Asst. Prof. Anthony James Bautista, PhD of the Department of Mechanical Engineering is the 2021 recipient of the Gregorio Zara for Applied Science Research, awarded by the National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) and Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science and Technology (PHILAAST).
In an interview with the Communications Bureau, the newly appointed Acting Assistant Dean of the Faculty of Engineering recalled how the technology for which he was awarded, the Logistic Indoor Service Assistant (LISA) robot was developed: “The development…was made in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic last March 23, 2020…[to provide] an affordable telepresence robot that can be easily developed, deployed, and used by health care workers to communicate with patients and deliver small items such as medicine.”
Using a tablet attached to its pole-like body, the LISA robot enabled a contactless interaction between the patient and the health care workers. Moreover, like a remote-controlled toy car, it can be guided at will to deliver items.
Bautista recalled the urgency to “source out any existing robotics components that were available in the robotics laboratory” in order “accomplish [the] huge task of inventing units of LISA robots.” The effort has received support from the University of Santo Tomas, and additional funding was provided by the national government through the Department of Science and Technology.
Bautista now belongs to the lineage of the notable Thomasian scientists who have previously received this award, namely Dr. Anabelle V. Briones (2020; for Applied Science Research), Dr. Jonel Saludes, PhD (2020; for Basic Science Research), Prof. Maribel Nonato, PhD (2016; for Basic Science Research), Prof. Grecebio Jonathan Alejandro, PhD (2015, for Basic Science Research), and Prof. Maria Natalia Dimaano, PhD (2011, for Applied Science Research).
Gregorio Y. Zara was a notable Filipino engineer and physicist whose main contribution was the first two-way electronic videophone, which later on would be a significant channel of communication.
This convention was organized by NAST and PHILAAST.