USHER tech ushers in a new way to make communities earthquake-resilient, bags P1M cash prize from BCY Foundation

Posted on 03/13/2023 10:05 am
USHER tech ushers in a new way to make communities earthquake-resilient, bags P1M cash prize from BCY Foundation image

Francis Aldrine A. Uy (Standing, 4th from left) of USHER Technologies bags the top prize of P1 million during the Benita and Catalino Yap Foundation Inc. Innovation Awards 2023 for its innovation called Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording System or USHER, a technology that monitors the integrity of buildings and infrastructures to be more resilient to earthquakes. Others in photo included BCYFI founder and chair, Antonio Yap (Seated, 4th from left), BCYFI officials and other finalists that included Director Richard P. Burgos (Standing, extreme right) who represented the Department of Science and Technology-Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII) for its entry called Science and Technology Academically Research-based Openly Operated KioskS or STARBOOKS. 

After the destructive earthquakes in Turkey and Syria, there is really the need to be more vigilant and proactive in preparing for such natural hazards so that our communities will remain safe, and to prevent the loss of lives and livelihood. 

The Philippines, which is located in the so-called Pacific Ring of Fire experiences a number of earthquakes every year with several faults scattered across regions in the country. With this scenario, a new technology called the Universal Structural Health Evaluation and Recording System or USHER was developed by Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy that will address the risks brought about by earthquakes. 

This novel technology was recently recognized by the Benita and Catalino Yap Foundation Inc. (BCYFI) Innovation Awards 2023 as the top winner of the P1 million cash prize.

USHER is a building structural health monitoring system that can be used for 24 hours, seven days a week, that is composed of three components, namely: an advanced accelerograph, a web portal system, and a mobile application.   

USHER serves as an innovative solution to address disaster risk reduction and management initiatives of both private and public sector, especially government agencies and local government units to determine the structural integrity of public and private buildings. 

This technology can be installed in public infrastructures like bridges, public and private buildings, and other critical structures, and will help engineers and building owners to regularly monitor the integrity, soundness, and performance of buildings and different structures under seismic and other geological events. 

With USHER in place, disaster managers, LGU officials, and private enterprises can prepare their buildings and make necessary retrofitting, if necessary, to prevent economic loss as well as keep people safe when they are inside these buildings and structures.

Dr. Uy stressed, in his recorded message about the Innovation Awards, that his work addresses the need to protect lives by protecting the structures that they populate, especially considering that earthquakes occur often in the country. Here is an excerpt from Dr. Uy’s message as a finalist prior to his winning the award.

“I am Dr. Francis Uy the founder and CVO of USHER Technologies. In many parts of the world, a strong earthquake is IMMINENT. It’s NOT a matter of IF but WHEN. The global annual cost of damage due to earthquake is 36 billion dollars. Imagine how much we can save and do with USHER. We are now monitoring 24/7 almost 60 buildings all over the country.”

He further emphasized the importance of research to have practical application that will benefit a great number of people and to become less vulnerable because of science. 

“USHER is an amazing lifesaving and only Filipino made structural health monitoring technology, the ECG Machine for buildings. USHER has a very inspiring story to tell, it is the real deal in successfully bringing a research product from a university lab to the industry and communities to ensure infrastructure safety and resilience. A BCYF recognition will further confirm the various recognitions we received and its reward will help us pursue our CSRs and R&D initiatives to promote safety and resilience in the country. Thank you BCYF and let us all USHER a safer and more resilient world.”

Trailblazing the innovation ecosystem, Dr. Uy created the Usher Technologies Inc., a commercialization project of various institutions composed of the following: Mapua Institute, the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), and the DOST-Philippine Council for Industry Energy and Emerging Technology Research and Development. The company is an all-Filipino team composed of experts from different fields ranging from engineering to technology to business, and more.

So, to support innovative start-ups, the Benita and Catalino Yap Foundation Inc. (BCYFI) was established that will further encourage innovators in the country to think outside the box and create or recreate products and services that will benefit the Filipino people. The awards event is a part of its endeavor to recognize individuals, teams or organizations who have embraced innovation to contribute to socioeconomic development in the country.

The BCYFI Innovation Awards is a yearly event that recognizes innovators that is organized in partnership with the Shell LiveWIRE Program, the global flagship enterprise program of the Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation. This award is part of the foundation’s Comprehensive Social Development Program, that focuses on different areas, namely: education, research, and developmental social enterprise. (By Rodolfo P. de Guzman, DOST-STII)

Dr. Francis Aldrine A. Uy with his message after bagging the BCYFI Innovation Awards top prize of P1 million for his innovation called USHER.