Zach McMordie from East Belfast made a little bit of history this week when he became the first person ever to graduate from the University of Ulster with a degree in Design and Communication with Interaction Design specialism.
Zach (22), a past pupil of Priory Integrated College, was awarded a 2:1 B Des degree at the Magee summer graduations in the Millennium Forum. His final year project - a mobile phone application to help mothers bond with premature babies - has already sparked interest among healthcare professionals.
The app - Prem - was one of the projects showcased by the Class of 2012 design students at their end of year Design show. Zach - now a strapping six footer - explained what prompted the design.
"I was a premature baby and my mum has talked about how difficult it was for mothers to form a bond if her baby was in an incubator. With Prem, the mother can monitor the baby's progress from her hospital bed as images from an incubator webcam are transferred on the phone app. If the mother is discharged from hospital before the baby, she can still use the app, as long as the baby is in the incubator in hospital."
Senior Design lecturer Anton Hutton who supervised the project said: “Zach is planning to continue work on the project investigating development and commercial opportunities with help from C-TRIC (The Clinical Translational Research and Innovation Centre). Zach’s work builds upon the success last year of student Siobhan Kirkmann and her project '3SquareApp'. Interaction Design as a specialisation area in the Design Degree is growing fast and Zach’s project is a great example."