Tour goes high-tech as Obama is shown Israeli innovation

The tour moves on to a special showcase for Israeli high-tech innovation, set up on the Israel Museum grounds. First up looks is the Phinergy aluminum-air battery for electric vehicles, which can triple the range of all-electric cars with an innovative new battery design.

Netanyahu: That could change a few things.

Obama: Absolutely. “You need to talk to the board of GM.”

Obama says he’s read about the next display, the Technion’s Robotic Snake, which can can survey disaster areas that humans or conventional robots are unable to access, looking for signs of life under earthquake rubble, for instance. He’s invited to hold the snake, to feel its weight. “My wife would not like this,” he says, as the metallic device rears up. He’s shown the snake’s capacity to roll, and even to divide itself into two, and head off in different directions. On a screen, he sees a surgical version of the snake — “This goes into the body,” Netanyahu chimes in — used in micro-surgery.

Obama is taking a long time in this part of the trip, falling some way behind schedule. Ramallah may have to wait a little.

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