Science Is ‘A Close Shave’ For SciFest Winner Aaron

A shaving device for people with limited hand movement has earned a Mayo student the top prize at this year’s SciFest@ITSligo.

18-year-old Aaron Hannon, who’s a Leaving Certificate student at St Muredach’s College in Ballina, won the SciFest ‘Best Project’ award at IT Sligo for his ‘Enablearm’ project and will now go on to represent the region at the All-Ireland SciFest final in November this year.

“I got the idea from my grandfather who got a stroke in late 2003. Before he passed away, for the rest of his life , his left arm was paralysed and his right arm suffered from hand weakness. So, I wanted to create something that could help people in his situation.

“I designed all the parts of the Enablearm device using Computer-Aid design, and 3D printed them. I did a lot of prototyping and worked on the electronics too to create a fully functional

The Enablearm device has been tested on a human face and Aaron is currently applying for a patent.
Aaron’s entry also collected two other category awards at SciFest@ITSligo.

SciFest 2017 winner Aaron Hannon with his prototype ‘Enablearm’ which is a shaving device for people with limited hand function.

Congratulating Aaron on his success, SciFest co-ordinator at IT Sligo, the SciFest co-ordinator at IT Sligo, Bill Crowe, said: “As always, the projects entered by the students in SciFest are impressive, engaging and thought-provoking. Secondary school students from across the region are demonstrating their passion for science, technology, engineering and maths, which is clearly evident from the high standard of research that has gone into the entries this year. SciFest is a competition that aims to encourage students to develop an interest in STEM, while prioritising inclusivity and inquiry-based learning. We are proud to support such a valuable programme.”

Johanna Dietz and Dylan Gallagher are 2nd year students at Lough Allen College in Drumkeerin. Their project examined the environmental challenges facing the planet.

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, Boston Scientific, Intel and Abbott.

Connor Hanahoe and Ben Maloney from St Muredach’s College, Ballina, were the recipients of the Abbott Best Project Award from Martin Golden (Abbott) for their ‘Bike Collision Prevention Sensor’ project.

Commenting on the SciFest@ITSligo fair, Sheila Porter, SciFest CEO said: “This year we are celebrating 10 years of SciFest science fairs. In that time, the number of students participating has increased five-fold and they have produced an amazing range of subjects across the STEM disciplines. 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 is the third year of the prestigious Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award, which is presented at each of the 16 regional science fairs; the overall winner of this award will receive the Boston Scientific Medical Devices Trophy at the national final in November.

The main project category winners were:

Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) Best Project Award
Winner: Aaron Hannon
School: St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Enablearm – the shaving device for people with limited hand function.

Abbott Best Project Award (Overall Runner-Up)
Winner: Ben Maloney & Connor Hanahoe
School: St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Bike Collision Prevention Sensor

Boston Scientific Medical Devices Award
Winner: Aaron Hannon
School: St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Enablearm – the shaving device for people with limited hand function.

SciFest 10th Anniversary Award
Winner: Claire McHale & Kathryn Tiernan
School: Davitt College, Castlebar
Project: Wild Rhubarb, a nuisance or can it be used?

Newstalk Best Communicator Award
Winner: Sarah Murphy, Emma O’Hora & Kelly Hannick
School: Jesus & Mary Secondary School, Crossmolina
Project: To Transplant or not to Transplant?

Chemistry Award
Winner:  Haji Deen Swarray & Darragh Perrin (pictured below)
School: Drumshanbo Vocational School
Project: Investigating artificial and organic fertilisers on grass growth

Haji Deen Swarray & Darragh Perrin from Drumshanbo Vocational School, along with their teacher, Pauline McBarron, receive the SciFest Chemistry Award for 2017 from Dr Jerry Bird, Head of School of Science at IT Sligo.

NCE-MSTL Maths in Science Award
Winner: Matthew Aris & Austin Bourke
School: St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Is there a connection between a child’s handwriting & their parents?

Senior Technology
Winner: Aaron Hannon
School: St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Enablearm – the shaving device for people with limited hand function

Senior Life Science
Winner: Harry Davis & Amy Sheridan
School: Lough Allen College, Drumkeerin
Project: A Test for Fluoride in different water

Intermediate Technology
Winner: Catriona Mallon & Aoife Nugent
School: Davitt College, Castlebar
Project: Biology Now

Intermediate Physical Science
Winner: Ava Connolly & Lara McDonagh
School: Ursuline College, Sligo
Project: Mirages & the Refraction of Light

Intermediate Life Science
Winner: Roscha Davitt, Maedhbh Spain & Emma Christie (pictured below)
School: Ursuline College, Sligo
Project: ‘Listen to your Elders’

Junior Technology 
Winner: Connor Hanahoe & Ben Maloney
School, St Muredach’s College, Ballina
Project: Bike Collision Prevetion Sensor

Junior Physical Science
Winner: Sara & Maja Nikin
School: St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen
Project: Orbital Eccentricity

Junior Life Science
Winner: Sarah Smyth, Leah Blake & Chloe Williams
School: St Nathy’s College, Ballaghaderreen.
Project: What makes us tic?

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