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From The Lab To The Real World: Projects That Make A Difference!

Nov 4, 2020

Canadian Friends of Boys Town Jerusalem is continuing its capital campaign to completely renovate the CAE Lab to ensure it provides the space for the students to gain the knowledge and skills they need.

BTJ’s College of Applied Engineering (CAE) is one of Israel’s foremost institutions to offer a combined program of cutting-edge technological education alongside high-level Jewish studies. In conjunction with the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), the college prepares students for top technological, R&D, and computer/cyber security intelligence units.

Each year, the select group of over 150 students must complete a final project alone or with partners. The project must have very real, practical applications. The final products are adjudicated by the Ministry of Education, and in some cases the IDF, and are judged on their merit, research and originality. Here are three of their stories.

PROJECT: Planning The Electrical Infrastructure For An Industrial Bread Bakery

Yakov Belay, 19, is from Beit Shemesh. He is the oldest of five children of Ethiopian immigrants to Israel. His father works at minimum wage as a janitor and his mother is unemployed.

Yakov devoted his graduate project to the “real life” electrical engineering challenge of drawing up an electrical blueprint prototype for a major industrial bread bakery.

Poring over the architectural specifications, Yakov plotted the electrical grid for the massive factory’s lighting, industrial ovens, freezers and other heavy machinery, computers and much more, after carefully calculating each item’s voltage. “I worked on this project from early morning till 9 PM for weeks on end,” Yakov admits. He firmly stresses his gratitude for the encouragement and generosity of Boys Town Jerusalem in providing him a full scholarship, room and board in the dormitory, and even a computer to use during the Covid campus closure when classes became “remote.”

With his major in Electrical Engineering, Yakov will soon apply his knowledge to excelling in an IDF technological unit. Following his IDF service, he has two dreams: “I want to build on my electrical engineering skills to enter the realm of cyber technology,” Yakov declares, adding that his goal is to become a teacher. “I’ve learned a great deal from all my teachers, especially the amazing BTJ faculty. It’s time to close the circle and make my own contribution to help the next generation of students understand and enjoy learning.”

PROJECT: Remote-Control Vehicle With Multi-Directional Wheels

Tzvi Kut, 20, is from Jerusalem. For nearly a year, as the Covid pandemic raged, Boys Town Jerusalem CAE student Tzvi Kut envisioned, programmed, created and recreated his ingenuous graduation project. With each modification, the finished product gained new sophistication, inspiring its creator to reach higher.

“I’ve always been fascinated by wheels,” Tzvi admits. His project took the form of a robotic vehicle sporting Mecanum wheels capable of moving in any direction, thus allowing the vehicle to remain in place as it changes course. Programmed accurately, the remote control-guided robot can maneuver and fit precisely into tight spaces, making it ideal for use in military assignments and factory warehouse settings.

After first conceiving, coding and building the vehicle, Tzvi then began adding improved components. Today, the robot is flawlessly controlled by the mere slight of a hand holding a cellphone. By monitoring the robot’s location and movement through the phone’s camera, the user can simply tilt his/her hand at the proper angle to swivel the vehicle into motion.

Graduating from a special educational framework for those “on the spectrum,” Tzvi applied to CAE to acquire advanced electronics skills. “The instructors were excellent, and the ‘handson’ approach was perfect for me,” he states. Best, the brilliant student happily tutored and assisted his classmates. Tzvi has a bright future in an advanced IDF Electronics unit.


I. H., 19, is from the greater Jerusalem area. He is one of four siblings.

“I. H.” is one of two Boys Town Jerusalem College of Applied Engineering students to be tapped by the Israeli Air Force to create his senior project within the framework of the IAF Research and Development Division. As such, he leaves the campus several days each week to carry out his project’s research, planning and construction at a military facility.

Majoring in Electronic Engineering, I.H. has top praise for Boys Town Jerusalem’s CAE Program. “Living conditions in the dormitory are excellent, and the faculty is top-notch. Teachers listen, help and instruct on the highest level. I’m grateful to have acquired the crucial basics of my electronic engineering education here, as well as the support to master the material.”

For I. H., the Covid crisis posed particular challenges. “I continued my College of Applied Electronics studies at home via Zoom, and reported to the IAF facility as well. The work was extremely intensive and demanding each day in each place.”

I. H. will soon begin his five-year term of duty in the Israel Air Force as an officer and he looks forward to continuing his electronics studies.


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