Archive for January, 2011

Irish made wonder robot (herds sheep, mows lawn….)

January 31, 2011


During our brainstorming session at miLKlabs (Limerick's new maker-space) last week we listened, in thrall, to new member Niall Dempsey as he told us about the robot he had built to help on his farm in Roscrea. 

FarmBot (the sheep herding robot) was initially inspired when Niall needed some assistance with herding sheep but didn't have enough work for a trained sheep dog. As the idea developed other uses sprang to mind and it has since become a multi-function robot.

Farmbot is basically a small (2 ft x 3 ft x 2 ft high approx.), four wheel, electrically power vehicle that is currently controlled remotely. It contains a video camera with night vision and transmitter. A video receiver connected to a TV, PC or a small portable screen enables the robot to be controlled from the comfort of an armchair while the the robot goes about its business at a range of up to 300 meters.

Currently it can herd sheep, observe livestock, mow the lawn, spray weeds, rake gravel, carry light loads, pull a small trailer, act as a security guard and entertain children (and grown ups). Niall's long term aim is to be able to control FarmBot over the internet given it a world wide range. 

Check out for some details of FarmBot version 1. presentation at next Thursday’s Limerick OpenCoffee

January 29, 2011

Tom Murphy from will make a short presentation at next week's Limerick OpenCoffee Club (#LOCC). Founded in 2010 by John Breslin (co-founder Galway-based has enjoyed a quick rise in the ranks of influential online tech media. 

Thursday's presentation by lead writer Tom Murphy will delve into the lessons learned from the first six months of an online publication. And what Tom has learned about Irish Technology startups. He will discuss the importance of having a clear purpose, marketing issues, and more.

The presentation shouldn't take more than fifteen minutes and of course #LOCC will keep it's informal structure so nobody is being forced to attend. Anyone who'd prefer to hold up the bar is welcome to do so…… though personally I think this will be a very interesting talk. Not to mention the fact that it's a publicity opportunity for startups.

Audio interviews with Irish entrepreneurs at LeWeb 2010

January 24, 2011 has posted an excellent series of interviews with the Irish entrepreneurs who attended Europe's biggest internet conference last year – LeWeb 2010. Interviews were conducted by Paul O'Mahony who has a refreshingly down to earth style of questioning (i.e. it's more like listening in on a casual conversation).

Foreign students innovating in Ireland

January 20, 2011

The Think Outside the Box competition (formerly the Student Enterprise Awards) offers third level students from all academic disciplines and courses of study the opportunity to realise their entrepreneurial ambitions.

Sponsored by Enterprise Ireland, Invest Northern Ireland, Mammoth Brand Consultancy and Cruickshank Intellectual Property Attorneys, all 3rd level students need to do is demonstrate to the judges that their business idea is viable, well thought out and well researched. 

There's a first place cash prize of €10,000 to be won plus the opportunity to avail of €12,500 worth of specialist advice and assistance to potentially help turn your enterprise idea into a business reality. 

Below you can hear Xiao Fang Zhang talk about the most technologically innovative idea from the 2009 competition –


By the way, when looking for more information on Med-o-ware I came across this terrific video postcard that Xiao Fang Zhang sent relating to her experiences of studying and innovating in Ireland - 



€500,000 up for grabs by Irish social entrepreneurs

January 17, 2011


Social Entrepreneurs Ireland is delighted to announce the launch of the 2011 Social Impact Programme. We are seeking applications from individuals who are developing new, big ideas to address the social and environmental challenges we face in Ireland today.

The 3 social entrepreneurs selected will each receive funding of €130,000 as well as targeted business and personal support to the value of €35,000 across key areas such as strategic planning, operations and financial sustainability to help them to develop and grow their idea to deliver even greater social impact in the community.

We are also delighted to announce that the selection process and Awards Ceremony will be supported and sponsored by DCC plc through a new three-year partnership agreement.

Full details of the application process, eligibility criteria and an overview of the Social Impact Programme can be found online here. The closing date for receipt of applications is Wednesday 16th February 2011 at 3pm.