Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Solutions hack their way into rice science

Photos | Videos

After many hours of intense hacking to produce apps for rice research over the weekend at IRRI, the SMART-supported BigAs Hackathon successfully culminated with the announcement of winners on Sunday, 11 November 2012.

The Hackathon was a two-day event that brought together computer programmers, software developers, graphic designers, and others in the IT industry to try and use their skills to solve technological challenges in agriculture.

The winners are:
  • Most Innovative App or Special Jury Award: Envilog (stand-alone temperature and humidity sensor with real-time GSM-based data sending, offline data collection, and web-based visualization) by Franklin Binos II, Richard Myrick Arellaga, Johnaray Dimaunahan, and Wyne Dell Manuel (Team PhilRobotics-A).
  • Best Game App: Araro (text-based simulation game) by Bryan Bibat and Alvin Edward Chan (Team Araro).
  • Best Research Data Collection App: ISWater (automatic data gathering of soil water level using sensors, notifies farmers/researchers via mobile phones) by Arvin Orubia, Michelle Aldave, Drexie de Leon, and Cherryl Opon (Team Love Team).
  • Best Farmer InfoTechnology App: Binhi - (rice variety picker) by Joan Antonette Bautista, Jason Bourne Escolano Manzala, John Louis Perez, and Raymond Balingit (Team Libra).

Each team member took home a Smartbro Bro Plug-It and a Samsung Pocket. Team PhilRobotics-A, which won first place, also won a free one-week stay at IRRI to help the team further develop their actual app. They will also be giving a seminar soon to all IRRI staff about their lessons and experiences at the Hackathon, as well as about their winning app, Envilog.

"We are very excited about this initiative to apply ICT and mobile technologies to rice farming. We look forward to working with IRRI, government, and farmers organizations so that we can develop innovative services that will help improve the lives of our farmers," said Ramon Isberto, head of SMART Public Affairs.

"Over the course of the weekend, 'rough' versions of a variety of apps emerged, and two teams produced combinations of hardware and software for automated data collection,” said Marco van den Berg, IRRI's chief information officer.

“Results include a brand-new version of the RiceGrow game developed at IRRI in the late 1980's by the Hukes, a rice quiz framework, enhancements of the IRRI Nutrient Manager app, an app to crowd-source farming advise, a variety adviser app framework, a prototype leaf color detector, a Riceworld Museum visitor app, and a land-leveling app that does not need expensive laser gear, because a phone will do. Pretty awesome for a weekend's work," Mr. van den Berg said.

Members of the panel of judges were: Trina Florencio, software development supervisor, SMART Communications, Inc.; Jovino de Dios, head, Information Systems Development, Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice); Joselito Francisco Limjap, head, International and Carrier Business, ICT Research and Development Enterprise, Philippine Long Distance Telephone Company (PLDT); Adam Borja, administrative officer, National Rice Program, Department of Agriculture (DA); and Fermin Roberto Lapitan, professor Institute of Computer Sciences, UPLB.

Also represented were SMART Devnet and IdeaSpace Foundation, both of which could eventually help app developers turn their prototypes into a potential business enterprise.

“It was an exciting weekend for all of us at IRRI," said V. Bruce J. Tolentino, deputy director general of communications and partnerships at IRRI. "The Hackathon has helped generate new ideas and fresh thinking into the ongoing rice science work. The whole process has been invigorating.”

Learn more about IRRI (www.irri.org) or follow us on the social media and networks (all links down the right column).


  1. IRRI-SMART BigAs Hackathon videos


  2. Hi,

    Just a correction, the prize is not Samsung tablet but Samsung Galaxy pocket which is not a tablet but a entry level android mobile phone... CHEERS!