Filipino innovators encourages to make “necessity is the mother of invention” into reality.
The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD) have acknowledged innovative Filipinos who have come up with brilliant technologies to combat the COVID-19 pandemic.
The technologies include personalised contact tracing, health assessment and monitoring, and community monitoring – these initiatives showcase the ingenuity and talent of Filipinos online innovators in fighting the global pandemic.
Dr Enrico Paringit executive director at DOST-PCIEERD Executive Director has “expressed elation over the ingenuity of Filipinos who came up with innovations to fight the global pandemic”.
“As leader and partner in enabling innovations in the country, we recognize and urge the public to support these new technologies developed by our brave countrymen,” Paringit said.
Contact-tracing apps were designed to encourage Filipinos to help in the contact tracing of COVID-19-infected individuals:
• BirdsEye – Developed by University of San Carlos (USC) faculty members and students, this app encourages self-reporting and determines COVID-19 hotspots and where the places where virus carriers have visited. BirdsEye is now available on Google Play.
• QVID: A contact tracing system for LGUs with the use of QR Codes. It introduces uniformity of simple and secured data gathering for end-users with or without smart phones by empowering barangay-based registration with the barrio system apps: barrio.citizen and barrio.council. In normal times, QVID’s data backbone, barrio.system is ideal for seamless delivery of public services to targeted constituents just like the objectives of the National ID System. Designed and developed by ARKITEK, an Iloilo-based startup focused on providing solutions based from existing laws in collaboration with government agencies and local governments.
• PH: This is a free, community-based contact tracing tool that uses Bluetooth signals to log your closed contacts in the database. The user will be immediately alerted if you are in closed contact with a confirmed COVID-19 patient for the last 14 days. You can also monitor your status, whether you are a Suspect, Probable, Confirmed, or a Recovered patient.
• WeTrace: A community tracing app developed by the same team under Genii Hut Technologies Incorporated, a DOST-funded startup, and was endorsed by the provincial government of Cebu for mandatory use in the province. The app can be used for patient mapping, case reporting and location tracking. WeTrace is already available for download on Google Play and Apple Appstore.
• Personal health assessment and monitoring tools: To avoid further community transmission, health assessment and monitoring tools help people evaluate and submit their current health status in the comfort of their own home. These will also aid them determine whether they need to seek immediate medical care.
• ENDCoV: This is a community-driven medical information app that identifies the health condition of a user and provides the corresponding recommendation, establishes a directory of persons and journal of places that the user has made contact with, and provides mass notification to persons with whom a COVID-19 positive patient had made prior contact with. Three days after the launch of the app, it officially reached more than 5,000 users and is now the number one free medical application on Google Play.
• COVID-19 SCAN: Screening, Assessment, Networking – Senti AI, one of the country’s leading artificial intelligence (AI) company, designed this self-assessment app to aid users in determining proper action to take given the symptoms being experienced and history of travel encoded.
• It contains up-to-date health information on COVID-19 to support users in managing their health and well-being in this time of health crisis. Senti AI is a DOST-PCIEERD Startup Grant Awardee which developed a machine-learning-based language classifier that automatically detects the language of any document.
• At the end of the self-assessment survey, the user will be asked if they want their case to be submitted to the health authorities within their jurisdiction for evaluation. The health authorities will have access to the web application using their unique login credentials.
• AI-enhanced knowledge management tool – Also developed by Senti AI, the tool will be implemented as the “central brain” for the Department of Health’s (DOH) communication channels.
• The tool will be filled with FAQs, public or health worker inquiries, and the latest guidelines from DOH. The solution makes use of numerous AI technologies including natural language understanding, intent detection, and entity detection to intelligently capture the context behind an inquiry and provide the most relevant, up-to-date answer from DOH’s official knowledge base.
• The tool can be integrated to various chatbot providers which unburdens the user from sifting through hundreds of documents with different versions of the same policy. Ultimately, the biggest value of the tool is ensuring that all governing entities from the cities to remote areas of the country can be in sync with the latest official guidelines.
• CLEAR (Citizen’s Logistics & Early Assessment Reporting Tool): A web-based application that is also available on mobile, that provides Local Government Units and Business Units with a means to organize their initiatives to combat COVID19. It gathers data through several methods that include manual and automated functionalities that would seek to generate data specific to COVID19.
• Developed by Spring Valley and CMI Tech, C.L.E.A.R. aims to empower its Users by providing them the means to gather, organize and analyze information to arrive at the most efficient solution to contain, and eventually eliminate the COVID19 Pandemic. C.L.E.A.R. is also essential to transition out of the Enhanced Community Quarantine as it provides visibility and control to industries, enabling them to self-manage their respective workforce.
• SINAT App: The Smart, Intuitive, Non-contact, Assessment and Triaging App is a tool consisting of a plug-and-play thermal scanner, data log with device location, face recognition, and an online monitoring system. The scanner can recognise gestures up to seven metres and through its camera, body temperature can be easily be detected in a more accessible way compared to normal scanners. The developers are currently working on the production of more scanners.
• Barvid-19: Developed by students from the Technological Institute of the Philippines, the COVID-19 Barangay Tracker is a barangay and city-wide tracker that can help the public identify the number of people infected with COVID-19 and the specific barangay where they are.
• At present, data that can be seen in the app are for the cities of Manila, Pasay, Caloocan and Navotas. The site can be accessed at https://barvid19-tracker.herokuapp.com.
• Goods and supplies delivery system were also developed to ensure steady supply of goods sold in local stores and access by communities.
• PH: Fleet PH created a logistics strategy to have visibility and to optimize activities of logistics deliveries in the Philippines with the current scenario. It aims to help businesses explore, activate delivery support to reach customers, and provide livelihood to Filipinos who lost employment opportunities during the ECQ, and to safely transport supplies, especially to the country’s front liners.
• LGU-level community monitoring. Communities need to be closely monitored to ensure that each Filipino is protected from the spread of COVID-19. These tools can aid community leaders and LGUs in keeping a watchful eye on the whole community amid the pandemic.
• Use of AI for City Watch Initiative – Project Greengrass made a free online community map of real-time street activity monitoring using CCTV networks. It allows the community to have a view on what’s happening in their barangays or cities such as people and vehicle count. LGU authorities can efficiently manage their operations and staff and help them ensure that the enhanced community quarantine (ECQ) protocols are followed.
• SafeTravelPH: This app is a crowdsourcing tool developed by the University of the Philippines National College of Public Administration and Governance (UP-NCPAG) for users to easily report road and other transport incidents in their area that are related to the ECQ.
• These reports will be relayed to national and local authorities for their immediate action. The app also supports disease spread monitoring and control, emergency logistics, and disaster relief operations. Real-time updates and data from the app will be useful to community leaders.
• This initiative is part of the efforts of the UP COVID-19 response team that empowers communities by enhancing the Filipino value of bayanihan. The developers of the app are currently waiting for the approval of Google Play for it to be available to Filipinos.
• COVID-19 Symptom Tracker: Accessed at https://symptom-tracker.tedhouse.org/, this is a simple website developed by researchers from De La Salle University – Laguna Campus that allows individuals to easily declare symptoms which will be tagged in the area where these individuals reside.
• After submitting the symptoms, personal information such as age and gender, are the only required personal information to be filled in. The self-reported symptoms are then projected to a map for easy visualisation that will be useful for decision-making purposes.
• Kontra COVID PH: Developed by AI4GOV Philippines, this is a simple application suite that responds to the critical needs in gathering data and providing practical guidance to citizens. It is tailored and targeted for low-income users to enable access to faster, credible, and bite-sized information. This mitigates the spread and effect of false information as the platform becomes recognised as the most accessible, reliable, and valid source of information.
• With the continued initiatives of the government to combat and contain the pandemic, it is expected that many individuals, leaders, LGUs, and policy makers will find these technologies useful and helpful.
• “As physical interaction is highly avoided to prevent further spread of the virus, innovations should be leveraged now, more than ever, to assist and boost Philippines’ efforts in pandemic monitoring, control and treatment, virus tracking, and resource delivery,” Paringit said.