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Schoolboys appeal for phones to test invention

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Device: Donal Brennan and Timothy McGrath with their teacher Donal O'Reilly

Device: Donal Brennan and Timothy McGrath with their teacher Donal O'Reilly

Device: Donal Brennan and Timothy McGrath with their teacher Donal O'Reilly

IT IS the app that could dramatically improve the lives of the visually impaired, but its schoolboy creators have hit a stumbling block - lack of funds to buy the devices to put it to the test.

Donal Brennan (13) and Timothy McGrath (12) have contacted all the network providers seeking sponsorship for two android phones and two iPads so they can test out their app in time for the BT Young Scientist Competition.

The boys, who are first-year students at Killorglin Community College, have already qualified for the competition that takes place in the RDS in January with their project that looks at how near-field communication (NFC) technology can help people with visual impairments.

NFC is familiar to people with a Laser card that contains a wifi symbol that can be read in outlets when purchases come to less than €15.

The app uses this technology to send an audio message to the phone of a visually-impaired person. They are also developing a similar app using iBeacon technology for the blind.

Donal and Timothy were inspired by a visually-impaired classmate who uses technology to help him complete simple everyday tasks.

Their teacher and mentor Donal O'Reilly has appealed for sponsorship that would bring the groundbreaking design to prototype and testing.

"They have put their heart and soul into this and already they have learnt so much," he said. "Their project may revolutionise the lives of thousands of people at extremely low cost.

"We are sick of hearing that it is young people like these that Ireland needs. So when they come along, where is the support for them?"

hnews@herald.ie


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