Yesterday I attended the annual NCI School of Computing Final Year Project Showcase and I was pleasantly surprised with some of the projects that I saw. The annual showcase allows NCI’s final year computing students to show off their skills and maybe something that might have potential. A lot of the projects on show showcased skills in research, game design, web design, mysql databases and various open source api’s from the likes of Facebook, Paypal and Twitter.

The projects that impressed me most offered unique ways of purchasing bus tickets, food and drink, and also highlighted important issues that can affect some members of the population.

Obesity is a growing problem that is affecting teenagers in Ireland and Gemma Kiernan has developed a website that educates and informs us how technology can have a positive and also a negative impact on childhood obesity. Gemma also did research on technology and obesity and the results she found go hand in hand with the website she developed.

Study of ObesityThe website Study of Obesity and I.T. is aimed at children aged between twelve to eighteen shows the results of the survey undertaken as part of Gemma’s research. The website also features healthy eating tips, links to useful websites, a quiz where teenagers can test their knowledge and coming soon will be the opportunity for users to publish their own tips.

How many of you have found it hard to find a restaurant that caters for coeliacs? Vanessa Montanha aims to solve this problem with her website Coeliac Pal.

Coeliac PalCoeliac Pal will help you find Gluten Free restaurants on a computer, smartphone and tablet. It determines your location and then tells you what restaurants are nearby. You will also be able to leave reviews of restaurants you have been along with suggestions of new places worth visiting.

Colour blindness is a condition that affects 4.5% of the Irish population and this led Corey Flynn to research the affects it has in the I.T. sector, which he then published on his website.

Colour Blindness
Corey’s website has interviews with people who are colour blind, the results of a survey he did with the general public on their awareness of the condition and the opinions of website developers on colour blindness within the website and web development sector of the I.T. sector. There are four different types of colour blindness and the website also educates us on this.

For those of us who travel on buses, never carry much change and do not yet have a Leap Card help might be at hand with Conall Heffernan’s Mobile M-Ticketing app.

Mobile M-TicketingConall’s app works with smartphones that are NFC enabled and scans the NFC tag located at the bus stop that you are at. You then select your destination on the app and the type of ticket you are buying. Payment is then processed quickly and securely via PayPal. The M-Ticket purchased is stored on your mobile ready to be shown to the bus driver when you enter the bus.

Barry McGetttigan realised that pubs that only sell craft beers are on the rise, so why not allow them to take advantage of the benefits that mobile apps can bring.

Craft BeerBarry’s craft beer app will allow customers to order food and drink from their phone, directly from their table thus providing a solution to the problem we all dread, long queues. The app can run on any smartphone device with payment being processed quickly and securely via PayPal; Within 5 minutes of placing your order your drink will arrive with food naturally taking a bit longer to arrive. The app can also be customised for each bar that uses it.

It’s great to see what the next generation of I.T. researchers and entrepreneurs have to offer and the NCI showcase is growing into something that is not to be missed. Gemma, Vanessa, Corey, Conall and Barry have shown us how technology can aid us, in offering solutions to problems that exist, whilst also teaching us about issues that are starting to affect a sizeable section of the Irish population.

Hopefully the next time I meet Gemma, Vanessa, Corey, Conall and Barry their research, apps and websites will have gotten a lot more recognition and most importantly clients and users.

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