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Monday, February 27, 2017

The Children of Technology

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

Children being technologically adept is no longer surprising. In our neighborhood, children started to use laptops and smartphones as early as 5 years old. Even my own niece learned how to use an iPad even before she was linguistically fluent. 

What is of note is that no one among them told me that they had any training for the use of the gadgets. They just used the powers of observation.

TechBlade has already featured children who did code as early as 10 years old. The affinity to technology can be attributed to early exposure to technology products, tools and equipment.

The powers of observation, the environment of nothing to unlearn and the natural curiosity of children are the perfect breeding ground for tech savvy children. 

Like in my neighborhood, children as young as those mentioned above are taking to coding like fish to water. David Baek, the Korean general manager of Center for Creative Technology said  “In [South] Korea, everything is now connected to the Internet. Even opening a car is now done via smartphone. Homes are controlled by smartphones,”. This was at the five day conference of the Asian Productivity Organization (APO).

 With children the quickest to assimilate any form of language, coding or programming will easily learned. 

The fast-paced lifestyle today, the internet and transactions being done via Wi-Fi connections is the impetus for the young citizens to be part of the world and thrive in it. Baek said that programming or coding will be at the center of it all and it would be the best way to prepare the children for their future. 

TechBlade has also featured a robot that is able to be programmed by tiles that the children can manipulate so as to give the skills for future programming work. 

It is forecasted many jobs will no longer be used in the next 25 years. Robots will be used from accounting to air traffic control. That is the reason why today’s children be proficient in coding or programming. Smart factories to smart farms will be the wave of the future and coding will be the language to make them run.

Baek said one company that adopted high technology but retained its employees by training them for new skills such as use of sofware programs and machine maintenance.

Filipino Researcher Given Recognition in Japan

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017
Chitho Feliciano

Chitho Feliciano was awarded the Da Silva Prize Prize for Best Oral Presentation at the Interdisciplinary Workshop on Science and Patents during the Tsukuba Global Science Week that was recently held in Tsukuba, Japan. Feliciano is a doctoral student in Biomaterials Science at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

The senior science specialist from The Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Nuclear Research Institute (DOST-PNRI) who is currently undertaking a doctoral course in the University of Tsukuba added the prestigious award to other recognitions given.

The awards for his research on nanoparticles made significant contributions in enhancing current chemotherapy procedures.

Chemotherapy protocols usually is a shotgun approach in treating various diseases such as cancer and tuberculosis. This therapy targets the diseased cells but also causes damage to healthy cells in the process.

Feliciano’s research uses nanoparticles so as chemotherapy will target the specific malignant cells but avoids the healthier cells. 

In particular, the research uses nanoparticles in improving the effect of nitroxide radicals in therapy. This has benefits in reducing the effects of skin aging, inflammatory disorders in the skin that can be caused by ultraviolet rays and other forms of radiation.

This has important impact on skin cancer treatment and other therapeutic protocols that require the use of medicines in combinations to effect treatment of other diseases.

Skin cancer is one of the prevalent forms of cancer and exposure to direct sunlight that has ultraviolet rays is one of its causes. Exposure to the sun’s radiation mutates the skin cells that develop into skin cancer.

This results in lesions that require chemotherapy protocols in its treatment. Exposure to direct sunlight is not only for those who get exposed for recreational purposes but also for those whose work and professions require that they be outdoors. 

Feliciano also garnered two Best Poster Presentation awards at the 6th Chemistry Society of Japan Festa in Tokyo and in Sapporo at the Asian Conference on Nano-Science and Nonotechnology.

Feliciano is a doctoral student in Biomaterials Science at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

5 Indicators on What VCs look for Startups

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

Last month and this month, Techblade has covered 2 significant events in the Philippine Startup scene. The first was the HealthHacks Hackathon at Microsoft and the 2nd was the Manila Startup Weekend at the De La Salle University in Manila.

The passion for startups has never been hotter than this year. Those 2 significant startup events are proof that the efforts for technology driven startups has caught on and that big strides have been made in the Philippine startup system.

Along with the bright ideas, technical proficiency and flashy presentations there are also the quiet and unassuming Venture Capitalists (VC) in every event that features Startups.  

For every startup founder, it is a given that their ideas will not be enough. There is a process that goes beyond the initial idea and technical expertise. Every startup will need funds to get it off the ground and also more funds for initial capital expenses and operational expenses until such time that the startup achieve traction and critical mass in its target market so as to create viability.

Here are 5 tips so as to rie above the rest in enticing and piquing the interest of VCs. 

1. Find a problem that only you can solve.

Find a problem, present a solution that only you can give at that given time and make sure that it is scalable so as to be financially viable. Make sure that the early lead made will be but a springboard to greater participation in the market.

2. The Forest and not only the trees

Macro scale understanding of the market derived from macro-scale analysis and studies with regards to the solution the startup intends to get engaged is a must when making the pitch. Make the potential VC fall in love with the idea based on sound macro fundamentals.
3. Create a startup that is based on the future

VCs always look towards the future in their investments. They need not use their resources that will earn for 2 – 3 years only. Create a startup that will be viable and open to scalability from 5 years onwards.

 4. Target VCs that share a geographical commonality

A region-centric approach in enticing VCs makes more sense since a certain uniqueness due to location of both the startup and the VCs can be a synthesis of bigger things to come. Also, common economic, cultural and social understanding for the need for solutions will be a plus. 

5. A balanced Startup team

As what was experienced in the recent startup activities and events, not everybody in the team needs to be Techie. There are a lot of dimensions in business that needs non-tech members who have expertise in other fields such as finance management, marketing, promotion and even plain old perseverance in manual based business operations. 
This will attract the attention of VCs with regards to total management of the startup and its ability to sustain its operations and viability.

PH to create Space Agency

Posted By: The Mail Man - Monday, February 27, 2017

The launch of Diwata-1 in 2016 ushered in a new era for Philippine Science, Engineering and Technology. The micro-satellite has been a poster boy for NASA because of its versatility and even its more accurate photographs being sent back to earth. 

Diwata-2 which is a much more improved version of the superlative Diwata-1 is also slated for launch and deployment on 2018. The strides of the nascent Philippine Space Program have been accelerating and it is only logical that an agency be established for its long term planning, development and implementation.

The National Space Development Office will soon be created upon signing of the order by President Rodrigo Duterte.

Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato Dela Peña said the president supports the Philippines in participating in using space for national development.

This will make the country take a quantum leap with regards to communications, increase military capabilities, have a more in depth agriculture programs and projects and also disaster risk reduction and management.

Congress is set to push a bill for the establishment of the agency with an intial budget of Php1.0 Billion for its operations for 1 year.

This is a more rational course since currently, the country spends Php3.0 Billion for purchasing satellite photos from other countries.

Long term plans laid include the development of launch rockets and an astronaught program.

The Philippines is also an ideal location for rocket launches according to DOST.

Friday, February 24, 2017

2nd Filipino Satellite Diwata 2

Posted By: The Mail Man - Friday, February 24, 2017

Diwata 1
TechBlade covered the preparations for the staging, launching and deployment of Diwata-1 from the start last year. Although a first in Philippine Space Program efforts, Diwata-1 managed to exceed expectations.

Diwata-1 is used in multiple ways such as agricultural mapping, disaster risk reduction and management, research, weather monitoring, land–use mapping and planning, the micro-satellite also became NASAs poster child for Small Spacecraft Technology. 

Now, Filipino engineers are designing and building Diwata-2, the country’s 2nd microsatellite. According to Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Secretary Fortunato dela Peña, the schedule for the launch is next year 2018. Diwata-2 will be biggar than Diwata-1 which was launched into orbit last year. It has yet to be determined if it will be on the 1st half or 2nd half of next year since it will be subject to “economic” conditions. But there will be innovations for Diwata-2 that is not present in Diwata-1 according to Filipino engineers involved in the program. 

These engineers are in Tohoku University and Hokkaido University in Japan who were sent on government scholarship grants. Their scholarships for MS degrees in Aerospace Engineering and Mechanical and Space Engineering is parallel to their involvement in the microsatellite building program which includes the design, fabrication and assembly of the Diwata series of microsatellites. 

Ariston Gonzalez and John Leur Labrador are at Tohoku University while  Delburg Mitchao, Benjamin Jonah Magallon and Kaye Kristine Vergel are at Hokkaido University. The engineer scholars are scheduled to graduate March 2017. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

DICT Unveils its Official Logo

Posted By: The Mail Man - Wednesday, February 22, 2017
The Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT) is proud to present its Official Logo, which serves as the trademark symbol of the Department and signifies its visual identity.

A call for the submission of proposed DICT logo designs was announced late last year to the public, after which entries were individually sorted and reviewed. Out of almost 1,000 entries, 50 logos were shortlisted for final evaluation of the Selection Panel. The published criteria and scoring system was then used to determine a top five, ultimately leading to the selection of a grand winner of the logo contest.

The new DICT Logo embodies the essence of and symbolizes the new organization:

“D-ICT by the People, D-ICT for the People”

The Logo uses curve radiating lines to represent the pulsating radio waves or frequencies, with the lines using the tri-colors of the National Flag: red, white, and blue. At the center of the sphere is the yellow silhouette of the map of the Philippines, in lieu of the yellow sun and stars of the Philippine Flag. The curve lines outside the map also indicate the sometimes placid or surging waters of the Philippine archipelago, evoking the feeling of dynamism brought about by ICT. The 17 connected dots within the silhouette of the map represent the 17 Philippine/DICT regions connected by technology. The numbers around the spherical Logo are the binary equivalent of the acronym DICT and 2016, the year the Department was established under Republic Act (R.A.) No. 10844. The straight lines radiating from the spherical Logo and intersecting the acronym DICT (outside the sphere) represent the frequency waves as they travel in space in straight lines; they also represent the encompassing reach of ICT and telecommunications. The colored sphere is not circumscribed because communications, the service, are without borders.

The new DICT Logo exudes power, inclusiveness, novelty, freshness and innovation, and ubiquity brought by technology.


Sunday, February 19, 2017

Startup Weekend Manila Day 3: Process Driven

Posted By: The Mail Man - Sunday, February 19, 2017
Startup Weekend Manila DLSU: Awaiting final pitches on Day 3

On the third day of the Startup Weekend Manila held at the De L Salle University Henry Sy, Sr. Hall, the 14 teams have each managed to develop with a startup product or service. 

The teams came only into being last February 17, 2017 in the initial convening of the Startup Weekend Manila. Pitches were made and 14 pitches were escalated to the next level.  

The “Founder/s” whose pitches were chosen drafted members of the entire participant’s pool to form their own teams. The teams underwent a series of activities for capacity building and team cohesion. Having realized that they have to work together to attain an objective, these activities primed the teams to identify roles and duties.

Having undergone coaching and mentoring on Day 2, the participants started to crystallize their ideas but have yet to finalize a startup service or product. Utilizing the mentoring and coaching lessons that were given, they followed the needed steps. This started with having an idea, building the idea, testing and measuring the idea and learning from the lessons derived from each prototype.

The startups needed not only coding expertise but also design, marketing and even having financial models to prove the viability and sustainability of their startup. It was providential that many of the participants where non-technical students and professionals since their skills were also of critical value to the team enterprise.

The teams worked almost overnight in undergoing the above-mentioned process to come up with polished and finalized startup products and services. It was told by 1 team that even sub-processes like survey methodology were also subject to validation 50 times!

By the early morning of February 19, 2017, the startup teams commenced to validate and test again and again their final products and processes. Tweaking continued all morning and supported by coaches and mentors from industry related sectors.

By 5:00 pm. The same day, the final presentations/pitches will be made and the winners will be announced.

In fact, all of the teams are winners since the most important lesson for the Startup Manila Weekend DLSU was to have a structure, logical and process driven development for a startup.

Congratulations to the organizers and the participants. 



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