Prepositioning Assets for Community Resilience: AIC Participates in the TALAB 2019

Written by Jeremiah Morales

The Ateneo Innovation Center (AIC), headed by Dr. Gregory Tangonan, once again exemplified their brilliance and expertise in innovation by showcasing several technologies, which are helpful during disasters in times of crisis, in a session of the Talakayang Alay sa Bayan (TALAB) 2019. This year’s TALAB has the theme: “Ateneo at 160: Agenda for Hope.” TALAB is an annual event that encourages the students of Ateneo de Manila to participate and engage in the current discourse of our country.

In their event entitled “Prepositioning Assets for Community Resilience,” AIC showcased some of the technologies they have been and are currently working on. Some of which include a smart baby monitoring system for phototherapy, solar-powered filtering systems, mechanical nebulizer, and low-cost disaster communications.

Mr. Thomas Van Custem, a student from AIC, presented his work on indoor farming system, using hydroponics, to efficiently grow plants indoor using an alternative growing media, instead of soil. One of the advantages of this system is how it uses 90% less water than the conventional farming method–by using only a 1×1 meter space, this system can grow 3 to 10 times more crops all year round! His project uses a smart system where he can monitor the temperature, humidity, and lighting (E.g. the intensity and irradiance), which are crucial for the plants’ growth. Mr. Van Custem further explained the importance of this indoor farming system, saying that by the year 2050, 75% of the population will be living in urban areas. The problem with this is how there will be no proper soil due to the prevalence of concrete areas; this indicates that harvesting and cultivating crops will become a problem of cities in the future. With the help of the indoor farming system, this problem can be solved.

After the event, Mr. Kerwin Caballas with Mr. Paul Cabacungan demonstrated the low-cost disaster communication syste using only a handheld radio. The system works by converting images into radio waves and transferring it to another device without the need for SIM card or internet connection. This method can be used during disasters when communication signals are usually compromised. Mr. Carlos “Toto” Oppus (Director of AIC) furthers this by adding that complicated instructions during crisis can now be sent and viewed with ease using this technology.

In line with their objectives, AIC has indeed developed beacons of hope for vulnerable communities. To know more about their technologies, AIC highly encourages students to visit their office at Room 416, PLDT-CTC Building in the Ateneo de Manila University campus. Undeniably, AIC did it again!

Jeremiah Morales received his bachelor’s degree in Environmental Management at Ateneo de Naga University in 2019, and is currently a Research Intern in the Coastal Cities at Risk in the Philippines. All photos are by the author, unless stated otherwise. For comments and suggestions, you may contact him through, or CCARPH at

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