Limerick IT student wins 2015 Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer award

Limerick IT student wins 2015 Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer award

17 June 2015 at 11:42


Rob Laffan, a student at Limerick Institute of Technology, has been named the winner of the 2015 Engineers Ireland Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Award, sponsored by Siemens. 

Rob, an automation and control engineering student was shortlisted for his project titled ‘Tippy Talk’ which involves the use of automation technology for communicating across a multitude of non-verbal disabilities such as autism. The device allows the user to select a want, need and feeling preloaded on to the touch screen. The user’s chosen desire is then articulated in the form of an SMS sent directly to the carer’s mobile phone. While apps with this functionality exist there is currently no dedicated device on the market. 

This year’s projects exemplify original thinking, practical solutions and technical competence. The shortlisted engineering innovations included farming equipment which aims to reduce piglet mortality and improve laying fences, reducing waste through recycling shotgun cartridges, an automatic flood defence barrier, improvements in roadside cycling puncture repair equipment and the development of a smart network system for hospitals.      

John Power, chartered engineer, director general of Engineers Ireland said, “The winning project indeed all the entries, are perfect examples of why engineers are in such high demand globally. Skilled engineers are advancing technology and developing innovative solutions to overcome issues in industry and in society. This award showcases the outstanding engineering talent in Ireland and I wish to congratulate all entrants, in particular the winner Rob Laffan.”

“Siemens wants to inspire the next generation of Irish engineers through the promotion of science and engineering. The Innovative Student Engineer Award provides a unique platform for students to demonstrate innovation and creative thinking. We are committed to ensuring that young people have the knowledge and skills they need to succeed in and meet the challenges of a technology led future." Michael O'Connor, head of communications at Siemens Limited.

Run by Engineers Ireland and sponsored by Siemens the ‘Innovative Student Engineer of the Year Awards celebrate excellence in engineering degrees across Ireland. The competition is judged on innovation and technical knowledge and is open to students of all levels studying an accredited engineering degree programme. The winner receives an Engineers Ireland Excellence Award trophy, the title of 2015 Innovative Student Engineer of the Year, as well as €2,000 prize money.

The award presentations took place in Engineers Ireland HQ, Clyde Road, Dublin 4 on Friday 12th June.  


  • Student: Damien Dennehy, CIT, Mechanical Engineering
  • Project: Design and Development of an Automatic Flood Defence Barrier
  • Students: Emma O'Leary, Kelly Lane, Nicolle Dunphy, CIT, Biomedical Engineering
  • Project: Automatic Pig Milking Device
  • Student: Liam Sexton, DCU, Biomedical Engineering
  • Project:   The Reverse Engineering of Objects with Android
  • Students: David Dunne, Arnoldas Ulevicius, Alan Whitford, DIT, Mechanical Engineering
  • Project:   Air Support; Roadside Bicycle Tyre Inflator
  • Student: Dylan Prinsen, DKIT, Mechanical Engineering    
  • Project:  PH Full Phase e-MTB Kit
  • Students: Andrew Kinsella, Wang Seok Shin, IT Carlow, Mechanical Engineering
  • Project:  The Easy Fencer
  • Students: Stephen Loughnane, Cian North, Niall Skinnader, Sean O'Hagan, Aidan Ward, IT Sligo, Mechanical Engineering      
  • Project: Shotgun Cartridge Separator
  • Student: Gary Roche, ITT Dublin, Electronic Engineering
  • Project:  Investigation of Smart Materials in a Smart Sensor Network
  • Student: Rob Laffan, LIT, Automation and Control Eng    
  • Project:  Tippy Talk
  • Student: Francis Yates, TCD, Mechanical Engineering     
  • Project:  Blazer