DOST unit touts joint ICT projects with UP, LaSalle

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By Chloe Cabrera

An agency under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) is showcasing three of its biggest information and communication technology (ICT) projects to demonstrate to the public its close R&D collaboration with the country?s top universities.

Photo shows PCIEERD executive director Rowena Guevara (left) and deputy executive director Raul Sabularse during the press briefing
Photo shows PCIEERD executive director Rowena Guevara (left) and deputy executive director Raul Sabularse during the press briefing

At a press briefing at the Sulo Hotel in Quezon City on Thursday, June 19, the Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development?s (PCIEERD) said it will show off its ICT initiatives at ?Juana Invest? Reaping the returns of R&D?, the agency?s fourth anniversary event on June 27.

The ICT projects are UP Diliman?s educational app projects and Leap (Learning English Application for Pinoys) software, and De La Salle University’s (DLSU) Empathic Space Program for children with autism.

According to PCIEERD emerging technology development division chief Nelson Beniabon, the three ICT ventures are some of the highlights of the division?s four years of existence.

Leap software is a stand-alone, computer-based training program developed by the UP Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (EEEI).

The software is designed to help improve the English proficiency of Filipinos and allow entrants of the fast-growing information technology-business processing outsourcing (IT-BPO) industry to develop the required language skills for employment.

The UP Diliman EEEI?s other featured project, on the other hand, involves the development of smartphone applications for students, which integrate science education into fun and attractive mobile games.

According to Beniabon, the mobile applications may be used to teach science to elementary school students and, possibly, even kindergarten students given the implementation of the K + 12 program.

DLSU?s Empathic Space Program, meanwhile, focuses on building a conducive environment for children with autism. The project developed an ambient intelligent living space that: recognizes its occupant; analyzes the occupant?s behavior through facial movements, gestures, and voice; and responds by adjusting the environment conditions such as temperature and brightness to the occupant?s needs.

Beniabon stated the three ICT projects will go through further evaluation and development before public release and undergo possible improvements based on the feedback from their event presentations and demonstrations.

The council?s other ongoing ICT projects include the development of an algorithm enabling unrestricted 3D gestures on 2D touch screens and the Inter-Disciplinary Signal Processing for Pinoys (ISIP) projects, which provide various language-related solutions like real-time closed captioning for live broadcasted news in Filipino.

As for PCIEERD?s ICT plans for 2014, Beniabon noted that the council is currently applying technology forecasting and making necessary adjustments to its original plans in order to improve ICT research.

The council also seeks to keep improving its R&D outputs in all scientific fields and continue to contribute significantly to the nation?s productivity, competitiveness, and overall development.

?We all know about the Asean integration. If our industries are not competitive, we will lose a lot,? PCIEERD executive director Rowena Guevara said during the press conference.

?We want [the council?s] R&D outputs to become outputs of our nation,? she said. ?In summary, we would like to be remembered for bringing science and technology to every Filipino.?

Aside from these ICT projects, the ?Juana Invest? event will also feature other DOST-generated projects from other scientific fields ? including food technology, sustainable energy, and materials science ? in order to showcase and attract investors for PCIEERD?s research and development (R&D) ventures.

Industry-based resource speakers from the government and private sectors will also give talks on the different facets of technology commercialization such as financing and investors, technology entrepreneur success stories, and models for supporting technology start-ups.

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