Recent tragic railroad crossing accidents underscore the danger inherent at railroad crossings throughout the globe. A Boys Town Jerusalem student has devised an innovative solution to keep roads and lives safe when cars and trains intersect. Moshe Ukashi, 20, devoted his recent senior project at Boys Town Jerusalem’s College of Applied Engineering (CAE) to creating a prototype utilizing a revolving railway crossing platform to automatically prevent deadly collisions between cars and trains.
The system is based around a circular moveable platform at the nexus of a railroad crossing. Two synchronized microcontrollers, one inside the train and one situated under the street that intersects with the train track, mastermind the system. A weight sensor placed upon this street section is programmed to transmit a signal when a heavy stationary weight (indicating a vehicle) is present at the time a train is approaching. Within five seconds, the train is alerted to slow its speed. Simultaneously, a motor below the moveable platform at the crossing is instantly activated to revolve at 90 degrees, virtually moving the section where the car is trapped. A new section of track snaps into place, clearing the way for the train to whiz by in absolute safety, as the automobile passengers are well out of harm’s way.
“I enjoyed the complex challenge of creating this project,” the Boys Town Jerusalem student noted. “Most crucial, of course, is its potential to save lives.” Moshe Ukashi (who frequently commutes by train) is from the city of Rehovoth. He was selected by the Israel Defense Forces for special studies at Boys Town’s College of Applied Engineering to train electronics specialists for the Israeli Air Force. To complete the CAE program, Moshe received a two year exemption from service and will now begin a compulsory five year commitment. He is presently considering becoming a career officer in the IDF following his compulsory service.
From junior high through the college level, the three-part curriculum at Boys Town – academic, technology and Torah – is designed to turn otherwise disadvantaged Israeli youth into productive citizens of tomorrow. Boys Town’s 18 acre campus is a home away from home for its more than 900 students. More than 7,000 graduates hold key positions throughout Israeli society.
Boys Town Jerusalem instructors serve as mentors to CAE grads as they develop new technologies. Yossi Lavie, a veteran of over 40 years of teaching, assumed the role as head of the College of Applied Engineering in 2010. He holds a B.A. from the ORT College of Engineering, and joined the BTJ high school electronics faculty and CAE in 1997. Lavie immigrated from Iran to Israel as a youngster in 1969. Yehudah Dahan has brought rich experience in the electronics industry to his teaching profession, having held top positions in public and private endeavors throughout Israel. In 2006, he joined the Boys Town Jerusalem faculty, and soon became an instructor in the CAE. Yehudah Dahan immigrated to Israel from Morocco as a youngster.