Originally published in Volume IV, Issue 3 on 22nd October 1997 by Oliver Mooney.

 

Beer plays a pivotal role in the lives of many students, but for one UCD Engineering student it was crucial to his final year project. Iain Campion, now a mechanical engineer, successfully designed a device which measures the amount of beer left in a keg – simply by tapping it and listening to the noise of the tap.

The method previously picking the keg up and weighing it – no mean feat when a full keg weighs nine stone. Such was the hassle involved in this method that many bars and clubs did not even bother weighing their kegs, and simply guessed how much beer was left by how hard the keg was to move.

Iain worked as a manager of The Pink Elephant during a break from his studies. Being “an engineer at heart”” forced him to find a more elegant solution to the problem of stock-taking, and so he decided to research the problem for his final year. During the course of his research he borrowed full kegs from the Guinness brewery. After rejecting several designs that required modifying beer kegs, he hit on the idea of using ‘transient vibration analysis.’

His final design was so good Hewlett Packard declared him winner of the Hewlett Packard Award, an award for the most innovative final year engineering project. The award is open to every college in country. He also won the similar Unidare Award. The Hewlett Packard award comes complete with a top of the range multimedia home office PC.

Iain is currently working in Chile with Siemens-Nixdorf, and so was unavailable for comment. However, when contacted, his father told the University Observer that Iain was “tremendously happy and over the moon.” According to his father, “Iain worked very hard, cycling into college each morning at 7:30 and going into the library after his lectures. He would only arrive home at 10:30 each evening.” Iain received offers from several companies interested in manufacturing his device.