ILOILO CITY — Two groups of high school students from Iloilo have created devices that would be useful to rural communities, and they have made it the global judging round of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Space Apps Challenge.

One group from the Philippine Science High School (PSHS) Western Visayas Campus developed “S-Light,” an electricity storage system that converts sound waves into storable energy.

Kirsten Dianne G. Delmo, one of the inventors, said their goal is help provide light to people living in remote areas.

“So what it does, it converts sound to electricity which can be able to power a light,” she said in an interview during last month’s the NASA Space Apps Challenge here, which served as a special pre-event for the Iloilo Innovation Expo 2019.

Her fellow inventors are Nico Andrei R. Serrato, Joecile Faith C. Monana, Frelean Faith M. Engallado and Raphael Francis E. Dequil. They explained that noise or sound waves will be picked up by the device’s speaker, causing the magnet to vibrate in the coil. This generates electricity, which is stored in the power box.

The S-Light received a silver award during the recent Young Inventors Challenge 2019 in Malaysia. The other group, coming from Iloilo National High School (INHS), have developed a plant monitoring robot, which has so far been tested on rice crops.

The ‘Short Message Service(SMS)-Based Plant Growth Monitoring Robot’ was created by Vincent Joshua L. Bendo, Alvin Alexander C. Buelos, and Robert Kobe T. Garcia.

“It monitors environmental factors such as temperature, humidity, moisture of the plants. It alerts in two ways. First, it alarms the user via SMS (short messaging system on mobile phone) and it has also a buzzer which emits a very high frequency, if the phone is not available,” Mr. Garcia explained. He said the device is currently limited to small-scale crop farming and nurseries, but they aim to improve it so it can cover bigger areas, especially in far-flung communities.

Xavier Romy O. Braña, the adviser of the PSHS students, said he hopes that the group would inspire other Filipino youth to be creative and work on innovations.

He said, “I am very proud of them. I hope they will become inspiration to the youth that if they have opportunities like this to develop their inventions, they will grab it. If they have an idea, they should pursue it and work hard and be creative.”

US Embassy Cultural Attaché Matt T. Keener said the Innovate Iloilo movement gave the perfect opportunity for the holding of the NASA Space Apps Challenge.

“The reason we chose Iloilo this year as a city because we know that Iloilo is invested in becoming a Smart City by investing on its youth, in its science and technology, and education. It’s part of the reason why we worked closely with CPU (Central Philippine University in Iloilo City). Government agencies are already demonstrating their commitment with events like Innovate Iloilo,”

Mr. Keener said. — Emme Rose S. Santiagudo