TWO primary schools in Cork have been named as winners of a national design competition that used 3D printing to respond to health challenges in their local community.
CBS Primary Charleville and St Patrick’s Boys’ National School in Cork were named as winners of ‘Manufacturing a Healthy Future’ – a 3D printing design challenge.
The competition was initiated by I-Form, the SFI Research Centre for Advanced Manufacturing, and leading medical technology company Stryker.
The project, supported by the European Institute of Innovation and Technology (EIT) Manufacturing, challenged young pupils to design and create projects to improve health in their own community, using 3D printing as a creative tool.
I-Form, headquartered at UCD, and Stryker, which has facilities in Cork, Limerick and Belfast, have been working with primary school teachers throughout 2021 to empower them with the skills to bring manufacturing technology into the classroom. The programme is also running in schools in France and Estonia.
In Ireland, 25 teachers and their 750 pupils are taking part in the programme. The Senior autism spectrum disorder (ASD) class in CBS Primary Charleville designed sensory fidget toys aimed at improving well-being for themselves and their classmates.
Third class in St Patrick’s designed a learning desk aimed at helping children with autism to communicate their needs and emotions in a non-verbal way. Both schools were awarded a €2,000 technology support package for their school, along with gift vouchers for the children.
Senior Research Manager of Stryker, Dr Triona Kennedy, said: “At Stryker, our mission is to make healthcare better and that is only possible through people. Partnered with I-Form at University College Dublin, we are connecting through teachers with young people who will help make healthcare better in the future.
“Our team of engineers, scientists and designers at Stryker have been so impressed with each entry to the health challenges from both primary and secondary schools. The future for healthcare is in great hands.”
Director, I-Form, Prof Denis Dowling, said that the EIT Manufacturing programmes engaging 1,750 pupils across Ireland and 2,500 in total across Europe are giving people “an imaginative, creative approach to problem-solving”, which he said is a key skill that is highly sought after by the industry and will be “a critical factor in enhancing Europe’s manufacturing competitiveness in the decades ahead”.