Spring is in Bloom in the Engineering Lab – April 2015

April 14, 2015

Capstone Projects:

engineering april 9Engineering students have had a long productive winter and are deeply engrossed in their capstone projects. Ideas were researched, proposals presented, parts ordered and explored, and the groundwork for prototypes is now well under way. Our students are growing in knowledge and experience as they write codes, design circuits, build, test, and improve their models:

  • Sprouts include a Technological Terrarium that monitors and provides all a plant needs to grow
  • Paintbot, an interactive drawing experience
  • Exoskeletons designed to help the handicapped
  • A Smart Signer that converts sign language into verbal communication
  • An En-Forcer-Er helmet that monitors impact on a football player’s skull.

Tenth graders are building 3D printed parts of their own design. We are also planning a field Trip to Konica Minolta’s Corporate Headquarters for a first hand look at the latest in 3D printing.


Lecture Series:

Our Engineering lecture series continues to expose the students to cutting edge developments in this fast growing field. We were privileged to hear from:

– Micah Lemonik, a Principal Software Engineer at Google’s New York City headquarters, where he is an engineering lead in the Google Apps group.  Micah joined Google in 2005 and worked on many popular products such as Google Docs and Google Drive. He shared with us the fascinating world that is a career at Google.

– Hadar Cohen, a Frisch alum currently a senior at Cooper Union, where she studies Electrical Engineering. Hadar shared her personal journey to engineering and her experience at Cooper Union including details on her many engineering projects. She provided some understanding of what it means to be an engineer and the different fields available to potential engineering students.

– Rabbi Binyamin Zimmerman, visited from the Zomet Institute in Israel. The Zomet Institute is dedicated to seamlessly merging Halachic Judaism with modern life. For over 30 years their researchers and engineers have devised practical Halachic solutions. They consult and develop solutions for The Israeli Ministry of Health, The Ministry of Defense, Ben Gurion Airport, Amigo Mobility, Elite Food, Tnuva Dairies, Israeli Channel 10 Shindler Elevators and more. Zomet’s engineers have developed and implemented technologies that enable products such as metal detectors, security jeeps, elevators, electric wheelchairs and coffee machines to be used on Shabbat. I met Rabbi Zimmerman and heard him speak about Zomet’s mission on my recent trip to Israel with CIJE.  It is an incredible place. Rabbi Zimmerman exposed our engineering students to the ideas and practical challenges behind merging technology and Halacha while viewing technological advancement from a religious perspective of partnering with God.



engineering april 3Frisch’s Girls Who Code Club is germinating. Every Monday we meet after school with a volunteer instructor from GWC, Colleen Stowe, to learn the art of coding. Our girls have designed a computer game, are learning about artificial intelligence and will begin work on a final coding project. We visited Microsoft for a coding session and have a trip planned to Google to meet with female engineers. Frisch was approved to continue our club next year and I hope to open the world of coding to a new group of budding coders. The national organization works to inspire, educate, and equip girls with the computing skills to pursue 21st century  opportunities.


Senior Elective:

engineering april 4Our senior elective, which combines a Halacha study/engineering design project, is blossoming and being piloted by Ronit Langer and Amitai Cohen, who are working with 10th grader, Bracha Getter on a project they call “kosher STEM”. They are busy in the lab this spring bringing it to life. Rav Zimmerman, from Zomet was impressed with our engineering program and graciously agreed to review and share with his engineers the project proposal. Our students are building a prototype for a Shabbat mode for electronic locks. We received incredibly helpful feedback.  Rav Zimmerman was so impressed with our lab and our students that he and his team at Zomet welcome the possibility of continued work with our students.


Start Up Nation:

engineering april 2Training students to pursue their entrepreneurial dreams requires training teachers to foster those endeavors. I was privileged to attend CIJE’s Journey to Start Up Nation in Israel this past February as a mentor and guest lecturer for new teachers to the program. It was incredible. We visited engineering schools, accelerators and met with entrepreneurs. I had the opportunity to meet and speak with some of Israel’s top biomedical and high tech companies including the CEOs of Biosense-Webster and Johnson & Johnson, who discussed the engineering behind cardiac technologies. The group also met with Shai Melcer, executive director of BioJerusalem, an organization dedicated to promoting the advancement of the biomedical industry in Jerusalem as well as Bob Rosenschein, founder of Answers.com. and Daniel Schreiber, President of Powermat. “This trip took teachers from the classroom into the field where ideas are conceived, products are developed and promising innovations are financed,” explained Jay Smallwood, CIJE-Tech Specialist.  “These few days of exposure to such an esteemed group of CEOs, engineers and product developers from biomedical devices to Shabbat-approved technologies will trickle down into the mentorship teachers provide their CIJE students.”

All engineering students will have the opportunity to attend a student journey to Start up Nation next winter break. Two of our 10th graders Daniel Koenig and David Lifschitz reported on this year’s journey which included both an exposure to entrepreneurship and workshops at the Technion. Details to follow.


Annual Symposium: 

engineering april 8Our Annual Engineering and Research Symposium is scheduled for Thursday evening, May 28th where students will be showcasing their projects and Susan Englehardt will be our keynote speaker

Susan Engelhardt presently serves as Executive Director of the Center for Innovative Ventures of Emerging Technologies (CIVET) at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey, where she spearheads the development of programs that help faculty and students bring innovations to the market and develop their skills as innovators, as well as establish pathways for industrial academic partnerships. Susan brings to CIVET over 20 years of experience in engineering, process design, and business relationship management cross-industry at companies such as Bear Stearns, Deloitte Consulting and AT&T Bell Laboratories. Ms. Engelhardt holds a Master of Science degree from Columbia University and a Bachelor of Science degree from Queens College. I look forward to greeting you.

Rifkie Silverman