By Sharon Wisch-Ray
Students from Texas Torah Institute’s Principles of Engineering class won the grand prize at the 2018 CIJE West Region Young Engineers Conference in Santa Monica earlier this month. Members of the winning team are sophomore Noah Kimmel, sophomore Yoseph Styller and senior Meir Simcha Stolov. Their project “Save the Baby” impressed judges with its innovative approach to protecting infants and children from hot-car death. More than 800 children have died in hot cars over the last 10 years. The trio designed a car seat that not only has sensors that detect car temperature and the presence of a child in the car seat, but also sounds an alarm and rolls down the car window, when the temperature in the car exceeds a predetermined threshold.
Most devices in the past have centered around phone apps and warning sirens, explained TTI science teacher Howard Denemark. This device provides immediate relief and ventilation by rolling down a window in addition to warnings. As grand-prize winners, Kimmel, Styller and Stolov will travel with Denemark to Israel next spring. They will spend a week at the Weizmann Institute of Science and participate in its safe-cracking conference.
TTI sent two other projects to the competition. “Hot and Muggy,” designed by junior Yaakov Berman and sophomores Yossi Lestz and Ephraim Glazer, aims to protect children from being burned by hot liquids. The hot beverage cup measures the temperature of the liquid inside and locks the lid so a young child can’t burn themselves with a hot liquid. The lid cannot be removed until the temperature goes down.
The “Spider Bot,” designed by junior Daniel Goldfeder, sophomore Elad Levy and junior Daveed Tucker, is designed to carry just about any type of sensor — humidity, temperature, a camera — up a vertical surface. It gets to places where drones and other devices can’t. The project scored second in a subcategory called engineering and accomplishment.
Denemark, who accompanied one member of each team to Santa Monica, said the TTI students distinguished themselves from their competitors. Berman shone in his presentation of “Hot and Muggy” while Styller was spot on in his presentation of “Save the Baby.” Following the competition, Denemark took the students to the California Science Center, where they saw the space shuttle, as well as on a walk on Hollywood Boulevard.
Styller said he was excited to go to California and compete against other Jewish schools from Seattle, San Diego and Los Angeles, among others. “This was a project I was really excited about. I went for the experience to see what it’s like to be around so many big engineers and see what it’s like,” Styller said.
Denemark has witnessed a remarkable transformation in this first installment of the Principles of Engineering elective. “This class is dedicated to the idea that in just two semesters, you can teach students the basics of computer programming, the physics of electric circuits, three-dimensional design and project management.” Ultimately, they must make a working prototype.
Denemark, who teaches all the sciences at TTI, is proud of his nine engineering students.
“I push them fairly hard and they rise to the challenge,” he said.
The Principles of Engineering class draws its curriculum from the Center for Initiative in Jewish Education (CIJE). The program is made possible through a grant from the Jewish Federation of Greater Dallas. In addition to TTI, Ann and Nate Levine Academy, Mesorah High School for Girls, Torah Day School and Yavneh Academy are participating in CIJE’s STEM programming.