Award winner

22 June 2015

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.


Laffan, 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.

The shortlisted engineering innovations this year 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.

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 €2000 prize money.