Host of Athlone-area projects going on display at Young Scientist event

Wednesday, 9th January, 2019 2:03pm

Host of Athlone-area projects going on display at Young Scientist event

Aoibhe Lennon, Aoife O Neill and Irene Finnerty, Athlone Community College Young Scientists, with their entry 'Smart Electric Fence'. Photo: Ann Hennessy

Dublin's RDS is hosting thousands of visitors this week for the 55th BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition, which gets underway today (Wednesday). 

See this week's Westmeath Independent print edition for a special two-page feature in which we interview the students behind the four projects from Athlone Community College.

Our Lady's Bower also has four projects going forward to the exhibition, while three projects have qualified from Moate Community School and Meán Scoil an Chlochair, Kilbeggan, two from Ballymahon Vocational School, and one from Athlone's Marist College.

Here's a quick look at the projects from Athlone, Moate Kilbeggan and Ballymahon which will be going on display at the prestigious annual event:


The project by students Irene Finnerty, Aoife O'Neill and Aoibhe Lennon is entitled 'Smart Electric Fence'. It plans to develop a device to cut off an electric fence, should an animal be trapped and repeatedly shocked which may lead to death. It is entered in the Intermediate Group section of the Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences category.

'Knock, Knock – Who is there? An Artificial Neural Network Autoencoder Design and Implementation to Detect When an Internet Connected Toy Has Been Hacked' is by students Amy Fallon and Andrea Whyte. It is in the Intermediate Group section of the Technology Category. Using an artificial neural network autoencoder approach, it proposes to create an anomaly detection algorithm which identifies security threats to connected toys, increasing child security online.

Students Damien Kelly, Luke Coffey and Neil Hannon have qualified with their project 'Anaphylaxis - We Need A Reaction!' It aims to highlight the important issue of the safety and protection of the allergic child in school against allergen risk and the prevention of anaphylaxis. It is entered in the Intermediate Group section of the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.

'The Music Memory Maestro - An Alexa Skill that matches text to be memorised to music' is by Ruairí Lyons, Shane Whyte and Pranay Goel is in the Intermediate Group section of the Technology category. It aims to improve learning skills for secondary school students, by applying a new musical memorisation technique using an Alexa type skill. All four projects are under the supervision of teacher Martina Roache.


Students Patrick Connaughton, Darragh Whyte and Frankie Moffatt have qualified fro the Intermediate section of the Social and Behavioural Sciences category with their project entitled 'A statistical investigation in to the effects of the fodder crisis on farmers’ mental wellbeing'.

The students involved in this project are all from a farming background and witnessed first-hand the fodder crisis in action last winter. With the use of surveys, these students are currently investigating whether the fodder crisis had an effect on farmers’ mental wellbeing and what the main stress factors for farmers in this situation are. The students are hoping to develop recommendations that could be implemented in the event of a future fodder crisis. 

And in the Intermediate section of the Technology category are Emily Cassells, Patrice Rhatigan and Juliette Byrne with their project 'Analysing the use and efficiency of cow sensors on dairy farms'.

This project aims to look at the use of cow sensors and evaluate the efficiency of these sensors. Once again, a simple survey and statistical analysis will be used to collect the data.


'Does inequality in sport effect women's attitude towards the game?' That is the name of the project by students: Katie Reid, Roisin Mealiff and Ella Ravenhill. It will investigate how inequality in sport towards women effects their attitude and participation towards the game. It is entered in the Intermediate Group of the Social and Behavioural Sciences category.

'Do people take care of objects better if they anthropomorphise them?' This project by Emma Hamm aims to assess if people take care of inanimate objects better if they give them human qualities or customise them. It is entered in the individual intermediate section of the Social and Behavioural Sciences category. 

'Attendance in a co-educational school or single sex school, which has the most significant impact on the anxiety levels of teenage girls?' This project aims to find out if the school type attended by girls aged fourteen to sixteen, has an effect on their level of anxiety. Students Lisa Ennis and Erin Heeney have entered the project in the Social and Behavioural Sciences category, Intermediate Group section.


Bower students Aoife McDermott and Ashling McCarthy have qualified in the Technology section, Intermediate Group category with a project entitled 'Track that Crash'. It is to develop a system that can detect if your car has crashed and text the GPS coordinates of the location of the crash to emergency services. 

Eimear Galvin, Millie O'Brien and Hannah Lennon are in the Junior category of the Technology section with 'Lamb Watch'. It aims to find ways of using computer coding to save lambs from hypothermia.

'Move Over Manuka! – Irish Heather Honey means BuZZness' by Hannah Duffy and Niamh Jorden. This project aims to see if Manuka Honey and Irish Heather Honey made in different locations in Ireland, is effective at killing different types of bacteria. It is entered in the Juinor section of the Biological and Ecological category.

In the section section of the Biological and Ecological category, students Kate Duffy and Isabelle Clarke have entered 'Sphagnum: A Super Solution for Superbugs'. This project tests the antimicrobial properties of sphagnum moss.


'Purification to save the nation' is the project of Oisin Murphy, Ruairi Casey and Jay Looney in the Intermedation section of the Biological and Ecological category. About 33% of Zambians don't have access to safe water. The project looks at implementing solar stills in homes to purify contaminated water. 

Stephen Kelly and Christopher Kerrigan have entered a project entitled 'Electric Fence Low Voltage Alert System' to develop a sensor that can alert the farmer by text message if the fence voltage drops below the threshold level. It is in the Technology category, Intermediate group section.

Emma Kelly and Brian Conlon have entered 'Sphagnum Re-growth; A Solution to a Blazing Concern?', a project designed to develop a biodegradable pellet to promote the growth of sphagnum species on burned peat lands. It is in the senior section of the Biological and Ecological section category.


'Can Recycled Bricks Solve Housing Crisis?' is by Donal McDermott and is in the Junior section of the Chemical, Physical & Mathematical Sciences category. 

This project recycles plastic by melting it and mixing it with sand to create a light, strong and durable building block.


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