"Spider robot" could help disaster zones

By Rachel Fletcher, August 8, 2008

 A new Israeli "spider robot" that can move through tunnels and pipeways could help find people buried under collapsed buildings and carry out maintenance operations in perilous structures such as atomic reactors.

The three-legged robot was developed by Drs Amir Shapiro and Shraga Shoval under the guidance of Prof Elon Rimon at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology.

IsraCast reported that the robot moves using a sequence of instructions designed to plan its grasping points on the walls.


 Talking to plants may not help them grow, but Bar-Ilan University scientists can now measure water contamination by "listening" to algae in it.

The technology, developed by Prof Zvy Dubinsky and Dr Yulia Pinchasov, involves applying a green laser beam on the microscopic plants.

If the plant is photosynthesising (converting sunlight to energy) to its full capacity, it will turn part of the laser into energy and the rest into heat, which causes a soundwave through the water that can be detected by special equipment.

A plant in contaminated water produces a different resonance.

The study was reported in several publications, including the Hydrobiological Journal.


 And elsewhere in Israel, scorpions are improving spinal surgery.

Scorpion Surgical Technologies is developing a bone attachment system that could allow patients better spinal movement by "pulling" vertebrae together rather than holding them with springs and devices held by screws, as is more traditionally done.

The company, reported ISRAEL21c, named itself after the creature the implant resembles.

Among its founders are independent biomedical experts and scientists from the Rabin Medical Centre in Tel Aviv.


 Computer science students can take internships in research and development for Microsoft Israel after the company joined forces with Ben-Gurion University.

As well as research and mentoring, the students will also gain experience of entrepreneurship programmes.

Yoram Ya'acovi of Microsoft Israel's research and development centre said the new scheme is "creating a talented and exceptional group of programmers".

Last updated: 4:33pm, September 23 2009