The students from Mapúa Institute of Technology demonstrate how their winning gadget work before the judges of 8th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards. Photo courtesy of Smart Communication, Inc.
The three computer engineering (CpE) students from Mapúa Institute of Technology who bagged the top prize in the 8th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Innovation and Excellence Awards said they are still on cloud nine following their victory in the nationwide competition that saw them defeating more than a hundred entries.
The team of Kristine Emy O. Matabang, Girly G. Perando and Janiena Roxanne D.C. Dirain, all graduating students, said they have been overwhelmed by their success and that they are thankful to all those who supported them.
“We didn't expect to win - but we hoped for it - since all other finalists also have great entries,” Matabang said.
The group’s entry to the SWEEP Awards, which is Smart Communication, Inc.’s annual search for the most innovative wireless applications by students, is a dual-purpose device that aims to help the blind. It can detect obstacles within five meters and it serves as a cellphone with Braille keypad so those visually impaired can receive and answer text messages and calls. Text messages can be read per character.
The project is called “Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille CellPhone for the Blind.” It has beaten at least 140 entries submitted by students from Smart’s partner schools under SWEEP, an industry-academe partnership that seeks to raise the level of technology and engineering education in the country.
A group of electronics engineering (ECE) students from Mapúa, whose project is called the “The Fault Line Data Acquisition and Monitoring System,” also made it to the final 10.
Dirain, Matabang and Perando, with mentor Engr. Ayra Panganiban, received P500,000 in cash prize during the awarding ceremony on February 22 at the SMX Convention Center. Grants were also given to the schools of the top three teams.
“We are very honored and proud to represent the school together with the group of Engr. [Joseph Bryan] Ibarra,” said Perando.
The three CpE students also thanked “everyone who took part on this journey especially to our Smart SWEEP mentor, Engr. Ayra Panganiban, and our design adviser Engr. Michael Pacis.”
“To the Mapúa community, thank you for believing in us and supporting us all throughout the competition,” they said.
As for their next step, they said they plan to file a patent application for their invention.
“We will also enhance our device. For example, we are looking at making it wireless. Also, we want to make it more compact so that it can be more beneficial to the blind community,” said Dirain.
Dean Felicito S. Caluyo of the School of Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering (EECE) was happy with the group’s “splendid performance” in the competition.
“As the Dean of the School of EECE, I am very proud that our entry, ‘Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille Cell Phone for the Blind,’ in the 8th Smart SWEEP Innovation and Excellence Awards garnered the highest award,” he said, adding:
“I believe that the splendid performance of the team has not come as a surprise because they worked hard for it and the project itself is very interesting, innovative and with social relevance.”
Dean Caluyo said he has always encouraged his faculty members and students to engage in research activities to put into practice their knowledge and experience.
“This new achievement is a concrete evidence of Mapúa’s thrust towards Outcomes-Based Education, wherein the learners demonstrate what they are able to do with what they know,” he said.
SWEEP Innovations and Excellence Awards is an annual event that aims to promote technology and innovation for the betterment of the people. It was the second time that Mapúa joined the annual competition, and the Mapúans have always made it to the top 10.
The “Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille CellPhone for the Blind” is a dual-purpose device that can detect obstacles within five meters, and it serves as a cellphone with Braille keypad. Photo courtesy of Smart Communication, Inc.
The winning team of Kristine Emy O. Matabang, Girly G. Perando and Janiena Roxanne D.C. Dirain. Photo courtesy of Smart Communication, Inc.