News and Events

ERI/UCC Researcher Awarded Prestigious Bell Labs Prize

18 Dec

On Dec 9th 2017, Dr. Colm O’Dwyer of the UCC School of Chemistry, ERI and PI of the Applied Nanoscience Group, received 2nd place in the 2017 Nokia Bell Labs Prize.

This prestigious prize recognizes innovators with game-changing ideas in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics with the potential to disrupt or profoundly change the state of human existence and experience by a factor of 10. The competition is geared towards innovative proposals that look to solve broader societal and humanistic challenges. These might include ideas that offer disruptive innovations connecting all humans, senses, things, systems, infrastructure, or processes that enable a future where new knowledge is created with an associated ‘sixth sense’ whose purpose is to save time.

This year’s winners were chosen from among nine finalists, who were in turn drawn from a total of over 330 proposals from 35 countries, shortlisted at several stages throughout the process.

“Being one of the winners of this Prize is not only an honour, but it is motivating to see how our ideas and research dovetails with an integral part of the vision of Bell Labs for human-centric technology and how they see the evolution of wearable technology,” said Colm O’Dwyer.

“At the core of future wearables and other technologies that require batteries and power sources, is the ability to print the battery seamlessly into any shape or form factor, and here in UCC, we have developed the fundamental science, engineering and the prototypes. This revolutionary design of a battery allows a 3D printable battery power inspired by its use and its user and offers complete design freedom when it comes to truly human-centric designs. New thinking for the battery was part of our goal to enable technologies that conform to natural human movement and how we process and interaction with the information around us. Basically, we want the battery, its shape and where you put it, to be influenced by the device design, not the other way round. Our research is looking at how this can be done, starting with all-plastic 3D printed rechargeable batteries.

This research was funded by Science Foundation Ireland through Technology Innovation & Development Awards in 2013 and 2015, and by an SFI Investigator Award, with a goal of understanding and developing materials and methods, and rethinking the design and implementation of a rechargeable battery for a human-centric technological future.

Colm’s recent RTE Brainstorm piece, which discusses the future of batteries can be read here.

Environmental Research Institute

University College Cork, Lee Road, Cork