SciFest is an all-inclusive, all island science initiative which fosters active, collaborative and inquiry-based learning among second-level students. SciFest is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland, Intel and Boston Scientific. This year’s event in CIT showcased 145 projects from 330 second-level school students, ranging from 1st Year to 5th Year and from 32 schools across Cork City and County.

The North Monastery was successful in winning the Boston Scientific Medical Device Award and placed runner-up in the overall competition. This is the second year in succession, where the North Monastery School has won top prizes at this competition.  Danila Fedotov, a third year student did a wonderful job in winning this year’s awards for the school. His project dealt with the development of an electronic system, designed to provide caregivers with a degree of autonomy, in their care of people with dementia. The project was developed by sourcing appropriate sensors and it also incorporated a wireless link that monitored the person’s wellbeing. The project was able to determine if a person had been aimlessly wandering or had fallen, in their home. In addition, algorithms were built into the software for the detection of these events and were transmitted via Bluetooth to a mobile phone, owned by the caregiver. Overall the technology was designed to give the caregiver a greater sense of reassurance and it provided the person with dementia more independence in their home.

During the project Danila used a scientific approach to the testing of sensors and developed experiments to ensure the appropriate response achieved by sensors. He also learned how Physics and Applied Mathematics can be applied to real world projects, thus understanding the link between academic and practical work.  The qualities that made the project unique was its autonomy and the use of sensors that can accurately monitor falls (sudden accelerations) with the added ability to track a person’s movement even in areas where GPS tracking is not possible. Danila, is working hard on his Junior Certificate and is planning on entering the BT Young Scientist competition next year with even more innovation and creativity.

There were also two other projects from the North Monastery and the students did very well. They presented their work and executed their projects with clarity and learned a lot about electronics and coding. These skills are sought after by our smart economy. The science team along with management are very supportive of students and ensuring they reach their full potential. The science team are now looking forward to nurturing more talent for next year.