Brain injury detection device for newborns wins Student Entrepreneur Awards 2020
12th June 2020
Supported by the Department of Business Enterprise and Innovation
A medical device for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborns has scooped the top prize at Enterprise Ireland’s Student Entrepreneur Awards 2020. Neurobell, developed by University College Cork (UCC) student, Mark O’Sullivan, aims to help clinicians diagnose abnormal brain activity faster and with greater accuracy.
Mark was one of ten finalists who participated in the virtual final of the third level Student Entrepreneur Awards today and received the €10,000 cash prize fund, as well as the opportunity to avail of specialist advice and assistance from Enterprise Ireland to help turn his innovative enterprise idea into a business reality.
This is the 39th year of Enterprise Ireland’s Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Cruickshank, Grant Thornton and the Local Enterprise Offices. Neurobell and three other finalists who received awards today share a €35,000 cash prize fund and €30,000 in mentoring support from Enterprise Ireland.
The Cruickshank High Achieving Merit Award went to Siobhán Ryan, a student from the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland (RCSI), for her project PressiDect. Siobhán received a prize of €5,000 for her peri-operative pressure detection system designed for use on a theatre table.
Simon Dring from Cork Institute of Technology (CIT) took home the Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award for his device which aims to improve concussion awareness and player safety at all levels. His product the TraumAlert which allows for rapid detection of potential concussions, received €5,000 in cash prize funding.
The final Local Enterprise Office ICT award went to Limerick brothers, Nick and Jack Cotter, for their Cotter Agritech innovation. Their product the Cotter Crate is a patent-pending, lamb handling system that makes dosing and weighing lambs easier, faster, and prevents back injury.
Minister for Business, Enterprise and Innovation, Heather Humphreys TD said: “For the past four decades, student entrepreneurs in third level institutions across the country have been identifying challenges and the solutions to overcome them. Competitions like the Student Entrepreneur Awards act as an important springboard for tomorrow’s business leaders and provide a platform for young people to showcase their highly innovative business ideas. The high calibre of applications in today’s virtual final highlights the vibrant entrepreneurial spirit within Ireland’s universities and colleges across the country. I would like to congratulate the overall award winner Mark O’Sullivan of Neurobell and I look forward to seeing the progression of his medical device technology.”
Minister for Trade, Employment, Business, EU Digital Single Market and Data Protection, Pat Breen, said:“Over the years that I have been involved in the student enterprise initiative I have been very impressed by the students’ approach to real-world problems and how you use innovation to unlock answers and offer solutions. I congratulate everyone that made it to this year’s final and wish you the best of luck on your entrepreneurial journey.”
Richard Murphy, Manager LEO Support, Policy & Co-ordination Unit, Enterprise Ireland said: “Today’s Student Entrepreneur Awards final recognised young innovators across the country and celebrated their entrepreneurial success. This year’s applicants have identified challenges across a range of sectors and provided innovative solutions to overcome them. Nurturing this talent and helping to foster that entrepreneurship is essential, not just to turn ideas into thriving businesses, but to help drive Ireland’s global reputation in business.”
Winners - Enterprise Ireland's Student Entrepreneur Awards 2020
- Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award – Neurobell (UCC)
- Cruickshank High Achieving Merit Award – PressiDect (RCSI)
- Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award – TraumAlert (CIT)
- Local Enterprise Office ICT – Cotter Agritech (LIT/UCC)
Enterprise Ireland's Student Entrepreneur Awards - Finalist Profiles
App - Project Bellerophon - Sean Fradl, DCU
Project Bellerophon is the first application developed by Equine.app (https://equine.app). It aims to simplify the generation of equine nutrition reports. Nutrition reports are used by horse feed manufacturers, stud farm managers and performance horse trainers to manage a horse’s ration intake, body condition, and to identify deficiencies or excesses of nutrients in the horse’s diet. Failure to meet the nutritional needs of horses can lead to lameness, poor thrift, suboptimal performance and fertility issues.
Project Bellerophon allows the user to collect data onsite and input this information offline, right next to the horse. It is compatible for desktop, mobile and tablet devices. The data input generates graphics depicting the nutrient status of the horse accounting for the horses age, lifestage, weight and exercise load. The application will then generate a branded PDF nutrition report ready to present to the client. This process will potentially reduce the time spent on each diet plan by 800% and is relevant to performance horses around the world.
The goal of equine.app is to provide customised products for our clients which aim to simplify equine business processes through the use and love of science and technology.
bitherit – Harry Dunne – IT Carlow
Digital Inheritance refers to the transfer of assets which exist on electronic systems. These assets, making up the owner’s digital estate, can include passwords, usernames, online accounts, contracts, and more. The transfer of a digital estate should occur when there is a prolonged, or permanent absence of the original data owner.
Complications arise in digital inheritance because of two conflicting issues –
- The information being bestowed is confidential in nature and needs to be stored securely
- The date at which the information should be transferred is unknown.
In most cases, increasing security of stored data will decrease future data accessibility for beneficiaries, while increasing the future accessibility harms the immediate security of the data.
bitherit addresses the problems present in digital inheritance by providing a decentralised solution to the storage and transfer of digital assets. The solution provided has been designed to give users full autonomy of their data while protecting it against both digital and physical attacks. Using bitherit, an individual can create a highly secure digital inheritance solution within minutes.
Enabl-Aid - Eoghan O'Sullivan, James O'Riordan, Rhiannon Madigan, Jack McDonnell, Ryan Thomas, Michael Cronin, Padraig Dillane, Fionan Leahy, Kieran Velon - CIT
The Enabl-Aid is a mobility device which will aid people with reduced mobility to manouevre around their gardens and easily access their flowerbeds. It significantly reduces the physical effort and upper body strength required to get down to/ and back up from ground level. However the Enabl-aid is more than just a tool, it is a comfort. It has a fantastic positive effect on the user's quality of life and comfort when performing tasks at ground level. The Enabl-Aid has a novel rough ground/terrain stabilisation system developed by our team, and it lowers the user to the ground with a moving kneeling pad controlled by the user through easy to use controls on the handles. This project was inspired by a team member's grandmother who suffered from parkinson's but was an avid gardener. We plan to make the Enabl-Aid the ultimate gardening/mobility assistant and share its benefits with everyone. Enabling you today, and tomorrow, Enabl-Aid.
Enso – The Guided Play Toolkit - Vinh Truong – TUDublin
There’s a growing call for an evaluation of Ireland’s current education system. Beneficial methods of learning in the developmental stages of a child have been stunted due to the current teaching methods and curriculum regime. Our product can provide young learners with the ability to use and analyse knowledge in a new and creative way. Enso is a toolkit that combines 3D printing education with guided play lessons, providing fully 3D printed collaborative tools that will operate alongside materials that are available within a classroom. Enso aims to allow children to create experiences by engaging in three design thinking tasks with their peers, enhancing their 21st-century skills and ready them for the changing nature of the workplace and the future.
Neurobell – Mark O’Sullivan – UCC
The Neurobell project aims to develop a diagnostic medical device for the early detection and monitoring of brain injuries in newborn infants.
Newborn brain injury results in the death or disability of over 1 million infants globally every year. It is very difficult to diagnose, requiring complex EEG monitoring equipment and expertise, which is not readily available.
The Neurobell EEG Monitor is a pocket-sized and wireless device that can be easily applied within minutes by a wide range of medical staff, and offers the ability to provide real-time diagnostic decision support. This technology would enable medical staff to assess brain injury soon after birth in a routine manner so that at-risk babies can be quickly identified for treatment.
Neurobell evolved from Mark O’Sullivan’s PhD research with the INFANT Research Centre and Embedded Systems Research Group in University College Cork (UCC). Throughout his PhD, Mark has been immersed in the entrepreneurship eco-system in UCC, and is currently a member of the IGNITE Business Incubation Programme.
Nibblez – Hannah McEvoy – St. Angela’s College, Sligo
Nibblez is a range of plant powered party food which consists of finger food products that have a high nutritional value and are suitable for vegans, plant-based eaters and those pursuing a healthier and more environmentally friendly lifestyle. The two-current market, delicious and nutritious offerings include: scrumptious spring rolls with oriental sweet chilli sauce and crispy cauliflower wings with smoky barbecue sauce. The products are high in protein and a source of vitamin B12 which are important nutrients for all individuals especially for those following vegan diets. The company was developed based on customer problems relating to the limited range of convenient vegan food products available in supermarkets and any products which were available had a poor taste, appearance and nutritional quality. The solution was to produce a range of plant-based party food which has a high nutritional value without compromising on taste, quality or appearance. The company also places a huge emphasis on environmentally friendly practices and ensures sustainability in both the production process and packaging. Nibblez aims to expand the current product range into a wider range of delicious plant-powered frozen/chilled market offerings and to become the European market leader in the growing premium frozen/chilled plant-based eating segment.
PressiDect – Siobhán Ryan – RCSI
PressiDect is a peri-operative pressure detection system utilised on the surface of an operating theatre table. It contains tactile pressure sensors that has the ability to actively map a patient’s position during their surgical procedure; measuring pressure changes in real time. This is a unique feature in a theatre setting as it informs the user where anatomically each individual patient would be most 'at risk' to pressure injury, as a result of prolonged immobilisation. The PressiDect methodology provides currently unavailable knowledge to healthcare providers at a unique ‘micro’ and individualised level. It differs to the current standard where only a ‘macro’ scoring system exists; placing the patient globally into a low, medium or high risk of pressure injury. Medical, scientific and primary market research highlights an acute appetite for modernising current peri-operative pressure care; as the healthcare forecast reveals an older and more complex patient demographic with extensive co-morbidities.
The prevention of hospital acquired pressure injuries (HAPIs) remains a fundamental concept, especially in vulnerable patient populations. PressiDect will play a crucial role peri-operatively, however, is also an adaptable system to an array of healthcare departments; having a more favourable impact on patient care and outcomes related to pressure injury prevention.
Signal Optimiser by TORANN – Lewis Loane – QUB
Signal Optimiser, by TORANN, is the unique and award-winning solution to the historic problem of loss of sound quality encountered by millions of musicians playing amplified instruments across the globe. Since the 1950’s to present date, music equipment manufacturers recognise equipment’s performance results in up to 50% loss of sound quality when playing amplified instruments. The technology has not moved forward. Signal Optimiser is a fully compatible, plug and play device, positioned between any instrument and amplifier which continuously provides 100% sound quality. Signal Optimiser is designed, developed and manufactured in Ireland.
Signal Optimiser’s unique real-time ability to release 100% of the sound of your instrument has received an overwhelming response during our industry discussions. The world’s official number 1 music retailer described Signal Optimiser as ‘very exciting, game changer, which nobody else is doing’. Launching globally in 2021, Signal Optimiser’s unique performance has the global potential to be a main stay for 70 million musicians.
Cotter Agritech – Jack/Nick Cotter – LIT/UCC
Cotter Agritech was set up by Jack and Nick Cotter. The brothers have been entrepreneurs for nearly 10 years, starting Cotter Bros Firewood in 2011 and Cotter Organic Lamb in 2019, which won an Irish Quality Food Award in 2019.
Cotter Agritech develop and commercialise smart, innovative, and accessible solutions for the Sheep Farming Sector, including the multi-award-winning Cotter Crate. This patent-pending solution makes lamb handling easy, 50% faster vs. conventional methods, and takes the backache out of lamb handling. The brothers say this is significant as 46% of Irish sheep farmers experience lower back pain.
The crate works in tandem with the SmartWeight sheep weighing app. This uniquely allows the farmer to move from blanket treating their lambs to only dosing the ones that are performing poorly. This reduction in routine sheep dosing addresses resistance to these treatments which has been estimated to cost sheep farmers globally €1.1 billion every year. The brothers are also developing SmartWeight premium, their €9.99/month breeding management software.
Overall, the brother's aim is to make life easy for sheep farmers worldwide by making their farms more productive, profitable, and sustainable. The Cotter Crate, SmartWeight, and SmartWeight Premium are being launched in Ireland and the UK in Q1 2021.
TraumAlert – Simon Dring – CIT
TraumAlert has created a SmartGuard device which will aid the identification and diagnosis of concussion in real time. A sensor system placed in a mouthguard measures the acceleration of the head during a match and identifies if the acceleration exceeds a defined, dangerous threshold which could result in concussion.
Concussion has long been a problem in both amateur and professional sports, with it gaining more and more awareness in recent years. It is an injury caused by severe impact to the head or body which causes an acceleration of the brain inside the skull resulting in the brain impacting the inside of the skull. Short and long-term effects can be serious, in particular when it is ignored or incorrectly diagnosed.
The main problem is in amateur sports where there is not the same level of medical expertise when compared to their professional counterparts. It is unfair to place a coach who is not a trained medical professional in the position of having to make a decision regarding an athlete’s health. This is where the TraumAlert SmartGuard provides invaluable information as it reduces the pressure on potentially underqualified coaching staff when making a critical decision regarding player health.
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