An innovative use of new technology has allowed Cork company ‘In Hand Guides Ltd’ to create a portable souvenir digital audio device that is being used for tourist audioguides in locations as diverse as the Book of Kells Dublin, Blarney Castle and Gardens, 911 Families Centre New York , Boston on their history Freedom Trail and Genoa Italy as a heritage trail. Recently the company launched their new design for 2017 – a beacon activated audio device with Spike Island becoming their first location.
Trevor Winckworth, Company Founder, contacted the TEC Gateway in Cork Institute of Technology for advice on the development of an audio guide targeted to the tourist/lifestyle sector. He met with a team of researchers in Embedded Systems who were able to advise on the possible technical approaches to be followed. The Enterprise Ireland Innovation Voucher scheme was seen as the best vehicle for funding the project. The voucher scheme helps to create linkages between SMEs and Knowledge Providers. The project scope was defined after a series of brainstorming and focused discussions. The project was divided into several workpackages which were then broken down to show clear milestones and deliverables. The project resulted in the development of a prototype audio device with head set and volume controls. The prototype allowed the company to demonstrate basic functionality to prospective customers. As a result of the successful development of the prototype it was possible to create an improved device which was manufactured in China. Thus the project succeeded in bringing a technical concept envisioned by In Hand Guides into an actual product, ready for market.