This is the tenth case study from SUEUAA (Strengthening Urban Engagement in Universities in Asia and Africa), written by Zeny Reyes from Philippines Normal University. SUEUAA is interested in how Universities in the Global South can contribute to solving geographical, economic, and social issues in their cities.

The threat of the “BIG ONE” (a cataclysmic event that may reach up to magnitude 8.5) prompted a Philippine Normal University (PNU) research team to forge collaboration with Technological University of the Philippines and De La Salle University engineers to develop a product to ensure the safety of the most vulnerable in schools—the Kindergarten pupils. 

This product, known as LAMESA (Life-Saving Automated Mesa to Endure Seismic Activity), is a remarkable contribution of universities in Manila to develop resilient communities with focus on young children and their families. When widely utilized, this product will help reduce victims of earthquake especially for countries that are located in the “Pacific Ring of Fire” like the Philippines. 

According to Dr. Morales, et al.:  

“LAMESA is equipped with an accelerometer, a device that senses motion, which feeds seismic measurements to a Wi-Fi-enabled microcontroller. This microcontroller then simultaneously triggers the actuator which causes the table top to fold 16 degrees upward.”

“The table top of LAMESA desk is made of steel and coated with epoxy paint for durability so that preschoolers can easily hide under the desk”.

LAMESA landed in an article entitled, ‘Coupling School Risk Reduction Strategies with LAMESA (Life-Saving Automated “Mesa” to Endure Seismic Activity) for Kindergarten,’ in the March 2019 issue of an ISI-indexed journal (Philippine Journal of Science [PJS]). The Lead and Corresponding author, Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales (one among the PNU research team members), emphasized that LAMESA instills both active (using LAMESA as a teaching and survival tool) and passive (earthquake preparation in the curriculum or lesson) disaster preparedness.

Aiming at wide (national and international) dissemination of the benefit of the product due to the recent occurrences of earth shakes all over the country, news on the PJS article was first published in the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) website (Read more:http://www.dost.gov.ph/knowledge-resources/news/62-2019-news/1628-local-experts-develop-quake-proof-desks-for-preschoolers-2019-04-25.html).

Other journalists found the information from the original news article very timely due to the occurrence of earthquakes all over the Pacific Ring of Fire and featured LAMESA in other news articles as well:

 

Kudos to the Research Team members and their universities!