Fourth Engineering Society Conference

Hundreds of students, professionals from academia and representatives of large high-tech companies in Israel attended the “Engineering Society” conference that focused on connecting groundbreaking technological solutions to social needs

The fourth Engineering Society conference took place at the SCE – Shamoon Academic College of Engineering in Be’er Sheva. The conference was attended by engineering students, professionals from academia, CEOs and representatives of technological companies and startups from all over the country. The aim of the conference was to create a discourse in the engineering world that does not take place anywhere else – a discourse that connects between engineering ability and technological developments on the one hand and the needs of society and humanity in general on the other.

Among those from industry and academia who participated in the conference was Ziv Shilon, born in Be’er Sheva and currently COO at the Israeli startup 6DEGREES, a company that develops wearable technology that enable people with upper limb deficiency to use technological devices for daily digital life. Shilon told the conference participants about his injury during his military service in Gaza, and about the relationship between the entrepreneurship world and setting difficult-to-achieve goals. Another participant was Adi Zamir, founder and CEO of Pink of View, who told the participants of her journey up until she became an entrepreneur. Mobileye, Orcam and others were also partners to the conference.

The Engineering Society badge was awarded for the first time at the conference. It was awarded to DEGREES 6 for advancing social-technological entrepreneurship in Israel and for using technology as a tool to make the world a better place.

During the conference dozens of fourth year students presented their final projects that emerged from a social perspective. The aim of the projects was to find solutions for persons with various social needs, to change ways of life and to advance social change processes. The projects addressed issues of special needs, physical disabilities, connecting population sectors in Israel and solutions to social problems.

For example, Aviv Dadush and Taras Shapirko, mechanical engineering students, presented a product relating to the sirens and rocket attacks from Gaza. The two students, with the help of their advisors Dr. Yoav Biton and Dr. Zuk Turbovich, developed a system for easily locking the door of the residential secure space (mamad). After the rounds of fighting in southern Israel, and after a study they conducted on the subject, they found that elderly people, children and persons with special needs have difficulty closing the mamad door that weighs 30 kg. The system they developed facilitates the process and also locks the door with a simple movement of the door handle.

At the conference, the three teams that advanced to the final stage of the “Engineering Saves Lives on the Road” hackathon that took place at the college campus in Ashdod presented their projects. The hackathon was conducted in cooperation with Mobileye in the aim of finding innovative and creative solutions to reduce road accidents. Conference attendants were asked to rank the teams, and awarded the first prize and a sum of NIS 10,000 to the Safetify group that was comprised of six students from the Ashdod campus. The group developed a warning system for cyclists on intercity roads, alerting them of a danger from behind them, such as a car getting off the road on to the shoulder of the road. The system, similar to the Mobileye system for cars, alerts the cyclist when a car behind him or her drives off the road and on to the sides of the road.

Moshe Karouchi, Dean of Students and the initiator of the conference, recounted: “We have been working on the connection between engineering and society for more than five years. When we started out quite a few eyebrows were raised when we proposed the topic of social entrepreneurship. However, today we see a change in thinking, and there appear to be more and more partners to this understanding that there is no better connection to making the world a better place, because this is the role of technology. The Engineering Society conference is an excellent framework for a shared discourse that will help create new knowledge and a smart reality that affords a more in-depth view of technology. I believe that the entrepreneurs who choose to be partners to this discourse will find themselves at the heart of the social endeavor and the engineering undertaking that embodies the ability to make our world a better place”.