Scientist introduces ‘snake robot’ to students
Rapt Abrams students watch as Alon Wolf demonstrates the workings of the robotic snake he developed to aid in search and rescue efforts.
Photos courtesy American Technion Society
February 10, 2014
Technion professor Dr. Alon Wolf brought a rather slithery high-tech guest with him when he visited Abrams Hebrew Academy in Yardley, Pa., on Jan. 10.
He demonstrated the myriad abilities the “Snake Robot” can deploy when it is used to assist in search and rescue missions, showing the students how the reptilian android moves, changes direction, and even splits apart with the touch of a remote control device.
The visit by Wolf, founding director of the Biorobotics and Biomechanics Laboratory at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, celebrated the launch of a new program at Abrams. The day school’s science coordinator, Amy Hamacher, described the initiative: “Professors at Technion have developed a curriculum for Abrams Hebrew Academy to encourage STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) studies.” Since last January, they have been collaborating on a program to help overcome what they call “the critical shortage of individuals pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics.”
“Abrams is proud,” said the school’s director of development & communications, Dale Sattin, “to be the only U.S. school to offer a science curriculum developed in collaboration with this prestigious institution.”
“Today’s demonstration from Prof. Wolf,” said Hamacher, “gave students a glimpse of what they can accomplish by studying math and science.”
Examples of such accomplishments were presented via videos that showed other technological advances developed at Technion’s Robotics Laboratory, including devices that aid in heart, knee, and back surgery; cancer treatments; physical therapy; and movement control.
The students also saw pictures taken during President Barack Obama’s stop at the Technion labs during his visit to Israel last March. Wolf was among the scientists who demonstrated for the president an array of pioneering projects — including the “snake robot” — being developed by researchers at Technion and other Israeli institutions.
Sam Nulman, an Abrams sixth-grader, said, “The thing I thought was so interesting is how our president [is] interested in Technion and going there to see new inventions.”
Jenna Glickstein, also a sixth-grader, said she thought Wolf’s presentation was “very cool. I have never seen anything so advanced up close like that.”
In an interview with NJJN, Wolf said his advice to students is: “They should look around. Everything is interesting. Ask questions. Explore what you see. Be creative. Don’t be afraid to try and fail. Failure is part of success. Every failure will build you. Be active. And think.”