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The Philippines’ DOST launches photo-sharing app

The Philippines Department of Science and Technology’s (DOST) Advanced Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) recently introduced a photo-sharing app called Kooha (from the Filipino word “kuha”) which means to take or capture, which features real-time sensor data collection.

The data collected by the app are used to draw out insights and generate new knowledge and technologies that can be used across sectors, the agency said. There are four processes involved in using the app:

  1. First is Capture — the app senses data as you take a photo.
  2. The second is Enhance — blends the data into your photo.
  3. The third is Share — publishes your photo through the app’s community
  4. Fourth is Explore — see photos taken by other users from different parts of the world

To further understand the data collected from images taken by users, the app also includes the location, temperature, sound, network signal, humidity, and luminance of each of the photo. The data, which can also be seen by other users in the community, are useful for data scientists, researchers, and citizen scientists in generating insights and making relevant decisions.

If a user has an external Bluetooth sensor device that he or she can plug into his or her mobile device, the app can also collect data such as ambient temperature, infrared temperature, pressure, and acceleration.

While anyone can use the app, the DOST-ASTI team said that the tech is recommended for students, researchers, and scientists. The significant amount of data coming from its users can be used for data analysis and application to transportation and telecommunication companies, business sectors, policymakers, environmental and health sectors, and academe, to name a few, the agency said.

To encourage the contribution of more photos, the DOST-ASTI assured its users that the data gathered will only be used for legal and research purposes. The developers will not disclose any personal information to any other individual other than authorised data processors and organisations, the agency added.

As reported by OpenGov Asia, the DOST is preparing for the Fourth Industrial Revolution by strengthening its research and development initiatives in creating innovation ecosystems that will fuel inclusive growth.

Emphasis was given on different areas such as the significance of research and development and technology commercialisation. They also highlighted the enormous potential gains and impacts on industry and the adoption of locally developed technologies. Relevance of sector partnerships and the numerous challenges that the country faces towards the realisation of inclusive innovation and dynamic industrial revolution were also included.

Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) also tackled Industry 4.0 and how the Philippines will adapt to the accompanying changes in policies, industry roadmaps, and gaps. DOST programmes like technology business incubation, the Science for Change Programme, and other R&D programmes are also said to be vital in this endeavour.

As per another report from the World Bank, increasing digital adoption by the Philippine government, businesses, and citizens are critical, not only to help the country adapt to the post-COVID-19 world but also to achieve its vision of becoming a society free of poverty by 2040.

In this society-wide digital transformation, the government can take the lead by speeding up e-governance projects, such as the foundational identification system and the digitisation of its processes and procedures, which will help promote greater inclusion, improve efficiency, and enhance security. Moreover, the government can take an active role in fostering policies that reduce the digital divide and create a more conducive business environment for the digital economy to flourish, said the world bank’s report.

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