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Research Projects

The Institute recognizes that one of its core activities is Research and has established itself as a significant member of the research community within the third level education sector in Ireland. For example the Graphics and Gaming Research Group has been successful in winning funding for three externally funded projects focused on the areas of computer graphics and gaming. To date the Institute has received funding as part of the Technological Sector Postgraduate R&D Skills Training Programme, from Enterprise Ireland's Innovation Partnership scheme where the Institute has teamed up with local companies to conduct R&D to improve processes and procedures, from the Embark Initiative, the Higher Education Authority and ITB is also a partner in two Leonardo Da Vinci projects.

For further information on specific Projects at ITB please explore the following links or contact Assumpta Harvey on 8851186 or at Assumpta.harvey@ib.ie if you have any queries regarding collaborative projects.

Completed Projects

Project Title: Perceptions of migrants and their impact on the Blanchardstown area: local views

Description: This was a qualitative study of the views of local people – both Irish people and migrants themselves – on migrants, their impact on the Blanchardstown area and their contribution to redefining Irish identity. Since the majority of studies investigating the views of Irish people towards migrants are quantitative, this research attempted to address the dearth of qualitative work on this topic. The project was funded by the Irish Research Council for Humanities and Social Science (IRCHSS). Focus groups were combined with in-depth interviews as a research method for the study. The Blanchardstown area has been a particularly high recipient of migrants. Unlike a smaller scale study conducted by the researcher in 2006, migrants were no longer considered as a temporary, but rather as a permanent feature of the Blanchardstown area.
The main findings that emerged relate to three main areas: issues regarding economics and resources, issues regarding culture and identity and colour as a marker of difference. Both Irish and migrant participants identified economics as the driving force attracting migrants to the area. Migrant workers were not perceived as taking Irish jobs, rather occupying lower-skilled and lower-paid jobs the Irish do not want. The data was collected between March and July 2008, before the country technically entered recession. Migrant participants traced changes in attitudes towards themselves in wider Irish society, attributable partly to the declining economic situation. In keeping with standard economic theory, only those in competition for an insufficient supply of local authority houses and for welfare payments perceived migrants as a threat. The government, as opposed to migrants, was viewed as the root cause of the problem. Among Irish participants, issues regarding schooling crossed all social classes where migrants were seen as contributing to the shortage of school places, as well as draining resources. The high proportion of newcomer children in schools in the Blanchardstown area has to be highlighted, in addition to the delay experienced between the rapid construction of houses in the area and the provision of services such as schools. The ‘migrant’ can serve as a useful scapegoat for politicians since the government’s failure to provide adequate school places and social housing explains the frustration regarding the lack of resources. From the cultural point of view, evidence was found of boundaries drawn between migrants and the Irish ‘us’. In the construction of identity the local ‘us’ was frequently aligned to the national ‘us’. Boundaries however can be drawn and redrawn; they are not impermeable. Children were depicted in a positive light, by both migrant and Irish participants, as capable of breaking down barriers and overcoming difference. Finally, colour was widely recognised as a signifier of difference, by both Irish and migrant participants. Black migrants were perceived as more ‘visible’, as opposed to the more ‘invisible’ Eastern Europeans. However, the issue of racism was raised on both sides with some Irish participants citing the government as its source. Both Irish and black participants spoke of a lack of voice to express what was happening. The recent funding cut-backs in the Equality Authority budget and the complete erasure of the National Consultative Committee on Racism and Integration do not bode well for the fight against racism, regarding which the government cannot afford to be complacent, in particular in light of the current economic climate.
Project Leader: Dr Bríd Ní Chonaill
Researcher: Dr Bríd Ní Chonaill
E-mail: brid.nichonaill@itb.ie
Project Commenced: 31st January 2008
Duration: 1 year
Funding Agency: IRCHSS

Project Title: Using XML Web Services to Innovate and Orchestrate the Automation of Document Driven Business Processes
The purpose of this study was to determine the applicability of Web Services and XML technologies to business process automation. An insurance policy renewal process was analysed as an example of a document driven workflow involving a number of trading partners, and so brought a level of sophistication to a workflow. From the analysis efforts a design set is drawn up in order to facilitate accurate implementation. Finally a set of prototypes was built to reveal whether or not the system design could be translated into real software.
Through the prototype development, the research found that Web Service technologies can be used today to robustly facilitate cross-enterprise system integration. It showed that supporting tools were still relatively primitive and evolving. It disclosed that Web Services and XML are technologies that provide the possibility of industrial strength enterprise applications. The successful prototype development is significant as it demonstrates some of the complexities surrounding Web Service development, how they can be solved, and how the integrated solution can provide economic, strategic, and technological advantage to implementing organisations.
The project was an Enterprise Ireland funded project with sponsorship from Connect Global Solutions (CGS).
Project Leader: Geraldine Gray
Researcher: Kieran O’Connor
E-mail: geraldine.gray@itb.ie
Project Commenced: July 02
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Enterprise Ireland

Project Title:Hardware/Software Co-Design in MultiMedia Capable Portable Devices using SystemC
Increasingly IC's designs are Systems-On-A-Chip, where a variety of digital, analogue and software technologies are integrated together. Hardware/software co-design plays a vital role throughout such development, and this research will examine the deployment of SystemC, a tool combining elements of C++ and VHDL, in the area of multimedia capable portable devices.
Project Leader: Richard Gallery
Project Commences: September 2001
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project title: End Tidal Co2 Simulator for the evaluation of Clinical Gas Analysers
Monitoring Mechancial ventilation is critical in the clinical environment. This project will examine the dynamic behaviour of a CO2 measurement system using a computer controlled mechanical simulator.
In conjunction with the Dept of Medical Physics and Bioengineering at St .James hospital
Project Leader: Dr. Catherine Deegan Email Catherine.deegan@itb.ie
Researcher: Kabita Shakya
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: Application of Learning Techniques to Achieve Believable Agent Behaviour in Computer Games
Artificial Intelligence (AI) offers game developers the possibility of generating characters and opponents that behave in a realistic and human-like manner. In particular, contemporary AI learning techniques, such as Neural Networks, can be used to simulate emergent behaviour that evolves over time. This project aims to investigate to what extent these techniques can be applied in the context of 3D graphical computer games.
Project Leader: Hugh McCabe/Stephen Sheridan
Researcher: Ross Graham
Project Commences: October 2002
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: Virtual Incident Management Centre
The objective of this project is to develop a range of web-based tools which can be used to support the management of an incident by a distributed incident response team. The tools include information collection and collation tools (e.g. reporting database) and a range of communication tools e.g. Notice board, SMS, email, etc. The communication tools are unified to provide services such as email to SMS or Noticeboard to email/SMS
The project is an Enterprise Ireland funded project with sponsorship from Risk Management International (RMI).
Project Leaders: Declan Barber and Anthony Keane
Researcher: Paul Healy
Project Commenced: September 2000
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Enterprise Ireland

Project Title: Real Time Physically Based Audio Generation for Virtual Environments
Building systems that can simulate a 3D virtual environment (VE) has been an active area of research for some time. In recent years, the computer games industry has provided a lucrative and growing application area for this.
Recently the use of physically based animation has provided an innovative means of programming such a system. This technique describes objects in terms of physical characteristics such as mass, volume, density, velocity, acceleration, elasticity, and so on. If this information is available, then the system can use the laws of classical physics to calculate how the object should behave when, for example, it is dropped from a height onto another object.
This project proposes to use this idea to generate audio within a 3D environment. The nature of sounds generated in the real world is dependent on the physical characteristics of objects and the force of the collisions which occur between them. It is proposed that it is possible to develop a system that uses information of this nature to significantly increase the realism of the audio component of a virtual environment, and hence add to the realism of the user experience. The research is being carried out in conjunction with leading real time interactive physics developers, Havok and utilises their games development software suite.
Project Leader: Hugh McCabe
Researcher: Graham McCann
Project Commences: September 2001
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Technology for Language Learning

Project Title: The design and development of an on-line language learning course for in-company training in Irish industry.
In the context of global markets and increased internationalisation of business practices, it has become essential for managers and executives in both SMEs and multinationals in Ireland to equip themselves with the language skills which would allow them to develop good working relations with European and global partners. Given the ever-increasing E-Buisness environment, more and more business people have access to computer technology, and this can become a support for different types of training including language learning.
The project being carried out by IT Blanchardstown is to create an on-line language learning course where the material matches the specific needs of Irish Industry, and where the on-line support provided by the instructor/tutor can mimic the type of support normally found in a classroom context. ITB has been pioneering in its use of a virtual language laboratory for full-time students; creating a specialised course for Irish industry would further exploit the capabilities of this advanced software by bringing it into a virtual domain.
The project includes a phase of piloting the materials with an Irish company. The close and scientific monitoring of data generated from the interaction of the participants with the course materials would allow for fine tuning of the course materials and "best practice" recommendations for working with on-line learners in a business environment.
Project Leader: Ruth Harris
Researcher:Ruth Lysaught
Project Commenced: October 2000
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Enterprise Ireland


Project Title:Investigating the Potential for XML/EDI in the Healthcare Industry
The focus of our research is the transmission of documents in the healthcare industry. There are over a million documents transmitted manually each month between parties in the healthcare sector such as doctors, dentists, opticians and pharmacists. The aim of this project is to develop a prototype to automate the data exchange.
The project commenced in October 1999. The first version of the prototype was designed to transmit prescription data from pharmacies to a central server. Data is extracted from a flat file, converted to XML using Java, and then compressed using Java's jar API. The file is then transmitted across the Internet using JSSE(Java Secure Socket Extension) to access SSL. A servlet recieves the file and extracts the XML. An XSLT processor is then used to convert the XML to a file of SQL statements, from which the data is loaded into a database.
The prototype is now being enhanced to a more generic form which can be easily adapted to transmit any business document. The industrial partner for this project is All Round Technologies, CEO Joe Farrell.
Project Leader: Geraldine Gray
Researcher: David Kerwick
Project Commenced: September 1999
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: Enterprise Ireland

Current Projects

Project Title:The TUPULO (Teaching Under-graduates Programming Using learning Objects) project.

The TUPULO (Teaching Under-graduates Programming Using learning Objects) project will first establish the key problem areas facing novice programmers by carrying out a cross-institutional needs analysis. Using an appropriate instructional design methodology, a set of Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs) will be created and encapsulated into a Constructivist Learning Environment (CLE) and deployed using a VLE. The project also proposes to identify the requirements necessary to make the RLOs SCORM compliant.An in-depth, cross-institutional evaluation of the educational benefits of the RLOs within the proposed learning environment will be conducted. The products and findings will be disseminated to the wider educational community.

The TUPULO partnership is made up of three Irish-based educational institutions. These include:
Institute of Technology, Blanchardstown
Institute of Technology, Tallaght
Dublin City University
There is a also a software development company based in Spain and the Romanian Society for Life-Long Learning involved in the project. . The Teaching Undergraduate Programming Using Learning Objects (TUPULO) project is a two-year EU Minerva funded project.

Project Leader(ITB): Frances Murphy
Researcher: Marie Brennan
E-mail: frances.murphy@itb.ie
Project Commenced: Nov 05
Duration: 2 years
Funding Agency: EU Minerva

Project Title: Database-driven Web-Site Generation System
To support teleworkers, off-site staff, and to allow clients up-to-date order status information, web-sites providing access to organisational databases are becoming increasingly important. This project proposes to investigate the feasibility of automatically generating web-sites that allow staff/clients to appropriately access and change data in organisational databases, while maintaining corporate style requirements and conforming to effective interface design principles.
Researcher: Karen O’Mahoney
Supervisor: Dr. Matt Smith
Email: matt.smith@itb.ie
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: Statistical Language Models for Graphical Object Recognition
This project focuses on development of a graphics recognition system for the automatic recognition, indexing and retrieval of graphical data. Graphics recognition is a sub-field of pattern recognition and includes the classification and recognition of many types of graphical data (e.g. maps, engineering drawings, architectural plans). We are proposing a graphics recognition system based on Statistical Language Models (SLM). SLM is a successful method used in natural language processing applications such as speech recognition and spoken language understanding. In our work we will treat the graphical notation as analogous to textual language, for example, by constructing a graphics parser based on a formally defined grammer. Therefore, applying similar and modifed statistical models (Statistical Graphical Language Models, SGLM) to graphical languages based on the associations between different classes of object in a drawing for the recognition of graphical data. This work has applications in sectors that collect, supply or use graphical data in digital form. This project is a combined collaboration between IT Blanchardstown (host collaborator), the National University of Ireland, Maynooth and Entropic Ltd. (Industrial partner).
Researcher: Andrew O’ Sullivan
Supervisor: Ms. Laura Keyes
Email: laura.keyes@itb.ie
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: Automatic Assessment of Raised Pavement Marker Integrity Using Machine Vision
The development of a practical mobile computer vision system for roads infrastructure management. The minimum requirement for this project is an honours degree in Computer Science, Engineering, Physics or related disciplines.
Supervisors: Dr. Catherine Deegan or Mr. Simon McLoughlin
E-mail: catherine.deegan@itb.ie or simon.mcloughlin@itb.ie
Researcher: Ciara Mulvihill
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: A Software Toolkit for Virtual Cinematography
The development of a software system for cinematographic control of cameras in 3D applications such as games.
Supervisor: Mr.Hugh McCabe
E-mail: hugh.mccabe@itb.ie
Researcher: James Kneafsey
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title:Remote Monitoring of Live Animals in Transit
Supervisor: Mr.Declan Barber
E-mail: declan.barber@itb.ie
Researcher: Connor Gildea
Funding Agency: Embark Initiative

Project Title:Modelling of Viscoelastic Characteristics of Flexible Pavements with Thin Bituminous Surfacing Layers Ref:BL16
This Project deals with computer-based modelling of the fatigue response of deformable road pavements under varying wheel load regimes imposed by heavy goods vehicles (HGVs). The Minimum Requirement for this project is an Honours degree in Civil/Mechanical/Biosystems Engineering or equivalent. Interest in materials engineering and computer based structural analysis/modelling techniques is desirable.
Supervisors: Dr. Philip Owende/Dr. Kevin Mellon
E-mail: philip.owende@itb.ie or kevin.mellon@itb.ie
Researcher: Rachel Mulungye
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title: Voice-activated command and control with speech recognition over WiFi
This research project is concerned with command and control of a remote device by voice activation with speech recognition from a local control station over a wireless (WiFi) network under several different scenarios. A key component of the research will be to devise a suitable architecture to encompass these scenario types for command and
control. An additional requirement will be the design of a grammar for a command and control language in XML for processing via a Java based voice recognition engine. Suitable interfaces will need to be designed and constructed to connect to a remote robotic device.
Supervisor: Dr. Brian Nolan
E-mail: brian.nolan@itb.ie
Researcher: Tony Ayres
Funding Agency: Postgraduate R&D Skills Programme

Project Title:e-Learning - The delivery of e-Learning in a third level environment
Ref: EL01
This project is concerned with strategies for e-Learning and the design
and development of an e-learning project. The student is required to examine current trends and best practice in e-Learning and evaluate current technologies in the marketplace. Consideration will need to be given to learning styles, instructional design, to maximize effectiveness of online delivery while maximizing student’s retention and the learning experience. The successful applicant will be involved in the design and development of on-line resources to support the Institute’s off-campus students.
Supervisor: Mr. Larry McNutt
E-mail: larry.mcnutt@itb.ie
Researcher: Marie Brennan
Funding Agency: IT Investment Fund (HEA)

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