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Two winners of the Maurice F. FitzGerald Prize 2011

November 9 2011

The Maurice F. FitzGerald Prize was instituted in 1961 by a bequest from Anna Maria FitzGerald and is awarded annually, where sufficient merit is shown, on the nomination of Trustees based on the results at the final examination for the degree of B.A.I, Trinity College Dublin. Candidates must have achieved distinction during the engineering course and be making satisfactory progression of their knowledge in the profession of engineer.

Having graduated with a gold medal in Electronic Engineering, Ailbhe will remain at Trinity College Dublin to pursue a Ph.D. in Audio-Visual Fusion for Human-Computer Interaction, under the supervision of Assistant Professor Naomi Harte.  Computers, in some form or another, have come to penetrate every aspect of our society. However, the reality frequently portrayed in science fiction, of machines which effortlessly respond to spoken commands or gestures from the user, has yet to come to pass. In particular, automatic speech recognition systems typically break down when presented with natural, emotionally coloured speech. Ailbhe’s research focuses on the detection of emotion from speech and facial features, with a view to improving computer recognition of natural speech.  In recognition of her achievement to date, Ailbhe has been awarded an EMBARK postgraduate scholarship, by the Irish Research Council for Science Engineering and Technology (IRCSET).

Mr. Lyons graduated with a gold medal in Mechanical Engineering and is currently pursuing a PhD in Biomedical Device Design under the supervision of Assistant Professor Ciaran Simms from the Department of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, TCD and co-supervised by Prof. Des Winter, a surgeon in St. Vincent’s Hospital.  The project aims to design a novel method for wound closure after keyhole surgery. There are many issues with current closure mechanisms, which predominantly involve suturing the wounds closed. These problems include herniation of the intestine through the wound after surgery. A device that can adequately close the incision and withstand the pressure within the abdomen would improve recovery for the millions that undergo keyhole surgery world-wide. During the project, Mr. Lyons will develop a mathematical, computational and experimental model of the abdomen to test the designs before selecting a suitable method for wound closure. The project is funded by an IRCSET EMBARK scholarship that he was awarded in April of this year for his academic achievements to date.

The Trustees for this prize include the Provost, Professor Patrick Prendergast, Professor John Fitzpatrick (Chair of the Trustees), Professor Margaret O’Mahony (Head of the School of Engineering), Professor John Byrne (former Dean of the Faculty and Head of Computer Science) and Mr. Finbar Callanan (former Director General of Engineers Ireland).


Pictured are joint equal winners of the Maurice F. FitzGerald Prize 2011, Ailbhe Cullen (Electronic Engineering) and Mathew Lyons (Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering) with Trustees Mr. Finbar Callanan and Professor Margaret O’Mahony at an award ceremony held in the Museum Building, Trinity College Dublin on Friday, 4th November, 2011.


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