‘CodeNinjas’ Unmasked in App Competition for Galway Student Developers

‘CodeNinjas’ Unmasked in App Competition for Galway Student Developers-image

Monday, 2 April 2012

Galway’s first app-oriented competition reveals talented coders among the NUI Galway and GMIT student population The winners of CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students have been announced. First prize in the individual went to GMIT, with NUI Galway scooping first prize in the group category. The competition was designed by local businesses and academics to train and encourage students to be creative in the cultivation of their own tech ideas. Individuals and groups were encouraged to build web and mobile applications, and were given a number of tutorials and workshops along the way. First prize in the individual category went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal, creator of ‘iSpeak’. This application allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other through a Windows Phone 7 Mobile application. One person speaks in their phrase, it is converted to text and sent to a translation service, and the result is spoken to the second person in their native language. The application was selected as the individual winner due to its novel use of both software APIs and hardware elements like the phone’s accelerometer to achieve its aims. Cathal won an iPad for his winning app. The first prize of €500 in the group category was given to the app ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Mike Rockall and Con Crowley, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. In their decision, the judges cited its easy usability for small sports clubs and teams, including Facebook user logon functionality, and also highlighted its strong commercial potential. Runner-up prizes were awarded to the group project ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean, and to the individual entry ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. John Breslin, NUI Galway Lecturer in Engineering and Informatics and co-founder of the StreamGlider app for iPad, said: “We were delighted with the high standard of apps developed as part of our inaugural CodeNinja competition. It was great to see a range of areas targeted, from sports to leisure games to language translation. We are hoping that this will be the first in a series of CodeNinja events to raise the level of app development skills amongst Galway’s student population that will then diffuse into industry as our students take on roles in local Galway companies.” Damien Costello, GMIT Lecturer in Software Development, said: “Competitions like CodeNinja are a great initiative. It is an ideal forum for students to showcase their creative abilities and their programming capabilities to their peers and to local industries. It allows our students to take their mobile development skills learned as part of the Software Development course to the next level.” Judging the competition were NUI Galway’s John Breslin, Electrical and Electronic Engineering, Dr Jim Duggan, Information Technology, Dr Michael Lang, Business Information Systems, Clodagh Barry, Bright Ideas Initiative, and local company founders Paul Killoran, Ex Ordo, Michael FitzGerald, OnePageCRM and Dave Kelly, BeautyBoss. Professor Chris Curtin, Vice-President for Innovation and Performance at NUI Galway, presented the prizes. GMIT’s Software Development students and lecturers have been working with four client companies specialising in app development in GMIT's Innovation in Business Centre (IiBC). Known as the GMIT App Cluster Group, the four client companies and staff and students hold an App Bash Session every two months with each company presenting their commercial app for review by the other client companies, the students and lecturers. In turn, the students present their apps and have them reviewed by the app cluster group. These sessions have been of great benefit to the GMIT software development students. They also serve as a good sounding board for ideas and as a focus group for testing and feedback on work being done. -ENDS- In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the individual category was ‘Implexis Adiutor’, a crossword solver application for Android phones. Pictured is its creator, GMIT Computer and Software Development Student at GMIT, Carles Sentis, who is originally from Barcelona. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the individual winner prize of an iPad went to GMIT student Cathal Mac Donnacha from Rossaveal.  The fourth-year Software Development student, created ‘iSpeak’, a Microsoft Windows Phone 7 based application which allows people with differing native languages to communicate with each other. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the runner-up prize in the group category went ‘Message in a Bottle’, a web app where people cast short messages into a virtual sea and others can choose to read and keep these messages or throw them back in the ocean. Demonstrating the app are two of its creators Aleksei Lorenz, a first year Computer Science student at NUI Galway who is originally from Belarus, and Yan Chak Or, and Administration & Informations Systems student at GMIT, who is originally from Hong Kong. In CodeNinja, the app development competition for NUI Galway and GMIT students, the first prize of €500 in the group category was given to ‘What’s the Score’, created by NUI Galway students Con Crowley and Mike Rockall, who are both from Oranmore. ‘What’s the Score’ is a mobile application for taking scores during any type of sports game, and for reporting both ongoing and final results through a website to interested parties. Both in their final year, Con is studying Mechanical Engineering, while Mike is studying Sports & Exercise Engineering.

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Biomedical Science Students Showcase their Community Knowledge Initiative Projects

Biomedical Science Students Showcase their Community Knowledge Initiative Projects-image

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway biomedical science students recently held a presentation day, to showcase the projects which they completed as part of the community knowledge initiative (CKI) module. This module introduces students to the concept of service-learning* and aims to link classroom learning and community service to enrich learning experiences and emphasise civic responsibility. The module gives the opportunity for students to learn and develop through active participation in experiences that meet real community needs. The module is integrated into the students’ curriculum to provide structured time to think, talk and report on their activities, while also working as part of a team. The four main projects this academic year included: Off Bio Heart: The development of a smart phone application to deliver video-based footage of curriculum-based biology laboratory practicals to Leaving Certificate students. This project, supervised by NUI Galway’s Dr Lynn O’Connor, Biomedical Science, and Dr Des Chambers, Engineering, was in collaboration with MSc in Software Design and Development postgraduate students Janette Saunders, Mel Reynolds, Karen Staunton and Shane O’Sullivan. Awareness of Hypertension as a Cardiovascular Risk Factor in a Third-Level Educational Institution: This Croí/CKI Health Promotion Initiative was supervised by Dr Ger Flaherty, Medicine Lecturer at NUI Galway, with the group reaching over 150 staff and students at the University.  Student Health Connect Mentors: Students acted as mentors both inside the University and in local schools, giving student-centred information about sexual health, alcohol and other drugs, mental health and nutrition. The project was supervised by NUI Galway Lecturer in Medicine, Dr Brian Stewart. Awareness day for the Irish Therapy Dogs Association:  This voluntary body provides physical, therapeutic and educational benefit to people in hospitals, nursing homes, day care centres, schools and other places where people may be restricted from having pets and where the presence of dogs, and their handlers, will add comfort and support. The students also researched the growing interest in the use of dogs in medicine focusing on functions distinct from the role of the therapy dogs, producing and distributed a calendar highlighting the current and expanding roles of dogs in diagnostic medicine. At the annual showcase, Dr Lynn O’Connor, module coordinator at NUI Galway, said: “These community experiences bring the curriculum alive to the students and we appreciate the commitment of our community partners for providing these rich learning experiences for our second year students.”  Brenda Rickard, Chief Executive of the Irish Therapy Dogs Associates, said: “Irish Therapy Dogs very much appreciate the hard work and commitment shown by the students of NUI Galway in increasing awareness about the benefits of pet therapy and the importance of the work that we do.” Programme Director, Dr Maura Grealy, added: “The programme has surpassed my expectations in promoting student development awareness of community needs, organisational skills and confidence; they have done great work and I am very proud of them.” This is the third year that the module has been offered to students of Biomedical Science and it has become a very positive aspect of the academic programme at NUI Galway. Over 40 degree programmes at NUI Galway include a service learning module. Engineering students find solutions to community problems, Occupational Therapy students roll out essential services to schools and hostels and Maths students work in second level schools and share their knowledge through a creative Maths curriculum. For further information is available at www.nuigalway.ie/cki and www.irishtherapydogs.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway to Hold CAO Information Evening in Roscommon

NUI Galway to Hold CAO Information Evening in Roscommon-image

Monday, 2 April 2012

Secondary school students interested in NUI Galway are invited to a CAO Information Evening in Roscommon on Thursday, 19 April. Parents and guardians are also particularly welcome to the event which runs from 7 to 9pm in The Abbey Hotel, Roscommon Town. The evening will begin with a short presentation on college and student life at NUI Galway and will focus on some of the 60 courses the University offers. There will be a number of career talks focusing on different employment options available to students on completion of their studies. These will include talks on Arts, Science, Business and Law, Engineering, Medicine and Health Sciences. Afterwards, current students and NUI Galway staff will be on hand at information stands to answer any individual questions in relation to courses offered by the University and about practical issues like accommodation, fees and scholarships, and the wide range of support services available to our students. The ever-increasing popularity of NUI Galway is in part due to a suite of innovative new programmes, developed in response to the changing needs of the employment market, including an Energy Engineering degree and a Maths and Education degree aimed at training Maths teachers. “NUI Galway has a great deal to offer. Our own students tell us our lecturers are inspirational and challenge them to achieve their full potential. The student experience in Galway is second to none, and we want to bring a taste of that to Roscommon, while also providing all the practical information on accommodation, CAO points, fees, scholarships and courses. With so many courses on offer, this event in Roscommon is a perfect opportunity to meet current students and our lecturers to see what degree might be the right fit”, says Caroline Loughnane, Director of Marketing and Communications at NUI Galway. To find out more about the CAO Information Evening in Roscommon, contact NUI Galway's Schools Liaison Office, Gráinne Dunne, Schools Liaison Office on 087 2440858 or grainne.dunne@nuigalway.ie. -ENDS-

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NUI Galway Lights up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day

NUI Galway Lights up Blue for World Autism Awareness Day-image

Monday, 2 April 2012

NUI Galway lights up The Quadrangle which turned blue last night in advance of World Autism Awareness Day (today) Monday, 2 April, 2012. Lights were turned on as part of the Autism Speaks campaign 'Light it Up Blue' which works with a range of partners to light up major global landmarks in order to draw attention to the issue of autism. The Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research (ICAN) at NUI Galway was officially opened by President of Ireland, Michael D. Higgins in February. Through scientific research, education and services to the community, ICAN is dedicated to ensuring improvements for individuals with autism and their families. To read Dr Geraldine Leader, Director of the Irish Centre for Autism and Neurodevelopmental Research at NUI Galway, opinion piece in the Irish Examiner click here

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National Finals of 2012 Debating Science Issues Announced

National Finals of 2012 Debating Science Issues Announced-image

Tuesday, 3 April 2012

The 2012 Debating Science Issues All-Ireland Finals will be held on Thursday, 19 April, at the Royal College of Surgeons in Ireland in Dublin. The Finals, co-ordinated by the Regenerative Medicine Institute (REMEDI) at NUI Galway, will see four teams of secondary school students from across the country debating their way to be crowned All-Ireland champions. This is the only All-Ireland collaborative science outreach initiative of its kind.  A field of 40 schools has been narrowed to just four through 36 provincial rounds of debates held between January and March. The four secondary schools in the final will be: St. Catherine’s Vocational School, Killybegs, Donegal; Clonakilty Community College, Co. Cork; St. Andrews College, Blackrock, Dublin; and Abbey Vocational School, Donegal Town.  The first two debates, St. Catherine’s Vocational School against St. Andrews College, and Abbey Vocational School against Clonakilty Community College, will focus on the moral obligation to explore research with embryonic stem cells due to the potential to develop new medical treatments.  The winners of the debates will then meet to debate the necessity of animal testing for advancing disease treatment. Debating Science Issues encourages young people to engage in debate on the cultural, societal and ethical implications of advances in biomedical science. The competition is led by REMEDI at NUI Galway and collaborators include APC at UCC, BDI at DCU, RCSI, CIT, CRANN at Trinity College, W5 in Belfast, Clarity at UCD and the Centre for Cross Border Studies in Armagh.  Danielle Nicholson, All-Ireland Co-ordinator of Debating Science Issues (DSI), said: “This project provides a great opportunity for the teachers and students to be exposed to some of the latest developments in biomedical research and also to consider the ethical elements which can be a great hook to interest the public in the scientific topics. Data collected from five cycles of DSI involving more than 3,500 students shows an increase in interest in science as a subject and as a career as a result of participation in the project.” This schools’ biomedical science workshop series and debate competition has been supported by the Wellcome Trust for five consecutive years.  Provincial trophies and prizes are provided by Abbott Ireland, Boston Scientific, Merck- Millipore and Pfizer Ireland.  Every year the project has evolved and has responded to the feedback gathered continuously throughout the project.  This year a new Topic Guide on rare diseases has been introduced and a dedicated website has also been developed, www.debatingscienceissues.com . -ENDS-

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