A STUDENT project to help a town in Bohol monitor its water resources was chosen as this year’s winner of a nationwide contest among engineering schools to create wireless applications that solve community problems.

The project of the Holy Name University student team, “Water supply management through wireless technology,” bested nine other finalists from all over the country to win the top prize of the Smart Wireless Engineering Education Program (Sweep) Innovation and Excellence Award.

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The student team won P500,000 and an equivalent amount as grant for the school.

The project made use of wireless technology to detect leakage or pilferage in a water system and then report the location of the problematic line on a digital map. The map simplifies the pinpointing of the location of the leak.

The system, according to student team leader Eldwin Shieldon Ytac, also allows the water company to alert subscribers who will be affected by the disruption in supply.

A project by a student team from the Ateneo de Davao University that detects fish density to help improve the catch of fisherfolk in Lianga Bay placed second. The project uses a vibration meter to detect density of fish in an area and then alert a central station to inform members of the Barobo fishers association.

The project won for the team P300,000 and an equivalent amount for the school in grants.

A system that allows citizens to use Internet and mobile technology to report issues to authorities placed third in the contest. The project, named Smart Bantay Barangay, won for the Ateneo de Manila University student team that created it P150,000 and an equivalent amount for the school in grants.

The winners were named in last Saturday’s 6th Sweep Innovation and Excellence Awards in Makati City.

Ramon Isberto, Smart public affairs head, said they decided to tweak the annual contest last year by focusing the innovation to address problems on their local communities.

Community

Isberto said Smart wanted applications with community value.

“When you develop an application, you don’t develop it in a vacuum. It must be needs-driven,” he said. By looking into what the community needs, the school improves the chances for its application to be used.

Isberto also said that teaching “improves with interaction with real-life problems in communities.”

The innovation projects also tap into the infrastructure built by Smart, which is a huge resource that has not been fully utilized, Isberto said. “We now have a cellsite in all towns in the country.”

Simultaneous with the Sweep Awards, Smart also held the 2nd Doon Po Sa Amin Learning Challenge Awards. Science and Technology Education Center in Basak, Lapu-Lapu City won the Best in Health and Wellness category for its research on Binisaya medicine and practices.