SORSOGON CITY, Philippines—Pablo D. Ayo Sr., who at 85 has survived two major strokes, is still inventing and designing devices that perform functions ordinary people would think impossible. One of these is a gadget that makes burnt out fluorescent bulbs light.
Ayo, who earned his doctorate in astrophysics at Princeton University in New Jersey and is a former student of world-renowned genius-scientist Albert Einstein in 1949, still possesses the scientific creativity to invent a gadget called the EAD or electro activator device, which virtually makes an electric bulb last even with its filament broken.
Half the size of the ballast of a fluorescent bulb, the EAD increases the voltage, allowing it to jump from end to end of the broken filament and make an unbroken bulb light again.
A patent holder, Ayo has invented several gadgets, including prototypes of a rocket, voice-activated phonograph, household mini hydro generators, solar panel, tidal electric generators and photon-run car.
He was born to a poor family from the former town of Bacon, Sorsogon (now a district of Sorsogon City).
His parents died when he was young so he supported himself to school until he earned a scholarship to study at Princeton.
He said he had read articles on electronics and automotive when he was a teenager and learned by himself the principles and laws that govern mechanical and electronic devices.
Ayo went to Manila when he was a teenager and landed a job in an engineering company at Port Area. This allowed him to continue his college education at Arellano University where he graduated with a Bachelor of Science degree, major in Physics.
While studying, he remembered that he had befriended a man who shared his interest in electronics and automotive. “In tandem, we won in a competition of flying miniature airplanes that we assembled. This became our ticket to study in the United States, which brought me to Princeton University in 1945,” Ayo said.
After he finished his doctorate, Ayo came home but went back to the United States to serve as a consultant of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration, the central civilian agency for direction of the US space exploration program established in 1958.
By late 1960s, he was back again in Sorsogon, married Raquel Diokino, a school teacher, and established his own business called Prama Electronic Center that provided electronic services and sold electronic and scientific gadgets and equipment.
Mini hydro plant
Ayo developed the first mini hydro plant in Bacon that produced 20 kilowatts of electricity.
He developed a rocket with a remote control that traveled 20 miles per hour.
Lawrence, the second eldest among Ayo’s five children, said he was amazed at how his father created in 1972 a phonograph that played music on voice command using the jukebox mechanism.
“That was before the information technology. What fascinated me was not only how he developed that phonograph but also how it responded when you say ‘Please,’” said Lawrence, a civil and electronic engineer.
Ayo also developed a prototype car that runs on photon, an elementary particle that is the quantum of the electromagnetic field and basic unit of light.
The detailed design of the photon-run car shows a battery-like gadget that traps photons triggered by solar energy and produces electric power.
Ayo said a Japanese investor got interested with his invention but the deal did not push through because the latter would only pay him if he would go to Japan.
In 1982, Ayo developed his tidal electric generator but this did not push through on the issue of sharing even as he said the project could have been profitable using clean energy source from tidal water on Kalintaan Island in Matnog.
The $5-billion project can produce one gigawatt (GW) of electricity with 10 turbines producing 100 megawatts. It surpasses the combined power production of the Bacman geothermal plant at 150 MW and the Tiwi geothermal plant at 300 MW, according to Lawrence, who works as electronic engineer at the Bacman plant.
He said 1,000 MW is equivalent to 1 GW or one billion watts of electricity.
Ayo said his project could have made the country an exporter of electric power if it was implemented and replicated in other areas.
By Juan Escandor Jr.
Philippine Daily Inquirer