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The Philippines will mark another milestone with the launch of Maya-1, the first Filipino cube satellite, in space in July 2018. Implemented by the PHL-Microsat Program of the University of the Philippines Diliman, in collaboration with the Department of Science and Technology - Advanced Science and Technology Institute (DOST-ASTI) and the Kyushu Institute of Technology, Maya-1 was turned over to the Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency (JAXA) last May 15, to prepare for its launch.

The development of the Maya-1 falls under BIRDS-2 (Birds Satellite Project), a cross-border interdisciplinary satellite project that accommodates non-space faring countries. The project consists of 11 participating team members from four different countries – two of whom are from the Philippines.

 

The team behind Maya-1

The Philippine representatives of the BIRDS-2 Project (Left); and the Maya-1 (Right)

 

Kyushu Institute of Technology (Kyutech) students, Joven Javier and Adrian Salces, represented the Philippines throughout the project.

Master of Engineering student Javier is responsible for monitoring the development task progress of the project. Taking on the role as team leader for the whole BIRDS-2 batch, he is also in charge of supervising the project cycle, ensuring that all stages – from the preliminary design to the satellite operation – are running smoothly and accordingly.

PhD in Engineering student Salces, on the other hand, takes over managing the communication subsystem of the satellite. Moreover, he ensures the continuation of the establishment and operation of a ground station network, demonstration of the data collection system consisting of the CubeSat constellation, and the identification of all technical challenges of the system.

The Maya-1 in a nutshell

In line with the functionalities identified by the BIRDS Project, Maya-1 is set to take images of the earth using onboard cameras, broadcast signals from various satellites, and determine their locations, measure atmospheric density through orbital analysis, help operate a ground station network for CubeSat constellation - an application that will allow for easier telecommunication, and measure single-event-latch ups in orbit.

Just like how Diwata-1 and Diwata-2 paved the way for science to grow and flourish in the Philippines, Maya-1 will serve as a representation on how we strive to make our mark as a globally competitive country in the space tech scene.

The projects under the PHL-Microsat program are funded by the Department of Science and Technology and assisted by the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

 

The Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD) and the University of the Philippines, through the National Engineering Center, launched the Higher Education Institution Readiness for Innovation and Technopreneurship (HeIRIT) Program, a 12-month preparatory program for starting technology business incubators (TBIs).

The HeIRIT Program was designed to help universities meet the requirements of the Council’s TBI funding and train their managers to run their own DOST-affiliated TBIs to cater the growing demand for early stage entrepreneurial support particularly in the regions. The kick-off activity held last April 16-18, 2018 at the UP National Engineering Center was participated by different university TBI representatives. 20 out of the 45 universities that applied around the country were successfully selected by the Council’s Panel of Experts to undergo the said program. Another two universities were added in the list of successful applicants through a move by then PCIEERD Executive Director, Carlos Primo David, in 2017 as part of the Director’s Save Award.

Dr. Rizalinda de Leon, Executive Director of the National Engineering Center said, “Universities, therefore, should ensure that its students and faculties will be successful in their innovation entrepreneurship endeavors. As enabling partners, we shall help our universities create and implement new ideas that generate value for public use. Your attendance on this program tells us that we are all one in heart and mind in recognizing that innovation and entrepreneurship are important to address major developmental challenges – inclusion, sustainability and prosperity.” as she welcomed the participants.

The overview of the DOST TBI program was presented by Ms. Russell Pili, program manager of PCIEERD TBI Program, highlighting the objectives, which are to create jobs, develop entrepreneurs, and promote public-private partnerships. Further, she emphasized that the universities has the largest resources of talent and ideas, and it is the role of the new TBI managers to harness their talent and provide a supporting environment for future young entrepreneurs.

“The goal of the DOST is to establish 1000 startups in the next five years through replication of startup communities in the regions.” said Ms. Pili. This challenged the participants to earnestly take part in the program and produce promising startups in the next five years.

’Technology Business Income’ is what TBI really is and not only a mere technology business incubator.” Prof. Nestor Rañeses mentioned during his presentation of the HeIRIT Program. “HeIRIT is all about innovation - something different, something significantly better, and something that will create a difference,” he added. Professor Nestor Rañeses is the project leader of HEIRIT and is the helm of this trailblazing initiative. He encouraged the universities to change the academe’s status quo and produce not only graduates but entrepreneurs. After the one-year program, the universities must have their business model and list of target markets, build partnership in the business sectors, and secure a sustainability plan for their respective TBIs.

“Five best practices that has been determined to be success factors for TBI’s are: passion, clarity of purpose, T.E.A.M. (Together Everyone Achieves More), feedback, and investors.”  Prof. Rañases shared as he summed up.

 

With the HeIRIT’s empowering program and tagline – “Ideate. Create. Innovate. Incubate. Invest.”, all participating universities were fueled up to take the challenge of bringing out their best efforts for the program. 

 

HeIRIT Program grantees

 
1.    Adamson University
2.    Bicol University
3.    Bulacan State University
4.    Cagayan State University          
5.    Cebu Institute of Technology           
6.    Holy Angel University
7.    Iloilo Science and Technology University
8.    Mapua Institute of Technology        
9.    Miriam College
10.  Nueva Vizcaya State University
11.  Siliman University
12.  St. Louis University – Baguio 
13.  Technological Institute of the Philippines – Manila
14.  Technological University of the Philippines – Visayas
15.  University of Mindanao
16.  University of San Carlos
17.  University of Santo Tomas
18.  University of Southeastern Philippines
19.  University of the Cordilleras
20.  University of the Philippines Mindanao
21.  Samar State University
22.  Mariano Marcos State University

 

Engr. Edgar Garcia (middle) of the Technology Application and Promotion Institute
(DOST-TAPI) receives the gold medals for the Smart Surface and Biotek-M projects
during the 46th Geneva Inventions (photo from Engr. Garcia).

 

GENEVA, SWITZERLAND—Smart Surface, a system that converts virtually any flat surface into an interactive interface, garnered a gold medal with jury distinction during the 46th International Exhibition of Inventions Geneva (Geneva Inventions) on April 11-15, 2018.

This technology is an answer to the challenge of enhancing the learning environment by offering interactive learning environments that increase learning effectiveness through active participation.

Smart Surface boasts for its distinct features that can compete with the already existing products in the market. Its content can be customized according to the client’s preference; it is portable; it can be installed in existing surfaces; and most importantly, it is low-cost with speedy after-sales support in cases of replacement, repair services, or technical help.

Aside from its applications for learning, Smart Surface is also seen to have various applications in restaurants, exhibits/fairs, advertising, and other activities that involves interactive presentations.

This system is developed by the UP Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute led by Dr. Nestor Michael Tiglao, with funding assistance from the Technicom Program of DOST - TAPI and monitored by DOST - PCIEERD

Another gold medal was received by the Biotek-M Aqua Kit, a technology developed by UP Manila. This is a confirmatory test that can detect dengue infection within an hour or less for use in hospitals and stand-alone and chain laboratories.

Geneva Inventions, with participation from more than 45 countries, is the biggest international event dedicated to feature the newest creations worldwide, which also serves as a marketplace for licenses for industrialists, distributors, and financial experts. This event is supported by the Swiss government and the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO).

Signatories (from LEFT): Engr. Raul Sabularse (PCIEERD Deputy Executive Director), Sec. Fortunato T. Dela Peňa (DOST Secretary), Mr. Juan Miguel Del Rosario (Toon City Academy President and Chief Executive Officer), and Mr. Roderico De Guzman (Toon City Academy VP for Resources Development)

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), through the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (PCIEERD), partners with Toon City Academy through a memorandum of agreement signed on March 7, 2018 to capacitate and hone more Filipino animators, ushering the growth of our creative industries.

The memorandum of agreement is a response to PCIEERD’s recent inclusion of Creative Industries to its sectoral coverage with the initiative to spur an increase in people capacity and employment opportunities through proper cultivation of talents and adequate trainings. “I believe that it is high-time that we fully use our resources to boost our creative industries, as it is one of the driving forces of our economy and its continuing growth,” said DOST Secretary Fortunato T. dela Peňa.

The pilot project was designed to stregnthen animation since it is now a known emerging market in the business process outsourcing sector. According to the Animation Council of the Philippines, Inc. (ACPI), currently, the country has 6,000 local animators. However, not every animator is equipped with skills that are noticed in the global market, making the Philippine animation industry remain in its infancy.

With this, Toon City Academy, the only Emmy-award winning studio here in the Philippines, is a perfect fit for this initiative. This birthed the project titled “Industry-defined 2D Basic Animation Course,” comprising of a 12-week intensive basic animation workshop, and actual work production through an internship program.

Mr. Roderico De Guzman, Toon City Academy’s VP for Resource Development, said that he is thankful for this collaboration as it has provided the necessary tools to 120 animators-in-training to improve their livelihood. These animators are from Pangasinan and Iloilo City. The 12-week animation course ensures that they acquire industry-standard skills. “We are currently addressing capacity building outside Metro Manila and with the help of everyone here, we are creating employment for people who will not necessarily have this chance in their areas,” De Guzman added.

“You are probably aware of the recent Oscar Awards, the theme song of ‘Coco’ was written by a Filipino couple; and that animated feature film, while its characters are Mexican, the lead story writer is Filipino—Gigi Santos. I can run by many names. Ronnie del Carmen co-directed ‘Inside and Out.’ Paul Abadilla, a set designer in ‘Finding Nemo’ and ‘Finding Dory,’ was the animator behind the bahay kubo in the first film. Now, our animation studio is working on two titles for Disney, and two blockbuster titles from French studios. All that to say that the talent for world-class animation is here.” With this, Toon City Academy’s President and CEO Mr. Juan Miguel Del Rosario guarantees the success of this initiative, believing that Filipinos have what it takes to flourish in the global spotlight.