‌Students benefit from donation of latest Topcon technology to DIT

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L:R – Chloe Fennell (DIT optometry student), President of DIT Prof Brian Norton, Feargal Byron (Topcon), Andrew Yorke (Topcon), Dr Ray O’Connor (Topcon), Sharon Scott (DIT optometry student), Eric Franken (Topcon) and Declan Hovenden (National Optometry Centre, DIT)

24 October 2013: DIT has officially unveiled state of the art technology equipment that will be of huge educational benefit to its students.

The equipment has been donated by Topcon, a global leader in precision measurement instruments, and will benefit optometry and surveying students located on DIT’s Kevin Street and Bolton Street campuses.

The very valuable donation of equipment – worth €370,000 – has been made as part of Topcon’s education partnering strategy.

Leading the team from Topcon at the unveilings was its Senior Managing Executive Officer, Dr Ray O’Connor.

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Pic 2 –Dr Ray O’Connor with DIT optometry students Rachel Nolan, Eoin O’Connor, Kate Scully and Ronan Keogh

Dr O’Connor, who is also President and CEO of Topcon Positioning Systems (TPS), graduated from DIT in the early 1980s and emigrated to the US.  He travelled to Dublin this week with his wife Nancy and senior members of Topcon from the US and Europe.

The official unveilings began at the National Optometry Centre in DIT Kevin Street. Optometry students were given an opportunity to see the new equipment, which will increase accuracy in the diagnosis of ocular disease.

Eva Doyle, Head of Optometry, said, “DIT’s optometry students will now be using the most modern automated refraction equipment and the most technologically advanced ocular diagnostic instrumentation.

“This will ensure that as graduates they will be well prepared for the world of modern optometry and able to provide the best possible health care to the public.”

The President of DIT, Professor Brian Norton, welcomed everyone to the event and said that DIT was about practice and about being research-informed.

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Dr Eugene McGovern, Spatial Information Sciences at DIT, presenting Dr Ray O’Connor with the book A Portrait of Dublin in Maps

“When students join DIT, they often have a very distinct view of their career ahead and this is especially true for optometry. With a discipline like this, it can sometimes be hard for higher education to provide the latest equipment as technology is changing all the time.

“We are extremely grateful to Topcon for this donation. And as DIT is the only provider of optometry studies in Ireland, it means we are really going to be at the cutting edge with this technology.”

President Norton also commented on how the technology behind scanning people’s eyes is the same technology used to map cities – referencing the unveiling of surveying equipment taking place later at DIT Bolton Street.

Dr O’Connor told the optometry students present, most of w‌hom are in their third year of study and about to go on work placement, that they were doing something very important for human rights – saving someone’s eyesight.

“Working on our latest equipment available means that the learning you will have will bring you on quicker and make you more marketable in the workforce,” he said.

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Dr Ray O’Connor speaking at the unveiling event at DIT Bolton Street

“We have a commitment with DIT to provide ongoing updated equipment in both the optometry and surveying fields.”

Professor Michael Devereux, Director and Dean of the College of Sciences and Health, thanked everyone in Topcon who had assisted in the process of providing the equipment and also thanked optometry staff at DIT, including Eva Doyle, Head of Optometry, Declan Hovenden, Manager of the National Optometry Centre, and Paul Kelly who made a huge contribution in installing the equipment.

The President of the Association of Optometrists, Peter Coleman, was also present at the official unveiling.

DIT Bolton Street was the location for the second unveiling of the day, where equipment will benefit students from many disciplines including surveying, mapping, spatial information sciences, building information modelling and more.

Dr O’Connor told the audience that when he had studied at DIT Bolton Street, the equipment he had used was transits and chains and he had been sent out with his class to survey King’s Inn Park.

Students still carry out surveying assignments at the nearby park but the equipment is now more high tech including the newly introduced range of surveying equipment that includes GPS receivers, terrestrial laser scanners and imaging total stations.

Dr O’Connor said it was important that students coming out of higher education are familiar with processes and equipment so they can easily adapt to the workplace environment.

He also said there will be a huge need for highly trained professionals who can work on key infrastructure projects.

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Topcon and DIT representatives with the official plaque at DIT Bolton Street

“There are 7 billion people in the world right now – by 2030, there are going to be 9 billion people so just think about the infrastructure that will be needed for that. The only way we can supply that is through technology and constantly innovating that technology.”

He reflected on the fact that when he was studying at Bolton Street, quantity surveyors were big in Ireland and the UK but not outside of those regions.

“This will be a huge area going forward and there will be a huge need particularly for BIM [Building Information Modelling] in the future. Ireland and the UK will be in a position to be the key leaders for BIM.

“I think the future for students of DIT in this field is very bright going forward.”

Dr Mike Murphy, Director and Dean of the College of Engineering and Built Environment in DIT said, “Increasingly, our students are engaged in cross disciplinary projects and learning groups. The establishment of the Topcon Technology Lab in Bolton Street ensures that our students will benefit enormously from developing their professional competence using the most up-to-date technology in the field.”

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Third year geomatics students taking a look at the new equipment

Dr Eugene McGovern, Spatial Information Sciences, introduced everyone to the Topcon Technology Lab which is a teaching and practical space where students can use working instruments alongside data. Much of the new equipment is portable so can be used in different areas, including field visits.

He said that employers in this field expect students to have four things – a degree, an understanding of the latest technology, lots of ideas and the ability to hit the ground running.

Dr McGovern presented Dr O’Connor with a copy of a book just published, A Portrait of Dublin in Maps.

Topcon – which designs and manufactures precise positioning products and solutions for many industries including surveying, civil engineering, advanced eyecare, mapping and agriculture – donated the equipment as part of its Community Social Responsibility programme.

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