Students of a Valenzuela City high school bagged awards in a South Korean invention competition for their entries that transform everyday objects into “things that look after themselves”.
The “Securitree” and the “Biometric Wardrobe”, projects by students of Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science (VCSMS) and Mapua Institute of Technology Senior High School, equip trees and closets with built-in security systems to protect them against illegal loggers, forest fires and thieves.
Both inventions won the top prizes in their respective categories at the 5th World Invention Creativity Contest (WICC) held July 28 through 30 at Seoul Trade Exhibition and Convention, in Seoul, South Korea.
The WICC is an invention competition organized by the Korea University Invention Association. Organizers say the contest is a place for the youth to showcase their inventions before an international audience.
More than 15,000 students from elementary through college from 20 countries participated in the WICC this year.
Entries fell under 10 categories: architecture; environment and biology; electric, electronic and computer; stationery and education; health and medical items; furniture and interior design; automotive, transportation and machines; sporting goods; household items; and miscellany.
The Securitree – designed by Juan Roy B. Taguinod, Mikaela Louise C. Trinidad, Samantha Ysabelle J. Aviso, and Ryan Benjamin V. Vianzon, Grade 9 students at the VCSMS; and Alec Denji S. Santos, Grade 11, Mapua – was given the Gold Award for the Environment and Biology Category.
The Securitree’s hardware consists of a box housing an Arduino board and sensors, a camera, and a solar panel, camouflaged and installed on a tree. The motion sensor detects movement, prompting the camera to take pictures. An Arduino board is a microcontroller that runs the system’s automated functions, acting as the device’s “brain”.
A program then compares the camera image with those stored in the system’s database, identifying whether the movement is that of a human or an animal. In case of human intruders, the system alerts forest managers by sending a message via the Internet.
Fires, on the other hand, are monitored through the flame sensor. The solar panel serves as electricity source.
“‘Yong deforestation at forest fire, madalas na nangyayari sa Pilipinas, tapos hindi agad nalalaman ng mga tao. Ginawa po namin ito para mas maging aware of government (Deforestation has become rampant and forest fires are frequent in the Philippines, but people don’t learn about them right away. We made Securitree so the government is alerted of them right away),” said Trinidad.
Like the Securitree, the Biometric Wardrobe has a feature that warns the owner of theft attempts.
Developed by Grade 10 VCSMS students Jacel Anne R. Azañes, Audrey Mar Z. Sotta, Joanna Grace V. David, Quiana Evia E. Abesamis, and Mary Grace F. Perez, this one-of-a-kind wardrobe received the gold award for the Household Items category.
Its doors open when the owner puts his finger on the scanner, which then matches the fingerprint with that stored in the database.
In cases of unrecognized fingerprint, the scanner allows for two more attempts. Three failed attempts turn the alarm on and prompt the camera to take a picture of the person who did the attempts. The alarm stops only when the owner puts his finger on the scanner.
The Biometric Wardrobe’s automated functions, like those of Securitree, are enabled by an Arduino board.
David said her group expects the Biometric Wardrobe would be useful in curbing home theft and help lower the crime volume in the country.
The students say their victory came as a surprise, especially because it was the first time for most of them to join an invention competition, either here in the country or abroad.
“Kinabahan po kami kasi sobrang daming bansa, tapos ang unique ng mga gawa nilang inventions (We were nervous to see so many participants from different countries, each with a unique invention),” said Trinidad. “Pero hindi po kami na-down. Dahil pag na-down, mawawalan ka ng pag-asa (But we did not let that faze us, keeping our hopes up),” she added.
The two team’s awards added up to gain VCSMS a Semi Grand Winner prize.
Besides the VCSMS and Mapua students, members of the Philippine team came from the Pitogo High School in Makati City, which also won gold for their entry, an insecticide made from rose periwinkle.
Meanwhile, VCSMS students have also been recognized recently for mathematics abroad.
Grade 8 student Vincent dela Cruz brought home a gold medal from the International Mathematics Contest held in Singapore from July 28 through 30.
Grade 9 students Mark Vincent Carabbay and Jasmin Faye de Guzman both won bronze medals, while Grade 8 student Ethel Joy Abareta and Grade 10 student Ryan Christopher Santos received Merit Awards.
Sophia Dominique Dizon, former VCSMS student, won a silver medal at the International Math Wizards Challenge held in Thailand from July 20 through 24. Dizon is now a Grade 11 student at the Ateneo de Manila Senior High School.