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      'King Falafel' Wins US Robot Competition for Israeli Teens

      An Israeli high school team from the Upper Galilee has won Connecticut's 17th annual Fire Fighting Home Robot competition.
      By Hana Levi Julian
      First Publish: 4/14/2010, 1:37 PM / Last Update: 4/14/2010, 3:29 PM

      Israel news photo

      A team of teenagers from the Upper Galilee's Misgav High School has won the 17th annual Fire Fighting Home Robot competition in the United States for the second year in a row. They named their robot K.O.F. – "King of Falafel" -- to honor their favorite food in the contest held at Trinity College in Hartford, Connecticut.

      Coached by Chaim Driben, the winning team was comprised of four students, Eyal Shifman, Ram Gerassy, Yuval Zach-Zlica and Zur Shental. Also competing were 109 other teams from 14 U.S. states and seven foreign countries – including five additional teams from Misgav.

      Although the first day of the contest was held on Saturday – the day of the Jewish Sabbath – the fire-fighting component of the competition, in which the Misgav students competed, was held on Sunday.

      The K.O.F. team's autonomous-controlled robot was required to navigate a maze, extinguish a flame and return to the starting point; the “King” completed the course in the fastest time.

      Israel also took the top three spots in the high school division in Unique Design; a team from Misgav took first place, Ostrovski High School came in second, and the K.O.F. Team took the third spot.

      Organizers honored Nadav Betzer, retiring in June from Israel's Ministry of Education, for coordinating Israel's participation in the contest for the past 12 years. Betzer has served in the ministry's Department of Science and Technology.