Afeka’s Honors Students Seek Lifesaving Solutions for Earthquake Damage

With unusual timing, as part of an encounters course with Afeka alumni working in the industry (in collaboration with Afeka’s alumni relations, led by Dganit Citrin Bar-On), students from Afeka’s SmartUp honors program met with CEO of Asgard Systems, Mr. Rotem Mey-Tal.

Mr. Mey-Tal presented the students with a challenge: To design and draft a professional engineering spec for search-and-rescue teams to handle mass-casualty disasters like the one that recently hit Turkey and Syria.

Seizing the challenge, the students addressed the engineering and logistical aspects of deploying rescue personnel in the field, with an emphasis on rescuer safety and reaching casualties carefully but rapidly.

Additional aspects included opening stable, continuous communications channels throughout the personnel’s presence in the field; obtaining plans for collapsed buildings and cross-referencing them with conditions on the ground; using scouting robots to identify and locate survivors under rubble; careful, rapid, and effective extraction of casualties from the rubble; providing first-aid in the field; transport to emergency medical centers; and more.

Rotem Mey-Tal, CEO of Asgard: “Minds that think beyond familiar patterns, like the minds of Afeka’s SmartUp students, are what gives Israel the engineering edge it needs – to find the groundbreaking technological solutions for the very real threat of an Israeli earthquake, and the engineering response required for dealing with that threat’s damages.”

Dr. Efrat Perel, director of the SmartUp program: “Afeka College strives to educate excellent engineers with the knowledge, skills, proficiencies, and values to become leading industry changemakers. SmartUp students are given the unique tools to express their innate engineering abilities, in a supportive environment that encourages their creativity, broad social engagement, and self-learning, while maintaining academic excellence. Students are given the opportunity to learn differently, outside the box, and to find creative engineering solutions while implementing them on their own.

The timing of the challenge presented to the students was unplanned, but it reflects the spirit of the challenges that face superb engineers everywhere – and the challenges that face SmartUp students: challenges of human and engineering complexity that require creative thinking along with in-depth knowledge.”

Tal Cohen, third-year mechanical engineering student who took part in the challenge:

“Last year, as part of SmartUp, we worked on the Dream Garden project for children with cancer – a meaningful, emotional project that allowed us to express creativity as well as knowledge, all in our own time. This year we were given a completely different mission, something predetermined for us: earthquakes, in a given timeframe, with the goal of savings lives.

My team, which included students from all Afeka engineering disciplines, devised a drone app that scans buildings and helps rescue personnel to map the area in order to work with maximum safety and save as many lives – both casualties and rescuers – as possible.

Working in a multidisciplinary team and having to conduct in-depth research brought us industry-level results”.

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