3rd March 2024

‘Design Your Future City’ 2024

This year we were excited to partner with The Digital Hub to scale the programme into the Smart D8 District.

20 students from the local D8 area and beyond joined us for a deep-dive into all things STEM, health innovation, and inclusive urban design, investigating how technology can support people to tackle health and well-being challenges.

The week kicked off with an introduction into citizen science where students investigated the effects of a changing climate and how to promote biodiversity in a city. We also visited the beehives as part of the Bee 8 project, to learn more about biodiversity in urban areas from beekeeper Anthony Freeman and Technologist in Residence Patrick Lynch.

Students developed technical skills, coding their own pet to respond to the environment around them. We explored the importance of cyber security with an escape room developed by the Cyber Skills team! Students looked at how to respond in the event of a hack, from the IT side, to crisis communications, and the legal follow up.

We explored accessible and inclusive design in the smart city, students were encouraged to by put themselves into the shoes of others and mapping out the challenges facing various city users, including the visually impaired, elderly people, and wheelchair users.

Throughout the week we had multiple guest speakers and tech demonstrations. Killian Delaney from MoveAhead visited us to demonstrate their motion tracking technology and how it can be used to gamify physical exercise with children. Niamh Donnelly co- founder from Akara Robotics demonstrated their advancements using robotics in healthcare. Lee Sherlock from Meta-flux gave us insights into using AI insights in personalised medicine. Conor Motyer shared his journey of developing a community app Brace to support people through injury rehabilitation 🦿Talita Holzer then gave students a fantastic chat about her experience co-founding waytoB, and gave advice on making their solutions inclusive. Together the panel gave students great insights into how to develop an idea, with the advice 'fall in love with your problem, not your solution as it will go through lots of iteration'. We also heard about developments from Sinead O'Kelly and Rebecca Gaynor from the St. Patrick's Mental Health Services team on how to manage mental health and wellbeing. Sonya Doherty from An Cosán, Kevin and Eva also joined us to talk about the Silver Surfers club, and promoting digital inclusivity with elderly people.

Bringing Ideas to Life

As one final task, students brought together all they have learned to create their own tech solution to a health and wellbeing challenge they feel passionate about. Students spent the morning prototyping their ideas using various materials from Micro:Bit sensors to cardboard and Lego. The day ended on a high with the students pitching their smart city solutions to panel of judges from Smart Docklands, CONNECT and TCD. Safe to say that the panel was absolutely blown away by the creativity of students’ ideas, which ranged from a smart fridge to promote healthy eating and reduce food waste, to an app to reduce screen time and promote better sleep in teenagers!

What did students think?

For some students, learning how to use STEM to solve problems was a real highlight:

“What surprised me about the week was the unexpected insight of how STEM can have such a major impact on people’s lives, how advantageous it is for young people to get involved in resolving issues that are happening in the world, such as my group designing an app to help users with an addiction to vaping.”

For other students, it was all about the friends they made along the way:

“My high point was making friends and doing all the fun activities with everyone there. It was such a comfortable environment where everyone was so kind and I felt like I could be myself.’