Get your skates on: Cork student wins James Dyson Award

Shannon O’Shea (21) has developed a device that measures jumps in skating sports

Shannon O’Shea, a 21-year-old from Co Cork, has been named the Irish winner of the James Dyson Award for a project involving an attempt to assess jumps in skating sports.

Ms O'Shea, a student of biomedical engineering at Munster Technological University, led a team that has come up with a device called EleSkate to accurately measure jumps, which make up the highest portion of technical marks in skating competitions.

Prior to the invention, it has been left to subjective assessment as to why particular jumps are successful or not. EleSkate overcomes this issue by being able to provide multi-axial analysis of a figure skater’s movements, which can then be compared with those of others.

“As a figure-skating enthusiast of 10 years, I was unable to successfully measure my jumps during training, which impacted my competition performance,” said Ms O’Shea.


After winning the national leg of the awards, Ms O’Shea and her team will receive more than €2,000 to support further research and development for the device.

‘Quantify elegance’

“EleSkate exists to quantify elegance and optimise the figure-skating training process and I look forward to further tailoring our product to measure other sports with similar demands,” she said.

Ms O’Shea now progresses to the international stage of the awards with winners to be announced in November.

The award tops off a successful year for EleSkate which was also a top 10 finalist at the Enterprise Ireland student entrepreneur awards.

The two runners-up in this year’s national leg of the James Dyson Award were Make Racers, which uses mobile gaming as a motivator for skill-building craft play for kids, and Field of Vision, a handheld device that enables users to experience sport in a haptic format to create an immersive experience.

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor

Charlie Taylor is a former Irish Times business journalist