For one day on May 24, faculty, researchers, students and staff of the UP Diliman Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute (UP EEEI) left their laboratories and classrooms to hold the institution’s first Technology Fair at the UP Professional Schools, Bonifacio Global City.
The Technology Fair brought together representatives from private IT companies, government agencies and organizations, and other universities as part of its objective to engage state universities and colleges, government agencies, and industry partners in advancing the Electrical, Electronics, and Computer Engineering fields in the Philippines by setting the platform for collaboration; hence its theme, “Towards a New Century of Innovative and Visionary Engineering Research and Education.”
The Technology Fair also held a poster-session and an exhibit of the latest projects and research outputs of the different research laboratories under the UPEEEI. As Dr. John Richard Hizon, director of the UPEEEI, said during his welcoming remarks: “To end our centennial celebration by acknowledging the work of our faculty, researchers, students and staff is a good starting point in defining our institute’s new direction.”
In the first part of the program, two representatives from government—Dr. Maridon Sahagun, Director of the Department of Science and Technology Planning and Evaluation Services and Dr. William Padolina, Executive Director of the Philippine-California Advanced Research Institutes (PCARI) under the Commission on Higher Education—delivered messages on behalf of the DOST and the CHED, respectively.
Sahagun congratulated the UPEEEI for continuing to be one of the DOST’s most active and productive collaborators in the implementation of its projects as well as the recipients of grants for DOST research and human development programs, such as: the Engineering Research and Development for Technology (ERDT) Program; the establishment of the Philippine Institute for Integrated Circuits (PIIC); and, the “Development of Philippine Scientific Earth Observation Microsatellite” or PHL-Microsat Program, known as Diwata 1 and Diwata 2. The PHL-Microsat Program, a collaborative research program of UP Diliman through the UPEEEI and the DOST-Advanced Science and Technology Institute, aims to build, launch and effectively utilize the Philippines’ first micro-satellite for multi-spectral, high precision earth observation.
Sahagun also noted that the DOST and the UPEEEI are both working toward highlighting the importance of partnerships in nurturing the innovative capacities of the various sectors in a science, technology and innovation ecosystem, a strategy contained in the Philippine Development Plan (PDP) for 2017-2020. Chapter 14 of the PDP, she said, was dedicated to advancing science, technology and innovation by increasing R&D expenditure from only 0.14 percent in 2013 to 0.5 percent by the end of 2022, and by increasing the number of scientists, researchers and engineers produced per million population from 270 currently to 300 by 2020. The DOST is also aggressively pursuing programs to accelerate technology production and stimulate innovation in the next six years by: improving S&T infrastructure; enhancing the R&D capacities of our institutions, especially those in the regions; increasing technology transfer; and, strengthening partnerships with industry and other stakeholders, among others.
Padolina informed the audience of the available programs under CHED that it was hoped would enhance interaction between industry and academe. He presented an overview of the Philippine higher education landscape, and presented CHED’s efforts to upgrade the capacity for directed R&D extension programs to serve socio-economic goals, particularly in the five high-priority areas of food security, environment and disaster risk reduction, marine resources, smart analytics and engineering innovations, health systems, and education for STEAM (science, technology, engineering, agriculture, math). As part of its promotion of academe-industry linkages in terms of translating industry needs into HEI curricula, the CHED is also exerting efforts to develop or reinstate courses such as: BS Meteorology, BS Business Analytics, BS Business Entertainment and Multimedia Computing, BS Naval Architecture and Marine Engineering, and so on. On the other hand, the current industry-academe partnerships that the CHED has been monitoring in the HEIs are on-the-job training, graduate placement, and an early stage of collaboration in R&D by looking at joint R&D programs and commissioned research, technology licensing and spin-off companies.
For faculty members who no longer have a teaching load due to the K-12 transition, they are given grants for them to pursue higher degrees and engage with industry partners through research and hired technical services. Padolina also mentioned the PCARI project, which aims to enhance the capacity of Philippine HEIs for R&D that translates to technological innovations that would address societal projects. Finally, Padolina cited several critical concerns for higher education, including: talent development and the job-skills mismatch; the lack of industry relevant knowledge in terms of curricular issues; the lack of skilled labor; the generally low quality of instruction in HEIs; and, the need to strengthen our technology delivery and extension system so that the research output of our scientists and researchers would benefit small and medium enterprises, especially those in the regions.
Later in the day, Mr. Lowell Tortona, head of Nokia’s 5g R&D arm in the Philippines, gave a talk on the Internet of Things (IOT) and 5G. 5G stands for fifth generation wireless connection standard, which is based on the IEEE 802.11ac standard of broadband technology, and is built to keep up with the proliferation of devices that need a mobile internet connection. These range from communication and computing devices, to household appliances, medical equipment, vehicles, public safety and transport systems, and factory equipment—the so-called “Internet of Things”. The development of 5G connectivity is the hot topic abroad. It will, however, take time to reach the Philippines, but will enable greater connectivity, responsiveness, reliability, efficiency and even greater environmental protection in areas such as smart industry, smart healthcare, smart home and utilities, smart cities, public safety, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV).
Later in the afternoon, three parallel sessions were held to discuss in greater depth the research being conducted by the UPEEEI’s laboratories and research collaborations with private industries. These parallel sessions were classified according to topic: “Technologies to Harness Renewable Energy” chaired by Assistant Professor Lew Andrew Tria; “Technologies to Enable Internet of Things” chaired by Dr. Rhandley Cajote; and “Enabling Communication Networks” chaired by Assistant Professor Paul Jason Co.
The UPEEEI’s laboratories and students also presented their research products and output through posters and live demonstrations. Among those exhibited during the Tech Fair were:
1. RxBox (Real Life Experiences in a Box) for efficient portable health monitoring in far-flung areas;
2. The Village Base Station Project, which employs community cellular networks, small-scale, bottom-up cellular networks to provide mobile phone connectivity to poor, remote communities
3. Tanglaw, an automated reading tutor for elementary students of Filipino; Video-based Traffic Monitoring for Philippine Intelligent Transport System
4. Project 2 – Developing Closed Captioning Systems for Philippine Languages; Optimization of an Energy-Aware RPS for Wireless Sensor Networks with Ambient Energy Harvesting; Human Activity Recognition Based on Sensor Fusion in Smartphones
5. Room Occupant Count and Temperature Prediction Models for Optimal HVAC Control
6. Dynamic Matching Circuit in a 5.8GHz RF Energy Harvester for Wireless Sensor Nodes
7. Rese2nse (Resilient Sensory Swarms for Smart Energy and Environmental Monitoring), which uses the concept of global data plan to collect and manage information from different sensor networks and make these information available for the development of different applications
8. Gitara ni Juan, a project initiated by the UP College of Music and EEEI, which is an interdisciplinary collaboration between Filipino musicians and engineers who aim to preserve the country’s luthierie, and to leverage local wood industry using modern techniques for wood selection, wood crafting, and structural design in building quality classical guitars
9. Non Technical Loss Detection Using Data Analytics
10. RF-based Fault Type Classification and Impedance Estimation Models in Distribution Systems Using Phasor Measurements; VREx – Human Hands as Input Device for an Immersive Virtual Reality Experience
11. Aneeme – Synthesizing and Sharing Animation Building Blocks for Rapid Creation of 3D Motion Scene; Smartwire, a project that aims to develop the technology for a smart electrical grid system
12. Event Detection and Wavelet Transform Analysis – Micro-synchrophasor Measurement Units
13. Power Distribution System State Estimation with Limited Sensors Optimal Curtailment Dispatch for Demand Response Energy Allocation
14. Short Term Load Forecasting Using Gaussian Processes under the Interruptible Load Program.
The Tech Fair, which was the culminating activity of the UPEEEI’s year-long centennial celebration that began in 2016, was organized in partnership with Nokia. Other sponsors of the event, some of which were featured in their own booths during the fair, were: Artesyn Embedded Technologies, First Philec, Samsung, Maxim Integrated, Xinyx Design Consultancy & Services, Inc., Analog Devices, EVWealth Inc., PHINMA Energy, Chroma, Sqreem Technologies, and Trident Electronics, Corp.