March 2023

Just one month before a major earthquake hit Turkey, Afeka honor students designed relevant technology solutions that could have saved lives.

As part of Afeka's SmartUp honors program, students were presented with a challenge by Asgard Systems CEO Rotem Mey-Tal in January 2023. The challenge was to develop engineering specifications for search-and-rescue teams to handle mass-casualty incidents. Not long after the challenge was presented, the devastating February 2023 earthquake unexpectedly hit Turkey. The coincidental timing emphasized the importance of being prepared to respond efficiently and effectively to such catastrophic mass casualty incidents, and the crucial role of engineers in developing technology solutions that assist in saving lives.

The student teams addressed various engineering and logistic aspects of deploying rescue personnel safely and rapidly. This included solutions for sustaining open channels of communication; obtaining and cross-referencing building plans; using robots to locate survivors and extract them from ruble cautiously and swiftly; providing on-location first-aid; and transporting the wounded to medical centers.

The Afeka teams then presented their innovative solutions to a panel of judges, who were impressed by the significant potential of the proposed systems to save lives during mass casualty events.

This was just one example of how Afeka’s SmartUp program operates by presenting students with weekly tasks that align with the college curriculum, while exposing them to industry professionals and real-life challenges.


Asgard CEO Rotem Mey-Tal:

"Minds that think beyond familiar patterns, like the minds of Afeka’s SmartUp students, are what gives Israel the engineering edge it needs in finding groundbreaking technological solutions for the very real threat of an Israeli earthquake, and the engineering response required to deal with the resulting damage."

SmartUp Program director Dr. Efrat Perel:

“Afeka College strives to educate excellent engineers with the knowledge, skills, abilities and values needed to become leading industry changemakers. SmartUp provides students with the tools to demonstrate their abilities in a supportive environment while encouraging creativity, social engagement and self-learning, alongside academic excellence.

The timing of the challenge was unplanned, but reflects how developing innovative engineering requires a combination of creative thinking and in-depth knowledge.”

Mechanical Engineering student Tal Cohen:

“My team, which was made up of students from all Afeka engineering disciplines, designed a drone app that scans buildings and helps rescue personnel to map the area. Working in a multidisciplinary team and having to conduct in-depth research brought us industry-level results”.