Kilkenny student takes gold with the flick of a switch

A Kilkenny student has won the top prize at SciFest@Intel 2012, securing a trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona next year, where he will represent Ireland.

A Kilkenny student has won the top prize at SciFest@Intel 2012, securing a trip to the Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in Phoenix, Arizona next year, where he will represent Ireland.

Simon Bluett scooped the top award for his project ‘Easyflick’ – a system that can remotely control electrical circuits in the home from an app or online. Dr Graham Love, director of Discover Science and Engineering (DSE) and Policy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) presented the winner with his prize.

SciFest@Intel is an exhibition of the winning projects from 15 regional SciFest fairs, which took place earlier this year at institutes of technology around the country and the University of Ulster, Magee Campus, in Derry.

The aim of Simon’s project was to design a system that could remotely control electrical circuits in the home. Recognising that there are already a number of home control products on the market, Simon’s approach was to design a product that could be retrofitted to an existing electrical system.

He designed and developed a small flick unit that clips onto the circuit breaker switches on home switchboards. The unit is controlled via an app or online website, allowing you to control the circuits in your home, wherever you are. This means that if you are on the way to work and forget to turn off the light in the kitchen, you can do so from the app.

Sheila Porter, SciFest Project Manager congratulated Simon on his success.

“The opportunity to participate in SciFest@Intel is recognition of the hard work and dedication that these students put into their projects,” she said.

“For Simon the journey is only just beginning as he will have the honour of representing Ireland at next year’s Intel International Science and Engineering Fair in the US and I wish him the best of luck for that event.”

Dr Graham Love, Director of Discover Science and Engineering (DSE) and Policy and Communications at Science Foundation Ireland (SFI) said there was a steady rise in the numbers of students selecting science and related courses at third level and this is also reflected in the increased participation in SciFes.

“Encouragingly, 2012 saw close to 4,300 students exhibit almost 1,900 projects at regional level in ITs and schools around the country, and the 15 projects exhibited here today are of a very high standard,” he said.

“All students should be extremely proud of themselves for reaching this stage of SciFest. Simon’s project were exceptional and it shows how good students are at thinking outside the box and most importantly that science can be exciting! I congratulate him on his success today and I am confident that he will do Ireland proud at the International Science and Engineering Fair.”