A Real Lifesaver

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A team of four ninth‐graders from Boys Town Jerusalem has been awarded first place in the fourth annual “Jerusalem Fair for Scientific Research and Technological Solutions” held within the framework of Jerusalem Education Week. The Boys Town champs will now represent Jerusalem in the upcoming national Israeli competition.

According to Chana Cohen, Supervisor of Science and Technology Instruction for the Jerusalem District, the Boys Town team led by instructor Yosef Katzav came in first out of 45 high school teams. The panel of judges included experts from the Weitzman Institute, the Hebrew University, Broadcom Technology Israel Ltd., and other prestigious institutions.

The BTJ winning project is an innovative “life signal transmitter” in the form of a small, inexpensive ID bracelet that enables first responders to quickly pinpoint the exact location of missing persons. Team member Yehudah Naimark, 15, explained that the device utilizes radio frequency identification (RFID) technology to emit a lifesaving signal. “In a situation like the recent earthquake in Nepal, this apparatus could have saved countless victims. But on an everyday basis, there are over 5000 cases annually of missing persons in Israel alone, of whom some are never found. Instead of relying on trial and error, rescuers can now have the prototype for a device that can beat the dangerous race against time to locate the missing.”

Teammates Elazar Pankratov, Yehudah Naimark, Orel Ofner and Yair Dviri had a head start of their own on the winning invention. The project was based on a similar bracelet that was developed for the school’s 2014 Robotics Team entry into the FLL‐Israel (“FIRST Lego League”) Robotics Competition. Yehudah and Elazar, who were members of that team, explained that for this Science and Technology competition, they broadened the scope of the original device built to rescue earthquake victims trapped in the rubble. “We now adapted the bracelet to serve as a vital means of locating and identifying a wide range of people in distress, while protecting the right of individual privacy.”

For Elazar and Yehudah, the latest trophy will join those that they have chalked up from last year’s FLL meet, as well as two important wins in the 2015 regional and national FLL Robotics competitions. But to achieve this new prize, the team was happy to get a little help from some friends: a number of students in Boys Town’s College of Applied Engineering (CAE) voluntarily served as mentors for the ninth graders. Together they took advantage of the state‐of‐the‐art laboratories in the Judge David B. and Irma R. Follender Robotics Center to create the prize‐winning, lifesaving invention.

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