IMSP students gear up, attend robotics forum

  • Written by  Alexandria Camille M. Castillo
  • Published in News
IMSP participants with Tallada and Matulac © OVCRE/Alexandria Camille M. Castillo IMSP participants with Tallada and Matulac

Faculty and students from UPLB’s College of Arts and Sciences (CAS) - Institute of Mathematical Sciences and Physics (IMSP) led by physics Professor Nelio C. Altoveros recently attended the Philippine Association of Career Scientists’ (PACS) 6th Annual Scientific Forum last October 5, 2012 at the National Museum, Manila.

The forum, themed “Harnessing Robotics for the Philippine Society,” was an opportune activity for the faculty and students who have been aiming to advance their interest and knowledge on robotics.

In her keynote in the opening program, Dr. Filma G. Brawner, Director of the Department of Science and Technology's Science Education Institute (DOST-SEI), encouraged the participants to continue developing their skills so that they and the country can keep up with its Southeast Asian neighbours.

During the remainder of the forum, three notable robotics experts shared their knowledge and gave demonstrations on some of their robots. Mr. Melvin R. Matulac, founder of the Genetic Computer Institute, introduced the concept of robotics and showed an affordable robotics equipment, the e-Gizmo, and demonstrated the opensource software Arduino that is used for programming microcontrollers.

The second speaker, Dr. Jasper G. Tallada of Nanotechnologies, Inc., shared his experiences in using microcontrollers. “I was going to the US then and I was concerned about who will water my tomato plants,” he said. To solve this, the former UPLB-CEAT professor and now DOST Balik Scientist built a simple device which watered his plants following a fixed schedule.

Lastly, Dr. Elmer P. Dadios of De La Salle University showed several videos of his students’ robotics projects which can be used by the industry. One particular project, the Man-walker robot, can assist the elderly and has caught the audience’s attention since it has tremendous potential in geriatric care. According to Dadios, his university has also developed entertaining mobile robots such as the humanoid dancing and soccer goalie robots.

The program also included a brief presentation by PhilRobotics, the amateur robotics club of the Philippines. The club featured their flood water control device which can measure the level of flood water in a specific area.

In ending the forum, Dr. Manuel Jose C. Regalado, Scientist I and Deputy Executive Director for Research of the Philippine Rice Research Institute, gave an encouraging message, “although it is apparent that the robotics field in the Philippines is still in its infancy stage, with the continuous efforts of experts, students and hobbyists such as yourselves, the country will be able to find its success in the near future.”