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Mapua students develop low-cost underwater remotely operated vehicle
By Helen Flores
The Philippine Star 11/16/2006

The government could have saved millions of pesos in locating the sunken MT Solar 1 off Guimaras Island last August had it used the underwater remotely operated vehicle (ROV) invented by a group of students of the Mapua Institute of Technology.

Behind "RM-625," as the underwater ROV is called, are Mapua engineering juniors Michael Poblete, Ivan de Vera, Charles Rico, Leonard Canoza, Paul Kevin Diaz, Harry Noel Balanay, Andrew Alcomendraz, and Jaylord Janod.

According to them, they were inspired to develop the equipment after MT Solar 1 spilled bunker fuel off Guimaras, extensively damaging hectares of mangroves and posing health risks to the local folk.

Built with materials all locally sourced, the ROV costs P49,500 and includes a 12-volt maintenance battery, a controller box with six-inch LCD screen, a cord and a rack.

The government, according to the Mapua students, could have saved millions of pesos with the early development of the RM-625.

The government spent P20 million in getting the services of Shinsei Maru, a Japanese vessel with a ROV which was used in locating the sunken ship.

The student-inventors said it took them one and a half years to develop the ROV, the RM-625 being their third prototype.

The students first tested the accuracy of their invention in locating a sunken ship at the Sangley Point naval base in Cavite City.

It has an operating depth of 20 to 300 feet and a diving rate of 0.9 foot per second. Its battery operates for 15 hours.

The students said many people have expressed interest in their invention.

The RM-625 was among 99 local inventions showcased at the Philippine Trade Training Center (PTTC) in Pasay City in line with the celebration of National Inventors’ Week.



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