Posts Tagged 'engineering'

Design and engineering of a supply chain management system for drug delivery applications

Day 2 of the 8th Philippine Computing Congress. I presented our deparment’s work on wireless logistics. It is a project commissioned by the Tropical Disease Foundation to monitor TB drug deliveries around the country.

Title: Design and engineering of a supply chain management system for drug delivery applications
Authors: A. Espinosa, N. Libatique, G. Tangonan, M. L. Guico, J. Wong, J. Marciano, J. Villeres


Using RFID technologies, this paper reports a proof-of-concept design
and deployment for tracking expensive medical supplies for
tuberculosis patients. The supply chain starts from the distribution
centers down to regional health units. The supply chain tracking
system features the novel use of an integrated subversion based
staging server to provide data synchronization between the various
distribution centers and a remote backend database.

LEGO Brick’s 50th anniversay!

I was in the department this morning when something caught my attention: one of the workstations display the Google webpage.  Their logo was made up of LEGO bricks!  Later on, Slashdot posted the article about the 50th Anniversary of the LEGO brick.  So that was the occassion.  LEGO made a significant contribution in my life.  Aside from having the toy bricks during childhood, my research career came from a LEGO related project:

  • Robotag: The Implementation of a Robotic Kit that Combines Primitive Behavior to Promote Higher Levels of Competence – this was the title of my senior research project in Philippine Science High School.  It brought me to places like the Intel Philippine Science Fair.  I enjoyed meeting from around the Philippines and some of which I met during college.
  • My project gave me enough experience to be a facilitator for PSHS-SEI (Science Education Institute) robotics workshop.  It was a summer workshop for science teachers around the Philippine to prepare them for teaching a robotics elective in their respective high schools.  The government gave away LEGO Mindstorms kits to each school. This was also my first paycheck as a “professional”!
  • I was invited to give a talk on mechanical design of robots using LEGO bricks. It was an introductory workshop for high school teachers to prepare for the Philippine Robot Olympiad. The event was sponsored by Felta, Inc. the distributor of LEGO Dacta, the educational kit version of the Mindstorms system.  The PSHS-SEI robotics program on the other hand used the commercial editions of the set distributed by Giftgate.

Here is my presentation on mechanical design a few years back. I discussed different types of joints and elaborated on the weakness and stress of the different types. It was basically a vector mechanics lecture using LEGO bricks for visualization. Additional slides are included elaborating on documenting your creations using LEGO cad software like MLCad and ldraw.

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Villagers rely on rain gauges

20080123 philippine satellite imagery

Weather satellite imagery from PAGASA

This was posted in regions section a week ago:

At least 13 digital rain gauges have been installed in seven towns and two cities of the province, and 12 more are coming, courtesy of the Social Action Center of the Archdiocese of Legazpi.

Cedric Daep, executive officer of the Provincial Disaster Coordinating Council, said early warning devices would also be given to communities so that information could be relayed quickly to the residents.

Disaster officials have been trained to interpret data from the wired rain gauges, which cost almost P7,000 each and are placed in municipal halls. The gauges can detect possible landslides, lahar and flooding through a criteria carefully devised by the PDCC.
When the device records rainfall of 1 millimeter per minute, mudflows from Mayon Volcano are likely to occur, Daep said. A 7.2 mm-per-hour rainfall could mean heavy flooding, especially in low-lying areas

Indeed it is more cost effective to deploy an array of sensors across an specific area rather than buying multi-million dollar equipment like weather radars. But in order to obtain useful information in a timely manner, the network for these gauges should be properly designed. There have been a lot of research on deploying highly resilient networks for rain conditions. I am currently involved in the Rain research group of the ECCE department. Aside from studying how rain affects the signals and performance of the rain sensor, our group proposed to use the network itself as the sensor.  We are also researching on innovating data gathering methodologies such as using digital recorders (acoustic sensors) as rain observation equipment.

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Multimeter recordings with the Prologix GPIB-USB controller

Prologix GPIB-USB controller

The department has quite a number of GPIB-interfaceable intstruments but the problem is that we no longer have a workstation with the legacy ISA card slots. We conducted an archaeology expedition in one of our laboratories and found cards in mint condition! Deniz Wong of the Chemistry department showed me some of their toys and their only workstation with the interface card. Even though this machine is very old, it still has great value to their lab because of its capability to instrument with their equipment.

We recently bought two Prologix v4.2 GPIB-USB controllers. This removed the need to find legacy workstations to be able to log data. All we need now are USB ports. The controller is basically an IEEE 488 to USB B adapter. Version 2.6 of the Linux kernel has a built in driver for it (ftd_sio). In my Gutsy workstation, it creates a serial device name “ttyUSB0”. Using serial communications software, I was able to talk to the device.

Test setup

To test the controller, I tried to record voltage readings from a 5-18 volt power supply as shown in the Figure above. The numerical reading below is the current DC level of one of the power supplies made by students in the ECE 21 Workshop class. The controller was setup in device mode or listen mode which as activated using the “++mode 0” command in the serial terminal. The HP 34401A multimeter was then set to talk mode to send data to the device controller. According to the manual, the HP-IB address should be set to address 31 to activate talk mode. HP-IB was also selected as the interface in the settings instead of the default RS-232. To simulate fluctuating voltage reading, I swung the resistance knob to vary the data recordings. Below is a plot of the terminal session:

Sample HP 34401A log

The next would be to consider the sampling time in obtaining the data to incorporate a voltage versus time reading. These recordings will be useful in obtaining the natural response of the circuits.

Ateneo ECCE website is now a blog!

The department website is now revamped. Aside from using the TWiki system to manage its content, the BlogPlugin application is installed to facilitate posts. This will help a lot in exposing the department to the public. Featured posts are from Dr. Greg Tangonan and his Innovation and Technology class.

Make sure to save your bookmarks to . we also have an RSS feed link for easy content syndication into your news readers.

ICT Asia presentation

The ICT-Asia is a program of the French government to foster cooperation and networking in research and training in ICT in Asia. Last November 18-22, they hosted their 5th conference in Taipei in cooperation with the National Science Council of Taiwan. The delegates were from France and other countries in Asia such as India, Pakistan, Philippines, Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam and Taiwan. It was a very good opportunity to network with fellow scientists from other countries in future research projects and collaborations.

I presented our department’s works in applying wireless networks for emergency response system in the seminar. This slide presentation is under the theme network infrastructure. The title of my talk is “Rapidly deployable disaster management systems”. Below are the slides that were used for the presentation.

I think the topic of my presentation was well received. It stimulated a lot of discussions and created a potential to forge partnerships and collaborations in future ICT Asia funding programs and other research proposals. If you are also interested in the presentation I presented above, feel free to contact me or any faculty member of the ECCE department.

Other talks from the Ateneo de Manila’s delegation was, “Medical image analysis and information retrieval with grid computing applications” presentated by Dr. Rafael Saldana of the Mathematics department, “Patient driven mobile phone-enabled medical health services” by Dr. Nathaniel Libatique of the ECCE department.

Thank you to Dr. Libatique for helping me build this presentation!

Travel to Taipei

Last November 18-24, I went to three research meetings and conferences in Taipei. My travel expenses were shouldered by the ONCO-MEDIA project while my hotel accommodation was sponsored by the ICT Asia seminar program. Both funding sources came from the French government. I just love being an academic!

I traveled via Cebu Pacific to the Taoyuan International Airport. Delegates were fetched by the organizers from ICT Asia. When we were going out the compound of the airport, I saw a very interesting name for a courier service in Taipei: Pinoy Express.

Pinoy express delivery service

It took almost an hour to reach the city. Our hotel, Academia Sinica Activity Center was located in the outskirts of Taipei. This made the trip even farther. The institute is a very big compound. It consists of various research centers from environmental science to high performance computing. Below is a view from inside my room:

Academia sinica

I will post later in detail what transpired during the conference like Ateneo’s presentations, the very impressive networking activities. Pictures will also be posted showing sights and sounds of Taipei.