An app called 'Fresent' wants to check attendance with a single photo

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) – A group of students from the Ateneo de Manila University conceptualized an app that might score them big points from their professors: an attendance checker. 

It goes by the name "Fresent,"and it hopes to simplify the traditional roll-calling process with the use of a smartphone, its camera, and artificial intelligence. To use, a teacher merely takes a photo of the class, and the app automatically identifies who's "fresent" and who's not.

Using deep learning technology, the app's identification prowess is supposed to grow with every use. With an entire school staff using the app, the creators – known as Team Fresent – believe that the app becomes more efficient in checking attendance through time. Identification data will also supposedly be stored in an online database – a pool of collected information that allows the app to identify students more efficiently. 

The app creators, in a video, said that the process of checking attendance is an "appalling chore" which takes away "valuable time from speaking, from listening, and time for learning." The app, the creators say, will be able to save a class 6 minutes that would've been wasted on a typical roll-call. 

SNAPPY CHECKING. The app creators say that the app will be able to save 6 minutes of time a class usually spends on attendance checking. Screenshot from YouTube/Aemielvin Loremia

SNAPPY CHECKING. The app creators say that the app will be able to save 6 minutes of time a class usually spends on attendance checking.

Screenshot from YouTube/Aemielvin Loremia

The app name appears to be a play on the common phonetic error of some Filipinos in which "p" is pronounced with the "f" sound. After the publication of this article, Andre Tan of Team Fresent has clarified, however, that "Fresent" is actually a portmanteau of the words "Face" and "Present." 

Hackzilla in Manila 2

The app is an entry in the local programming contest "Hackzilla In Manila 2" by freelance job-postings website Freelancer.com. It is one of the 10 finalists. The rest are posted below along with their proposed application. Click on the team name to watch their pitch video:

1. Team Kreate (PUP) – a web and mobile application that uses AI technology to detect the first signs of skin cancer. 

2. Team Quiddity (UP Los Baños) - an all-in-one food ordering app that can be commanded via chat

3. Team Xenon SA (UST) - an AI shopping assistant

4. Team SemiColon (STI) - a mobile app AI that aids during and after disaster

5. Team UP Center for Student Innovations (UP Diliman) - AI that uses data to simulate human reason and intellect to answer "what's next?" as a step up to apps that simply provide basic details (what, when, where, who)

6. Team ONR (UP Los Banos) - an app that helps plan medicine distribution to hospitals in the country using data about the types of diseases prevalent in a region

7. Team QTP2 (UP Diliman) - an app that interprets sign language

8. Team Five Marketeers (UP Los Baños) - a marketing app that tracks social media to track users' interests and provide available promos

9. Team JDAP (UP Los Baños) - a smart database for fast access to specific queries

AI is the theme for this year's Hackzilla in Manila, the second of its kind. Entries come from university students enrolled in CHED-accredited schools. The students formed teams of up to 5 members and pitched their ideas through a two-minute online video. Entries were accepted until February 28, 2017, which were narrowed down to 10 selections by senior engineers and staff from Freelancer.com. A P100,000-prize pool is at stake for the 10 finalists. 

Winners were selected on Saturday, April 1, to be judged by representatives from DOST-DICT, Freelancer.com, and Developers Connect Philippines, a non-profit promoting Filipino talents in information technology. 

Team Kreate won first place with an app that's different from their original pitch. Instead of an app that detects skin cancer, they pitched an app that detects sick coconut trees. For their efforts, they received P50,000. Team Quiddity placed 2nd (P30,000) while Team Fresent finished 3rd (P20,000). 

To know more, visit www.hackzilla.io. – Rappler.com

Gelo Gonzales

Gelo Gonzales is Rappler’s technology editor. He covers consumer electronics, social media, emerging tech, and video games.

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