Team of Diwata-1 engineers tops inaugural Asus PH hackathon

By Edd K. Usman

A potentially life-saving app developed by a four-man team led by a Diwata-1 pioneer satellite engineer won a 48-hour hackathon organized by Asus Philippines.

Asus PH country manager George Su (4th, left) and DICT undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim (5th from left) join the first prize winner Team Botix, which won P100,000 and an internship at the Asus headquarters in Taiwan

Asus PH country manager George Su (4th, left) and DICT undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim (5th from left) join the first prize winner Team Botix, which won P100,000 and an internship at the Asus headquarters in Taiwan

The hackathon, the first that Asus organized in the country, required six competing finalists to develop apps leveraging Asus ZenFone AR smartphone’s augmented reality (AR) and virtual reality (VR) capabilities enabled by Google’s Tango and Daydream technologies.

At the event, Asus also introduced to the local market the ZenFone AR, which will be available in July at P44,995.

For the hackathon, the Taiwan tech titan asked the teams to identify any problem they want to solve and offer solution through their apps.

Team Botix, led by former Diwata-1 engineer Juan Paolo Espiritu, grabbed the P100,000 first prize. His team members included Daryl Peralta and Albert Bugayong, both BS ECE students from UP Diliman, as well as Mark Joseph Basibas, a BS ECE from the Mapua Institute of Technology. Their adviser was Ariston Gonzalez, also a Diwata-1 engineer like Espiritu.

The team’s entry, called “AR/ER: Augmented Reality Emergency Room” bested five other finalists during the pitching stage at the Whitespace Manila on June 24.

Asus Philippines country manager George Su said that aside from the cash prize, the winning team will also get an exclusive internship and immersion at the Asus headquarters in Taipei to further develop their app.

One of the judges, Undersecretary Monchito Ibrahim of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), said the winning app got his nod because it addresses an important issue concerning the health and treatment concerns of people in the remote areas of the country.

Indeed, Gonzalez, the team’s adviser, said the app can perform can 3D-scan a patient or a localized injury like a broken arm which a remotely located doctor can diagnose the patient real-time in virtual reality.

He said he sees a really big potential for the app as patients can now have access to top specialists in big hospitals without being there.

“I am very proud of Team Botix for showing what the Filipino can achieve even with limited time and resources. The guys demonstrated that technology expands our capabilities to reach out and save lives,” said Gonzalez, who now works with the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Team Imagine AR got the second prize with P75,000 in cash; Team Studio 3′s Kwarto got the third prize with P50,000 cash prize. All the six finalists received P10,000 each from Asus as well as full access to all Google events in the country.

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