Tunepal wins DIT Inventor Competition 2010

  • Traditional Irish music search engine goes global
  • Learning Chinese made easier; operating agricultural machinery made safer


Dr. Bryan Duggan and Dermot Campbell demonstrate Tunepal

24th November 2010

In keeping with the spirit of the Innovation Dublin Festival, Dublin Institute of Technology today announced the winners of the DIT Inventor Competition 2010 at a reception in the Aungier Street campus.  The DIT Inventor Competition promotes innovation and creativity taking place within DIT and recognises DIT staff, students and researchers as inventors. Over the years many clever inventions have been entered including technology that takes turbulence out of flying, animation software, audio thumbnail generation technology for music lovers, hologram technology for mass production and even a Phlebotomy Aid for the extraction of blood samples.


This year?s overall winner is Dr. Bryan Duggan, whose ?Tunepal? invention has become a runaway success with thousands of traditional musicians downloading it, not only around Ireland but in twenty-two countries around the world. The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton presented Dr. Duggan with the winner?s cheque for €2500 and congratulated him on the success of his invention.  Tunepal is a query-by-playing search engine for traditional dance tunes, with a database of more than 11,500 melodies.   According to its inventor, ?If you?ve ever wondered about the name of a tune you have in your head, you can simply play a phrase from the tune into the search engine, and it will search for a match within its database.   The system works best with ?legato?-style instruments such as flute, tin whistle, concertina, accordion, pipes and fiddle.?  Demonstrating how it works by playing a few bars of a tune on the flute, Bryan said that Tunepal currently sees about 500 tune searches per day.  He will launch Tunepal HD next month.


Dr. Yi Wang with TAS

Prizes were also presented for the best project submitted by members of staff of DIT, and for the best project by a student or group of students.  Winners in the staff category were colleagues from the Digital Media Centre  (Charlie Pritchard, Dermot Campbell, Dr Yi Wang and Frank Duignan) who submitted TAS  (Tonal Assessment System) - a mobile platform for learning spoken Chinese.  The judges said TAS offers ?a novel solution to the tonal problem people typically encounter in learning Chinese and also with word segmentation?.   According to the inventors, TAS offers considerable time saving over traditional methods of language learning and is particularly suited to learning with mobile devices.   ?It combines the advantages of phrase-book, dictionary, self-tester and pronunciation tutor in a single mobile device!?


Dr. Gerry Woods and James O'Meara with 3-Point Quick Link

The judges were unable to decide on one winner in the student category, so the Student Award went to two projects this year ? to James O?Meara for 3-Point Quick Link, and to Carol Grimes, for The Precise Paediatric Cannula.   James invented 3-Point Quick Link as an attachment for agricultural tractors.  The Quick-link allows the operator to safely couple and adjust heavy machinery without leaving the driver?s cab. It uses one of the tractors hydraulic services to couple to the implement and also includes a heavy duty hydraulic top link which allows adjustment of the implement from the cab. It also couples hydraulic services as the implement is secured.  According to James, ?Farming represents 6% of the Irish workforce but yet accounts for 40% of all workplace fatalities. Half of these fatalities are related to tractors and machinery. Of these fatalities, none occurred to the operator when they were in the driving seat. It makes sense then that for a safer working environment the operator should stay in the driving seat as much as possible.?


Carol Grimes with her Precise Paediatric Cannula

In coming up with the idea for her Precise Paediatric Cannula, Carol said her invention aims to help healthcare professionals to know with certainty that the cannula has been inserted into the vein of a child patient. Often a child can become very distressed at the prospect of having a needle inserted, and the resulting distress can increase the difficulty for the professional and the discomfort for the patient.  Carol?s invention, designed as a yellow duck, has the advantage of precision as well as distracting and amusing the patient.

Congratulating all the recipients, Professor Norton said he would also like to commend a number of other inventors among the staff whose projects were Highly Commended, including a team from CREST ? the DIT Centre for Research Engineering Surface Technology ? including Dr. John Colreavy, Dr. Michael Whelan, Dr. Brendan Duffy, Dr. Hugh Hayden and Dr. Paul Quinn.

For more information please contact:

Ruth Kearney, DIT Hothouse, 01 402 7144 ? email ruth.kearney@dit.ie

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