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Trinity College Dublin students Tim Farrelly and David Deneher along with Omar Salem, a student at Queen’s University Belfast, have won Enterprise Ireland’s 2021 Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award.
The third level student team developed a touch-based handheld device that enables people with blindness or visual impairment to feel the speed and energy of sports matches with granularity that audio cannot reach. By using artificial intelligence to analyse live video feeds of games, Field of Vision translates what’s happening on the field to tablet devices through ‘haptic feedback’. This immersive experience allows the user to better visualise the game.
Field of Vision was one of ten finalists at the awards, which took place virtually today, and the team received €10,000 as part of the Enterprise Ireland student prize. Field of Vision will also receive mentoring from Enterprise Ireland to develop the commercial viability of their device.
This is the 40th year of Enterprise Ireland’s Student Entrepreneur Awards, which are co-sponsored by Cruickshank, Grant Thornton and the Local Enterprise Offices. The awards are open to all third level institutions across the country.
The Cruickshank High Achieving Merit Award went to Marion Cantillon of Pit-Seal. Representing University College Cork, she received a prize of €5,000 for her biofilm which eliminates the need for farmers to use plastic or tyres to seal pits and reduces methane emissions.
The Grant Thornton High Achieving Merit Award and €5,000 went to Pure Clothing, the socially responsible clothing brand created by Dublin City University student Peter Timlin and University of Limerick student Richard Grimes.
The Local Enterprise Office ICT Award and €5,000 went to Diglot, a language learning book company founded by Trinity College Dublin students Cian Mcnally and Evan Mcgloughlin. They weave foreign words into English sentences in classic novels, allowing the reader to absorb new vocabulary gradually. To date, Diglot has achieved sales in 19 countries worldwide.
Ivan McPhillips, lecturer in Entrepreneurship, Innovation and Rural Development at the GMIT School of Business, won the Enterprise Ireland Academic Award.
Along with the prize money, the winners will also share in a €30,000 consultancy fund that will enable them to turn their ideas into a commercial reality. Enterprise Ireland Merit awards were given to the remaining six finalists along with €1,500 per team.
Tánaiste and Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment Leo Varadkar said: “Congratulations to everyone who took part in this year’s Student Entrepreneur Awards. I’m really impressed by the calibre and ingenuity of the ideas put forward, especially given the significant challenges that came with this unprecedented year. A particular commendation to the award winners. Every student that participated should be very proud of their accomplishments. I wish them every success as they continue on their entrepreneurial journey.”
Leo Clancy, CEO of Enterprise Ireland said: “Over the past four decades, the Student Entrepreneur Awards have provided an important platform for young people across the country to showcase their innovative business ideas and realise their entrepreneurial ambitions. The competition acts as a springboard for tomorrow’s business leaders, and previous winners and finalists have gone on to achieve success both nationally and internationally. We’ve had over 250 entries for this year’s awards, with applicants demonstrating ingenuity in their approach to solving real-world problems across a range of sectors. I want to congratulate all the students who took part in the competition in what has been a uniquely challenging year.”
More information on the Student Entrepreneur Awards can be found on www.studententrepreneurawards.com
Notes to Editor
Enterprise Ireland Student Entrepreneur of the Year Award
Field of Vision - Tim Farrelly, David Deneher and Omar Salem - Trinity College Dublin and Queen’s University Belfast
Currently, 160 million blind and visually impaired people worldwide are constrained to experiencing sport games through audio commentary. Anyone who has listened to commentary can attest that it is difficult for audio to accurately convey what is happening on the pitch. If they're lucky, they might have a friend who can help them experience the game by tracing out the position of the ball on their hands, however this is still not ideal. We want to fix this.
We have built a touch-based handheld device that enables blind and visually-impaired people to experience sports matches through haptic feedback. Our device will allow users to actually feel the game, and all its speed and energy with granularity that audio cannot reach. To do this, we use AI to analyse live video feeds. Users will use this device in conjunction with audio commentary to visualise games with greater clarity, allowing for a more immersive and enjoyable experience.
We will initially sell directly to football clubs/stadiums, but in order to reach as many people as possible, we plan to extend beyond both football and the stadium into other sports as a consumer device that users can use from their living rooms.
Pit-Seal - Marion Cantillon - University College Cork
Pit-Seal is a start-up company that was founded on Enterprise Ireland’s IGNITE programme. The Pit-Seal process creates a zero-waste, circular economy and aims to make farming more eco-friendly and provide long-term sustainability for farmers and their families. Pit-Seal is developing a spray-on edible biofilm that forms an air and watertight matrix on the grass eliminating the traditional use of (PVC) plastic and tyres to seal pits. Pit-Seal's biofilm can be consumed by the ruminant with the additional benefit of reducing Methane (GHG) emissions.
Pure Clothing - Peter Timlin and Richard Grimes - Dublin City University and University of Limerick
Pure Clothing offers stylish, luxury, sustainable and affordable clothing. Our current range includes hoodies, sweatshirts, joggers, and much more - garments are mainly made of organic cotton free from any chemicals and their secondary component is recycled polyester. Material certifications include GOTS and GRS with workers being protected by the FairWear foundation and WRAP certification. The packaging we use is plastic free and fully recyclable, right down to the tape we use to seal our boxes.
The efforts we make in protecting the environment stretch far beyond our products and supply chain. We have planted over 1000 native Irish saplings here in Ireland. This coincided with an educational initiative with local primary and secondary schools in which we spoke about all things related to sustainability, including the importance of trees and carbon offsetting. We carry out regular beach clean-ups and are active members of our local community clean-up group, proudly supporting a variety of biodiversity projects through this work. We will forever prioritise ethics and social responsibility as we pursue our goal of making fashion more sustainable.
Diglot - Evan Mcgloughlin and Cian Mcnally - Trinity College Dublin
Diglot is a language learning book publishing company. We take classic novels like Pride and Prejudice and Sherlock Holmes and weave foreign words into the English sentences. Diglot dispatches with mainstream language education, leaving behind painful memorisation, repetition and tedious grammar classes and taking a fun, effective and engaging approach. At the start of our books only a few words are translated, but as you progress, getting lost in the world of fantasy, more and more translated words are added.
People acquire languages through context, and we allow this to happen gradually and naturally, without the learner even noticing the language skills they are absorbing. Our collection currently boasts eleven books in six different languages, which we sell through Amazon and our website (www.diglot.ie). We have had a great response from our community of keen language learners. People love our books and believe in our vision. Our sales to date have demonstrated this, as we have sold almost 1000 books in 19 different countries.
Aire na Farraige - Clare Power, Alexander Griciunas, Felix Millner, Katie Daly, Ciaran Mcauliffe – Munster Technological University
Aire na Farraige is a novel, patentable marine safety device that will help reduce loss of life at sea and decrease the number of “false alarm” calls to the marine rescue services. Currently, up to 98% of all 406/121.5 MHz marine rescue alarm activations are false alerts. This places a significant and unnecessary burden on the marine search and rescue services. Our device attaches to the life jacket, arm or leg of the user and automatically activates one of two response levels depending on the user’s position with respect to the vessel. With its novel, “two-radius”, automated system, Aire na Farraige considerably enhances the response time of the vessel on which the incident has occurred by notifying them immediately of the person overboard.
Aire na Farraige also significantly increases the likelihood that a search and rescue asset will find the casualty due to the 406MHz signal broadcasting a GPS position, and search and rescue crafts’ ability to use the 121.5MHz signal as a homing beacon. With 98,140 registered commercial vessels world-wide, there is enormous export potential for this device. We plan to establish the manufacturing and R&D headquarters of our company in Ireland.
Cervello - Mark Pearson – Maynooth University
Cervello is a sensor capable of measuring the flow rate of cerebrospinal fluid (CSF) flowing through a shunt in Hydrocephalus patients. The fluid flows out of the shunt, through the sensor and through the outer catheter to the abdomen. The Hydrocephalus patient can use a small, handheld, electronic device to scan the sensor. This device displays the current flow rate of the fluid. Shunts have a high failure rate of 50% in the first two years and 98% in the first ten years. Cervello can detect shunt failure and alert the patient before serious damage is done. Patients often experience headaches due to shunt malfunction. However, they also experience headaches based on the unnatural nature of having a shunt.
It is difficult to tell the difference between a normal headache and a shunt malfunction headache. Cervello gives patients the option to check their shunt at home, instead of travelling to a hospital for a CT scan. This avoids the patient worrying excessively about their headache. It also provides neurosurgeons with more data about each patient’s Hydrocephalus, potentially leading to a cure.
EleSkate - Shannon O’Shea, Jamie O’Leary, Ellen Keating, Mark Cummins and Bartlomiej Rys - Munster Technological University
Figure skating is an international Olympic sport which combines both artistry and athleticism. There are currently 30 million figure skaters worldwide and there is a rapidly growing demand for technology to aid the training process. Our product, EleSkate, is a novel, patentable sports analysis device which, using an array of sensors, assesses the figure skating jump based upon height, distance, speed of rotation, number of rotations, and airtime. The demand for a device to objectively quantify figure skating metrics has resulted from changes to the judging system which were implemented in 2006. In the intervening years, these rule changes have resulted in rapidly accelerating advancements in the technical complexity and athleticism of the sport.
The EleSkate device fits seamlessly underneath the skating boot of the athlete, thus avoiding impeding their movements. The athlete’s performance data is displayed for analysis on the EleSkate companion app which is also fitted with overtraining prevention functionality. EleSkate will provide employment opportunities here in Ireland in areas including R&D, sales and marketing. Sales of EleSkate will be almost entirely export-driven with our largest markets being USA, Canada, Russia, Germany, Japan and the Nordic countries.
Handicaddie - Graham Curry and Ryan Bennett – Queen’s University Belfast and Ulster University
Handicaddie is a revolutionary platform which digitises the process of arranging golf caddies. Caddies can create profiles, set their work schedules in advance and accept jobs through our platform. Golf clubs can also use our platform to efficiently co-ordinate caddie arrangements and can notify caddies of job opportunities at the click of a button. Our app will be run through an iPad/desktop in each club we partner with by a caddie master/golf club staff.
We aim to commercialise our platform through partnering with golf clubs across the globe, providing a digital database where they can schedule their caddies to work and track their performances. Currently, we are testing our MVP with some of the biggest clubs in Ireland, including Lahinch, Royal Dublin and Ardglass. We already have received funding from the likes of Techstart NI and Invest NI.
When golf tourism returns to Ireland, we aim to bring the caddying industry into a new era of connectivity and convenience. Our vision for the future is creating an all-encompassing platform for caddie, with golfers and tour operators able to make bookings on our app.
Mirr - Alice Shaughnessy and Jack O'Regan Kenny - TU Dublin and NUI Galway
Mirr is a touchscreen smart mirror, positioned within the up-and-coming beauty tech space. Human beings spend a significant amount of time on personal grooming, averaging five hours a week at their mirror. From make-up application to skincare routines, people often juggle beauty products, tools and their phone, all while monitoring themselves in the mirror. It’s simply impractical. Mirr solves this problem by combining your phone and mirror into one device, making it the perfect tool for multitasking. Fitted with a wide range of applications, you can watch Netflix, listen to Spotify, or check the weather while getting ready for the day ahead.
Tailored to beauty enthusiasts, Mirr has proven to be particularly useful for those who follow make-up tutorials. With any unused screen space remaining fully reflective, make-up users can display YouTubers’ beauty tutorials side-by-side with their reflection, allowing them to easily follow along with the content of the tutorial. Mirr’s handcrafted frame allows it to return to a sleek piece of home décor, blending into the home when not in use. Since becoming a commercial venture, Mirr has received national recognition, from being on Phase 2 of Enterprise Ireland’s New Frontiers programme, to winning the Irish Student Entrepreneurship Forum Competition.
Wexbury Spirits – Mark Kavanagh, Emma Considine, Earl Echivarre, Jean O’Driscoll and Ellen Grace - UCD Michael Smurfit Graduate Business School
Wexbury Spirits meets a significant demand for a premium 100% Irish-origin, fruit-flavoured vodka. Our entire portfolio (three delicious flavours - strawberry, raspberry and blackberry) has been uniquely crafted from quality Wexford produce. Infusing fresh fruit from Greenhill farm with vodka distilled in Irish farms, made from grains harvested from the famous Hook Head peninsula, we use only 100% naturally sourced ingredients. Providing that authentic summertime experience, Wexbury is ‘The Spirit of Wexford’.
Aged only 13, our founder Mark Kavanagh originally set up a business selling renowned Wexford strawberries close to his family farm. His ‘experiment’ of adding the fresh fruit to vodka became popular with friends and family. Thus, Wexbury Spirits’ journey began.
Vodka remains the most popular spirit in Ireland and globally, despite the recent sales growth in pink gin. Strongly driven by the rise in cocktail culture, major opportunities exist for a versatile, accessible and affordable offering like Wexbury. With a long-term ambition to lead globally, our immediate goal is to drive growth in the Irish vodka category.
Graduates of the esteemed SuperValu Food Academy, Team Wexbury’s range will be available on shelf in Wexford Supervalu stores from July 2021.