Sep 16, 2023

From technical skills to practical knowledge, PUP students constantly shatter societal barriers using practicality, innovation, and the ability to think outside the box as pioneers of their groundbreaking discoveries and inventions.

The recent triumph of 4th-year Computer Engineering students Marielle Julia T. Juat, Hazel Cherry Tabirao, and Reniel Bryan M. De Lumban in the highly anticipated 2023 PUP Hackathon held at PUP San Juan from July 3–4, is a shining testament to the remarkable capabilities embodied by PUPians.

What led them to that path of victory is their innovative and creative application, “Disletra”—a revolutionary assistive reading solution designed specifically for people with dyslexia. With this transformative invention, the trio of talented students from the College of Engineering (CE) intend to alleviate and support the everyday challenges faced by dyslexic individuals.

The students revealed that their participation in the event was initially driven by the desire for enjoyment rather than expectations of victory. Little did they anticipate their remarkable win, especially considering the challenges they faced along the way: Juat’s malfunctioning laptop and juggling the demands of completing their undergraduate thesis.

“Nasira po ’yung laptop ko nu’ng mismong…nu’ng first actual event. Tapos ’yung prof ko which is si Sir Tubola, pinahiram niya ko bago ko po ma-chat ’yung magulang ko na need ko humiram ng laptop. Tapos nagdala po yung tito ko [ng laptop],” Juat shared.

“Masaya po kasi first time tapos kakagaling lang din namin sa paggawa ng thesis no’n. Bale, umaga palang nandito na kami sa main. Binigay na namin yung paper namin do’n sa isa naming kaklase para mapasa. Then ayon, pumunta kami sa PUP San Juan. Parang maganda rin kasi nakapunta din sa ibang branch. Parang dadayo ka pa kasi galing ka sa main. Then ayon po. Challenging siya kasi dire-diretso yung competition,” De Lumban added on their journey to the competition.


Introducing “Disletra”

Within the exhilarating two-day overnight competition, De Lumban shares insights into the process of crafting their triumphant ideas.

“Prinopose po muna namin is augmented reality na application where in nag-a-aim matulungan ’yung mga dyslexic, ’yung mga taong may dyslexia na makapagbasa ng mas maigi para mas ma-ease ’yung kanilang struggle when it comes to reading. Then, pagdating na do’n mismo sa grand hackathon [sa PUP San Juan], nag develop po kami ng application na kapag natapat ’yung camera sa isang text or object, dinidisplay niya ’yung text na may appropriate or prefer ng mga dyslexic,” De Lumban explains.

The Disletra App operates by utilizing the camera to capture text or objects placed directly in its view. Once captured, the app promptly displays the corresponding text, thereby facilitating easier recognition and utilization of language sounds.

When questioned about their inspiration behind developing the application, team leader Juat expressed that the insufficient focus on dyslexia in the Philippines served as a driving force for them to conceive a solution that would assist individuals affected by this condition.

“Dyslexia po is a neurodevelopmental condition which is a lifelong condition, pero with appropriate support and intervention po sa mga dyslexic individual, they can develop effective coping strategy to ease their condition. Due to lack of attention po dito sa Philippines, naisip po natin na why not create an app na makaka-help po sa kanila to make their life easier,” Juat and Tabirao expound.

Through this groundbreaking discovery, the trio aspired to create a comprehensive and fully functional Disletra application that would effectively address the needs of individuals grappling with dyslexia, dyslexic Filipino individuals in particular.

“Ang vision lang po talaga namin is matulungan ’yung mga dyslexic na individual para ma-ease din ’yung kanilang pangangailangan. Tapos na fully developed na siya—sana with the help of other companies—sana ma-develop siya nang further para mas maka-help tayo sa community and sa pangangailangan nila,” Tabirao expressed.


A solutions-oriented activity

The 2023 PUP Hackathon is a two-day overnight competition among PUP students from different branches and campuses that embarks its participants on the journey of innovation and entrepreneurship to expand their horizons and strengthen their entrepreneurial mindset. Through this event, the participants had the invaluable opportunity to immerse themselves in a dynamic environment filled with creativity and collaboration.

With the support of Erasmus+, an EU program aimed at bolstering education, training, youth, and sport in Europe, the Sintang Paaralan successfully organized its university-wide Hackathon. This pioneering event marks a significant milestone in the institution’s history, bringing together participants from various disciplines to showcase their talents and foster innovation.

The winning team will be awarded a cash prize of Php 20,000 and an exclusive opportunity to participate in a prestigious European Conference in Germany or Finland. These rewards await the Team Uthackers which serves as a testament to their exceptional innovation.//Coline Ferrer, News, Communication Management Office