Saturday, June 24, 2023

UP marine, computer scientists invent semi-automated fish monitoring device

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

As seen above, a diver carefully installs a stereo camera for FishDrop, a semi-automated fish census technology developed by UP scientists. (Photo credit: Prospero Naval, Jr., and Laura T. David)

Monitoring the health of marine environments is a laborious activity, but is essential for evaluating the success of reef protection and rehabilitation initiatives. A fish census commonly involves divers swimming along a transect line, usually marked by a plastic cord, and visually counting and identifying the fish species that they encounter. This painstaking process requires trained experts and highly knowledgeable divers to accurately record data on species, size, and abundance.

In 2016, Dr. Laura David of the University of the Philippines - Diliman College of Science Marine Science Institute (UPD-CS MSI), together with co-author machine intelligence expert Prof. Prospero C. Naval, Jr. of the UP Department of Computer Science (UPD-DCS) presented a conference paper entitled, “FishDrop: Estimation of Reef Fish Population Density and Biomass using Stereo Cameras” which proposed a semi-automated method that combines a stereo camera rig and image recognition software to allow for more efficient and accurate reef fish census.

The proposed technology would enable divers with minimal training to obtain high-quality population and species distribution measurements using the specially developed stereo camera rig and fish video analyzer software.

FishDrop promises to help improve the Philippines’ reef resilience and biodiversity restoration efforts, and contribute towards the overall health of the country’s reef ecosystems.

A sample of what FishDrop sees and how it recognizes and logs fish during a census. (Photo credit: Prospero Naval, Jr., and Laura T. David)

This coming Monday, June 26, Dr. David is set to take the iStories stage to expound on ‘FishDrop’ and share their team’s journey not just in developing the technology, but also in successfully translating this groundbreaking innovation into a patent.

“Perseverance is necessary to get the concept and the product translated into a patent and commercial venture. It has not been an easy road,” says Dr. David. Like any other intellectual property and patent applications, the journey for FishDrop has been tedious, nevertheless rewarding. Dr. David hopes that through her sharing, she may inspire others to persevere with their own scientific endeavors despite the trudging process.


iStories is a series of innovation-themed talks, storytelling, and activities featuring local and international scientists. The initiative aims to ignite the creativity and inventiveness of young scientists not just from UPD-CS but from other institutes inside and outside UP.

Its fourth session is scheduled for June 26, 2023, 3:00 pm at the MSI Audio Visual Room and will also be live via Zoom. To join, you may register through this link

The iStories series takes place at 3:00 pm on the last Monday of every month. Subscription to individual sessions or the entire iStories webinar series is also possible through the same registration form.


Naval, P. C., & David, L. T. (2016). FishDrop: Estimation of reef fish population density and biomass using stereo cameras. In 2016 Techno-Ocean (Techno-Ocean). DOI: 10.1109/Techno-Ocean.2016.7890710.

Friday, June 23, 2023

Run for physical fitness, mental health and family fun at Vermosa’s Green Run on June 25

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The Green Run at Vermosa 2023 is set to take off on Sunday, June 25 – almost a year to the date of the first Green Run in July 2022. Last year’s Green Run invited everyone to lace up and enjoy the outdoors for physical and mental health after being cooped up at home due to the pandemic.

This year’s Green Run invites everyone to be “leaner and greener” as both serious and fun runners build on their fitness gains. Like last year, the Run continues to support the Haribon Foundation and focuses on how everyone can do their share to save the environment.

There are different levels in the Green Run that will appeal to runners of different fitness levels: a 3K run for beginners, 5K for intermediate runners, 10K for serious runners, and a half-marathon 21K level for elite runners and athletes in training. This year, a fun and cute 1K Dog Run has been added to the event, giving pets and their owners a great way to bond and get fit together. Celebrity runners are also expected to participate.

What makes the Vermosa Green Run special is that participants and guests get to enjoy Vermosa’s greenery, open skies and clean atmosphere while pursuing their passion.

“The abundance of wide-open spaces, lush greenery, flat and rolling terrain and well-constructed walkways at Vermosa offer both challenges and rewards for runners,” said Vermosa Project Development Manager Moses John Aragones.

“There is also scientific evidence that running outdoors is very beneficial. Doctors say it lessens feelings of isolation, anxiety and stress because running outside is a happy feeling. Powerful hormones that boost mood and combat depression are released especially when you run outdoors. Being out in nature is very calming, and at Vermosa you are surrounded by nature everywhere you go,” added Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub General Manager Lani Tan, who is a sports and fitness enthusiast herself.

Organized by Pinoy Fitness, The Green Run will give proceeds of the Run to Haribon Foundation’s Adopt-a-Seedling Program. Runners and guests get a chance to protect the environment by recycling their plastic bottles at the Sun Life ReCycle PH machine on-site where every bottle donated can earn participants points which can be exchanged for prizes.

Green Run’s exclusive non-life insurance partner, FPG Insurance, will also provide all race participants with a 1-month Personal Accident (PA) insurance coverage, ensuring their safety and peace of mind throughout the event.

Ms. Tan said Vermosa Estates plans to hold the Green Run every year because of Vermosa’s commitment to actively promote sport and an active, healthy lifestyle.

"Our Ayala Vermosa Sports Hub, a state-of-the-art professionally–managed sports facility that has a FINA-standard Olympic size pool, a warm-up pool, an IAAF-standard 400m track oval, a football pitch, athletes’ lounge and a Sante Fitness Lab, all speak about our commitment to fitness, health and overall wellness as well as the development of Philippine sports,” Tan said.

Milo Philippines, SunLife, JGO Mart, DoggoFlask, Alaxan, Seda Hotel Nuvali, Merrell, Fitbar, Runnr, Toby’s Sports, Pocari Sweat and Immuntab, Oishi. O Wow, Healthway Qualimed Hospital Santa Rosa, SS Mnl Pet Store also support The Green Run this year.

Vermosa promotes fitness and fun with fur babies at the Green Run

Wazzup Pilipinas!?

The Green Run, Vermosa Estate’s signature run to promote physical and mental fitness by running in the great outdoors, is back and there’s a special treat for dog owners and pet parents this year.

Along with the 25K, 10K, 5K and 3K distance categories, Green Run 2023 has a special 1K race for those who want to bring their doggos along on an adventure. Called The Dog Run, this fun race is open for dog owners who want to hit the lush green trails of Vermosa with their dogs.

Just like humans, dogs need exercise for their health and happiness. Walking or running together is not just fun, it is a rewarding experience, health-wise, for both fur parents and fur babies.

Both dogs and humans will enjoy the beautiful routes at Vermosa that wind through wide open spaces and abundant greenery, made more runner-friendly by wide pedestrian walkways, bicycle and jogging lanes and enhanced greenways. But before they embark on their joint fun and fitness journey, here are a few reminders for dog parents to ensure their dog buddies get the best experience from the Dog Run.

1. Make sure your dog is wearing a back-clip harness instead of a collar. Any pressure on his/her throat while running is potentially dangerous.

2. Warm up before the Run. Do a few minutes of walking or slow jogging before you position yourselves at the starting line. Stretch your dog by letting him/her lie down and stand up several times. Give him or her time to sniff around and take time to poo or pee. Make sure you have waste bags ready.

3. Feel the surface for at least 10 seconds. If the pavement’s too hot for your hand or bare feet, it will be the same for your dog. Wet your dog’s under pad for some protection before you take off. Or use canine booties to protect them from the heat. Booties will also provide protection against any sharp objects on the trail.

4. Take water breaks. If your dog is panting hard, he/she probably needs water. Make sure you have a container that your dog can drink from – like a collapsible bowl or a bottle with a spout for dogs. Making sure your dog is well hydrated – especially in really hot weather – will protect him/her from sun stroke. Just don't let your dog gulp too much water during or after exercise.

5. Don’t give treats right after the run. Give your dog time to recover from all the panting and sweating. Hold off on treats until both of you have calmed down a bit. Don’t give ice water right away. The extreme temperature change may cause vomiting. But praise for your running buddy, petting, a hug and lots of attention will be much appreciated and can be given anytime.

Have fun!
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