Pinay's iBus invention wins in London

by Rose Eclarinal, ABS-CBN Europe News Bureau

Posted at Nov 01 2011 11:25 AM | Updated as of Nov 02 2011 03:21 PM

LONDON - After long, arduous eight years of self-funded research and project, Elma Arboleras received a reward she did not expect.

Her invention dubbed as the iBUS won a gold medal for the consumer category at the British Invention Show. The BIS is on its 11th year of bringing together inventors, innovators and designers in a platform that will enable them to promote and advance their ideas.

From hundreds of participants, the entries were narrowed down to semi-finalists, finalists and winners per category, plus special awards and citations.
Arboleras said that in her experience, being an inventor has nothing to do with being a geek or a genius. But it definitely takes a lot of research, passion and back-breaking work.  

“It’s about faith. Faith in ourselves, faith in our God who can make all things possible. The reason why I participated is to inspire our kababayan. Mine started with just a dream--a dream that maybe we can help ease the traffic problem,” she said.

Arboleras, a BS in Customs Administration graduate from Iloilo, developed the iBUS concept with Rodel De Guzman, her co-inventor. They joined the invention show on their own, without the backing from government or any private companies. Arboleras pooled her own resources to be able to fly to the UK when the entry was shortlisted.

In front of 25 judges from corporate and specialist fields, she was given 3 minutes to discuss the invention. That moment, she felt the need to shine and bring honor and pride to her country. She summed up 8 years dogmatic resilience, passion and dedication in an eloquent presentation. 

“When I was given that medal, I was like ‘Oh! Finally, a recognition!’ But I didn’t really feel that it was for me. It was for the Philippines. I really felt I was there for the Philippines even when I came on my own. What made me stronger to go for it was the thought that with it is a kind of solution that might help our country,” she explained.

‘It’s my gift to Philippines’

Arboleras said the solution for the traffic problem in the Philippines is a daunting task that cannot be done by a mere introduction of technology. However, having a technology that will solve it is a good start. 

She urged the government to give iBUS a chance.

While she already received offers to buy the patent of the iBUS to be implemented abroad, she turned down the offer. She wanted Philippines to be the first to benefit from it.
“What I have done or got here is my gift for the Philippines. What our government is going to do about it is the Philippines' gift to the world,” said Arboleras.

Kane Kramer, the inventor of iPod and president of The British Invention Show is impressed with the iBUS.

“Elma’s application of technology was really directing at a problem which affects the majority of society rather than just one little specialist area and that it can make a difference to people’s daily lives,” said  Kramer.

He also encouraged the Philippine government to do more for young innovators and inventors for them to be able to participate in platforms like the British Invention Show and similar platforms in the world which would allow them to showcase their inventions.

“It’s important that both companies, corporate and government get behind the innovators and the inventors. I am not talking big money necessary in big business. We are talking about here the seedbed, the very seeds when they are sprouting and nurturing those seeds and giving the seeds the chance to root properly and by doing this with innovation and technology, you have the scope to completely change the outlook for an entire country by both manufacturing and exports,” he said.

He added: “A single invention has a capability to transform the wealth of a nation. And it’s common that great inventions and great innovations actually can go unnoticed. Sometimes, sitting on university desk with talented professors and these could be world changing and yet they don’t get out, they don’t escape and don’t see the light of day.”

The iBUS

iBUS or Intelligent BUS Utility System will work by using machine readable tags to digitally identify a vehicle for it to be part of a database. Its daily operation will be managed through computers.

“Our system offers a level playing field for everyone involved because we kept in mind everyone involved in our traffic problem: the bus drivers, the enforcers, the operators, the commuters,” said Arboleras. 

She added: “It’s the first patented bus monitoring and management system in the Philippines so this would make the buses load and unload passengers in the proper designated areas only.”

The iBUS system can organize the buses based on the machine readable tags. It can group the buses and allocate designated stop or pick up points. It will also impose a time limit on a bus stop usage. The bus will be programmed to stop and open its doors at allocated areas only. It also prides on the Real Time Location System (RTLS) to track the buses and project the exact arrival of buses in the designated loading and unloading areas.