herald

Monday 5 December 2016

Dublin's future science stars make some noise in the RDS

Science

Naoise Tobin and Heather Murphy, from Sutton Park School, Dublin, test out their sound absorbing paint at the BT Young Scientist exhibition
Naoise Tobin and Heather Murphy, from Sutton Park School, Dublin, test out their sound absorbing paint at the BT Young Scientist exhibition
Jemin Joseph who is a 5th year student in Colaiste Phadraig in Lucan

Dublin's future science superstars are joining thousands of students from across the country at the BT Young Scientist & Technology exhibition in the RDS.

Soundproofing paint, heat-sensitive nappies and a water filtration system for space travel were just some of the entries in the running for the prestigious award.

Naoise Tobin (15) and Heather Murphy (15) from Sutton Park School hoped to impress judges with their sound-absorbing paint.

"For our junior cert we did a project on sound, so we had a background in materials and how they reflected sound," Naoise said.

"We got inspiration from various cafes and restaurants that we had found were quite loud," Heather (15) told the Herald, adding that design features often caused noise to bounce off walls.

Naoise and Heather then developed a paint containing carbon, which they believed would reduce decibel levels.

Heather believes the "very positive results" will open up a huge market for the paint.

"If you think of your terraced, semi-detached houses and apartments, you don't want to be hearing everything," she said. "It's convenient to people's lives, as well as in public spaces."

Jemin Joseph (16), from Lucan, demonstrated his idea for an electronic Braille reader. His prototype, which cost €40 to construct, uses electromagnets to create the shape of Braille letters when connected to a keyboard.

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"In Ireland, the average family spends €7,000 just to send a blind child to an institute," he said. "Now you don't need to go to an institute to learn. It can be done at home."

Over 2,000 secondary school projects applied for the competition, with just 550 selected.

The overall winner will be revealed tomorrow.

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