TY photos keep rolling in!

Kevin Gaughan has contributed the photos her took during the week of “Engineering Your Future” at TU Dublin. Thanks, Kevin, for sharing these!

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The final moments of suspense at BioSlam

Fortunately, Damon had his smartphone at the ready on Friday, at the point where our “Engineering Your Future” Transition Year students participating in BioSlam got their electronics built, coded, and working successfully. A gallery of photos by Damon is below.

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More photos from “Engineering Your Future” 2022

Thanks to Kevin Gaughan for images from earlier in the week….

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Building heart rate monitors for kicks at TU Dublin

Today, 40 secondary school students from the greater Dublin area learned to build their own ultra-low-cost heart rate monitors using the Arduino Nano. The signal we measured is called the photoplethysmogram (PPG). We detected small changes in blood vessel dilation caused by the variation in blood pressure occurring during each heartbeat.

Dr. Ted Burke was the main mastermind behind this particular design — the electronic circuit and the code to make it work. Dr. Damon Berry works on bio-medical applications like this, too, and today he explained that this PPG device is the same technology used in your smartwatch — except that this monitor is more precise (and also more delicate). A host of electrical and electronics lecturers and PhD researchers from TU Dublin helped deliver the workshop.

Damon’s LinkedIn post from yesterday, showing Ted developing the instructions.

Ultimately, the students each built a monitor and learned how to manipulate the code to present data in different ways (e.g., the spike for a single heartbeat, versus a smooth curve line, or the raw read-out, which is a more spiked line affected by external interference).

I learned new things, too. Now I know how those stock market graphs are made where you can see a smoother line over time as opposed to the jumpy hour-to-hour or day-to-day line…. Thats’ what I call integration of learning right there! (Thanks, Ted! And, please correct me if I’m wrong on that.)

The students were happy to see the images from yesterday’s trip and asked if the tour leaders can gather more, so look for additions later this weekend. For now, I’m posting images of the morning’s monitor-building activity. Unfortunately, I had to step out to make a Teams call for a grant project right when things got most exciting — when everyone’s monitors started to pick up signals. Nevertheless, the process of building was also fun!

You see the first monitor to successfully and consistently record a heartbeat in the slides below. Congratulations to all the participants for a job well done!

I hope the pics below will help you see yourself as an engineer! We will be delighted to welcome you to TU Dublin if you choose a career in engineering!

Please see the page https://roboslam.wordpress.com/bioslam-ppg/ to see the build instructions.

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Engineering Your Future at TU Dublin, 2022

We have about 40 Transition Year students visiting us at TU Dublin this week to learn about engineering. Tomorrow we’ll be in the electronics labs doing a BioSlam (see the page https://roboslam.wordpress.com/bioslam-ppg/ for instructions).

While Ted Burke and others were busy assembling kits for tomorrow, I was helping Kevin Gaughan and Michelle Looby run field trips. The 17 students who went on the trip with me visited a live construction site in the core of Dublin, where historic buildings are being converted for use as offices and a hotel.

I snapped a few photos along the way — the camera hasn’t been out of its case since the start of Covid, so I’m a bit rusty, but I did my best to illustrate the tour. We learned from structural, mechanical and electrical, and building services engineers as well as the site coordinator.

A huge thanks to Thady McAleese, Declan Keane, David Byrne, and Niall Clarke for such great explanations of your construction work and design challenges.

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Mighty Dublin Makers


img_6473-1At this year’s Dublin Maker fair in Merrion Square, TU Dublin’s School of Electrical and Electronics Engineering hosted two booths: one on Co-design for technologies to increase access to folks with varying capabilities, and the second on the theme “Timewarp Arcade.”

The arcade booth featured arcade games across the decades from Victorian Times up to the 1980s. An automated talking head (with moving eyes and jaws) was designed by Shane Ormond. The head could tell which card a visitor picked and interact with the visitor in real-time.

There was a Rock-Scissors-Paper machine designed to beat its human competitors.

img_6529-1A strength test demonstrated how those old-time hammer games were rigged. This display included a heart rate checker.

Frank Duignan contributed palm-sized arcade games and automated name badges.

Here are some images our colleague Paul Stacey, from Blanchardstown campus of TU Dublin, Tweeted of his sons at our booth:

Padraig built a large-scale early 80s arcade game.

And finally, a photo booth designed by Ted Burke, created customized retro album covers, circa 1985. This display showed how green screen works. Visitors could dress in green to create the illusion that their heads were floating in mid-air.

img_6501All in all, it was an interesting, fun, and rewarding day. Visit Ireland by Chance for more photos!

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Bread Board Games!

Learn about our most recent electronics workshops, held in southeast Ireland, by visiting Europe By Chance


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Do-it-yourself punch cards and other amazing feats: DIT’s Paper Programming booth at Dublin Maker 2018

img_5842With the annual Dublin Maker fair on July 21st, DIT’s RoboSlam group of volunteer staff and students headed to Marrion Square for an action-packed Saturday. After four years of teaching visitors to Dublin Maker about build robots, we shifted focus to activities that could engage even more people at a time.

Our clever colleagues in DIT’s School of Electrical and Electronic Engineering designed a booth on the theme of “Paper Programming” to teach the history and theory of using paper to program computerized gadgets that date back to the industrial loom for weaving fabric and the computer punch card.

img_5850The set of photo galleries posted on Shannon Chance’s blog shows her weekend activities helping run this booth at Dublin Maker 2018. You’ll learn about and see photos of:

  • Getting to the fair
  • Setting up our booth
  • History of Paper Programming
  • Visiting other exhibits
  • Our activities
    • Fraktalismus
    • Scan2 Tweet
    • isitpop.art
    • Music Box
  • Time enough left for a relaxing Sunday!




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New “Bread Board Games” for Science Week in Bunclody

The RoboSlam crew (Frank, Ted, Damon and Shannon) headed out to Bunclody Public Library in county Wexford this past Saturday to lead two workshops. We taught kids aged 7 and up to build small, hand-held video games that were designed by Frank. The event was part of Ireland’s annual Science Week.

The best part of our day in Bunclody? Definitely the gasps of amazement from workshop participants after they assembled their tiny computers and flipped the power switch “on!”

Many kids said “This is so addictive!” over and over as they played their new games. We even heard kids say, “This is better than my iPod”! They huddled up in hysterical positions with their new little gadgets, captivated and enthralled.

Our first workshop included kids who have coded before using Scratch, but the afternoon workshop was for complete beginners. Throughout the day, every participant left with a working computer video game!

Thanks to our sponsor, toaglas, and the fabulous librarians in Bunclody for supporting this project. Thanks also to our retired colleague from DIT, Charlie Pritchard (aka, off-duty Santa) for helping set this up.

To all the kids, who were 100% engaged and enthusiastic throughout the day, thanks for coming out and we hope to see you someday at another electronics event or at DIT! And to their parents–thanks for raising such sweet and interested kids!



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Engineering Your Future–a week of adventures in engineering at DIT

Engineering Your Future 2017 277

Between the end of classes and exams, the RoboSlam crew enjoys teaching Transition Year students who have curiosity about engineering in to learn about electronics and robot-building. Each year, we chip in as part of a week-long program hosted by our College and funded in part by Engineers Ireland.

This year, the RoboSlam staff led three days of programming. We hosted 40 teenagers — 34 women and 6 men–at our academic building on Kevin Street, in Dublin. One of the days featured a new activity, BioSlam, that Ted has recently designed.

Engineering Your Future 2017 197Below are photos of the two RoboSlam days. WorkPress shows them in reverse chronological order, which can be a bit frustrating, but you’ll see the excitement in the room during competition right from the start the you view the album below. (We will aim to upload Ted’s photos of BioSlam later.)

Students applied for this program through Engineers Ireland, and applications are accepted each year for slots in engineering programmes offered my many different Higher Education Institutions in Ireland.

Here’s the general schedule for the week, developed by Mark Deegan, our college’s engagement officer:

Monday 8th May – Introductions and Spaghetti Bridge Competition
09:00: DIT Bolton Street (use Kings’ Inns Street Entrance and come to Coffee Dock)
Hot lunch provided. There is a café on-site for small break.
16:30: Finish – DIT Bolton Street
Tuesday 9th May – RoboSlam
09:00: DIT Kevin Street (Gather in foyer of Kevin Street)
Hot lunch provided. There is a café on-site for small break.
16:30: Finish – DIT Kevin Street
Wednesday 10th May – Site Visits
09:00: DIT Bolton Street – Gather at Coffee Dock
Site visits to:
Siemens Diagnostic Healthcare, Swords
DIT Aviation Technology Centre, Dublin Airport
DIT Grangegorman New Campus
A packed lunch will be provided. There is a café on-site for small break.
16:30: Finish – DIT Grangegorman, please note that this day finishes in a separate location from where it started
Thursday 11th May – BioSlam
09:00: DIT Kevin Street – Gather in Foyer of Kevin Street
Hot lunch provided. There is a café on-site for small break.
16:30: Finish – DIT Kevin Street
Friday 12th May – RoboSlam Finals
09:00: DIT Kevin Street – Gather in Foyer of Kevin Street
Hot lunch provided. There is a café on-site for small break.
16:30: Finish – DIT Kevin Street
A public Google Map called “DIT – EYF Locations” shows the relevant locations we used.

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