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A new generation follow in the footsteps of the great

By Margaret Canning

Published 06/05/2015

Finalists from the creative media and consumer internet category of the Invent 2015 competition, to find Northern Ireland’s most exciting inventions
Finalists from the creative media and consumer internet category of the Invent 2015 competition, to find Northern Ireland’s most exciting inventions

From the ejector seat to the portable defibrillator, Northern Ireland has produced some highly memorable inventions.

Now prototypes from a new generation of Northern Ireland inventors will be unveiled this month as part of the Invent 2015 competition.

The shortlist for the Northern Ireland Science Park (NISP) competition includes Growing Concept, for soil-less growing of fruit and vegetables, and a synthetic hurling stick from Reynolds Sports.

NeuroCONCISE Medical, another shortlisted invention, is a form of wearable neurotechnology which translates brainwaves into control signals to allow people to communicate with computers without moving.

There were around 80 entries in total for the annual competition - and now the 24 finalists will present their prototypes to 200 people in a 'quick pitch' event at W5 on May 28.

NISP Connect programme manager Peter Edgar said: "We know the people of Northern Ireland are an inventive bunch and this year they have exceeded themselves with over 80 inventions being entered.

"It just goes to show that innovation isn't just something that goes on behind the closed doors of high-tech research labs. These are people like you and me who are coming up with ideas to solve everyday, global problems.

"In our top 24 we have engineers, design students and even surfers."

He said the panel was "amazed" by the quality of the inventions - and by the passion of the people behind them.

"They're so passionate about what they have created and now they just need expert advice from our network of entrepreneurs at NISP Connect to help develop the commercial potential."

Last year's winner was PlotBox, software developed by husband and wife team Sean and Leona McAllister for cemeteries and crematoria to manage their operations.

And 12 finalists will be chosen after the quick pitch event will then take part in a six-month Science Park programme, during which their inventions will be put to the test.

The overall winner will be unveiled at the Invent Awards 2015, sponsored by Bank of Ireland UK, on October 8.

Julie Ann O'Hare, director of business banking at Bank of Ireland, said she believed pitching was an invaluable skill for everyone.

"Opportunities to pitch your business happen all the time - because ultimately we're always pitching, whether it's to investors, customers, business partners, employees or family," she said.

Free tickets to the quick pitch event on May 28 are available on For more information on Invent, visit and


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