The ME movie transcript

From the spaceships exploring our surroundings, to sophisticated robots performing complicated surgeries.  It’s hard to imagine any state-of-the-art industry without mechanical engineers, who are crucial source of influence.

Mechanical Engineering is a mutli-disciplinary subject, rapidly changing – perhaps even faster than any other engineering domain. New developments in systems and biomechanics raise a new set of exciting challenges for mechanical engineers, opening fascinating opportunities for future production and research.

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is the powerhouse of engineers leading the industry of research and development of the State of Israel, holding key positions in hi-tech, higher education and the defense systems.

The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering at the Technion is a leading one in its field in Israel, comprising of ~ 1,200 students supervised by senior academic staff, researchers as well as lecturers – experts from the industry.

The Faculty creates a fruitful academic environment for the students, with state-of-the-art laboratories, carrying out research and education activities, incorporating basic science and complicated applications on the edge of technology.

The curriculum gives the students an opportunity to obtain deep and broad knowledge in engineering and basic sciences. The expertise in Mechanical Engineering proposes the fields of dynamics, mechatronics, mechanics and biomechanics, energy and fluidics, CAD and design and control.

At the Laboratory of Medical Robotics Prof. Moshe Shoham develops a micro-robot distantly controlled, which moves independently inside the body channels: veins and arteries, rendering possible diagnosis and treatment without human touch involvement. Another practical application developed by Prof. Shoham’s group, already in use today, is a tiny robot performing complex surgeries in the spine, with an accuracy outdoing a real surgeon. This innovation saves lives and helps treat people around the globe.

In the Laboratory of Nano Fibers of Prof. Eyal Zussman researchers develop and manufacture devices in a size of thousandth of a human hair radius size and even smaller. With a help of a sophisticated method, electronic micro fibers are weaved, able to serve as conductor for computer chips and biological sensors, alerting on dangerous materials existing in the air.

Until recently the word “teleportation” was a jargon of science fiction writers only. Prof. Anath Fischer and her CAD research group developed advanced methods for modelling, imaging and analysis applied in engineering and medical CAD. One of them enables scanning of a 3-D object and designing a model that can be calculated, computer analyzed or manufactured by digital transfer of the model to a 3-D printer.

Dr. Rene van Hout studies multi-faze flows with an emphasis on environmental problems, like particle dispersion in turbulent boundary layers. These phenomena are important for industrial and natural processes, like erosion. Understanding the interaction between the bodies related to flows surrounding them is also important in chemical engineering.

Dr. David Greenblatt’s laboratory focuses on the behavior of bodies in energy-related flow control applications by turbo-machinery and water heat transfer. Control of energy flow is obtained in a few methods, like electro-mechanics, plasma-based control of low speed flows. The research aims to improve the energetic efficiency of equipment, like ventilators, pumps and computer cooling systems.

People have always found inspiration in nature for problem solving. That’s how researchers at Dr. Alon Wolf’s laboratory study the movements of snakes. “We observe and follow animals’ behavior in terms of movement and kinematics, and we try to mimic this behavior in robotic systems. Robots who try to mimic millions of years of evolution in a mechanic system.” The robot-snake has many applications, starting with medicine and through finding victims of nature disasters.

Researchers at the laboratory led by Dr. Yizhar Or study the dynamics and locomotion of micro- swimmers in nature, like bacteria and sperm. “Our goal is a future development of robot micro-swimmers on a scale of micro meters to be infiltrated into human body movement, blood circulation, spine and digestive system in order to carry out bio-medical activities, like monitored drugs dispersion, transfer an image with a camera and scan affected or malignant areas, or even perform local treatments in these areas.”

Behind me is a enlarged device prototype of a technology that will enable energy harvesting from a slow movement. In Prof. Izhak Bucher’s Dynamics Laboratory researchers create waves in solids and air in order to create electricity in an efficient way and to set in touchless motion micro-devices and micro-swimmers. “It could be hand, chest, leg movements, or even inner lung movements, even heart ones.” In the future surface waves will be used to set in motion groups of nano-robots in human body for infection, fester areas and treat them locally.

Imagine a world where these structures would be condensed in a micro-chip in a size of square centimeter. In the Laboratory for Micro and Nano Fluidics led by Dr. Gilad Yossifon the ability to create and control the movement of fluids is studied. “The goal is to take the whole lab, minimize it and be able to say anything for example about a drop of water or other things.” Micro-devices are characterized by micro and nano-channels that have the ability to filter nano-particles and biological molecules in a very accurate way.

In the laboratory for micro-systems micro-mechanic devices are developed for special needs with novel methods for design and simulation. In some of their functions micro-systems are better performers than electronic systems, thus the great interest in this innovative technology. The aim of the lab is to educate the human resources for micro-system industry in Israel. “I graduated in 2003, holding BSc and MSc from the Faculty of Mechanical Engineering, and today I’m the CEO of a Start-up Company. The chip we are manufacturing is in the core of micro projector in a cellular phone.”

In the Laboratory of Optic Engineering led by Prof. Erz Hasman researchers develop micro optic devices and optic mechanical systems combined with lasers, applicable in high-tech industry. A revolutionary technology was developed at the Faculty, which serves as a base line for constructing unique optic nano-metric chips. Thanks to extensive research activity fruitful  academy-industry relations have emerged between the Faculty and leading companies in Israel and abroad, in order to foster scientific visit exchanges in research, development and create future working environment for the students.

“The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering gives excellent tools to start off as an engineer, a mechanical engineer. I am a system engineer in the industry and as such, my job is to see the whole picture of the project.”

The future leaders of research and development of IDF are trained at an excellence program called Brakim. “The training is in the cadre of an academic reserve, then students are incorporated into IDF corps. I, for examples, was placed in Ordnance Corps, where Merkava tanks are developed.  During the program one is exposed much more to the industry outside the army.”

“I am a student in an academic reserve and following my studies I was enlisted into the Technologic Unit of the Intelligence Corps. At the Technion I obtained a very wide base of knowledge in various engineering areas, from which I deepened my expertise for specific job needs.”

Students taking part in the program will graduate with BSc and MSc within four years prior to starting their IDF service.

From the establishment of the Faculty in 1935, 8,000 faculty graduates comprise the central pillar of the Israeli industry, meeting 60% of Israel’s manpower need in engineering. The Faculty doesn’t cease to add new areas of research to its curriculum.

“The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering was always a home to me. I grew up here, studied for my BSc, MSc and PhD. I decided to continue in academia and did a post-doc in the US. The Faculty of Mechanical Engineering is the leading one in Israel, both in terms of the quality of the students studying here, in terms of the graduates leaving and also the researchers, thus it was clear to me that I want to return back home.”

The aspiration for excellence and openness for new challenges and the spirit of innovation – all together promise the striving of the Faculty for future continued success and leadership at the Technion.

We will be delighted if you join us and together we could design the future of engineering in Israel and the world.