Jerusalem people gather to remember deaths in Itamar

When I came back from Tel Aviv at the first day of setting up at the robotics event, I was sad to hear about the earthquake in Japan, and fear of a nuclear disaster.
Even more so as I have worked with at least 6-7 Japanese people in the last year and half.

The other tradgedy just after then was five members of a Jewish family were murdered by a Palestinian terrorist who broke into their house.

Only brief snippets of this was on the mainstream news, not mentioned much apart from in Israel news and Christian supporters of Israel was the fact that people in Gaza celebrated the deaths and threw candy at children in the streets.  The news channels took the step of showing deeply upsetting pictures of murdered people, to try and provoke the mainstream media to encourage condemnation of these horrible acts.

I went down to Zion Square, a busy junction where Ben Yehuda Street meets Jaffa Street, often used for events and protests sometimes.

This was more like a tribute event, rather than a protest, there were police here guarding the event.

Later when I went home, some police barriers were still there and some signs but the people had gone.

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Tel Aviv – robotics competition Part 2 Meet the robots

Another 5am start – urrrgh….

But it was worth it also.   As the robotics event was already in full swing, I did get to miss out on the Lego event that happened earlier in the week sadly, as my colleagues from work were helping out on the monday and tuesday.

The electronic signs didn’t show English, but some other signs around the corner did show which gates at Jerusalem bus station are for which city.

Tel Aviv bus station is hugely complicated.   Its a bit reminiscent of the now gone Tricorn shopping centre in Portsmouth, UK, for its concrete angles.   When your bus gets there you are high up as its like a multistory car park, quite a clever design really and you have to use lifts or escalators or steps down.

I just seem to go round and round looking for an exit, and got into an abandoned wing of the shopping centre which looked a bit seedy and smelt of wee.  Got to like the “Parkings” sign!

Back at the Nokia arena, I got to visit some of the contestants there…

Meet the robots!  They are all made of mostly steel, weigh upto about 40 kilos, have an upright arm for grabbing objects, share the same control system (wireless by laptop)  and are sponsored by companies big and small.   There is a bumper, a rubber or foam insulator around the whole thing to protect from knocking into things.   I don’t know much about the rules and specs they had to be built to, but I do know they are not mean to attack each other or people 🙂

The teams are almost all Israelis, secular and religious Jews, Arabs and a team from the military too, plus was one foreign team from Bosnia.

Part 1: Setting up at the arena
Part 2: Meet the robots
Part 3: Robot inner workings
Part 4: Competition