March 23, 2013 Technion Palestinian Student Meets President Obama

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Palestinian Technion student to Obama: "We need to keep motivating youngsters to study, and to be in a position to effect change that might one day change the world.
Palestinian Technion student to Obama: “We need to keep motivating youngsters to study, and to be in a position to effect change that might one day change the world.”

Technion M.Sc. student Saeed Kharouf has been a bright light in the visit of US President Barack Obama to Israel this month. There is no secret around the impressive science and technology arising from Technion ingenuity – resulting in three Nobel Prizes and life-saving innovations such as the Iron Dome that protects cities from missile attack; the ReWalk, that enables paraplegics to walk, climb stairs and even drive; or the revolutionary drug Azilect (TM) that has brought relief to millions of sufferers of Parkinson’s Disease. But Saeed tells a different story: one of educational cooperation and openness between two people the world has deemed at war, one of the opportunities of peace and the power of educated humanism.

saeed kharouf

Saeed Kharouf grew up in Beit Hanina, in East Jerusalem. He studied at the American University of Beirut, interned at Intel in the United States and is now working as a Digital Circuit Designer at Intel Israel’s Haifa plant while completing his master’s degree in computer science at the Technion.

Saeed met with President Obama on March 21st to share the vision of shared progress and enlightenment as a way to generate solutions to many of the region’s difficulties. “I said that hopefully one day, maybe in 20 years, I’ll be president or CEO of Intel and try to help my people to have better job opportunities and give them the same opportunities I had,” Kharouf told the Israeli national paper Ha’aretz. “Obama laughed and said, ‘Why not?'” Indeed, it is not unrealistic: Intel’s current CEO Mouli Eden is also a Technion graduate.

Saeed met the president of the United States at the Israel Museum, where the President was presented just some of the success stories to come out of bi-national high-tech cooperation. One of these is a project called Ma’antek; an initiative of President Shimon Peres’s office that aims to recruit qualified Israeli-Arabs into Israel’s flourishing high-tech industry.  Ma’antek provides a bridge for Arab students into the workforce. Aside from Intel, it has connections with another 30-odd multinational companies operating in Israel. “They help students with resumes, holding workshops, preparing for interviews, everything you need to be successful,” said Saeed.

Gift celebrates Israel's evolution from its past to today's high-tech nation
Gift celebrates Israel’s evolution from its past to today’s high-tech nation

“The work Maantek is doing really is important for people like me. I honestly faced some difficulties myself, with the language and the culture, when I was looking for a job here,” he added. Although he might easily have found work in the United States or Lebanon, he wanted to return home to be close with this family – and now spends his time between Haifa and Jerusalem. “I think we can be examples to young people, so they can find the motivation to work hard. I hope my success is paving the way for them. This is extremely important for the development of the country and for Arab people. Still there’s a lot to do, but it will take time. We need to keep motivating youngsters to study, and to be in a position to effect change that might one day change the world.”

The meeting took place during an intense visit of the President of the Unites States to Israel in which Prime Minister of Israel Netanyahu presented the President with a unique gift created by Technion scientists from the Russell Berrie Institute for Nanotechnology (RBNI): a nano-sized grain of dust on which is inscribed the original Declarations of Independence of the State of Israel and the United States of America. The gift is positioned on a 200 year old Jerusalem Stone, dating back to the era of the 2nd temple.

March 21, 2013 Spotlight on Technion Related Projects at the Hi-Tech and Innovation Fair to be visited by President Obama.

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Snake robots for urban search and rescue
Snake robots for urban search and rescue

Technion Professor Alon Wolf gives President Obama and PM Netanyahu a first-hand look at Technion innovation: a robotic snake that can assist with search and rescue missions. Prof. Wolf is also developing a medical robot that can perform sophisticated surgical procedures. Amazing!

U.S. President Barack Obama met with Theresa Hannigan from New York, who is sporting a ReWalk bionic suit, at the Israeli technologies exhibition in Jerusalem, Israel. ReWalk exoskeleton was among the cutting-edge Israeli innovations shown to President Barack Obama in the course of his visit to a session hosted by Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

ReWalk - Enabling paraplegics to walk
ReWalk – Enabling paraplegics to walk

ReWalk creator Dr. Amit Goffer, an alumni of the Technion, is actually a quadriplegic who was prompted to develop the exoskeleton system as a result of his own personal account and experience. “It is an honor to have been chosen among many Israeli innovators to present the ReWalk technology to President Obama,” stated Dr. Goffer. “This device is already improving the quality of life for many people and we look forward to seeing its continued expansion around the world including in the US where we are awaiting FDA clearance for daily personal use.”

Special Category - Future Scientists: Robot Waiters
Special Category – Future Scientists: Robot Waiters

A “robot waiter” developed by junior high school students from Haifa, under the guidance of researchers from the Technion’s Department of Education in Technology and Science, won “Best Humanoid Robot” title in an international competition which took place in Connecticut, USA, in 2012.

The robot waiter was designed and programmed as a model of an autonomous robot that will serve a disabled person in his or her home – for example, will go to the refrigerator, take food and carry it to that person. The robot, with a height of about 35 cm (about 13.8 inches) uses sensors to overcome obstacles in its way, is a capable of performing a variety of movements.