Braille phone grabs top prize in SWEEP awards
Asia-Pacific, March 6 2012
MANILA, PHILIPPINES: A group of Computer Engineering students of the Mapua Institute of Technology won the top prize at the 8th Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (SWEEP) Innovations and Excellence Awards for creating a mobile phone for blind people.
The “Wearable Obstacle Detection System and Braille Cell Phone for the Blind” bested 142 other entries submitted by student-teams under the SWEEP program of Smart Communications Inc.
The device was created by Janiena Roxanne Dirain, Kristine Emy Matabang and Girly Perando. The group, together with mentor Ayra Panganiban, received a P500,000 cash prize in an awarding ceremony held last February 22 at the SMX Convention Center in Pasay City.
“We had many layouts for this device and even tried to hear suggestions for the blind until we came out with the final design of the Braille cell phone, which is placed in a box case. The sensor is connected far from the device through long wires for the blind to move it flexibly,” Perando earlier said about the device.
Aside from mobile phone capabilities, the gadget also promises to help blind people detect objects within five meters. It can be worn on the wrist or as a belt.
Meanwhile, Notre Dame of Marbel University landed in second place with “Smart E-mobilized,” which uses an Android phone to minimize the time and effort when buying tickets at MRT and LRT stations. The team received a cash prize of P300,000.
Bataan Peninsula State University secured the third spot with “Aquamarine Solution to Salinity and Oxygen Using Wireless Technology,” which helps monitor and regulate the salinity and dissolved oxygen level in fish ponds to prevent more incidents of fish mortality. The team of 18 students won P150,000.
Aside from the cash prizes, equivalent amounts in the form of grants were given to the top three schools. The other seven finalists each received P30,000.