Student inventors find inspiration in tragedy, win science tilt

VALENZUELA CITY, Nov. 2 (PIA)--When a Grade 10 class at the Valenzuela City School of Mathematics and Science was looking for ideas for their Research subject, the local fire department had also just begun a large-scale inspection of local businesses, prompted by a recent fire in the city that killed more than 70.

In the classroom, Grade 10 student Alec Denji Santos sat by the window and often looked out to think of project ideas. This window and the fire safety inspection would later be the inspiration for his group’s Multifaceted Window, which recently won an award from the Department of Science and Technology.

The design by Santos and group mates Daryl Talabo, Thea Gaviola, Simon Clark Carillo and Kaila Nicole Jaucian turns an ordinary window into a fire exit with its own smoke sensor and alarm. When the built-in MQ2 smoke sensor detects at least 31-degree Celsius, the buzzer, another built-in feature, sounds as the window unlocks itself to let people out.

The window uses a solenoid lock, a hydraulic cylinder commonly found in car doors. In addition, the window has a push button to manually open it in case of fire that is out of the sensor’s range. All these automatic functions are enabled by a microcontroller.

“‘Yong mga inispect po, constructed buildings na sila. Magcocost po ng too much time, effort, and money kung magpapagawa pa po ng fire exit, unlike po kung imomodify na lang [ang mga bintana], magkakaroon pa po ng alarm (Outfitting an already constructed building with a fire exit would cost the owner too much time, effort, and money,” Santos said.

“It would be wiser to simply change the design of its windows to become the fire exits themselves. The windows would have their own fire alarms, too),”Santos added.

On September 30, the Multifaceted Window was judged third-runner up in the Student Creative Research category during the DOST’s Regional Invention Contest and Exhibit at the Technological Institute of the Philippines - Quezon City. The project was also among those selected by the Technological Application and Promotion Institute to help arrange a patent application.

The window addresses the current demand for automated security systems, the researchers said in an abstract. It is also a tribute to the victims of the fire in a rubber footwear factory in one of the city’s industrial areas, they added.

On May 13, more than 70 people, mostly low-wage workers, died in a fire in the factory of Kentex Manufacturing Corporation in Barangay Ugong, Valenzuela City. (PIO Valenzuela/RJB/SDL/PIA-NCR)


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