How to Drop a Raw Egg From Roof Without Breaking It? 85-year-old Kibbutznik Solves It

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85-year-old Yishai Zimmerman, center, the winner of TechnoBrain 2018 competition for EggCopter X20 2018.
85-year-old Yishai Zimmerman, center, the winner of TechnoBrain 2018 competition for EggCopter X20 2018.Credit: Sharon Tzur / Technion Spokesper

A team led by an 85-year-old kibbutznik on Sunday won the EggCopter X20 competition to design the best device to drop a raw egg from 40 meters' height without breaking it.

Yishai Zimmerman of Kibbutz Ein Harod Ichud and family beat out luminaries from the land wide, grouped in 14 teams with their entry for EggCopter X20, part of the TechnoBrain 2018 competition.

EggCopter is what the Haifa-based Technion University calls "a quirky competition featuring creative would-be engineers and their homemade devices," to drop raw eggs from a 40-meter-high crane without breaking them. Or breaking as few eggs as possible.

EggCopter X20 2018Credit: Technion University, YouTube

The teams were comprised of students with family members.

Tensions on the lawn ran high as the devices were hoisted into the air one-by-one by the crane and then released, the Technion reports.

"Some floated gently to the ground, while others plunged down at full speed to their messy, yolky demises. The hundreds of onlookers held their breath after each landing, while judges determined how many eggs successfully survived the fall," it stated.

The teams were judged by the number of eggs that landed intact, the number that didn't, how fast the things fell – and even how close the device landed to the target. They were also judged for design.

The EggCopter crane

Yishai Zimmerman and family made a simple yet effective invention involving sponges, empty water bottles and a parachute, the university says. Three of their four eggs survived the launch and journey, winning the team a 10,000-shekel prize.

Second prize, worth 5,000 shekels, went to the Hakims, a team consisting of three generations which dropped its eggs using water bottles and parachutes: two survived. A team of Technion students won the 3,000-shekel third prize even though their invention was slow to disconnect from the crane’s hook, and crash-landed – yet somehow, three of the four eggs survived.

EggCopter X20, part of the Doctor Bob’s TechnoBrain competition, is an annual event beginning in 1997. Its founder, the late Neev-Ya Durban, then a student at Technion’s Faculty of Aerospace Engineering, founded the competition “in order to get students away from their textbooks and computer screens and give them an opportunity for creative expression while coping with complex problems in a fun atmosphere." He was murdered in 2003 in Tel Aviv during his graduate studies at Technion.

A candidate device, EggCopter X20 2018Credit: Sharon Tzur / Technion Spokesper