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Recognising excellence in innovation

Here are this year’s ‘Irish Times’ Innovation Awards finalists

Judging ‘The Irish Times’ Innovation Awards 2017 were, front row from left: Bebhinn Behan, KPMG; Eric Donald, Teagasc; Dr Marion Boland, Science Foundation Ireland; Michael McAleer, The Irish Times. Back row from left: Dr Ciaran Heavey, University College Dublin; Gearóid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland; and Robert Love, AbbVie.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Judging ‘The Irish Times’ Innovation Awards 2017 were, front row from left: Bebhinn Behan, KPMG; Eric Donald, Teagasc; Dr Marion Boland, Science Foundation Ireland; Michael McAleer, The Irish Times. Back row from left: Dr Ciaran Heavey, University College Dublin; Gearóid Mooney, Enterprise Ireland; and Robert Love, AbbVie.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

 

The shortlist for this year’s Irish Times Innovation Awards has been announced. The 21 highly impressive finalists across seven categories include a communication system for people with autism, a protein bar that tastes good, and a new weapon in the fight against superbugs.

Agri-food

Fulfil Nutrition vitamin protein bars proved to be a winner within months of launch. The bars offer a healthy snack which is also tasty.

BHSL has developed a uniquely innovative technology that transforms waste poultry manure into a source of fuel, thereby improving farm profitability through reduced energy bills.

Arc-Net is successfully tackling food fraud through its industrial-grade blockchain technology platform, which provides traceability and authentication services for the food industry.

Energy and the environment

NUI Galway spin-out company, NVP Energy has developed a technology that treats wastewater and produces energy at the same time.

Software firm Utilix, set up in Australia by Tipperary native Oliver Morrissey, has developed “the Google Maps of the underground”. Its app offers construction workers a vision of what’s underneath the ground before they begin to dig, avoiding dangerous and costly accidents.

UrbanVolt provides light as a service, removing all the financial, technical and operational risk from an LED upgrade. The firm installs energy-efficient lighting for businesses with no up-front costs, delivering an immediate increase in cashflows to businesses, with an agreement to split the energy savings between both parties over five years.

Fintech

Software firm Docosoft has developed a new claims-management system that is delivering significant efficiencies to the world’s largest insurance firms, reducing downtime, enhancing data-capture quality and compliance procedures.

Econiq’s Conversation Hub simplifies high-value complex conversations, interpreting information in real time to guide support staff towards the best solutions. Its latest innovation, the Hub Crafter, pulls together conversations from a range of situations for users such as trainers and managers.

Taxback International’s latest advance helps recoup VAT repayments on staff expenses.

IT and telcoms

iKydz helps parents control their children’s internet usage by providing full content-filtering and blocking, social-media management, access schedules, and even the ability to block internet access on a specific device.

A revolutionary new device developed by Limerick Institute of Technology graduate Rob Laffan assists people with conditions such as autism to communicate verbally. TippyTalk allows a user to select preloaded wants, needs and feelings on a tablet device and communicate them via a text message to a parent, friend or carer.

Usheru recommends movies, cinema locations and times to its users, as well as keeping them up to date on any offers that might interest them.

Life sciences and healthcare

HealthBeacon has created a device that helps patients adhere to their injectable treatments and allows them to dispose of medication in a safe way. It also keeps carers up to date with patients’ progress.

Kastus, based at the Greenway Hub at DIT Grangegorman, has developed Log4+, an antimicrobial coating that can be used on ceramic or glass surfaces to protect against superbugs such as MRSA and E.coli.

UCD-based start-up Valitacell has developed a product which saves companies money and time when starting up production of biologics drugs.

Manufacturing

Ash Technologies has developed the Omni, an advanced digital microscope that has a powerful image-processing and control engine that delivers superb full HD live-video-image quality at 60 frames per second.

Hal Software has created a system for the design of manufacturing systems for the likes of the pharma or oil and gas sector.

Sound Bounce is the latest innovation from Restored Hearing. The smart acoustic material has applications in the automotive, aerospace and construction industries.

New Frontiers

Rotarail from RGSK is a new safety system to prevent pedestrians or cyclists getting caught between the wheels or a truck. The device is fitted to existing safety rails on the side of trucks, but sits at a much lower level, offering much improved protection for other road users.

The Grippaz, developed by Kit Industrial Trading, is a patented disposable work glove with grips on both the inside and out to give users a better grasp when working.

FenuHealth was founded by teenagers Kate and Annie Madden. The Co Meath-based equine start-up offers powder supplements that can be added to horse feed to solve the problem of gastric ulcers in horses, at less than 10 per cent of the price of leading rival products.

Having made it through to the shortlist, these companies and innovators will now go forward to a gala final in October, where the seven-category award winners will be chosen and overall Innovation award will be presented.