A group of IT students from the Technological Institute of the Philippines (T.I.P.) Manila bagged second prize from the Accessibility and Empowerment Prize Track Category of HooHacks Hackathon 2021, an international competition organized by the University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Virginia, USA.
Second-year Bachelor of Science in Information Technology (BSIT) students Manuel James Morillo, Melchizedek Recalde, Ciandra Pancho, and James Bonnel Reyes with the guidance of their coach Jenelyn Aranas bested other teams from across the world with their sign language translator application called SignTech, an app designed to make communication easier and possible between deaf and mute people and people who can speak.
The SignTech app is divided into four parts: the Learn Section which contains a number of Youtube video tutorials and articles on sign language; the Maps which shows deaf-and-mute-friendly establishments nearby; the Sign Language Translation which users can use to translate sign language by video recording it; and last is the Speech-to-Text section which translates spoken words into text for a mute and deaf person to read. These components of the app make it accessible for both speaking and mute-deaf users.
The four T.I.P. participants understand the importance of communication in everyday life and are keenly aware that not all people can communicate as easily as others, particularly deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals. With the desire to assist people with this specific disability, the group decided to compete in the Accessibility and Empowerment track where they showcased SignTech. The group believes the app shall not just benefit people with disabilities, it shall also help everyone else understand sign language, bridging the communication gap between deaf-and-mute individuals and non-disabled people.
T.I.P. students have been winning and joining competitions for many years now and each achievement shows how successful the institution is in honing the knowledge and skills the students need in their chosen field of expertise. The institution supports and encourages T.I.P.ians who want to showcase their skills in their field of study by participating and competing in local and international competitions; believing each experience is essential to their growth as students and as professionals.
Dr. Jonathan Caballero, Dean, College of Information Technology Education (CITE) and concurrent program chair, Computer Science, noted, “Winning in the hackathon proves that T.I.P. students are well prepared to solve real-life complex computing problems using innovative techniques and tools as well as showcasing the problem-solving skills in designing the solution learned from T.I.P.’s computing program.”
For more information on T.I.P., please visit tip.edu.ph or T.I.P.’s official social media accounts through @TIP1962official for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.