• FEATURE

    Bicol students raise funds to present research in Canada

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    LEGAZPI CITY: Six students of the Philippine Science High School in the Bicol campus whose invention was chosen as finalist at a prestigious forum for innovations, are raising funds to defend their research in Toronto, Canada before the end of this month.

    Juschele Mhyene Balmaceda Sta. Isabel, 16, incoming grade 11 scholar at PhilSci-Bicol and one of the inventors of Smart Solar-Powered and Piezeelectric Energy Harvestor and Field Irrigator, is knocking on the doors of fellow Bicolanos to help her generate funds to defend the invention at the Toronto International Society of Innovation and Advanced Skills.

    Juschele and her classmates, supported by relatives and friends, have been raising funds for several weeks now.

    Their irrigator generates its own electricity using flowing water and solar water. It is durable and relatively affordable compared to existing commercial devices since it is made of of recyclable materials and uses free energy as primary power source.

    Marc Angelo Aquino Balce, Juschele’s classmate, conceptualized the irrigator as part of a class project. Marc formed a team composed of Juschele and Alea Rezelle Paclibar Salting to help him execute the invention, while Adrian Negrete Divinaflor and Dona Aurora Calvendra Leyretana improved the concept paper.

    The students said their invention could be of great help to Filipino farmers, specifically those working in the fields under extreme climate condition. It will be useful in generating water and irrigating farmlands at a very minimal cost.

    “We believe that this invention will be of great help to Filipino farmers in the far-flung areas who are financially challenged to afford electrical connection,” Juschele said.

    In agricultural areas, conventional water pumps are essential for irrigating ricefields. However, these require fuel and electricity which are beyond the means of most farmers.

    To address this, the students developed an ergonomic device that pumps water in ricefields using piezoelectricity and solar energy. The tool is comprised of several piezoelectricity transducers, a solar panel, a water pump and PVC flaps all enclosed in a 95-liter storage box.

    The device was field tested and results showed that it produces a sufficient amount of energy that can transport water to a higher elevation.

    They submitted their invention, through email to iCan, on July 15 this year. It was awarded a gold medal and was named one of the finalists in the International Invention Innovation Competition in Canada, iCan 2017. As such, they are eligible to attend the award ceremony on August 26 at the North York Memorial Community Hall in uptown Toronto.

    Juschele lives with her grandmother Cecilia Balmaceda, a retired provincial director of the Civil Service Commission, and her mother who runs a car rental service.

    “As a daughter of a single mother whose only source of income is our car rental service and with a sister undergoing occupational therapy for cerebral palsy, the airfare and miscellaneous expenses for a trip to Toronto for this competition is not within our financial capability,” she said.

    “We have tried asking our school for financial support but they only agreed to pay for the $400 per entry registration fee. That is why I would like to ask for your financial support to help me attend the awarding ceremony for our invention. It would be a great honor for me to represent the Philippines in this competition by showcasing our invention,” she added.

    Juschele’s grandmother is willing to spend her own money to serve as guardian of the six student inventors. She also linked with her former officemate currently based in Toronto so the group would have free lodgings.

    Juchele said those who want to see the students attend the Toronto ceremonies, may send financial help to the BDO savings account of Juchele Mhyene Balmaceda Sta. Isabel, SA number: 594-003-1448 and/or at her Landbank SA number 2087-0344-48.

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