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Screenshot of Barvid-19, one of the apps/websites developed to consolidate data to aid in addressing the COVID19 Pandemic
 

Filipino innovators are making the adage “necessity is the mother of invention” into reality.

The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) acknowledges innovative Filipinos who have come up with brilliant technologies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Featuring personalize contact tracing, health assessment and monitoring, and community monitoring - these initiatives showcase the ingenuity and talent of Filipinos online innovators in fighting the global pandemic.

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit expressed elation over the ingenuity of Filipinos who came up with innovations to fight the global pandemic.

"As leader and partner in enabling innovations in the country, we recognize and urge the public to support these new technologies developed by our brave countrymen,” Paringit said.

Contact-tracing apps and systems. Contact-tracing apps were designed to encourage Filipinos to help in the contact tracing of COVID-19-infected individuals:

  • BirdsEye – Developed by University of San Carlos (USC) faculty members and students, this app encourages self-reporting with the following key features: location mapping and matching, transportation matching and mapping, temperature management, mass testing management and contact tracing. Through these features, it determines COVID-19 hotspots of specific places (i.e. malls, hotels and more) and modes of transportation of where virus carriers have visited. BirdsEye is now available on Google Play.
  • QVID – QVID is contact tracing system for LGUs with the use of QR Codes. It introduces uniformity of simple and secured data gathering for end-users with or without smart phones by empowering barangay-based registration with the barrio system apps: barrio.citizen and barrio.council. In normal times, QVID's data backbone, barrio.system is ideal for seamless delivery of public services to targeted constituents just like the objectives of the National ID System. Designed and developed by ARKITEK, an Iloilo-based startup focused on providing solutions based from existing laws in collaboration with government agencies and local governments.
  • COVID19TRACKER.PH - This is a free, community-based contact tracing tool that uses Bluetooth signals to log your closed contacts in the database. The user will be immediately alerted if you are in closed contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient for the last 14 days. You can also monitor your status, whether you are a Suspect, Probable, Confirmed, or a Recovered patient.
  • WeTrace - WeTrace is a community tracing app developed by the same team under Genii Hut Technologies Incorporated, a DOST-funded startup, and was endorsed by the provincial government of Cebu for mandatory use in the province. The app can be used for patient mapping, case reporting and location tracking. WeTrace is already available for download on Google Play and Apple Appstore.
  • BYNHN Covid-19 QR Location & Health Status Tracker - Bayanihan (BYNHN) is a security and health code app tailored fit for Filipino nuances and based on international measures to combat COVID-19​. It is designed to monitor and log the location of individuals by having an anonymized QR code in every individual profile, establishment and transportation services. The system may flag those who are at risk of coming into contact with an individual who tested positive using the log in the database of the application.
  • iKeepUSafe -The iKeepUSafe App allows the user to take a self-assessment questionnaire to assess their risk, and inform the public on the privacy of their homes. The system finds everyone who has come within 3 meters and the range of time [based on recorded travel points] that newly reported PUI has stayed in a place plus a window of four (4) hours. Currently, the developer has ongoing talks with the Sta. Rosa Laguna LGU.
  • CLEAR (Citizen's Logistics & Early Assessment Report) - C.L.E.A.R. is a web-based application that is also available on mobile, that provides Local Government Units and Business Units with a means to organize their initiatives to combat COVID19. It gathers data through several methods that include manual and automated functionalities that would seek to generate data specific to COVID19. Developed by Spring Valley and CMI Tech, C.L.E.A.R. aims to empower its Users by providing them the means to gather, organize and analyze information to arrive at the most efficient solution to contain, and eventually eliminate the COVID19 Pandemic. C.L.E.A.R. is also essential to transition out of the Enhanced Community Quarantine as it provides visibility and control to industries, enabling them to self-manage their respective workforce.

Personal health assessment and monitoring tools. To avoid further community transmission, health assessment and monitoring tools help people evaluate and submit their current health status in the comfort of their own home. These will also aid them determine whether they need to seek immediate medical care.

  • ENDCoV – This is a community-driven medical information app that identifies the health condition of a user and provides the corresponding recommendation, establishes a directory of persons and journal of places that the user has made contact with, and provides mass notification to persons with whom a COVID-19 positive patient had made prior contact with. Three (3) days after the launch of the app, it officially reached more than 5,000 users and is now the number one (1) free medical application on Google Play.
  • COVID-19 SCAN: Screening, Assessment, Networking - Senti AI, the country’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, designed this self-assessment app to aid users in determining proper action to take given the symptoms being experienced and history of travel encoded. Moreover, it contains up-to-date health information on COVID-19 to support users in managing their health and well-being in this time of health crisis. Senti AI is a DOST-PCIEERD Startup Grant Awardee which developed a machine-learning-based language classifier that automatically detects the language of any document.

At the end of the self-assessment survey, the user will be asked if they want their case to be submitted to the health authorities within their jurisdiction for evaluation. The health authorities will have access to the web application using their unique login credentials.

  • AI-enhanced knowledge management tool – Also developed by Senti AI, the tool will be implemented as the “central brain” for the Department of Health’s (DOH) communication channels. The tool will be filled with FAQs, public or health worker inquiries, and the latest guidelines from DOH. The solution makes use of numerous AI technologies including natural language understanding, intent detection, and entity detection to intelligently capture the context behind an inquiry and provide the most relevant, up-to-date answer from DOH’s official knowledge base.

The tool can easily be integrated to various chatbot providers which unburdens the user from sifting through hundreds of documents with different versions of the same policy. Ultimately, the biggest value of the tool is ensuring that all governing entities from the cities to remote areas of the country can be in sync with the latest official guidelines.

  • Barvid-19 – Developed by students from the Technological Institute of the Philippines, the COVID-19 Barangay Tracker is a barangay and city-wide tracker that can help the public identify the number of people infected with COVID-19 and the specific barangay where they are. At present, data that can be seen in the app are for the cities of Manila, Pasay, Caloocan and Navotas.  The site can be accessed at https://barvid19-tracker.herokuapp.com.

Goods and supplies delivery system were also developed to ensure steady supply of goods sold in local stores and access by communities.

  • Fleet.PH - Fleet.PH created a logistics strategy to have visibility and to optimize activities of logistics deliveries in the Philippines with the current scenario. It aims to help businesses explore, activate delivery support to reach customers, and provide livelihood to Filipinos who lost employment opportunities during the ECQ, and to safely transport supplies, especially to the country’s brave frontliners.

LGU-level community monitoring. Communities need to be closely monitored to ensure that each Filipino is protected from the spread of COVID-19. These tools can aid community leaders and LGUs in keeping a watchful eye on the whole community amid the pandemic.

  • Use of AI for City Watch Initiative – Project Greengrass made a free online community map of real-time street activity monitoring using CCTV networks. It allows the community to have a view on what’s happening in their barangays or cities such as people and vehicle count. LGU authorities can efficiently manage their operations and staff and help them ensure that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols are followed. Interested LGUs can contact the project team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (02)8253-3815.
  • SafeTravelPH – This app is a crowdsourcing tool developed by the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) for users to easily report road and other transport incidents in their area that are related to the ECQ. These reports will be relayed to national and local authorities for their immediate action. The app also supports disease spread monitoring and control, emergency logistics, and disaster relief operations. Real-time updates and data from the app will be useful to community leaders.

This initiative is part of the efforts of the UP COVID-19 response team that empowers communities by enhancing the Filipino value of bayanihan. The developers of the app are currently waiting for the approval of Google Play for it to be available to Filipinos.

  • COVID-19 Symptom Tracker – Accessed at https://symptom-tracker.tedhouse.org/, this is a simple website developed by researchers from De La Salle University – Laguna Campus that allows individuals to easily declare symptoms which will be tagged in the area where these individuals reside. After submitting the symptoms, personal information such as age and gender, are the only required personal information to be filled in. The self-reported symptoms are then projected to a map for easy visualization that will be useful for decision-making purposes.
  • PH Kontra Covid – This is an initiative of the Department of Health (DOH) in collaboration with technology partners AI4GOV and AIAH.AI. It is a system with a web-based digital triage platform and chatbots deployed in Viber and Facebook messenger. The web app and the Viber bot serves as a digital triage tool with the latest algorithm approved and endorsed by DOH, based on the latest case definitions and classification. Another tool “KIRA (Katuwang na Impormasyon para sa Responsableng Aksyon) Kontra COVID” is a bot deployed at the official DOH page that provides the most updated information from guidelines and issuances.

The tools are intended to reach low-income users by enabling access to fast, credible, and bite-sized information and leverages the connectivity of Filipinos in social media. The platform mitigates the spread and effect of false information as it becomes recognized as a reliable and verified source of information. The data on potential cases reported from the digital triage from the web application and Viber will be synchronized with the DOH COVID information system and planned data warehouse. This will enable predictive analytics for the spread of COVID-19, strengthen the referral system, and converge efforts in enabling data-driven and empathetic responses to COVID-19.

With the continued initiatives of the government to combat and contain the pandemic, it is expected that many individuals, leaders, LGUs, and policy makers will find these technologies useful and helpful.

“As physical interaction is highly avoided to prevent further spread of the virus, innovations should be leveraged now, more than ever, to assist and boost Philippines’ efforts in pandemic monitoring, control and treatment, virus tracking, and resource delivery,” Paringit said.
A front-liner tries out one of the Sample Collection Booths deployed in UP PGH.
 

In support to the Department of Health’s (DOH) efforts to conduct mass testing in the country, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) will mass produce Sample Collection Booths (SCBs) as it passes validation tests from four hospitals.

Designed and fabricated by DOST Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) Startup Grant awardee Futuristic Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc. (FAME), the SCBs passed initial performance assessment conducted at the Regional Institute for Tropical Medicine (RITM), Philippine General Hospital, Lung Center of the Philippines, and Dr. Jose N. Rodriguez Memorial Hospital.

Jointly supported by DOST’s Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) and the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD), FAME’s SCBs are inspired by the telephone booth-style coronavirus testing stations in other Asian countries. 

The SCBs are compact, with good ventilation, easy to mobilize, can remotely monitor the patient’s temperature and is a good protective barrier between the frontliner and the suspected COVID-19 patient. It has window-mounted nitrile gloves that are disinfected for five minutes after every patient to protect them from others getting tested. Other current designs from different sources were also considered in the selection of the final design for the SCB considering safety for both tester and patient, mobility of the unit and compactness of the design for ease of deployment.

Testing will be conducted by seating each patient outside the booth while the medical professional collects their samples by swabbing their nose and throat using arm-length nitrile gloves built into the front window of the booth. Then, the sample will be taken to the accredited laboratories for diagnostic purposes.

Used gloves and other hazardous waste are properly disposed in hazardous waste bins.

The SCBs will be delivered to the DOH identified testing locations by April 30 which around the country.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara lauded FAME for stepping up to the plate and immediately responding to the need for SCBs in the country.

“As we continue to make change happen in the Philippines through research and development, we are optimistic that these SCBs will tip the scales in our fight against COVID-19, giving us a faster way to identify and isolate patients,” she said.

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit acknowledged FAME’s innovative approach in helping frontliners in battling COVID-19 in the country. FAME was a DOST-PCIEERD Startup Grant Awardee for its low-cost transponders developed for small boats with fisherfolks in mind.

“FAME upped the ante in our fight against COVID-19.  As a leader and partner in enabling research, innovations and development in the country, we will continue to support innovators who, do not only push technological boundaries but also respond to pressing challenges in the Philippines,” he said.

DOST PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stressed the importance of protecting the frontline workers in our country’s fight against COVID-19. He said, “In this fight, our heroes are the frontline workers. Through this project, we are providing a new level of protection for our health workers whose health may be at risk due to shortages in PPEs. Likewise, this SCB is an inspiring method to support our goal of mass testing.”
Photos of actual deployment of Rapidpass (photo credits: Rapidpass Facebook Page)
 

The Department of Science and Technology (DOST), DEVCONNECT Philippines, Inc. (DEVCON), the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), and the Joint Task Force COVID Shield (JTF) are collaborating  in the implementation of RapidPass, the technology that provides easier access in Metro Manila’s quarantine checkpoints for frontliners in the fight against COVID-19.

DEVCON developed the RapidPass in response to the request of the Inter-Agency Task Force for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) for innovations to decongest traffic at the Quarantine Control Points (QCPs).

DOST chairs the RapidPass Coordination Group, DICT leads the Technical Working Group, and the JTF, led by Lieutenant General Guillermo Eleazar, takes point in the deployment at the QCPs.

Altogether, it took DOST, DEVCON, DICT, and the PNP- JTF to manage the deployment and operations of the RapidPass, augmenting the efforts of government to ensure the fast and easy passage of frontliners and essential goods during the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ).

RapidPass is a QR based system that hastens the movement of Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) and their vehicles through QCPs.

Developed by DEVCON, PNP personnel in QCPs can easily check its bearers if they are allowed to pass.

Both the origin and destination of the APOR is indicated in the encryption of the RapidPass QR code.

DEVCON Founder Winston Damarillo expressed gratitude to the government for the opportunity to work hand in hand in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We welcome the challenge and appreciate the opportunity to serve alongside our government.  We are looking forward to seeing our technology put into action to enable efficient travel for our frontliners and safer administration of our checkpoint officers,” he said.

DEVCON, a volunteer organization that promotes collaborative growth and global competence of Filipino developers, is led by Amihan Global Strategies and Talino Venture Labs Chief Executive Officer Winston Damarillo. 

Police Lt. Gen. Guillermo Lorenzo Eleazar, commander of the JTF COVID Shield said, “It is an effective tool since only the skeletal force of exempted establishments will be considered as APOR, unlike with the company IDs that could include even those who are not members of the

reduced workforce. This system will be implemented even BEYOND ECQ PERIOD as this will play an important role in effectively enforcing modified community quarantine. This system will be implemented in QCPs (Quarantine Control Points) exclusively for NON-CARGO VEHICLES. All NON-CARGO VEHICLES shall be flagged down in QCPs to: scan QR Code/s, check social distancing, and take the temperature of the occupant/s.  “

DOST Secretary Fortunato T. de la Pena disclosed that as of date, there are 16,000 approved users of the RapidPass in 48 QCPs of NCR.

“We would like to thank the DEVCON volunteers for coming up with this innovative solution which has eased the burden for our personnel in quarantine checkpoints and we would like to thank our partners, DICT, PNP, and DOST-NCR for working together in deploying RapidPass, and we thank our partners from the private sector, PLDT and SM, for donating phones to be used by PNP personnel at QCPs and bandwidth for the operation of RapidPass” he said.

Prototype drone carrying an AI-powered thermal scanner
 

Harnessing the power of technology to combat the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) unveiled six technologies that are currently being developed by Filipino innovators.

Ranging from nano-enhanced sanitizers to mobile AI-powered thermal scanners, these technologies are DOST’s quick response to the ongoing pandemic that has endangered the lives of many.

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara lauded the Filipino researchers who came up with these timely innovations.

“We thank our Filipino researchers for making change happen through these technologies that we are working on.  We hope to see them soonest in the hands of our frontliners and the general public who is greatly affected by COVID19,” she said.

PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit expressed support to Filipino researchers who will be generating these technologies, hailing their immediate response to the need.

“As leader and partner in enabling innovations in the country, DOST-PCIEERD will guide our researchers in providing solutions to the challenges on hand.  We will maximize the use of our technologies to support our frontliners and help in our fight against COVID19,” he said.

The six technologies that are now being developed are:

1. Mobile AI-enabled Thermal Scanners - In partnership with Orbital Exploration (OrbitX) Technologies, six (6) artificial-intelligence-powered thermal scanners mounted on drones will be produced initially to easily scan and pinpoint people with high body temperature. These drones provide real-time data transmission, are equipped with GPS, and has a 2-km range for communication. This technology will shorten the queuing of people and minimize contact between individuals in checkpoints. Initially, six (6) units will be produced for testing and deployment in selected local government units (LGUs).

2. Nanotechnology-enhanced Sanitizers - The Central Luzon State University (CLSU) Nanotech Laboratory produced a nanotechnology-enhanced ethyl alcohol and hand sanitizer that contains zinc oxide nanoparticles infused with turmeric extract, a mixture proven that is effective against H1N1 influenza and SARS viruses—which are both coronaviruses. Thus, applying such to surfaces could be effective in deterring the spread of COVID-19. The laboratory is also developing washable mask using nanofiber as a 'filter.’

 
3. 3D-printed face shields - The Advanced Manufacturing Center (AMCEN) and the Additive Manufacturing Research Laboratory (AMREL) of the Bataan Peninsula State University (BPSU) are currently producing 3D-printed face shields for health workers.
 
4. Reusable face masks – The Philippine Textile Research Institute (DOST-PTRI) is working on the production of 500,000 reusable and washable (RW) face masks for up to 50 times.
 
5.Big Data Analytics for Quarantine Policies - The De La Salle University (DLSU) is currently pursuing big data analytics and transportation network analysis to support traffic management during the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) period. The simulation results showed relative intensities of incoming traffic to Metro Manila at various entry points. This will be of use for those managing the checkpoints (PNP and AFP) in the periphery of Metro Manila.
 
6. Pinoy Animation Laban sa COVID19 - In coordination with the Toon City Academy (TCA) six (6) infomercials on several COVID-19 infographics for public health awareness will be produced. Four now are already being aired in mainstream and social media and two more will be aired soon.  Topics covered include proper hygiene, community quarantine, social distrancing and proper verification of information. TCA has ongoing Project on Original Content Development and will tap the graduates of the animation training from Dagupan City to produce the material.

 

RAPPID-ADMATEC produced face shields for COVID-19 frontliners
 

To support frontline health workers in their battle to prevent the spread of COVID-19, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is currently producing 3D-printed face shield frames for distribution to the Philippine General Hospital, and will be extended to other hospitals.

Operating for 24 hours since March 23, the team of Engr. Fred P. Liza, project leader of the Research on Advanced Prototyping for Product Innovation and Development using Additive Manufacturing Technologies (RAPPID-ADMATEC), started printing frames with an initial target of 1000 pieces for the Philippine General Hospital (PGH).

“We are humbled by the opportunity to help in the urgent need of face shields, to cease the spread of this contagious disease. It will protect the face whenever a patient coughs or sneezes. Currently, we can print 10 frames every 1.5 hours,” says Engr. Liza.

The design for the 3D-printed frames will be optimized for further reduction of time during the production process.

3D printing of RAPPID-ADMATEC face shield frames for use of health workers
 

“Currently, we are looking for ways to hasten production, such as using a larger nozzle size and modifying our printing parameters. Additional 3D printers are being reconfigured to augment our production volume. We are also looking into fabricating molds through DOST – Metals Industry Research and Development Center (MIRDC) and our technology partner, particularly Omnifab, for faster production of these frames using injection molding. Our goal is to deliver to the Philippine General Hospital every week via courier service,” he added.

RAPPID-ADMATEC is one of the projects under Advanced Additive Manufacturing R&D Program (AMCen), being supported by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) and is monitored by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD). It focuses on advanced prototyping and speeds up its process by reducing the time it takes to fabricate components and products.

Department of Science and Technology Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara lauded the group for going the extra mile and contributing to the needs of our frontliners in battling COVID-19. 

"As we make change happen through research and development, we maximize our assets to do our part in fighting COVID-19 with innovative solutions. We support our health workers with these visor shields that are products of our R&D facility," she said. 

DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico C. Paringit commended the group for their dedication during the enhanced community quarantine period. 

“As strong believer and willing partner in enabling innovation, we will continue to support endeavors like this to meet the urgent needs of the public especially during this outbreak,” he said.