Israeli Students Devise App to Ensure Children Get Back to School Safely

September 11, 2015
By: Jennifer Frey

Rivka Bekenstein and her toddler Halal demonstrate how the application is used. Ms. Bekenstein, a doctoral student in the Technion Faculty of Physics, came up with the idea for KidKeeper.

Rivka Bekenstein and her toddler Hallel demonstrate how the application is used. Ms. Bekenstein, a doctoral student in the Technion Faculty of Physics, came up with the idea for KidKeeper.

As children around the nation get back to school, parents understandably have a lot on their mind. Some enterprising Israeli students have removed safety from the list of concerns, with the development of an application that informs parents if their child arrived at daycare or kindergarten at the expected hour.

KidKeeper, a student project developed at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, informs parents about their child’s whereabouts in the critical moments before the morning school bell rings.

It works by uploading photos of all the children in any given class onto a tablet that is stationed at the entrance of the class. Upon dropping off the child at the classroom, the parent or caregiver clicks on the photo of his/her child, which in turn serves as an electronic roll call, relaying to school officials that the child is in attendance. If a child does not arrive within the time frame specified by the parent (pre-programmed on the App), KidKeeper automatically sends a message to the parents’ cell phone that there is a problem.

The much-needed technology allows parents to go about the rest of their day with assurance that their child is safely at school. Come day’s end, the parent/caregiver enters a PIN number, ensuring that the person is authorized to pick up the child, and a message is sent informing the parents that the child has been picked up.

“Our application was designed to help parents keep their children safe,” says Oren Gilboa.

KidKeeper developers say its advantages lie in a technology that is familiar to most people, an application that is installed only on the tablet without requiring further hookups in the car, and an ethos that puts the responsibility on the parent/caregiver rather than on the school staff. But most importantly, KidKeeper brings peace of mind.

The application is already in use at the Na’amat Daycare Center, located on the Technion campus in Haifa. Its parent users are Technion faculty or students, including a father and fellow computer science student who helped solve some of the programming bugs. KidKeeper’s developers hope that the application will eventually serve as the daycare/kindergarten’s bulletin board and as a communications tool for staff to get in touch with parents.

The idea was the brainchild of Rivka Bekenstein, a Technion doctoral student in physics, who turned to the Faculty of Computer Science for assistance. The application was created by computer science students Ligad Symon, Ido Zmiri, Eliran Weiss, Guy Rosenbaum, Ron Saad, and Oren Gilboa for the project component of a software engineering course given by Prof. Yossi Gil, course lecturer Yoav Haimovitch and Teaching Assistant Mohammad Watad.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is a major source of the innovation and brainpower that drives the Israeli economy, and a key to Israel’s renown as the world’s “Start-Up Nation.” Its three Nobel Prize winners exemplify academic excellence. Technion people, ideas and inventions make immeasurable contributions to the world including life-saving medicine, sustainable energy, computer science, water conservation and nanotechnology. The Joan and Irwin Jacobs Technion-Cornell Institute is a vital component of Cornell Tech, and a model for graduate applied science education that is expected to transform New York City’s economy.

American Technion Society (ATS) donors provide critical support for the Technion—more than $2 billion since its inception in 1940. Based in New York City, the ATS and its network of supporters across the U.S. provide funds for scholarships, fellowships, faculty recruitment and chairs, research, buildings, laboratories, classrooms and dormitories, and more.