Asteroid to be named after Ballina student

Aaron Hannon

Aaron Hannon

A young Ballina student is to have an asteroid named after him after finishing in first place at the Intel ISEF in America this week.

Aaron Hannon, a student at St Muredach’s College, Ballina, received a first in his category, Embedded Systems, for a project about a device designed to assist people with limited hand dexterity to shave.

As well as the asteroid name, Aaron will receive a cash prize as part of his award. Aaron secured his place at the international competition when he won the top award, the Science Foundation Ireland Intel ISEF award, at the SciFest 2017 national final last November.

The project was inspired by Aaron’s late grandfather, who suffered from limited hand dexterity due to a stroke. It is a fully functional device capable of shaving facial hair for people with limited use of their hands. The device is user friendly and was created through technical research to develop the physical, electrical, and software aspects. A mannequin head was used to test the device and an android app was designed to allow greater ease of use.

Speaking about attending ISEF, Aaron said: “I was very excited to have the opportunity to travel to Pittsburgh and to present my work to some of the top STEM professionals in the world. I really enjoyed meeting young people from all over the world and seeing the different projects that they are working on.

“This was a wonderful opportunity to share ideas and to learn, and I am so thankful to my family, friends, teachers, and everyone at SciFest who have supported me up to now.”

Intel ISEF is the world’s largest international pre-college science competition, involving some 1,700 students from more than 75 countries competing for a prize fund totalling $4 million. The SciFest programme is funded primarily by Science Foundation Ireland (SFI ), Boston Scientific and Intel Ireland.

Sheila Porter, CEO of SciFest, commented: “We are all very proud of Aaron and his achievement in receiving a first in his category, Embedded Systems. Participating in Intel ISEF is a wonderful opportunity and I know Aaron has really enjoyed the experience.

“SciFest is all about encouraging a love of science, technology, engineering, and maths among young people. Aaron has developed a truly innovative project and we are delighted that he has had the opportunity to bring it to an international audience. We wish him every success for the future.”

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