A showcase of innovation: Project Fair 2014

Kevin Street Project Fair

This event at DIT Kevin Street allows final year students to showcase their innovative technology projects to industry representatives.

Project Fair 2014 was held at DIT Kevin Street on Wednesday, April 9th, the fourth year of the event, which has grown significantly since its original inception. “This year we have over ninety students from six different programmes across the School of Computing and the School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering exhibiting their project work. The Project Fair works like a reverse recruitment fair, with many top employers visiting the fair to talk directly to students about their projects and skills. It’s a great opportunity for companies who are hiring to talk directly to final year students who might be the right fit for them,” explains event organiser Mark Deegan, from DIT’s School of Computing.

 

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The range of the projects on display at the event was hugely impressive. There were several highly creative and commercially aware projects in the mobile field,  from data encryption for mobile devices, to a mobile app which allows the user to identify historical features on a landscape and a very smart Mobile Travel Payment app developed by Seamus Barcoe of DIT. “Essentially it’s a very easy to use app that will allow commuters to use a common payment method across all Dublin’s public transport providers. This app creates virtual QR code  tickets and validates them on request. Users can top up their payment wallets, check the price of journeys and synchronise all their travel onto one app.” Barcoe plans to develop his current Android version into an iOS version also, before developing his commercial business plan.

Also on display was the very popular Virtual Reality Driving Tutor Simulation. This allows users to learn to drive within a bespoke virtual environment, created by DIT’s Cian Gardiner. “The simulator uses a head mounted ‘oculus rift’ headset and a force feedback steering wheel and pedals to teach the basics of driving within a simulated world. It’s a cost effective, home friendly solution which I believe would be a very beneficial aide for learners,” says Gardiner.

Other areas in which students had created innovative products included education, gaming, environmental awareness, mobility, prosthetics, robotics and self-defence.

Project Fair also featured CanSat, showcased by the winning team from the Leinster Transition Year CanSat competition. This is part of a European Space Agency Programme to promote interest in STEM disciplines. The satellites developed by CanSat are the size of a soft-drink can and are launched to an altitude of a few thousand feet and return to earth under a parachute. Using a radio transceiver they relay data to a ground station for presentation and analysis. The CanSat projects use off-the-shelf, or commonly available, components and the typical cost is less than €100. The winning CanSat at this year’s project fair was inspired by the thermal insulation properties used by daredevil Felix Baumgartner on his record breaking high-altitude parachute jump.

Just some of the 30 plus firms who met and talked to students about their projects at Project Fair 2014 included; Google, Eircom, IBM, SAP, Microsoft, SIG, Ocuco Software (who sponsored the event) and Yahoo.

 

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