Maynooth University has become the first Irish university to install high-tech EnergyPods, which will allow students to take 20-minute naps to help keep their energy levels up during a busy day at college. The initiative, which sees two EnergyPods installed at the Library, as well as one at the Maynooth University Access Office, is the result of 2017 MU Library Innovation Award and the #IfStudentsDidLibraries campaign.
The 2017 Maynooth University Library Innovation Award competition saw approximately 40 students submit their proposals on how to improve the Maynooth University Library. A shortlist of seven finalists pitched their innovations ‘Dragons’ Den’ style to a panel of judges, who chose a winner to receive €1,000 and implement their idea in the library.
The judging panel comprised of Cathal McCauley, Maynooth University Librarian; Dr Alison Hood, Maynooth University Dean of Teaching & Learning; Dr Sandra Collins, Director of the National Library of Ireland; Lorna Dodd, Head of Academic Services at Maynooth University Library, and 2017 Maynooth Students’ Union President Dillon Grace.
The winning idea came from first-year student Brian Crinion, who is studying for a BSc in Robotics and Intelligent Devices. His own busy schedule of classes and extracurricular activities combined with a long commute from Slane, Co Meath, inspired the idea, as he struggled to find ways to ‘recharge’ during the day.
In his pitch, Crinion outlined the proven benefits of napping, citing research that shows that a 20-minute nap is more effective than a cup of coffee in restoring energy levels – with the bonus of not coming with any associated ‘crash’ as is the case with sugar or caffeine.
Ahead of presenting their ideas for the judging panel, the finalists were given access to workshop space by Dr Peter Robbins, Head of Maynooth University’s Department of Design Innovation, which allowed them to further research and develop their concepts and finetune their proposed plans for implementation.
The EnergyPods were designed for high-pressure business environments and are being leased from MetroNaps UK. They feature a privacy visor and built-in speaker system to block out surrounding distractions. An interface on the chairs includes a timer that will allow the student to rest for 20 minutes before waking them with an alarm.
Commenting on his win, Brian Crinion said: “I came up with the idea while I was trying to find a healthy way of balancing my long commute to university, my classes and my extracurricular activities. I looked at the benefits of short napping during the day, and researched ways of fitting them in to student life. The EnergyPods were the perfect solution.”
“Winning a Maynooth Library Innovation Award was amazing. It was so good to have my voice heard as a first-year student, and to have my idea actually help other students really empowered me and hopefully now it will empower other students too.”
Head of Academic Services at Maynooth University Library, Lorna Dodd, said: “The EnergyPods will be a wonderful addition to our library services. Brian really impressed the judging panel with his creative concept and excellent research to support his proposal. We are sure that the EnergyPods will be of great benefit to our students.”
“The Maynooth Library Innovation Awards are an excellent initiative, as they allow our students to have input into how the library operates. We were incredibly impressed with all of last year’s finalists, and everyone who took part should be proud of their work.”
Dr Peter Robbins, Head of the EDEN Centre for Entrepreneurship, Design and Innovation at Maynooth University, commented: “The MU Library Innovation Awards challenge students to not only come up with bold ideas to improve Maynooth’s already excellent library facilities, but also to develop practical implementation plans. It is a chance to test skills that will be invaluable throughout both their academic and professional lives.
“It is a chance for students to prove their mettle when it comes to innovation, and it is wonderful to see a first-year student already developing winning concepts. Brian can be very proud of this achievement, and I have no doubt his idea will be of great benefit to Maynooth University students.”
Maynooth University hosts its Postgraduate Open Day tomorrow, 27 February 2018, from 3.00pm to 8.00pm. To attend and witness the EnergyPods first hand, register here.