Young scientists reveal world of wonder

AN electronic alarm invented by Newry schoolboy Vincent O’Rourke is being hailed as a livesaver for farmers.

Vincent’s project at the Esat BT Young Scientist & Technology Exhibition was enthusiastically endorsed by Minister of State Tom Parlon.

“Clearly, it’s a device that will save lives,” said the former IFA president. Accidents involving agricultural machinery claim the lives of five children every year.

"The tragedy happens because the operator is unaware a child is dangerously close to the machine. The device vibrates and gives a warning sound to alert operators that people are within 10 or 12 metres of a tractor or a machine.

A pupil of Newry Christian Brothers School, Vincent said the components cost him less than £30 (50) and can be carried in the machine operator’s pocket.

Meantime, tabloid media reports give an unfair impression of Limerick, according to Sarah Curtin, Niamh O’Brien and Sarah Molyneaux from Limerick’s Laurel Hill Secondary School.

“We found the majority of the nicknames about Limerick came from the media,” said Sarah, whose project centred on the impact of manipulative media on public perception.

“We found out that people thought Limerick was a bad city, not because they had ever visited it but because they had read it in a newspaper, magazine or seen it on TV.”

A gymnastics safety device by Karly Fairman from Thurles is designed to prevent training injuries. When the gymnast misses the beam the device instantly picks up the slack on the gym elastics, preventing her crashing to the ground.

And Cian MacMahon from Dublin’s Gonzaga College has made a hovercraft from a converted lawn mover.

“I’m hoping to have it set up for carting things around the garden rather than use a wheelbarrow. and maybe, if we can make it quieter, use it for transportation,” he said.

The exhibition runs until this evening at the RDS, Ballsbridge. President Mary McAleese will announce the winner this evening.

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