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( IC students together with their mentors Dr. Tamara Cher R. Mercado and Dr. Randy S. Gamboa at  the 9th SWEEP National bootcamp.)

Two student groups from the University of Southeastern Philippine’s Institute of Computing barged into the finals of the 9th SWEEP Innovation and Excellence awards of telco giant Smart Comunications.

Project Wordify: A Selected Language Translator Using Digital Image Processing of Nick Faelnar, Karlo Jay Bueno, April Mae Bonto, and Mari Nakaoshi; and Doc Banana: A Digital Image Processing Approach for Early Banana Diseases Detection by Nikko Comidoy, Jhun Rey Cubelo, Laian Joy Chavez, Jesmael Galindo, and Alvin Mark Cabeliño both made the final cut of the annual technology awards program.

The teams presented and defended their project’s concept to the competition’s judges via online video conferencing last September 21, 2012. Out of 112 innovative entries from SMART SWEEP partner schools throughout the country, Wordify and Doc Banana were among the ten ideas which best satisfied the competition’s search for innovative, community-based, and sustainable applications which focus on areas of health, education, livelihood, environment, disaster preparedness and response, media, power and energy, transportation, communications and agriculture.

Of the ten entries short-listed by SMART-SWEEP, only three finalists were from the Mindanao region – one from the Notre Dame of Marbel University and the other two coming from the university’s Institute of Computing.

The feat marks the first time the Institute will have student entries qualifying deep into the competition. It is another testament of the success of the Technopreneurship program the Institute has been offering for the past two years. Last July, one of the qualified entry – Doc Banana – which started as a project proposal in a Technopreneurship class, also won the second prize in the regional Ideaspace: Technoprenuer Bootcamp which was organized by the MVP Group of Manuel V. Pangilinan, chairman and CEO of Smart Communications.

The teams, together with their mentors, also attended the national bootcamp last October 5, 2012 at the First Pacific Leadership Academy, Antipolo, Rizal. Wordify and Doc Banana teams along with the other finalists had a great opportunity to be mentored by professionals in the industry. The event served as a precursor and a preparatory ground before the teams start on building their project prototypes and defending them in front of the judges on the competition’s finals.

P500,000 will be awarded for the competition’s grand winner; P200,000 for the second prize; and P100,000 for the third placer. Respective schools of the winning teams shall also receive grants equivalent to the teams’ cash prize. But more than the cash prize, the Institute of Computing believes that the inspiration and motivation to develop innovative technologies which can be a difference maker in the community is the greatest reward that this achievement will bring to the current and future crop of IC students, and the institute as a whole.

The Institute of Computing hopes that this feat will become a stepping stone for even more noteworthy student projects and ideas in the future.

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