Two students from Machon Lev, a Torah-and-technology high school and college, have developed a sensor that warns of water leaks in home piping systems, and even turns off the water when necessary. The price: only 100 shekels ($27) per home.
The two young inventors, Neriah Stroh and Gal Oren, study in the Machon Lev (Jerusalem College of Technology) yeshiva high school. Their gadget earned them the top prize in a nation-wide contest for young scientists, and was Israel’s entry in the international Junior Water Prize competition held this past September in Stockholm, where it finished in the top five among 100 entrants from around the world.
At the same time, the National Academies of Sciences warned that the United States is continuing to slide downwards from its position as the world's top innovator, in favor of Asian countries – apparently including Israel. In its report, "Rising Above The Gathering Storm, Revisited: Rapidly Approaching Category 5," the Academy’s blue-ribbon panel wrote, "It would appear that overall, the United States' long-term competitiveness outlook (read jobs) has further deteriorated.”
Swedish Ambassador to Israel Elinor Hammarskjold (grand-niece of the late UN Secretary-General Dag Hammarskjold) and staff members from the Swedish Embassy arrived at Machon Lev on Wednesday to show their admiration for the students and the school. The ambassador spoke of the importance of conserving water, noting that close to a third of the world’s water supply goes to waste because of leaks or water-theft.
The new invention was developed with the help of David Gelman and Yisrael Elishevitz, of the Electronics Department in Machon Lev, as well as world-acclaimed water expert Prof. Gideon Dagan of Tel Aviv University.
The small device, which can be attached to water meters and might soon be standard in new apartments, can detect unusual increases in water use, based on average water use that it “learns” beforehand. It then warns the user, via cellphone or internet, of the situation, and can even shut off the water supply if warranted.