’s entry also also won her the senior prize in the Physical Sciences category.

According to the Road Safety Authority, tiredness is a contributory factor in 20% of driver deaths on Irish roads.

As well as receiving the SciFest trophy, Aoife will now go on to represent Sligo in the National ScifFest final in November.

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 and Boston Scientific.

Commenting on the SciFest@ITSligo final Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO said: “2015 was a hugely successful year for SciFest with a record number of students taking part. In total 7,200 students exhibited their projects in local science fairs across the country. This year we intend to build on that success and have another record year. 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.”

The SciFest@ITSligo main award winners were:

SFI Best Overall Project
Aoife Kearins, Ursuline College Sligo.
Project: ‘Eye Opener’ – Helping drowsy drivers to stay awake.

Abbott Ireland Runner-Up Award
Aoife Parsons & Clodagh Hegarty, Davitt College Castlebar.
Project: ‘The Education & Promotion of breastfeeding to children, adolescents & adults.’

Intel Award
James Corcoran, Leon McGloin & Seán Moyles, St Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina.
Project: ‘Cycle Safety’.

Newstalk Best Communicator Award
John Gerard Killeen & Seán Gallagher, St Tiernan’s College, Crossmolina.
Project: ‘Infinite Mach’ – A study of wing shapes to achieve high speed flight.

Chemistry Award
Amy Fagan & Tara Benson, St Mary’s College, Ballisodare.
Project: ‘Beyond the Bristles’ – examining bacteria on make-up brushes.

Photo caption:
Aoife Kearins, a fifth-year student at the Ursuline College, Sligo, who won the SFI Best Overall Project Award at ScifFest@ITSligo 2016.

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