Engr. Roel John Judilla, head of the robotics team of Mapúa Institute of Technology,collaborates with different government agencies and private groups to discuss strategies and implement sustainable projects that complement his engineering and technological competence.
Engr. Roel John Judilla, head of the robotics team of Mapúa Institute of Technology, is one of the country’s top engineers in the multidisciplinary field of mechatronics.
Engr. Judilla, an out-of-the-box thinker, dislikes routines and prefers to explore and discover. His inquisitive mind prodded him to conceptualize machines applicable to police and military operations as an outcome of his passion to create something extraordinary from ordinary things.
“Since my younger days, I have always loved to apply various engineering principles to different endeavors,” said the 1995 mechanical engineering graduate from Mapúa, who is about to finish his PhD at the University of the Philippines (UP) in Diliman, Quezon City.
This led to Engr. Judilla collaborating with different government agencies and private groups to discuss strategies and implement sustainable projects that complement his engineering and technological competence.
“Mapúa is first in terms of applied robotics in the Philippines. As early as 2000, we have already ventured into robotics, which only became popular here in 2005. Up until now, no one has been able to copy our bomb disposal robot,” said the former dean of Mapúa’s School of Mechanical Engineering, now School of Mechanical and Manufacturing Engineering, and current head of the school’s Institutional Laboratory Management Office.
“At Mapúa, we have the passion, technical capability and support from the administration. We have the space, manpower and the right equipment. More importantly, we have great brains, too,” he added.
Engr. Judilla is proud of his two-foot tall and three-foot wide robot called MAC (Mechanical Anti-terrorist Concept), the country’s first and only bomb disposal robot that is now a part of the operations of the Makati City police’s bomb disposal unit.
Since MAC’s introduction in 2008, no one has been able to duplicate the remotely controlled robot built to defuse bombs. Engr. Judilla said it would probably take time before anyone could reproduce a robot that has the same capabilities as MAC.
Engr. Judilla, a Philippine Navy reserve officer, and his team from Mapúa recently turned over to the Navy the Trident Strike, an automated weapon platform system for 50-calibre machine gun. The equipment will be mounted on naval gunships or in strategic locations for perimeter defense.
Other innovative machines that he invented for the use of the Philippine Navy are the submersible rover and the unmanned surface vessel.
The submersible rover will be used in the Navy’s sub-sea operations, specifically to check marine pollution, find sunken ships and man harbors and piers for possible explosives. The unmanned surface vessel, on the other hand, is a mini-boat with a camera and a weapon and is intended for naval surveillance.
This out-of-the box thinker not only conceptualizes machines for police and military operations. He also advocates protection for the environment. Recently, he and his team finished a coral mapping equipment called “Teardrop” in collaboration with UP scientists.
“Teardrop,” coined by the UP scientists as the equipment resembles the shape of a teardrop, is used to reach the deeper part of the ocean and take photos of the coral reefs. It can go as deep as 50 to 100 feet or even deeper.
“It would take divers several days to cover a square kilometer area. With ‘Teardrop,’ it would only take less than an hour. ‘Teardrop’ is also used to monitor the health of the corals, which is very significant. You would know that there’s a sudden change in temperature, due to climate change, when the corals turn white,” the former dean explained.
He also envisions exploring the Philippine Trench, the country’s deepest point and third in the world, using the “Teardrop.” Engr. Judilla said he hopes to achieve this dream project in the next two to three years.
New challenges in the horizon
Amid his achievements and worthwhile endeavors in the past 18 years, he seems to have done it all. But Engr. Judilla would neither slow down nor rest on his laurels. “There are still many things to discover and more problems to solve.”
Ultimately, he said, his aim is to share his expertise for the good of the humanity.
“How would you find your purpose in life? Magtra-trabaho ka lang ba to create things? Magtra-trabaho ka ba to help others or magtra-trabaho ka lang just to earn a living? I said to myself, ‘Why not combine all those things?’”
“I realize that life is easy, madali lang pala, madali ang buhay, madali lang gawin ang mga bagay. Naghahanap pa din ako ng bagay na mahirap gawin. Gusto ko lang patunayan na may solution sa bawat bagay. You try to look for solutions. Doon mo lang mare-realize na meron palang sagot ang lahat,” he added.
He also confessed that he is “very adventurous” and that he is “a risk taker.” One of his dreams is to run on the San Juanico Bridge, the longest bridge in the country that stretches from Samar to Leyte, while being chased by MAC, he said in jest.
Engr. Judilla wears many hats. He is a teacher, an engineer, an inventor and a soldier. What he treasures most though is that he is the “best dad in the world as defined by my daughter.”
Engr. Roel John Judilla is an out-of-the box thinker who conceptualizes machines for police and military operations. He also advocates protection for the environment.
Engr. Roel John Judilla, head of the robotics team of Mapúa Institute of Technology, is the leader of the group that created the first Philippine-made bomb disposal robot.