Boundaries Are Blurring

Emma Counihan – Pipers Hill College, Kildare

My name is Emma, and I’m from Kildare. I go to school in Pipers Hill College in Naas. This year I got the opportunity to participate in the CONFIRM TY Week. I had heard about the programme from my TY coordinator, and as I’ve always been interested in science and technology, I decided to apply. I was thrilled when I discovered that I had gotten a place on the programme.

My favourite thing about the week was definitely the researcher sessions. It was really interesting to hear from different researchers about what projects they are working on, especially as they are all experts in their respective fields. My favourite of the researcher sessions was probably the talk we got from Kevin O’Sullivan, a research lead at the Rapid Innovation Unit. His talk was all about 3D printing, from the different types of printing, to the different applications of his work. It was really interesting to hear about.

Another thing I enjoyed about the researcher sessions was how we got to hear from the researchers about what paths they had all taken to get to where they are today. It was inspiring to hear about their journeys, and to see how passionate they all are about their projects.

Over the course of the week, I learned a lot about many different areas of technology. One of the key things that we spoke about was Artificial Intelligence (AI). In a researcher session with Martin Hayes, the head of the Electronic and Computer Engineering Department at the University of Limerick, we learned about how AI can be used to increase the quality and output of a factory, and he also explained how machines will probably never replace all human workers. In another researcher session with Dirk Pesch about computer simulations, we learned how simulations can help us to predict results in a risk free environment.

I also learned a lot from the research poster that I made. My topic was “What are the differences between the 3rd and 4th industrial revolutions?”. Prior to this project, I wasn’t even aware of the fact that there had been more than one industrial revolution! The 1st industrial revolution took place in the late 18th/early 19th centuries. And saw the introduction of new ways of manufacturing. The 2nd industrial revolution which took place in the early 20th century saw the rise of the assembly line. The 3rd industrial revolution took place in the 1950’s with the spread of computers and the dawn of the internet. We are currently living through the 4th industrial revolution, which is marked by connectivity. The main difference between the 3rd and 4th industrial revolutions, or Industry 3.0 and Industry 4.0 as they are called, is how we use technology. In Industry 4.0 technology is becoming more and more intertwined with our lives. The boundaries between the digital and physical worlds is blurring. I found the topic really interesting, and I learned a lot.

Overall I really enjoyed the programme. It was really interesting and a lot of fun. I would highly recommend it to any TY’s who are interested in science or technology.

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