Irish students scoop European award for sign language smartphone app
FIVE IRISH students have scooped the European Company of the year Award, with a smartphone app that helps teach sign language.
Sign4Life, currently available on the Android platform, was developed by students Caoimhe O’Neill, Fiona Mangan, Ciara Reidy, Colleen Mullane and Chris O’Brien.
The five represented Ireland at the event in Bucharest, competing against 3,000 teams from 32 countries, after they topped the national competition in May.
More than 2,000 transition-year students had entered Junior Achievement’s company programme in Ireland.
The Sign4Life app is aimed at friends, family and teachers of the deaf, helping them to learn and use sign language through video technology.
It covers a number of common categories including foods, numbers, sports, the calendar, colours, family and animals.
Fine Gael TD for Limerick, Pat O’Donovan said the students had developed a product that had business potential and deserved “huge credit” for their work.
“The work of these students is hugely impressive and I’m sure that this isn’t the last time that we’ll be hearing about one of their innovative products, he said.
The Junior Achievement programme is part of a worldwide organisation, and was established in Ireland in 1995.
Aiming to bring enterprise to the education system, it gives students hands-on experience of running their own business.
The organisation uses mentors from local businesses to help students through the process, and has set up partnerships with more than 150 leading organisations.
– CIARA O’BRIEN