New BTJ Invention Can Save Pedestrian Lives


Boys Town Jerusalem has been named first place winner among the 110 schools competing in the Jerusalem Fair for Scientific Research and Technological Solutions.

Ninth-grade team members Uriel Dahan, Michael Rafaelov and Ariel Cohen clinched the contest by inventing a “safe crosswalk” device to protect pedestrians at intersections. Coincidentally, the subject is very close to the hearts of Michael and Ariel: each of their mothers was once hit by a car while crossing the street.

This solution is inexpensive, energy efficient, and does not yet exist on the market

We’re very conscious of passenger injuries at crosswalks,” Michael said. “We ourselves are always careful, but many drivers are not.” The team focused their efforts on finding a solution for neighborhood crosswalks where no automated traffic lights exist.

Working during and after school for three months under the tutelage of instructors Yosef Dahan and Yishai Gabai, the team developed a prototype consisting of a platform placed at the crosswalk which contains a pressure sensor. When a pedestrian steps on the platform, the sensor activates a special flashing signal light to alert drivers to slow down. The device only goes into action when a pedestrian reaches the intersection.

“This solution is inexpensive, energy efficient, and does not yet exist on the market,” Uriel noted.

As first prize winners in the regional Jerusalem Fair, the Boys Town Jerusalem team will now advance to compete against the top 50 teams at the upcoming National Fair for Scientific Research and Technological Solutions. The prestigious competition is sponsored by the Israeli Ministry of Education.

If our project can make drivers slow down as pedestrians cross the street, we know that lives will be saved,” Ariel said. “That’s the greatest prize of all.”

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