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As the Philippines battles the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Science and Technology - Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) deployed four (4) new technologies developed by Filipino researchers to help in the fight against the coronavirus.

Ranging from robotics to logistics support, these are the four (4) local technologies

that provide frontliners with better ways to deal with the pandemic and help save more lives in the country:

The mobile disinfection chamber developed by USHER led by Dr. Francis Aldrine Uy to mitigate the spread of disease
 
1. GO-CLEAN Disinfection Chamber – Created by USHER Technologies Inc., a DOST-PCIEERD and Mapua University spin-off company, it is a mobile disinfection chamber that sanitizes the body of a person entering the enclosure. Proper protocols are designed in order to ensure protection of sensitive areas such as the eyes, nose, and mouth from possible irritation brought about by the disinfectant mist. It can be installed at the entrance of hospitals and other establishments, and it provides sanitation thru misting of electrolyzed saline solution or Anolyte that takes up only to 5 to 10 seconds per person. Anolyte is a lethal disinfectant for bacteria and viruses but is very safe for people and the environment. It has been well known to scientists since the early 1900s and is produced through a process of electrolysis using only brine solution and tap water. The key component produced is hypochlorous acid (HOCl) which occurs naturally in the human body; white blood cells actually produce minute quantities of HOCl when fighting off infections.
 
The unit comes in single and dual chamber variants—the wet chamber for disinfectant fog and misting, may include a thermal scanner, automatic alcohol dispenser, rack for disinfecting materials and further development will include breathing pattern determination, and coughing detection system. The biggest advantage of GO-CLEAN will be its HOCLOMAC system that will allow the chamber to produce its own disinfection solution. This will be the 1st and one of a kind in the world.

USHER Technologies has already deployed a total of eleven (11) GO-CLEAN units at the following locations: i) four (4) units in Quezon City, ii) one (1) in Camp Crame,  iii) one (1) at the Development Bank of the Philippines (Makati), iv) one (1) at the Lung Center of the Philippines v) one (1) in Camp Aguinaldo, vi) two (2) in Santiago City and vii) one (1) at the DOST Science Heritage Building.

The group can currently produce around 4 to 5 units of their Go-Clean system per week. For more information, please visit their official Facebook page: @ushertechnologies, website:http://www.usher.ph/ and/or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..
 
 
TrAMS+ developed by UP Diliman is an online needs and distribution tracker for Philippine medical supplies
 
2. Tracing for Allocation of Medical Supplies (TrAMS+) – In partnership with UP Diliman, TrAMS+ is an online geographic system developed for tracking information regarding health facilities’ medical resources. This system relies on crowdsourced and volunteered information that may be used by government agencies, donors, and other interested parties as a tool for effective response in distribution of the much-needed medical resources.

The project team will regularly update its database and display the daily inventory of hospitals, improvement of website features, design of mobile app, among others. For

more information, please visit their official Facebook page: @TrAMSproject, website: https://trams-up-dge.herokuapp.com/ and/or email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

UST’s LISA robot allows virtual communication between medical personnel and COVID+ patients to prevent virus transmission
 
3. LISA Robot: Logistic Indoor Service Assistant Telepresence Robot – LISA robot, developed by Asst. Prof. Anthony James C. Bautista, PME, PhD, from the University of Santo Tomas, is a remote-controlled wheeled device that offers virtual communication between medical personnel and COVID+ patients by means of a computer, tablet or smartphone with wireless internet connectivity. Also, it has a box that holds the medicines for patients.

LISA robot has three (3) levels of automation - Level 1 is the most basic automation where the medical personnel can control the LISA robot through a handheld transmitter sending commands to a receiver; Level 2 automation allows the robot to be controlled over a WiFi anytime, anywhere; and Level 3 automation is based on Simultaneous Localization and Mapping (SLAM) wherein the robot makes a map of the hospital and navigates through obstacles using 2D Light Detection and Ranging (LiDAR) sensor. While levels 2 and 3 automation will be implemented after the COVID pandemic due to limited resources brought by the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ), level 1 automation is low-cost, easy to build using readily available materials, and can be controlled by an operator at 5-10 meters away. The first model has received positive feedback from Dr. Emilito Santos of Pasig Doctors Medical Center and Dr. Marcellus Francis Ramirez of UST Hospital who tested the unit last April 6.

While the production of one unit usually takes 4 to 5 days, the project targets to produce at least four (4) units of level 1 automation for its beneficiaries including UST Hospital, Pasig Doctors Medical Center, Marikina Valley Medical Center, and

Binangonan Lake View Hospital. For the tech’s full description, please visit bit.ly/LISArobot.

 
 
Project RAMDAM serves as portal between community citizens and the government about relief distribution activities
 
4. Project RAMDAM or Resource Allocation Management, Distribution, and Monitoring – The system developed by Geographic Innovations for Development Solutions, Inc. (GrIDS) in partnership with DOST, is a COVID-19 initiative composed of a Mobile App and a Web Portal that could serve as a platform for residents and LGUs to share accurate information regarding relief packs and cash assistance distribution. The system aims to provide efficient data management and monitoring for the LGUs and feedback and request mechanism for the residents. The team field tested this innovation in some barangays of Los Baños, Laguna and is currently preparing the pilot testing results for possible nationwide implementation. For more information, please visit the Project RAMDAM Facebook page @ramdamPH or email the team at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

DOST Undersecretary for Research and Development Dr. Rowena Cristina Guevara expressed gratitude to Filipino researchers who worked tirelessly in coming up with needed solutions and moving with top speed.   

“Getting innovative products, processes and services in the hands of those at the forefront of the Covid-19 response is our goal as we make change happen through research and development” she said. 

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Dr. Enrico Paringit is optimistic and extremely proud about the contributions of Filipino innovators who came up with creative ways to help our frontliners.

“We are facing a challenge like never before and we need to work together. Our goal is to take down barriers and bring the best ideas to combat the virus through science, technology, and innovations. The Council, through its partner industries, will persistently provide the same incredible support and ensure safety of all Filipinos,” he said.
 
Filipinos honoring the country during the launch of Project SPARTA last 24 February 2020
 
The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) is encouraging qualified Filipinos to maximize their time at home amid the COVID-19 pandemic by enrolling in an online training under the project, Smarter Philippines through Data Analytics Research and Development, Training and Adoption or Project SPARTA. The trainings may be attended free of charge through scholarships made available under the Project.
 
 
Dr. Paringit prepares to present the DOST-PCIEERD initiatives on emerging techs during the SPARTA launch
 

“It is our goal to upskill 30,000 Filipinos who will be capable to handle big data generated by the different government agencies as well as other entities in the country. We put weight on this initiative as we believe that data science can ultimately change and boost government processes, for the benefit of each Filipino; and even solve some of our country’s major problems,” said DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico Paringit.

In partnership with the Development Academy of the Philippines (DAP), Analytics Association of the Philippines (AAP), and Coursebank, Project SPARTA offers free online education to capacitate interested individuals with essential data science and analytics knowledge and skills to efficiently manage, analyze and interpret data.

Project SPARTA is open to all Filipinos permanently based in the country, who are at least senior high school graduates, with or without prior knowledge on data science and analytics. Scholars may pursue one of these learning pathways:

  1. Data Associate – They gather, process, and analyze data and prepares reports that highlight relevant trends and other significant results. Moreover, they provide some information on observable trends and patterns that help senior analysts and managers easily identify opportunities for follow-up in-depth analysis.
  2. Data Steward - They are responsible for ensuring that an organization’s data is well-defined, managed, and ready to use for downstream reporting, analytics, modeling, or even artificial intelligence (AI) use cases. Essentially, they are the gatekeepers of data, working to improve data quality; ensure data acquisition, usage, maintenance, access, and security, in compliance with policies, rules, regulations, and ethical practice.
  3. Data Engineer - They are the builders and managers of data workflows, pipelines, ETL processes, and platforms and are mainly responsible for the management of the entire data lifecycle: ingestion, processing, surfacing, and storage.
  4. Data Analyst – They leverage reporting, data analysis, and modelling techniques to solve problems and gather insight across functional domains. They also analyze data and assess requirement from a business perspective related to an organization’s overall system.
  5. Data Scientist - They are specialists who apply their expertise in statistics and building machine learning models, enriched with programming, to make predictions and answer key business questions. Data scientists create sophisticated analytical models used to build new datasets and derive new insights for data.
  6. Analytics Manager - They oversee analytical operations and communicate insights to executives. Analytics managers translate analytical results to actionable business items. Their role is to drive business outcomes, bridging technical expertise from steward, engineer, scientist and analyst with the operational expertise of the business functions.

Each pathway can take about six (6) months to finish, depending on the pace of the scholar. After completing one, another pathway can be pursued.

To date, there are already 10,700 scholars under Project SPARTA. Most number of scholars are ages 18-34 and are pursuing the Data Scientist and Data Associate pathways. 58% are working for private companies, 17% are from government agencies, and the rest are students and faculty members. Interestingly, 57% of the scholars are female.
 
 
Dr. Cajes addressing the attendees during the Project SPARTA launch
 

“Filipinos can benefit from learning about data science in at least two ways: one, through the employment opportunities for our data scientists, and two, by harnessing their expertise in solving socio-economic problems at the national and local levels, as well as creating public and customer value through new products, improved services, and evidence-based policies,” said Dr. Alan Cajes, DAP senior executive fellow and Project SPARTA project leader.

Cajes envisions a new breed of Filipino data scientists as efficient knowledge workers who can handle big data and provide useful ideas that continually improve the Philippine society.

Paringit supports Cajes’ statement by saying that “data science is like a swiss army knife that has multiple functions—catching fraud and tax evasion detection, human and national security, street crime awareness, and resource management, all of which can help us improve the life of the Filipinos.”

“We’ve seen how data science tools have become indispensable in this period of the worldwide pandemic. Epidemiological analysis and disease surveillance are currently prime areas where data science had shown their mettle. However, as we transition to post-lockdown era, the global business community and governments are going to need skills that are able to make sense of what happened and present economic, business and industrial scenarios that can help us all move forward. Possessing data science skills are therefore crucial now, more than ever,” he added.

The Project SPARTA trainees are required to develop a capstone project to highlight the skills and knowledge learned throughout the courses. These projects can receive financial support from DOST-PCIEERD through the 2020 Call for Proposals under the Good Governance through Data Science and Decision Support System (GODDESS) Program. Interested trainees can submit their proposals at https://dpmis.dost.gov.ph/ until May 31, 2020.

Visit https://sparta.dap.edu.ph/ to learn more about Project SPARTA. For queries, send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

 

DCTx volunteers, together with DOST personnel, conducted a third batch of training with checkpoint personnel at the NCR Police Office on 22 April 2020 (photos from Rapidpassph Facebook Page).

Holders of Rapidpass speeds up to 500, 000 individuals following the consolidation of passes being given by government to frontliners and other essential services into the technological service.

Rapidpass Coordinating Council Head and Department of Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato T. de la Peña disclosed this Tuesday as government harmonizes the passes it gave out to frontliners and other essential services.

De la Peña said that those who were issued with an Inter-Agency Task Force  for the Management of Emerging Infectious Diseases (IATF-MEID) pass and those who applied for passes from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI), which includes personnel who are part of the skeleton force of companies in manufacturing, retail and logistics services, will be transitioned into Rapidpass, a QR based system that hastens the movement of Authorized Persons Outside of Residence (APOR) and their vehicles through Quarantine Checkpoints (QCPs). 

“As we heal as one, this harmonization will allow easier coordination and faster passage at quarantine checkpoints.  Through science, we help in winning the fight against COVID-19,” he said.

Developed by volunteer technology organization DEVCONNECT Philippines Inc., led by technopreneur Winston Damarillo, Rapidpass was developed as a response to the IATF-MEID call for innovations to ease up traffic in the National Capital Region’s 48 QCPs.

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

Though the RapidPass requires a cellular phone and a photo of the user to get an account, De la Peña said the cellular phone requirement will be eased for those holding IATF and DTI passes to hasten the harmonization.

“We also hope that this transition will help put our economy back on its feet through a fast, reliable, and secure system,” he said.

DOST, DEVCON, the Department of Information and Communications Technology 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 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.

Features of the Specimen Collection Booth designed by FAME, Inc.
 

To aid in mass testing to better combat the COVID-19 pandemic, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) released the design of their supported specimen collection booth (SCB) to the public.

In a virtual presser led by DOST Secretary Fortunato de la Peña, DOST said it is giving the design for free to fabricators and engineers to help augment the government’s drive to beat COVID-19.

“We believe that opening up the SCB design to the public will support in the government’s drive to conduct mass testing and immediately provide help to those afflicted with COVID-19,” he said.

The said design, created by DOST-Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development Startup Grant Awardee Future Aviation and Maritime Enterprise, Inc., will be made available to fabricators or engineering groups starting April 28 through DOST offices and the DOST-PCIEERD website, www.pcieerd.dost.gov.ph.

The fabrication of these booths should strictly adhere to the specifications recommended by the DOST, with the approval of the Department of Health (DOH).

The design of the Specimen Collection Booth includes:

  1. The booth structure is made of angle bars for the frames, plywood walls and clear water-proof acrylic window. The booth measures 1m x 1.5m x 2.25m (L-W-H).
  2. The booth is equipped with a 0.5 horsepower window type aircon and a roof-mounted ventilator with filter.
  1. A heavy-duty 4" caster wheel is provided for mobility.
  2. The slanted specimen table is ergonomically designed to provide enough leg space for both the patient and the tester.
  1. Positive Pressure is maintained inside the booth using a pressure sensor to prevent outside contamination from getting inside the booth.
  1. The SCB is also equipped with a Bluetooth speaker for a clear and audible conveyance of instructions to the patient.
  1. The booth is also provided with the following:
    • 2 Monobloc chairs
    • Semi-disposable untexturized nitrile gloves
    • Disposable clear plastic gloves
    • Disinfectant dispenser
    • Plastic bag for disposing used plastic gloves
  1. The booth features the FAME-designed temperature scanner, an additional accessory of the SCB where the temperature of patients may be obtained and recorded in the cloud for easy monitoring of hotpots in areas where the SCB is installed. The temperature scanner is developed and owned by FAME, Inc and may be sourced directly from FAME, Inc.

DOST is distributing 132 SCBs across the country to help in the mass testing efforts of government. The SCBs were jointly funded by DOST-PCIEERD and the DOST – Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD). 

DOST PCIEERD Executive Director Enrico Paringit said it will continue to be on the lookout for innovations that can help win the war against COVID-19.

“We will be relentless in our pursuit in finding ways to fight this menacing disease and save more lives.  We will remain to make innovation work for the people and ensure a competitive edge for our frontliners,” he said.

Likewise, DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya extends his appreciation to all researchers who tirelessly find solutions to problems related to COVID19. He said, “At this time of great uncertainty, Filipino ingenuity has once again emerged to find solutions to curb COVID19. We thank all the researchers who showed overwhelming energy, resilience, and commitment. Together, we will get through this and DOST-PCHRD will continue its mission to find research-based solutions that will address the most pressing problems the country is facing.”
 

Special Call for Proposals: Ventilators/Respirators, poster series can be found at facebook.com/dostpcieerd

With the spread of COVID-19 in the Philippines, the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) together with the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (DOST-PCHRD) is looking for designs of ventilators and respirators to augment the health care system grapple with COVID-19 patients needing these medical devices.

“As a leader in enabling scientific solutions through R&D, the DOST-PCIEERD together with PCHRD opens its doors to our innovators and researchers to share their innovations that will ultimately aid our government respond better to the pandemic and contribute to the healing of our nation,” said DOST-PCIEERD executive director Dr. Enrico Paringit.

Paringit said the prototype must be made from medical-grade materials and components and should have an assist control (AC) mode, tidal volume, back-up or respiratory rate (RR), inspiration: expiration (I:E) ratio, fraction of inspired oxygen (FIO2), alarms, and humidifier.

DOST-PCIEERD will support activities related to design and development, prototyping, fabrication and assembly of the prototype, simulation, pre-accreditation testing and calibration in collaboration with the Electronics Product Development Center (EPDC) and testing by an accredited inspection body of the government.

Concept proposals, including preliminary works done, description of design, workplan, deliverables, with a letter of intent from the medical expert or hospital, and the budget should be sent through email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. on or before 28 April 2020.

For projects/prototypes that passed industrial standards, DOST-PCHRD will support the conduct of the clinical trials and other clinical acceptance protocols.

DOST-PCHRD Executive Director Dr. Jaime C. Montoya stressed the importance of evaluating the safety and efficacy of the ventilators. He said, “Ventilators are vital in ensuring that our patients, especially those confined in the ICU, are given the maximum care and support they need to recover. Aside from addressing the need to secure more ventilator units, we also have to make sure that the equipment we produce or procure are reliable and efficient.”

Upon submission of proposal to DOST-PCHRD, the proponent must have partnered with medical experts, secured an ethics clearance from an institution capable of conducting clinical trials, and identified industry partner/s with a License-to-Operate (LTO) certificate from the Food and Drugs Administration – Philippines for mass production.