Published December 8, 2023

Convention Centre, Dublin, December 7, 2023 – Today marks a milestone as Maura Moore-McCune, a remarkable 16-year-old innovator, has been presented with her Patent Certificate for her Irish Patent relating to her invention of a “System for detecting moving objects for use by Visually Impaired people.”

16-year-old inventor awarded Irish Patent Certificate for her system for detecting moving objects for use by visually impaired people

At the Building Better Business event organized by the Department of Enterprise, Trade, and Employment, attended by industry leaders, and innovators, Maura Moore-McCune was recognized for her exceptional creativity and ingenuity in creating a solution poised to address the needs of visually impaired people with the potential for reaching global markets.

The system created by Maura Moore-McCune has the potential to revolutionize the global market. This innovative product is the result of Maura Moore-McCune’s resilience, tireless dedication, ingenuity, and purposeful actions aimed at helping other visually impaired people, not just in Ireland and Europe but around the world, based on her own experiences of being a visually impaired road user.

The Patent Certificate, an indicator of Maura Moore-McCune’s inventive abilities, was presented by Mr James Kelly, Controller of the Intellectual Property Office (IPOI), and by the Minister for Enterprise, Trade and Employment, Mr Simon Coveney, at the Building Better Business event in the Convention Centre, Dublin.

The Department of Enterprise, Trade and Employment has been holding a series of these Building Better Business events across the country with the dual themes of “Going Green and Growing Digital,” to help Irish businesses navigate their transition to a low carbon economy and to boost their business performance through digital transformation. 

Maura Moore-McCuneattends The King’s Hospital School, Palmerstown, Dublin, and is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, including her Science teacher, Maura Quinn who immediately identified the potential that Maura has to make a real impact for other visually impaired people. A dream team with Maura in the role of leader and in the driving seat was built including Marie Walsh and Dr Rosi Armstrong, European Patent Attorneys at HGF Limited, IP Specialists, as well as Kilian Cawley, Aodhan Hickey and Gareth King at OCO Global, a team renowned for its expertise in market research who lent their support by advising on commercialization strategy and by conducting in-depth market analysis for Maura’s invention. The insights and guidance of the OCO Global team have been instrumental in shaping the commercialization strategy for this innovation.

Dr Rosi Armstrong and Marie Walsh, Patent Attorneys with HGF Limited, IP specialists, worked closely with Maura Moore-McCune throughout the patent application process. Maura’s team of patent attorneys at HGF Limited provided invaluable guidance and expertise and worked on an IP strategy with Maura to support her plans for commercializing her innovation. 

Maura said: “I have developed VIPMOD, Visually Impaired Person’s Moving Object Detector, as a System for detecting moving objects, such as cars, for use by visually impaired people. Several years ago, I was almost knocked down by an electric car, which prompted me to develop VIPMOD,” said Maura, “Now, with the help of HGF patent lawyers and OCO Global, I’m in a position to commercialize my invention, and I’m actively seeking partners to help me to do this, as I’m still in secondary school. Through the development of this invention, I aim to break down barriers, especially for visually impaired road users, and to revolutionize road safety. My VIPMOD system has lifesaving potential, has no carbon footprint, and is progressive in the digital world we all live in.”

Kilian Cawley, Director at OCO Global said “Maura is an inspirational young entrepreneur, who is using digital innovation to provide positive life-changing impacts in the lives of visually impaired people worldwide. OCO Global was delighted to assist her with international market research and intelligence which will help shape the next steps towards international success with her innovative digital visual solution. Maura represents the future of Irish entrepreneurs and innovators which will continue to make Ireland recognised as a technology and digital hub internationally. OCO Global looks forward to continuing to support Maura in the next steps of her entrepreneurial journey.”

From OCO Global’s research, it is known that globally, at least 2.2 billion people have a vision impairment. In at least 1 billion – or almost half of these people, vision impairment could have been prevented or has yet to be addressed. Globally, 1.1 billion people were living with vision loss in 2020. In Ireland, the census 2016 shows that there are 54, 810 people who are blind or visually impaired and the number is rising as the population ages.

The OCO Global research shows that travel and transport remains a major issue for blind and partially sighted people, especially, obstacles on the pavements. Four out of every 10 blind and partially sighted people were not able to make all the journeys that they wanted or need to make, and around half required support to get out of the house.

Global demand for assistive technologies for visually impaired people stands at a market value of US$ 4.2 billion in 2023. Population aging is expected to drive demand. The market for assistive technologies for visually impaired people is expected to grow to US $ 14.4 billion by 2033. There is a real and growing opportunity space for new technology that addresses the needs of visually impaired people.

Now, with a commercial plan to press ahead to create a Most Viable Product (MVP), as her next step, Maura Moore-McCune is poised to bring her invention to commercial product stage. Her determination to transform this invention into a tangible reality reflects a passion for innovation that extends far beyond her years. Maura is currently seeking to develop collaborations with business partners to continue to press forward with her commercialization plans.

“Maura’s achievements to date are awe-inspiring. Her invention showcases a level of creativity and problem-solving that holds the promise of significant impact within the realm of road safety,” said Kilian Cawley, OCO Global’s Ireland Trade Director. “We commend her dedication and creativity and look forward to witnessing the transformative journey of her invention to commercial product.”

As Maura embarks on the next phase of development, she remains focused on fulfilling her mission of making a difference for visually impaired people. Her commitment to innovation and her unyielding passion serve as an inspiration to aspiring inventors worldwide.

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