Water-saving device clinches first prize for Robotics
February 16, 2018
A promising, prize-winning electronic device designed to save water has been conceived, designed, programmed and produced in Israel. A search for the inventors' boardroom and laboratory leads not to a hi-tech start-up, but to a classroom in Boys Town Jerusalem where the champion team of eight 7th and 8th graders conceptualized and created the prototype from scratch. The apparatus, which clinched First Prize in the Jerusalem Regional FLL-Israel Robotics Competition, could now qualify for a patent.
"We searched for a technological solution to ease the water shortage," explains team member Yonatan Ben Hamo, 14. "Eventually we focused on saving water often wasted in showers at fitness centers and pools. The average shower uses 9 gallons of water, so we devised a 'smart card' to use for entry to the gym or pool and then to swipe at the shower. Every 3 gallons of water used, the system activates blinking LED lights. At the 9-gallon mark, a buzzer is sounded. Water used beyond this point is automatically charged to the bather's credit card."
The project is the brainchild of Boys Town Jerusalem's extra-curricular robotics club. There, dozens of young robotics enthusiasts are guided by two coaches, three 12th grade mentors, and students at BTJ's College of Applied Engineering. The year's highlight, the FLL-Israel (FIRST Lego League) tournament, challenges students to build, program and operate a robot, as well as to develop a technological solution for a "real-world" problem (this year involving hydro dynamics). After weeks of round-the-clock efforts, the BTJ team scored a blue ribbon for their project's "Innovative Solution," plus a Mechanical Design trophy for their robot.
The Water-Saving Shower project will now compete in the national FLL-Israel finals, and the school is exploring funding resources for a possible patent application. Robotics coach Avi Hadad is convinced that the young designers have won an even greater prize. "The boys don't yet realize that their work process, from analyzing market needs to building a prototype, is identical to that of hi-tech start-up teams. They're making ready to transform the future."
Boys Town Jerusalem is one of Israel's premier institutions for educating the country's next generation of leaders in the fields of technology, commerce, education, the military and public service. Since its founding in 1948, BTJ has pursued its mission of turning young boys from limited backgrounds into young men with limitless futures. From Junior High through the college level, the three part curriculum at Boys Town -academic, technological and Torah - is designed to turn otherwise disadvantaged Israeli youth into productive citizens of tomorrow. Boys Town's 18-acre campus is a home away from home for its more than 900 students. More than 7,000 graduates hold key positions throughout Israeli society. For more information, please visit our website at boystownjerusalem.org.