Filipino teen inventors hailed at 4th imake.wemake competition

Published September 11, 2021, 6:33 PM

by Jhon Aldrin Casinas

Filipino teen inventors were recognized for their innovative inventions in the recently-concluded fourth imake.wemake: create. innovate. collaborate competition.

Among the innovations of young inventors submitted for the contest is a hands-free computer interface with a built-in medical scanner, a living computer-monitored wastewater filtering and management system, and a smart assistant for the visually impaired.

Organized by the Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI) and supported by the Gokongwei Brothers Foundation (GBF), the annual competition was overseen by a team of judges comprised of veteran engineers from the country’s top universities.

“This year’s entries highlight the brilliance and creativity of our young students,” DOST-SEI Director Josette Biyo said in a statement.

“It’s a feat made all the more impressive by the fact that they were able to create, innovate, and collaborate despite the pandemic,” she added.

Youth Innovation Prize

The Youth Innovation Prizes (YIP) was awarded to students of Cavite Science Integrated School (CSIS), Ramon Teves Pastor Memorial-Dumaguete Science High School (RTPM-DSHS), and the Science and Technology Education Center – Cebu Senior High School (STEC-CSHS), the DOST said.

Contactless computer interface

The winning entry of the CSIS was submitted under the title, “ABSCISSA: An Arduino-Based Smart Contactless Interface Integrated with Syndromic Surveillance and Alert System for Fomite-Mediated Transmission Mitigation”.

Cavite Science Integrated School’s winning design for a contactless appliance interface that doubles as a health monitor aims to help avoid the spread of COVID-19. (Photo from Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute)

It was developed by Jimuel Clarence Z. Malimban, John Kenneth V. Sanchez, and Aira Gayle Pugeda.

The CSIS’s entry was a hands-free computer interface that also serves as a warning device that monitors the health of its users.

“It helps to minimize the risk of infection from contact with infected surfaces by using a computer-enabled camera to interpret users’ movements to potentially control everything from house appliances to ATMs,” the DOST said.

“It also monitors users’ vital signs and is capable of sending an alert to authorities if it senses anything out of the ordinary,” it added.

Wastewater management system

Student innovators of RTPM-DSHS came up with a “unique” wastewater management system that uses live plants to filter out harmful chemicals in water.

Ramon Teves Pastor Memorial-Dumaguete Science High School created a smart wastewater management system that uses live Tangan-tangan plants to absorb pollutants and toxic chemicals. (Photo from Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute)

The entry entitled, “Project WWW: A Multifunctional Waste-Water Web for Agrobotics”, was developed by Ericka Elaine Diputado, Anjeli L. Merecido, and Shauna E. Tifora.

According to the DOST, the water passes through a filter of Tangan-tangan plants, which naturally absorb toxic chemicals, before going through a standard filter setup. The entire process is overseen via a computer-enabled sensors that monitors the water quality.

Smart assistant for visually impaired

Meanwhile, the winning entry of STEC-CSHS was a “smart assistant” that is said to help visually impaired users to know what’s around them and even to read nearby signs and text, the DOST said.

It was called “Project BlindSpot: Arduino-Based Object Distance Measurement, Identification and Optical Character Recognition Using YOLO Algorithm”, and developed by Johann Emir G. Margallo, Kate Ashley P. Liao, and Ron Marc L. Cañete.

Science and Technology Education Center – Cebu Senior High School designed a head mounted assistive device for the visually impaired, allowing them to be alerted to nearby obstacles and even to read signs and billboards. (Photo from Department of Science and Technology – Science Education Institute)

“The head-mounted device not only alerts of the presence of nearby obstacles but also indicates the distance of these objects. The system can also identify and read aloud text in the environment, such as on street signs and billboards,” the DOST said.

The YIP Awardees each received a P200,000 cash prize and a trophy.

Young Scientist Awardees and Scholars

On the other hand, the Imake.Wemake also conferred the GBF Young Scientist Award to CSIS students Malimban and Sanchez, and Merecido of RTPM-DSHS.

The DOST said the award is bestowed to the finalists who “demonstrated global competence through their innovation.”

Moreover, the awardees received the GBF STEM Scholarship for Excellence—a conditional scholarship of P85,000 per academic year—which allows them to pursue a STEM course of their choice at any of the country’s colleges or universities.

“We hope that these initiatives help ensure a pool of quality STEM professionals who can contribute to the Philippines’ national development in the future,” said GBF Executive Director Grace Colet.