Undergraduate's sound quality device wins prestigious award
A product that can make a massive improvement to music quality through an amplifier has won the top prize at the Catalyst Invent Awards.
The Signal Optimiser, which improves the sound quality between a guitar and an amplifier, was described as a clear winner for the top award due to the product's "strong innovation and global commercial potential".
Creator Lewis Loane, from Newtownards, who won a prize package of £13,000 for his invention, is the first undergraduate to take home the prize.
The Bank of Ireland-sponsored Catalyst Invent Awards took place at Belfast's Waterfront Hall last night.
Dennis Murphy was named as an Innovation Founder, an accolade given to someone who has built an innovative business based in Northern Ireland.
Mr Murphy, the co-founder and chief executive of cloud service company Anaeko, has more than 20 years' experience in IT and mobile telecoms. He founded tech companies including Apion and Mobile Cohesion.
Mr Loane, an electronics and electrical engineering student at Queen's University, set up his company Torann earlier this year, using it to turn his passion for music into a business.
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He developed the Signal Optimiser product after realising there was a disconnect between how music sounds when using different types of amplifiers.
After going through several prototypes, his finished product allows for 100% of the sound quality to be transferred from an amplifier to an instrument.
Gavin Kennedy, Bank of Ireland UK's head of business banking Northern Ireland, said: "The Invent competition continues to be an inspiration for all ambitious entrepreneurs in Northern Ireland. It is a unique programme, providing a platform for discovery, practical support and membership to a positive, innovative entrepreneurial community that focuses on supporting outstanding talent in Northern Ireland.
"Lewis' success with his Signal Optimiser product is a first, becoming Invent's inaugural undergraduate winner of the overall competition, and alongside many of this year's entries highlights the strength and depth of our young tech innovation and entrepreneurial spirit."
"Congratulations to all of the finalists and category winners this year.
"We need you to keep going and inspire others to help Northern Ireland's business community to grow and thrive."
Previous winners of the Invent award include Leona and Sean McAllister of Plotbox, a system for mapping cemeteries.