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Saturday, November 26, 2011

Novel creations shine in Davao invention contest

Novel products from Southern Mindanao’s creative minds dominated the awards in the first Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit (RICE) held 17-20 November at Davao City’s NCCC Mall.

For Likha Award named as the Outstanding Utility Model is Manolo Tamparong’s Compressed Air Thermal Fuel Oil Dryer.

Meanwhile, the Sibol Award, or the Outstanding Creative Research for independent inventor, went to Mary Jane Barluado’s Squash Seeds Sunblock Lotion – Vitamin E Enriched.

For the award’s college category, University of Mindanao’s Development of a Line Disconnection System by Kris Logie Mallorca, John Mark Coloma, Rae Reyes, and Edezon Virtudazo bagged the outstanding student creative research. For the high school category, Compostela National High School pocketed the award through The Leaves of Snake Plant (Sansevieria trifasciata) as Natural Fiber by Lovely Asur and Angelou Angway. Advisers are Engr. Maria Christina Condez and Debbie Teruel for the high school category.

The inventiveness and resourcefulness of the awardees and contest participants caught the interest of Intellectual Property Office Philippines Director General Ricardo Blancaflor.

“The gold mine of Davao is not only its natural resources,” said Dr. Blancaflor, keynote speaker of the RICE awarding ceremony. “What will make Davao rich are the creative minds of Davaoeños.”

Winning invention and researches

Tamparong’s thermal fuel oil dryer converts used cooking oil into quality bio-fuel for internal combustion engines and other industrial applications. Since the facility is locally made, it can be easily and quickly mass-produced as cheaper alternative to imported brands. The availability of this machine will help address the problem of proper disposal of used cooking oil, converting it from a menace that clogs the waterways into an efficient bio-fuel.

Meanwhile, squash seeds, normally processed into snack items, can be a good sunblock lotion, as found out by Baluado. “Squash seeds are natural rich source of zinc, an active ingredient in sunblocks that protects cells, heals wounds, and prevents skin inflammation,” Baluado explained. The vitamin E-enriched product was tried by nine volunteers who all reported that the squash seed sunblock works similarly with or even better than expensive commercial brands.

“Disconnection of power lines due to theft and tampering of electric meters and power lines have always been big problems of power distribution companies,” the abstract of the University of Mindanao student researchers said. To address this problem, the team developed the line disconnection system that, when embedded into current systems, will enable power distribution companies to easily disconnect and reconnect electric lines of their subscribers.

Further, the study of the CNHS students revealed that snake plant fiber is comparable with commercial fibers in four parameters of sensory evaluation test by the group. Thus, the plant which is endemic to the region is found to be a possible source of natural fiber that has the potential to make a crack in the local and international fiber industry.

Inventors in Davao

According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Region 11 Director Anthony Sales, the RICE 11 is the first ever regionwide invention contest. “The four outstanding inventions will qualify for the National Invention Contest and Exhibit to be held in Manila next year,” Dr. Sales said.

The four winning inventions bested 92 other participants, including contenders to the regionwide health research contest held simultaneously with the RICE. The health research contest, funded by the DOST’s Philippine Council for Health Research and Development, had its own set of winners.

Region 11 inventors have apparently increased awareness of the importance of securing patent rights. Records of IPO Philippines showed that from January to October this year, Region 11 had 126 patent applications, a 38 percent jump from the same period last year. Patents protect inventors from the illegal use of their products by other profit-oriented parties. At the same time, patents give inventors rights to collect royalties should their products be legally and commercially used by other parties.

Filings from the region compose 12 percent of the national figure, revealed Blancaflor. Outside of Metro Manila, Region 11 ranks third in the number of patent applications filed.

“The increase in patent applications suggests that creativity and innovation are likewise intensifying in the region,” observed Blancaflor.

RICE, which started this year, will be held every other year to give local inventors enough time to develop their works, said Dr. Edgar Garcia, director of DOST’s Technology Application and Promotion Institute, DOST 11’s main partner in organizing RICE events nationwide. Framelia V. Anonas, S&T Media Service

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