Filipino experts develop quake-proof desks for kindergarten students

Aileen Cerrudo   •   April 26, 2019   •   2900

Quake-proof desks called Life-Saving Automated Mesa (LAMESA) | Courtesy: DOST

Filipino experts have developed quake-proof desks for kindergarten students. It also serves as an earthquake warning system.

According to the released statement of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), a group of researchers from the Philippine Normal University (PNU), De La Salle University, and Technological University of the Philippines, developed a high impact-proof automated study desk for preschool children.

They called it LAMESA or Life-Saving Automated Mesa to Endure Seismic Activity.

“LAMESA combines technology with capacity building in terms of knowledge and infrastructure to best address such probable disaster, particularly in educational institutions,” their statement reads.

The LAMESA desk measures 1.22 m in length, 0.69 m in width and 3.327 cm in tabletop thickness. It’s height is 0.57 m so that preschoolers can easily hide under the desk. Its table top is also made of steel and is coated with epoxy paint for durability.

There is also a storage bin with a sliding door for keeping lighting devices, food and water supplies for up to nine kindergarteners.

“LAMESA is equipped with an accelerometer, a device that senses motion, which feeds seismic measurements to a Wi-Fi-enabled microcontroller. This microcontroller then simultaneously triggers the actuator which causes the table top to fold 16 degrees upward,” the statement further reads.

PNU’s Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales, research team leader, said “[On] average, a strong earthquake that may cause debris lasts about 30 to 40 seconds. This means that LAMESA’s four-second response time provides ample time to shield children from debris during an earthquake.”

The researchers are continuing to make improvements to enhance LAMESA’s prototype design.

“We are [also] contemplating on using fiberglass instead. We also thought of using a wall sensor to manage a set of desks,” Dr. Morales adds.—Aileen Cerrudo

Number of dengue cases in NCR exceeds alert threshold – DOH

Maris Federez   •   August 16, 2019

A child suffering from dengue fever receives medical treatment at an isolation ward of a government-run hospital in Manila, Philippines, 16 July 2019. (Photoville International)

The National Capital Region (NCR) has recorded more than 11,000 dengue cases from January to August 10 this year.

This is 33% higher than what was recorded in the past five years.

“It’s starting to rise and just like the other regions that began with the alert levels, naging epidemic level na sila [they’ve reached the epidemic level]. Pwede pa ring sumipa ang dengue. Kaya hindi ho tayo pwedeng magpahinay-hinay [Dengue case can still go up. That’s why we should not be complacent],” Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Francisco Duque said.

The cities in the NCR where dengue cases have spiked include Paranaque, Malabon, Taguig, Makati, and Mandaluyong.

The DOH clarified that no medicine, supplement, or vaccine had been proven to cure dengue.

The health department also supports the move of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) to fund the distribution of food supplements which may help increase an individual’s platelet count to avoid dengue.

“Wala namang gamot ang dengue. Wala ring bakuna. At kung meron man sila ng inaalay na makakagamot, hindi po totoo iyan. Ito po ay food suppmement lamang at kinakailangan merong FDA certificate of product registration [There is no medicine for dengue. No vaccine either. And if there are some who offer something that’s supposed to cure dengue, it’s not true. It’s just a food supplement and it needs to have FDA certificate of product registration],” Duque added.

The health official then reminded the public to clean their surroundings and eradicate dengue-mosquito breeding areas through the 4 o’clock habit using the 4S strategy:

  • Search and Destroy
  • Self- Protection
  • Seek Early Consultation
  • Support Space Spraying

This is to further prevent the number of dengue cases in Metro Manila to further exceed the health department’s alert threshold. (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

Phl climbs 19 spots in Global Innovation Index 2019

Marje Pelayo   •   July 25, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – The Philippines has climbed up by 19 spots in the recently released Global Innovation Index 2019 rankings.

Ranking 73rd in 2017 and 2018, the Philippines jumped to 54th place this year,

Science and Technology Secretary Fortunato dela Peña said that among the Philippines strongest points that contributed to this achievement include the country’s high tech net exports and imports; research talents; Information and communications technology (ICT) services exports; creative good exports such as animations, science and engineering works; formal training services among others.

Meanwhile, the country did not fare well in ease of getting credit, ease of starting a business as well as investments in education.

Despite the setbacks, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) took pride in the Department’s contribution to the country’s improvement in the global ranking such as the Hybrid Train technology; the dengue kit that has been effective in detecting early signs of dengue; the Philippines’ space technology which have already launched two micro-satellites; food supplement for palay; and the latest technology on hazard prevention, the Hazard Hunter.

According to Sec. Dela Peña, this improvement in ranking will definitely encourage more investors to do their business here in the Philippines. – with reports from Rey Pelayo

Segment of PH trench off Surigao del Norte coast may generate magnitude 8 earthquake – PHIVOLCS

Marje Pelayo   •   April 30, 2019

MANILA, Philippines – A series of small and moderate earthquakes has been recorded along the Philippine trench off the coast of Surigao del Norte.

On April 26, a magnitude 5.5 earthquake was recorded 70 kilometers southeast of General Luna on Siargao Island.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary Renato Solidum said earthquake swarms may continue due to the subduction in the Philippine trench.

The official explained that an earthquake swarm is different from aftershocks.

“Ang aftershock kasi ay maliliit na paglindol pagkatapos ng isang talagang malakas na pagyanig, distict na malakas. Ang nangyayari kasi sa off shore ng Surigao del Norte may magnitude 5.5 pero may mga magnitude 5, 4 point plus. So hindi talaga isang lindol na malakas tapos puro maliliit na. (An aftershock is a small earthquake after a strong shaking, distinctively strong. What is happening off the shore of Surigao del Norte is that, there is magnitude 5.5 but there are magnitudes 5, 4 point plus. So it’s not a strong earthquake and the followed by small ones,)” the Director of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS) explained.

Recently, a series of earthquakes in the area has also been recorded but Usec. Solidum said the activities have gradually subsided.

PHIVOLCS monitors the area so that they can immediately warn the public for a possible tsunami if a strong tremor occurs.

Solidum said a strong earthquake might not happen but it was a long time ago since the agency recorded a strong movement in that segment of the Philippine trench.

“Posibleng mga class magnitude 8 earthquake ang pwedeng maidulot ng pagkilos sa Philippine trench at pwede itong mag-trigger ng tsunami na pwedeng makaapekto sa baybayin ng mga probinsyang nakaharap sa Pacific Ocean, (The Philippine Trench may cause class magnitude 8 earthquake and it may trigger Tsunami that may affect coastal areas facing the Pacific Ocean,) Solidum said.

The official said a tsunami might reach the nearest fault in a matter of minutes depending on the distance of the epicenter to the nearest coast.

Although no swarm was recorded in other segments of the Philippine trench like the Manila trench, Sulu-Negros trench, and Cotabato trench; they may generate a major quake.

The Manila trench may generate a magnitude 8.3 earthquake and tsunami with a height of 3.5 meters to 5.5 meters.

Areas facing the West Philippine Sea might be affected including the Manila Bay.

“Kung nasa dalampasigan sila o malapit, mapapansin nilang biglang bumaba ang tubig, mabilisan. At kung nandoon pa sila malapit sa dalampasigan, pwede silang makarinig ng kakaibang ugong at ito ay senyales na ang tsunami ay paparating na sa dalampasigan, (If they are in or near the coastal areas, they will notice the immediate or abnormal drop of seawater. And if they are near the coastline, they would hear a roaring sound and it is a sign that a tsunami is approaching,)” Solidum concluded. – Marje Pelayo (with reports from Rey Pelayo)


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