Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Ruairi Doherty from Ballinasloe pictured with his project “Remote Robot”. Ruairi completed his B. Eng (Hons) in Software & Electronic Engineering in GMIT this year (2020) and is now employed by Microchip Technology Inc. Ruairi is one of the three finalists in the 2020 3rd Level Midas Project Competition.

A GMIT Engineering student’s project “Remote Robot” has been shortlisted for this year’s national 2020 – 3rd Level Midas Electronic Project Competition. Ruairi Doherty from Ballinasloe, Count Galway, completed the B. Eng (Hons) in Software & Electronic Engineering this year (2020) and is now employed by Microchip Technology Inc.  Ruairi is one of three students through to the virtual finals on 15 October; the other two finalists are from NUI Galway (Oisín Anderson) and NUI Maynooth (Cornelia Schmitt).

Ruairi’s Remote-Robot is a wireless, hand-gesture controlled robot arm: “Its initial application was for situations where precision is required, in environments unsuitable for a human to operate in such as bomb disposal, radioactive environments or natural disaster relief. However, with the emergence of Covid-19 this year, new applications for the project became apparent; it could be used as an aid for people who are elderly, vulnerable, or have mobility issues. For example, if people call to the door to drop off some items such as shopping or a delivery, the Remote-Robot could be used to collect the items whilst avoiding contact. It could also provide a mechanism for security, as the robot could stream a live video of a person’s premises. It can help with simple tasks that may be harder for people who are sick or immobile, such as retrieving medicine from a bedside locker, turning a light on/off, or opening/closing a door.”

“The robot arm is controlled using a wireless peer-to-peer communication protocol, similar to what you might find when using a wireless mouse. It has a range of up to 200 metres. This means that it could provide assistance to vulnerable people in a safe manner, by avoiding any human-to-human contact. The Remote-Robot also has a camera attached to it so the user can view a livestream via a web-server,” said Ruairi.

“I’d like to thank my supervisor Paul Lennon who provided me with continuous guidance and support throughout the project, and also encouraged me to enter the MIDAS project competition. The lecturers of the Electronic & Electrical Engineering department at GMIT provided me with a very supportive learning environment, which enabled me to obtain a Graduate Software Engineer position at Microchip Technology Inc, Cork.

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