Filipino experts develop quake-proof desks for kindergarten students

Aileen Cerrudo
Quake-proof desks called Life-Saving Automated Mesa (LAMESA) | Courtesy: DOST

Filipino experts have developed quake-proof desks for kindergarten students. It also serves as an earthquake warning system.

According to the released statement of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST), a group of researchers from the Philippine Normal University (PNU), De La Salle University, and Technological University of the Philippines, developed a high impact-proof automated study desk for preschool children.

They called it LAMESA or Life-Saving Automated Mesa to Endure Seismic Activity.

“LAMESA combines technology with capacity building in terms of knowledge and infrastructure to best address such probable disaster, particularly in educational institutions,” their statement reads.

The LAMESA desk measures 1.22 m in length, 0.69 m in width and 3.327 cm in tabletop thickness. It’s height is 0.57 m so that preschoolers can easily hide under the desk. Its table top is also made of steel and is coated with epoxy paint for durability.

There is also a storage bin with a sliding door for keeping lighting devices, food and water supplies for up to nine kindergarteners.

“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 statement further reads.

PNU’s Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales, research team leader, said “[On] average, a strong earthquake that may cause debris lasts about 30 to 40 seconds. This means that LAMESA’s four-second response time provides ample time to shield children from debris during an earthquake.”

The researchers are continuing to make improvements to enhance LAMESA’s prototype design.

“We are [also] contemplating on using fiberglass instead. We also thought of using a wall sensor to manage a set of desks,” Dr. Morales adds.—Aileen Cerrudo

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