TCD pair’s dis­abil­ity app wins James Dyson Award

Irish Independent - Business Week - - BUSINESSWEEK TECHNOLOGYTECHNOLOGY - Adrian Weck­ler

A NEW soft­ware so­lu­tion that helps peo­ple with in­tel­lec­tual dis­abil­i­ties has won the Ir­ish leg of the 2017 James Dyson Award.

In­vented by two Trin­ity Col­lege grad­u­ates, Talita Holzer Saad and Rob­bie Fry­ers, Way­toB is a smart­phone and smart­watch app that al­lows a carer to pre-pro­gramme set routes which users can then fol­low in­de­pen­dently.

It achieves this us­ing a sim­pli­fied in­ter­face and turn-by-turn di­rec­tions in the form of ar­rows and au­dio based on the user’s ori­en­ta­tion. The app also in­te­grates walk­ing in­struc­tions with pub­lic trans­port and al­lows the carer to live track the user’s lo­ca­tion, heart rate and bat­tery us­age.

Ms Holzer Saad is orig­i­nally from Brazil while Mr Fry­ers is from Belfast. Both were me­chan­i­cal en­gi­neer­ing un­der­grad­u­ates at Trin­ity Col­lege Dublin

The prod­uct has un­der­gone nine pro­to­type ver­sions, with a fi­nal prod­uct cur­rently be­ing tri­alled with six in­di­vid­u­als who have Down Syn­drome.

One of the tri­al­lists is 37-year- old Pa­trick O’Shea from Malahide, who has mild to moder­ate Down Syn­drome and has been us­ing the prod­uct on his smart­watch since the be­gin­ning of 2017.

His fa­ther says that Pa­trick would not be able to nav­i­gate cer­tain routes with­out it. “Pa­trick is al­ready rea­son­ably in­de­pen­dent and this app is re­ally help­ful in sup­port­ing this and mak­ing life eas­ier,” said Pat O’Shea.

“He al­ready saves about 15 min­utes to a reg­u­lar lo­cal des­ti­na­tion by us­ing the app to take a shorter but trick­ier route. It will also be of ma­jor ben­e­fit when he goes on his weekly bus trip to Dublin City Cen­tre. In­stead of hav­ing to stay in the same area, we will be able to pro­gramme a num­ber of routes that will eas­ily guide him to dif­fer­ent parts of town.”

Ms Holzer Saad and Mr Fry­ers will now pro­ceed to the in­ter­na­tional stage of the com­pe­ti­tion and will com­pete against stu­dents from 23 dif­fer­ent coun­tries to win the over­all award and a prize of €35,000.

Dyson en­gi­neers will an­nounce the top 20 fi­nal­ists on Septem­ber 28 and the over­all global win­ner will be se­lected by James Dyson and an­nounced at the end of Oc­to­ber.

The LG V30 smart­phone with six-inch screen on dis­play at the IFA show

Dyson and awards founder James Dyson

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