Technology News – NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. Mon, 27 Mar 2017 12:39:13 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Israeli 3D Printing Technology Helps Surgeons Separate Conjoined Twins Thu, 23 Mar 2017 09:41:23 +0000

From 3D-printed shoes to 3D-printed cars, 3D technology is changing everything around us, even the medical world. An Israeli company has developed innovative software for 3D printing anatomical models that enable doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery using a 3D model that matches the anatomy of the patient. This innovative technology can even help them prepare for extremely complex operations, such as separating conjoined twins.

The company behind the software is Israel’s Simbionix, which 3D Systems bought for $120 million three years ago. At a recent medical conference, Colorado-based 3D Systems exhibited this new Israeli development, which allows doctors to print in three dimensions the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure and study it while holding it.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

MacDonald Twins, twins joined at the head

“As complicated as it gets”

Perhaps the most phenomenal application of this Israeli technology is in helping separate conjoined twins. Jadon and Anias McDonald were born joined at the skull and shared blood vessels. Last fall, when they were 13 months old, they were finally separated during a 27-hour operation performed by doctors at The Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York, supported by 3D Systems technologies and training sessions.

The remarkable surgery was made possible thanks to a dedicated team that included several members of 3D Systems’ healthcare division, who were present in the operating room for the surgery, along with nearly 40 other healthcare professionals.

Using medical scans and imaging of the twins, 3D Systems was able to create 3D models to facilitate planning of the complex procedure. The surgery was performed by Dr. James Goodrich, who has told the media “this is about as complicated as it gets.”

Custom devices tailored to the patient’s anatomy

Another example of a surgery that can apply this innovation is aneurysm repair, which can be done as an open operation or by using a minimally invasive technique where surgeons introduce tools through the femoral arteries in the groin and eventually place a stent-graft to repair the aneurysm.

During the course of the implantation, surgeons must pay great attention to maintain blood flow to vital arteries that originate from the abdominal aorta. The procedure becomes more complex when the aneurysm involves arteries to the kidneys and intestines. In such cases, stent-graft repair requires the use of custom devices tailored to a patient’s anatomy.

Improving safety 

“Medical errors are the third-leading cause of death in the US,” Susan Vetrone of 3D Systems tells NoCamels. “Our goal is to improve patient safety through advanced medical education.”

Combining 3D printing and healthcare, this project was spearheaded in Israel, but is “used by renowned surgeons in the US,” she says. It showcases “how our training tools help prepare future surgeons.”

3d printing software for surgeons

3D models used in classes 

Dr. Jean Bismuth of Houston’s Methodist Hospital and Dr. Jason Lee from Stanford University Medical Center have long been collaborating on teaching vascular surgery trainees. Their insight and experience were key to developing a complex training course which was brought to life by the 3D printed models created by 3D Systems.

SEE ALSO: 3D Printing: How The Technology Brings Energy And Hope To The Third World

According to Bismuth, “in the future, we hope to train and practice these procedures using pre-operative CT information as a tool for deciding how to most efficiently operate on a particular upcoming patient.”

Course attendees practiced the procedure, as it is performed in the OR, using a 3D printed model based on patient CT

Practicing the procedure using a 3D printed model based on a patient’s CT

3D Systems can also combine 3D printed models with virtual reality (VR) medical simulators, which creates a one-of-a-kind blended reality experience for surgical training and planning, which can be personalized based on patient-specific data.

Photos: 3D Systems/Simbionix, Christine Pogliano GrossoThe Children’s Hospital at Montefiore

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No Oven? ‘Uga Uga’ Makes Instant Cake In A Rice Cooker Thu, 16 Mar 2017 10:32:28 +0000 In China, baking at home has never really been common practice. In fact, most Chinese homes don’t even have an oven. While American culture gave us Betty Crocker and Martha Stewart, the Chinese are not so much into baking.

Israeli entrepreneur Ronen Mechanik teamed up with his Chinese friend Piu Piu to provide the Chinese with easy-to-make cakes. Mechanik, a former sous-chef in Tel Aviv, can make a pretty good cake. A few years ago, he sent a photo of one he made for his son’s birthday to Piu Piu, who instantly wanted to try and recreate it.

She soon realized that baking was no simple task in China. A lot of the necessary ingredients weren’t even available. And how do you even make a cake without an oven? Mechanik took up this challenge and after some experimenting, offered Piu Piu a revolutionary idea: make a cake in a rice cooker.

Though some have tried this in the past, Uga Uga has actually come up with a Betty Crocker-style instant cake mix especially for rice cookers, with the potential to reach over 1.3 billion Chinese people.

Calling their joint business endeavor “Uga Uga,” which literally means “Cake Cake” in Hebrew – but is also a popular Israeli children’s song – Mechanik and Piu designed a simple do-it-yourself cake kit for steaming in a rice cooker.

No oven? No problem. The concept is very simple and seems to have taken off with a bang in China, where ovens may be lacking but rice cookers are a kitchen staple. Over 4,000 kits have been sold already, just from word of mouth and social media – no marketing campaign; the startup launched its website just a couple of months ago.

rice cooker by Philips

A rice cooker

The Uga Uga basic kit includes cake powder, icing squeeze bags, toppings and a handy heart-shaped tin foil cake pan to keep the mixture separated from the rice cooker. All you need to add are eggs, oil, and water to make the mixture, which then only takes about 20 minutes in the rice cooker to come out a full, moist cake. Uga Uga provides three flavors: Chocolate & Nuts Brownie Crush, the Classic Chocolate Must Have, and the Vanilla Berry Scandal.

The cakes have been designed to appeal to the Chinese taste buds, which are said to prefer less sweet desserts. The kits are sold through the hugely popular Chinese social media app WeChat and the online shopping site Taobao.

SEE ALSO: Grow More Rice With Less Water

Uga Uga has met with great popularity already, with happy buyers posting photo after photo on social media of their own individualized Uga Uga creations.

One cake, including the mix and ingredients, will cost about $7, a very pricey purchase compared to what Betty Crocker offers. Still, it’s relatively more affordable for a Chinese family than ordering a cake from a pastry chef or seeking out expensive non-local ingredients to make a cake from scratch.

SEE ALSO: 5 Israeli Apps That Make Eating Healthier A Piece Of Cake

Uga Uga intends to penetrate other Asian markets where rice cookers are commonly used, and even market to students in the US and Europe, where ovens are typically not allowed in dorm rooms, but rice cookers are.

With no baking experience needed, anybody with a rice cooker can make an Uga Uga cake. Doesn’t that take the cake?

uga uga cake mix for rice cookers

Photos and video: Uga Uga, Philips

Behind Israel’s Largest Exit: Why Intel Acquired Mobileye For $15.3 Billion Tue, 14 Mar 2017 14:31:21 +0000 Israeli company Mobileye made history twice in the past three years: it went public in 2014, marking the largest Israeli IPO (initial public offering) in the US; and earlier this week, it was sold to giant chip maker Intel for a whopping $15.3 billion – the largest acquisition deal in Israel’s history, far surpassing Warren Buffett’s $6 billion acquisition of Iscar in 2006.

SEE ALSO: Intel Buys Mobileye For $15.3 Billion In Biggest Deal In Israeli High-Tech History

A developer of cutting-edge autonomous driving technologies – including pedestrian detection, collision warning systems, and others – Mobileye is now considered the leader in advanced driver assistance systems aimed to prevent road collisions.


A Jerusalem-based company that was founded in 1999 by Prof. Amnon Shashua, a researcher at the Hebrew University, and entrepreneur Ziv Aviram, Mobileye has already partnered with several leading auto makers. General Motors and Volvo, for example, are already offering the Mobileye system as a standard option in their new cars. The company also partnered with prominent car makers BMW and Volkswagen to manufacture the driverless cars of the future.

Despite one fatal crash of a self-driving Tesla car equipped with Mobileye’s autopilot technologies in June 2016, and a subsequent end to their partnership, Mobileye moved forward in full force.

Amnon Shashua - Courtesy Intel/Mobileye

Prof. Amnon Shashua, co-founder of Mobileye

71 million self-driving cars on the roads by 2030

Last summer, in what can now be viewed as somewhat of a telltale sign, Intel and Mobileye, along with BMW, announced they would be co-developing autonomous vehicles for the consumer market.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

According to a recent report by research firm Berg Insight, 71 million self-driving cars are expected to hit the road by 2030. That’s a huge market for Mobileye, and now for its suitor – Intel. In other words, Mobileye’s potential is worth much more than its current market cap on NASDAQ ($13.5 billion, after Monday’s 30 percent share price jump) and even its acquisition price, $15.3 billion.


One-stop shop for self-driving technologies

According to Berg Insight analyst Ludvig Barrehag, “the advent of autonomous cars is expected to have a tremendous impact on our society in several ways… The economic benefits are vast – the challenge is to succeed in making self-driving cars sufficiently reliable at a reasonable cost to enable commercialization.”

And that’s where Mobileye and Intel come in. Mobileye’s computer vision expertise, combined with Intel’s high-performance computing and connectivity expertise, could produce supreme automated driving solutions. The combined global autonomous driving organization, which will consist of Mobileye and Intel’s Automated Driving Group, will be headquartered in Israel and led by Prof. Amnon Shashua, Mobileye’s Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO.

“All the hottest technologies are developed in Israel”

According to Intel Israel‘s spokesman Guy Grimland, “Intel’s advanced computer chips are developed and manufactured in Israel; we also develop ultra-fast internet locally; our virtual reality revolution is happening here. And now, the autonomous car revolution will also take place here. The fact that all the hottest technologies are developed in Israel is a testament to Intel’s enormous appreciation of its Israeli branch. This makes me proud.”

Intel employs some 10,000 people locally, in manufacturing, research and development, and more. It’s one of the largest exporting companies in the Startup Nation.

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie

According to Uzi Scheffer, General Manager of SOSA, which connects Israeli innovation to international corporations, Intel’s “historic purchase of an Israeli tech company… is further proof that forward-thinking corporations are willing to invest the money and resources needed when they find the right innovative technologies. After years of hard work, Mobileye is showing that staying the course and making the right connections are key to obtaining success.”

The success of the founders will now trickle down to Mobileye’s employees (many of who hold stock options), and even to Israeli citizens, through taxes. While the founders and employees are expected to earn billions from Monday’s acquisition, the State of Israel will also realize taxes of at least $1 billion, according to estimates.

Netanyahu: “Israel is becoming a global technology center

Yesterday, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu spoke by phone with Aviram and congratulated him on the largest deal in the history of Israel, “which is a source of Israeli pride,” according to a statement.

“The deal dramatically proves that the vision which we are leading is being realized,” Netanyahu said. “Israel is becoming a global technology center not just in cyber but in the automotive sector as well.”

In a letter to Mobileye’s 600 employees, Aviram wrote: “Amnon (Shashua) and I will continue running Mobileye just as we have done in the past. We will continue to do what we believe is best for our business, our goals and our long-term vision.”

He further stressed that “combining forces will help accelerate our plans and lower our execution risks. We aim to become the leading team in autonomous driving. We want to make an impact on the world, and this acquisition will enable us to accomplish that. The transaction with Intel provides a huge opportunity to leverage each other’s strengths and move faster towards our long-term vision.”


Intel and Mobileye will compete against Tesla, Google’s Waymo and Uber, which all develop driverless car technologies.

The two companies will now compete together against Tesla, Google’s Waymo and Uber, which all develop driverless cars. By joining forces, Mobileye and Intel “can enhance and accelerate our combined know-how in the areas of mapping, virtual driving, simulators, development tool chains, hardware, data centers and high-performance computing platforms,” Aviram said in a statement. “Together, we will provide an attractive value proposition for the automotive industry.”

Intel is also looking forward to leading the autonomous car sector into the future: “I can’t wait to begin working with the combined global autonomous driving organization,” Brian Krzanich, Intel CEO, wrote to his employees. “As you’ve heard me say, others predict the future. At Intel, we build it. This is not the first time we’ve taken bold steps that have transformed our future, the industry and the impact of technology on the world.”

He adds that the Mobileye acquisition “puts us in the driver’s seat to achieve our vision of creating the technology foundation on which the future of autonomous driving will be built.”

Photos and video: Intel, Mobileye

Intel Buys Mobileye For $15.3 Billion In Biggest Deal In Israeli High-Tech History Mon, 13 Mar 2017 11:43:55 +0000 Computer chip giant Intel has agreed to buy Israeli autonomous driving company Mobileye for $15.3 billion, the biggest tech deal in Israel’s history.

“Mobileye brings the industry’s best automotive-grade computer vision and strong momentum with automakers and suppliers,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

“Together, we can accelerate the future of autonomous driving with improved performance in a cloud-to-car solution at a lower cost for automakers.”

Mobileye is the world leader in advanced driver assistance systems aimed to prevent road collisions, paving the future for driverless cars. Last year, Mobileye already partnered with Intel and BMW on a project to deploy 40 autonomous vehicles for testing on the roads later this year.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

Intel and Mobileye also partnered with UK’s Delphi Automotive, an automotive parts manufacturing company, late last year.

Mobileye’s co-founder and chairman Prof. Amnon Shashua said earlier this year that “together with BMW Group and Intel, Mobileye is laying the groundwork for the technology of future mobility that enables fully autonomous driving to become a reality within the next few years.”

Founded in 1999 with a mission to reduce vehicle injuries and fatalities, Mobileye was listed in 2014 on the New York Stock Exchange, where its market capital is now $10.6 billion. The company’s technology is used by traditional car makers competing with the likes of Google, Apple and Tesla on autonomous vehicles.

Intel, which has lost the advantage in the chip market to its competitor Qualcomm, has been actively looking to acquire technologies that will give the company an edge. As cars progress from assisted driving to fully autonomous, they are increasingly becoming data centers on wheels. “Intel expects that by 2020, autonomous vehicles will generate 4,000 GB of data per day, which plays to Intel’s strengths in high-performance computing and network connectivity,” the company’s statement said.

By buying Israeli company Mobileye, Intel is also expanding its investment in Israel, where it currently employs 10,000 people.

Mobileye founders amnon shashua ziv aviram

Mobileye founders Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram

Photos: Courtesy

Bridges For Peace: Can The Startup Nation Be An Incubator For Palestinian Tech Entrepreneurs? Sun, 12 Mar 2017 07:09:41 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

When Sari Taha, 28, began his mechanical engineering degree at Birzeit University in the West Bank city of Ramallah, in the back of his mind he knew this would mean he’d be looking for a job in Saudi Arabia or the United Arab Emirates four years later.

Taha did not manage to land a job in the Gulf. Instead, he worked for a short stint in a local construction company before landing a job for six months in Nigeria. Afterwards, he returned home, to work in the restaurant management business. Finally, he decided he was going to go back to school to study business at the Technion Institute in Haifa.

SEE ALSO: Unique MIT-Backed Program Uses Technology To Bridge Gaps Between Israeli And Palestinian Youths

The city of Rawabi has been earmarked to host a new tech park.

Sari’s troubles are part of a much larger challenge for young Palestinians looking to break into the tech market.

Palestinian universities produce around 2,000 IT graduates annually, according to a 2014 Paltrade report. But there are not enough jobs for them in the West Bank, nor according to the report, are these graduates “adequately skilled” to work in the local Palestinian IT market. The result is that most grads need look for jobs in the Gulf. And competition there is fierce.

Fast-forward four years and Taha has sold his shares in a tech startup he cofounded and is now busy putting together the first-ever Palestinian tech park, which he hopes to transform into a Silicon Valley of the West Bank. The city of Rawabi — the first pre-planned Palestinian city touted as an example for what can be achieved in a future Palestinian state — has been earmarked to host the park.

SEE ALSO: Israelis, Palestinians Join Forces To Explore Local Flowers To Combat Cancer, Diabetes

The fortunes of Taha, an East Jerusalemite, were changed by the Palestinian Internship Program (PIP), a three-year old USAID funded initiative that handpicks Palestinian IT graduates and sends them on internships in multinational companies and Israeli startups.

The aim is for these Palestinian interns to soak up the knowledge of how to operate a successful and competitive tech startup and bring this knowledge back home to help build a Palestinian high-tech sector.

Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) interns

Palestinian Internship Program (PIP) fellows

To read the full article, click here

Photos: PIP, Rawabi City

World Wildlife Day: Israeli Navigation App Waze Saves Animals From Becoming Roadkill Thu, 02 Mar 2017 08:35:09 +0000 Every year, thousands of animals are killed on Israel’s roads by unsuspecting drivers, and sadly, there’s not much the average driver can do about it. But now, thanks to a new initiative utilizing Israeli popular navigation app Waze, motorists can help save innocent animals from becoming roadkill.

Just in time for the United Nations World Wildlife Day, observed annually on March 3, Waze and the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) have joined forces to help save road-crossing animals. The program involves maximizing the use of an existing reporting function on the Waze app – the “Roadkill” button. When Israeli Waze users report a dead animal they see on the side of the road, SPNI will gather that data and use it to determine the country’s most dangerous spots for wildlife in order to find solutions for their safe passage.

deer, SPN, waze

A deer watches passing cars at the edge of an Israeli road.

“Putting our wildlife in grave danger”

“Israel’s transportation infrastructure continues to expand rapidly, providing thousands of kilometers of roads that allow humans to travel conveniently from place to place, but these same roads are putting our wildlife in grave danger,” Shmulik Yedvab, Director of SPNI‘s Mammals Center, said in a statement. “For gazelles, porcupines, badgers, turtles, hyenas, otters and many other species, crossing the road often results in death.”

SEE ALSO: GPS App Waze Announces New Alerts On Kidnappings, Hit-And-Runs

A major Israeli roadway fragments the natural habitats of the local wildlife population.

The increasing awareness regarding the risks roads pose to wild animals has led Israeli road planners to build special passages for animals when building new roads or expanding and upgrading existing ones. However, there are still no viable solutions on dozens of existing roads across the country.  It is for this reason that SPNI’s new campaign with Waze is so essential.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Group Saves Endangered Peruvian Ape

SPNI and Waze soft-launched the program in November 2016, and have been testing it ever since. Over the past four months, Waze users have embraced the app’s new function, with hundreds of reports streaming in monthly. In January alone, the Waze community of drivers logged 1,416 roadkill reports.

Just a few simple clicks

The public can ensure the success of this important campaign by being vigilant about reporting roadkill. After clicking the circular orange report icon within the Waze app, users should select the yellow triangular “Hazard” symbol, followed by “On road” and “Roadkill.”

Waze, Roadkill, SPNI

Waze roadkill icon

Using the accumulated data, SPNI experts will create a ‘Wildlife Red Roads Atlas’ and work towards reaching a profound conclusion as to which animal species are run over most and why, and what can be done to reduce the number of animal deaths and human injuries.

Expanding to additional countries 

Founded by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar in 2007, Waze was acquired by Google in 2013 for $1.3 billion.

The Waze-SPNI program is currently only available in Israel, but if other wildlife organizations follow SPNI’s lead, Israeli environmentalists believe that it could be adopted in other countries as well.

Photos: SPNI/Dov Greenblat, Waze, Government of of Alberta

Eddy The Robot Helps You Grow Veggies At Home With Hydroponic Farming Wed, 01 Mar 2017 12:20:38 +0000 With just a tank, pipes and a pump, anyone can now grow their own vegetables at home. Hydroponic farming allows you to grow crops using nutrient-rich water in place of soil. And with some hydroponic farm kits selling for less than $100, you too could become an urban farmer.

However, this agricultural technique requires a certain degree of expertise in order to work. Now, Israeli AgTech startup Flux wants to simplify hydroponics with a unique, compact robotic farming assistant called Eddy.

A child of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) revolution, Eddy is a smart gadget equipped with sensors and Wi-Fi connectivity. As it floats in the water tank of a hydroponic system, it is able to measure key growing conditions, such as the pH levels and nutrient content of the water, as well as the surrounding temperature. It wirelessly communicates this information to the grower through a smartphone app, allowing users to monitor their crops anytime, anywhere.

Fresh food in the city

In addition, Eddy can advise growers on steps they should take to improve the health of their crops, giving them the leafiest lettuce and the most succulent strawberries, according to Flux. This small robot can also tell you which plants are compatible to be grown together, what nutrients should be added to the water, when to turn the lights on in an indoor farm, and other useful instructions.

Eddy’s advice is grounded in the experience of Flux’s hydroponics experts – wittily dubbed “Grow Gurus” – as well as a host of data collected from Eddy’s sensors, photos of the crops (taken by the grower), and even the grower’s nutritional preferences.

eddy hydroponic robot by flux

“People with different dietary restrictions can manipulate the nutritional content of their crops through controlled growing,” Flux Founder Karin Kloosterman tells NoCamels. Eddy also connects you to other growers, forming a community of like-minded farmers who can offer valuable tips based on their experience. “Eddy is always learning, like an organism that evolves,” she says.

“Bathing in a chemical stew” 

A major reason why people turn to organic produce or grow their own fruits and veggies is pesticides. “Pesticides are over-exploited by the conventional agricultural system,” says Kloosterman, who has been interested in food production and environmental issues since she was young. “These nasty chemicals destroy the soil and enter our food. We are bathing in a chemical stew.”

eddy hydroponic robot by flux

Hydroponic farming doesn’t require pesticides, since pests are usually soil-borne. Another advantage of the system is that its water usage is reduced, since water is recycled throughout the hydroponic system. Hydroponic farming is also more space-efficient than conventional farming, which makes urban farming possible. That’s why Kloosterman is so passionate about promoting this form of alternative farming.

Flux joins a growing list of Israeli companies that want to disrupt agriculture, such as GreenWall, which builds vertical gardens, and Phytech, which provides plant monitoring systems for conventional farming, to name a few.

SEE ALSO: Can Vertical Gardens End World Hunger?

With the rise of other companies working towards “smart farms” – such as Grownetics, Agrilyst and CropX – how does Eddy stand out in the field of AgTech? Kloosterman believes that Eddy’s competitive edge lies in its advanced sensor hardware, which is designed by former military experts.

The startup also intends to constantly improve its expertise in hydroponic farming by using Big Data. As Flux aggregates large amounts of data from Eddy units placed in different farms around the world, it will process these data using advanced algorithms to predict and optimize patterns of crop growth. According to Kloosterman, this data will also be made publicly available.

SEE ALSO: Revolutionary Rooftop Farm Grows Organic Veggies Sans Soil In The Heart of Tel Aviv

eddy app

Eliminating food insecurity? 

Founded in 2014, the eight-employee startup has offices in Tel Aviv, Dallas and Boulder, Colorado. Kloosterman declined to discuss the company’s financial standing, but according to media reports, it raised $270,000 in seed funding, and is now securing its Series A funding.

Priced at $179, Eddy is expected to hit the stores in the US in a few months. While the first model of Eddy monitors crops and advises growers, future models will include a control system which will allow Eddy to make changes to the growing environment automatically – almost like a self-driving farm.

Clearly, Eddy has the potential to increase the world’s food supply through urban farming, but it is not a silver-bullet solution to world hunger. “Our solution is a patch-up while the world’s food system is falling apart,” Kloosterman admits. “But Eddy can inspire people to start thinking differently about their food.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

X-Ray Vision: Israeli Researcher Sees Through Surfaces Using A Smartphone Tue, 28 Feb 2017 11:55:20 +0000 Several technologies, such as X-ray, ultrasound, CT and MRI, allow us to see through surfaces. But now, a new light-based technology developed in Israel could take us one step further.

Instead of using a large x-ray machine, and potentially being exposed to radiation, we can now see through semi-opaque surfaces using only a smartphone. Developed at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, this new light technology allows us to see through surfaces by analyzing the scattering of the light.

This preliminary research could in the future revolutionize science by enabling better microscope images, but could also help in diagnosing diseases in a noninvasive way, since our skin is considered a semi-opaque surface.

SEE ALSO: SCiO Is On Its Way To Revolutionizing Our Interaction With The Physical World


Semi-opaque glass

When light hits an opaque surface like frosted glass, it scatters, becomes jumbled and we can’t interpret what’s hiding behind the surface. Historically, researchers have thought light scattering to be totally random: If we can’t see properly past the surface, then we can’t receive information from it.

“Getting information from something that looks completely informationless”

But the new research out of the Hebrew University tells a different story. Light scattering is not random, and can in fact give us much information with proper analysis. “We are fascinated by the idea of getting information from something that looks completely informationless,” Dr. Ori Katz, who leads the study, tells NoCamels.

Katz, who heads the university’s Advanced Imaging Lab in the Applied Physics Department, is fascinated by this new way of using light to see through surfaces – and even skin. Katz and his team recently used a smartphone camera to take a photo of an object hidden behind a frosted glass window.

“What you see in the image we took is only a blurred halo of the light that comes from the object,” he explains. “But by carefully analyzing the correlations in the image, we could retrieve the shape of the object.” In other words, the light in the image actually revealed more about the object than the camera or the eye initially perceived.

SEE ALSO: Bats Combine Echolocation And Vision To Rule The Skies

Looking deep into the body

Katz imagines a world of future possibilities in just a few years, even in the security field. Think of any chase scene you see in a movie, where a bad guy can hide around the corner and out of sight from the cops. Now, he wouldn’t be so lucky: The way light bounces off the wall could reveal where he is hiding.

That’s why the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is among the institutions offering grants to Katz’s lab, which is also funded by the European Research Council and the Human Frontier Science Program.


Among the best known superheroes with “x-ray vision” is the fictional character Superman.

While the technology is still being developed, a revolution could be underway soon. Says Katz: “This really triggers one’s imagination of what could be possible when light is scattered. You can look deep into the body. This is what really fascinates us and motivates us.”

Photos: Superman The Movie / Warner Bros.Titus TscharntkeRodion Kutsaev

Israeli Tech Helps ‘Jungle Book’ Snatch Visual Effects Oscar Tue, 28 Feb 2017 08:26:40 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The live action remake of “The Jungle Book,” a 1967 Disney classic, won the Oscar for best visual effects at the 89th Annual Academy Awards Sunday night in Los Angeles.

The film, a huge success at the box office, relied on computer generated imagery, known as CGI, to recreate the tale of Mowgli, the orphaned human boy who is raised by animals.

It also used Mellanox Technologies, an Israeli supplier of data center server and storage system solutions, which offers the bandwidth necessary to stream and distribute films like “The Jungle Book” and previous blockbusters, such as “The Martian,” “Gone Girl,” “X-Men,” “Godzilla” and other films that grow in complexity and pixel density each year.

the jungle book 2016 film

“Resolution and effects are getting more complicated,” said Eyal Waldman, founder, CEO and president of the NASDAQ-traded Yokne’am Illit company. “You need telecommunication that is faster; you need more bandwidth to watch movies.”

To highlight the animation and special effects nominees that use Mellanox, the company, known for some of its popular, unconventional online ad videos, made a special tribute video to what the 89th Academy Award nominees would have looked like without technologies like theirs.

It’s been about eight years since the film industry began using Mellanox for data storage, said Waldman, contributing to some of the industry’s best work on the screen, including “The Hunger Games,” “Spectre,” “Gravity,” “Guardians of the Galaxy,” and “Night at the Museum.”

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Disney/The Jungle Book, Mellanox

Virtual Travel Agent ‘RoutePerfect’ Lets You Personalize Your Dream Vacation Thu, 23 Feb 2017 08:14:55 +0000 Dreaming of Paris, Barcelona, Lisbon and then a quick jump to Prague? Israeli startup RoutePerfect makes planning your adventure easier than a choice between a buttery croissant and a chocolate-covered churro.

RoutePerfect’s free website features a simple, user-friendly platform that lets you decide what you’d like to do on your vacation – primarily in Europe. From historic landmarks to fun beaches, Israeli startup RoutePerfect can help you personalize your trip, while matching the type of trip to your interests, your travel partners, and even your budget.

Want more beaches? Yes, please. Less camping? No problem. You can adjust almost every aspect of your trip using an online “equalizer” on the company’s website.

“It all starts with our algorithm,” founder Boaz Lantsman tells NoCamels. “It allows the user total flexibility in their planning – so that each user can create their own, very unique itinerary.”

RoutePerfect also allows you to check how much the trip would cost when you finish planning – and even order the hotels directly. The online, multiple destination trip-planning service, which was founded in 2013, is now available in 90 countries around the world.

SEE ALSO: Planning A Holiday? Meet The Top Israeli Startups That Make Travel So Much Easier

Iceland by RoutePerfect


Lantsman founded the startup after trying to plan a family trip across several European countries – and finding the process amazingly frustrating, since there we so many resources to take into account – all in different places. An entrepreneur at heart, Lantsman quickly found that he was not the only one frustrated by the difficulty of traditional travel sites and books. He gathered a team, started brainstorming – and the rest is history.

“The travel agent of our generation”

“30 years ago, our parents would go to their travel agent, ping pong some ideas on destinations, based on their interests and what they want to see on their trip, and then this ‘travel expert’ would build the trip for them,” Lantsman tells NoCamels. “Nowadays, we’re dealing with the revolution of the internet, and online travel planning is changing the traveling culture entirely. That’s where we come in. We strive to be the travel agent of our generation.”

With a research and development center in Tel Aviv, as well as offices in London and Miami, the small startup of 17 employees says it has 3 million users. The company has so far raised $4 million from investors, including Cyrus Angel Fund, Elevator Fund, AltaIR Capital, entrepreneur Yanki Margalit and businessman Leon Recanati, according to Startup Nation Central.

Its business model is simple – the site is free for use, as is almost every trip planning site; RoutePerfect gets a percentage of the booking from the hotels. It claims to have earned millions of dollars already, although this claim is unverified.

While the website doesn’t offer flights, RoutePerfect works with over 300,000 hotels, and can offer significant discounts, according to Lantsman.

Sorrento Italy by

Sorrento, Italy

RoutePerfect has some major competitors, include Inspirock and Tripcreator, which feature a slicker design overall, compared to RoutePerfect’s cartoon-esque homepage. And, while RoutePerfect is flexible, interactive, intuitive and user-friendly, it is not as striking as its competitors, and still far from renowned names like Lonely Planet, which has a breathtaking website.

SEE ALSO: Literary Voyage: Location-Based App ‘Books on Map’ Brings Stories To Life

However, on, users can book their hotel directly from the site. And its mobile app is currently in the making.

RoutePerfect tourists viewing mountains

In the meantime, visitors to RoutePerfect’s website can read about top itineraries, including a romantic trip to Rome, Florence and Venice, or a family trip to small Danish towns.

So, are you ready to plan your next adventure yet?

Photos and video: Courtesy

SELFLY’s Flying Phone Case Takes Hands-Free Aerial Selfies Tue, 21 Feb 2017 12:01:25 +0000 Tired of stretching your arms to the limit just to take a selfie? Do cameras, tripods and selfie sticks frustrate you? A new Israeli invention that turns your everyday phone case into a flying aerial picture-taking drone may be just what the world needs! (LOL)

Well aware of the problems selfie takers face, Israeli gadget maker Hagay Klein created SELFLY, a pocket-sized camera drone that snaps snugly into a smartphone case when it’s not in use. SELFLY channels the power of smartphones to help selfie lovers take their photos to new heights – literally.

A remote camera

SELFLY is essentially a remote camera for your phone that can be snapped off your phone case and autonomously flies to capture amazing aerial photos. Launched in late January on Kickstarter, SELFLY’s crowdfunding campaign reached its initial goal of $125,00 in just five days, and has already more than tripled that sum with over $464,000 pledged so far.

SEE ALSO: New Drone Camera Percepto Follows You From The Sky To Film Your Wildest Moments

Utilizing the smart camera technology to take the ultimate selfie, SELFLY’s 9mm thin phone case uses high end stabilization and autonomously flies to capture amazing views, and even record videos from new perspectives. Users simply snap SELFLY off their phone, set it in the air, and let it do its magic – with no remote control system necessary.

SELFLY: “Your own personal photographer”

“Think of SELFLY as your own personal photographer which can take the greatest overview shots,” Klein, SELFLY’s CEO, said in a statement. “SELFLY can capture the most amazing moments from different aspects and fits right in your pocket – perfect for anyone who hates dealing with selfie sticks and drones.”

Imagine a camera that can stay stable in the air, just like a tripod. By manipulating the picture on your phone through the SELFLY app, just as users would with any photo, SELFLY receives flying orders in order to capture the best angle possible, including 360° panoramic views. SELFLY can recognize faces and smiles, and compacts and packages that technology into an accessory that can be used by everyone, every day.

SEE ALSO: Zano’s Micro-Drone Follows You To Capture HD Selfies From The Sky

The SELFLY phone case is designed to fit most smartphones used today. Compared to most drones, that cost upwards of $500, SELFLY sells for a much more modest price of $99.

Through the Kickstarter campaign, the company aims to bring the device into mass production so that soon anyone can carry a SELFLY in their pocket and capture any special moment, from any angle.

“Not flying a drone, you’re controlling your camera”

“We built this from scratch to be as convenient and as simple as it is to use a smartphone,” Klein said in an interview. “You don’t think about how to use your smartphone, you’re not afraid of using your smartphone, it’s just your smartphone. So until now you had on your phone a front camera and/or a back camera, and today you have a third camera but it’s a detachable camera that you can take off your phone, put it wherever you want. You’re not flying a drone, you’re controlling your photo. It’s as simple as that.”

Selfie, Selfly, drone

Photos and videos: SELFLY

Israeli Startup Pixtier Transforms Aerial Photos Taken By Drones Into Perfect 3D Maps Mon, 20 Feb 2017 10:07:08 +0000 Maps have traditionally been created by trailblazers who dared to venture into the unknown. Spurred by the same pioneering spirit, Israeli startup Pixtier aims to spearhead the next revolution in cartography.

The innovative company has designed a software program that can automatically transform a series of two-dimensional aerial photos into accurate, three-dimensional digital maps. These maps can then be used in urban planning, homeland security, virtual reality tours, and even autonomous vehicles.


“We want to create 3D urban maps and provide them to municipalities, city planners, architects and construction companies,” Dror Ouzana, CEO of Pixtier, tells NoCamels.

In order to create these 3D maps, the only input needed for Pixtier’s software is a series of aerial photos of a city. For instance, a drone can be used to take aerial photos of the Old City of Jerusalem. In a few hours, Pixtier’s software automatically generates an accurate 3D model of Jerusalem that can be analyzed and modified using modelling software such as AutoCAD.

City planners and architects can then use these 3D models for urban planning. “Today, architects plan their buildings in 3D using modelling software, but then there’s no map to place their plans on,” Ouzana says. With Pixtier’s 3D maps, architects can easily visualize their building plans in an accurate digital model of the city.

This technology is also useful for designing and building new city infrastructure. For example, the upcoming 5G network, the next generation of cellular data,will require antennas to be placed every few hundred meters in all cities. The only way to integrate this infrastructure into an urban environment is with the help of a 3D map, claims Ouzana.

Designing smart cities

After emerging as a finalist in the 3C Smart Cities Challenge 2016 in Tel Aviv, Pixtier was given the opportunity to help design a brand new smart city called “Croatá Laguna Ecopark” in  Brazil. Pixtier is currently working with a multinational team, including a group from Israel’s Tel Aviv University, to design a new city for some 20,000 people.

The company is constantly exploring new applications for its 3D maps – beyond urban planning. For instance, 3D maps can be integrated with VR technology to create virtual tours. In fact, Pixtier has already created a virtual tour of the Mar Saba monastery, just east of Bethlehem, complete with information derived from Wikipedia.


Mar Saba monastery, just east of Bethlehem

These 3D maps could also be programmed into self-driving cars. Using cameras, radars, and other advanced technologies, driverless cars can detect and avoid other cars and obstacles. But for navigation purposes, they need 3D maps with precise information about street layouts, traffic lights and roadside infrastructure.

Out-mapping the competition

While Pixtier is not a drone company – rather, a software developer – the startup’s groundbreaking solution is only possible thanks to recent advances in drone technology. The wide availability of drones on the market means that aerial images of cities can be crowd-sourced from drone users. Pixtier can create separate 3D maps based on different sets of aerial images from different drone users, and then merge maps of adjacent locations. Furthermore, if a new building is built in a city, existing 3D maps can be updated using new drone photos of the building.

SEE ALSO: Personal Delivery Drone Will Ship Goods To Your Location Within Minutes

Pixtier’s competitors include Google, Apple and Microsoft, which have offered 3D maps for several years now. There are also two other companies that offer similar automatic 3D mapping services – DroneDeploy and Maps Made Easy.

However, Ouzana claims that only Pixtier’s 3D maps can be used in modeling software like AutoCAD to plan new buildings. As for other drone-to-map services, Ouzana claims that existing services are oriented towards mapping agricultural plots or small construction sites, while Pixtier is the only company that can create large-scale 3D urban maps.

SEE ALSO: Delivering The Goods: Israel Leads The Way In Drone Innovation

With just three employees, the four-year-old company has raised $300,000 from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist. Besides its project in Brazil, it has also embarked on a project to map the city of Ramat Gan, Israel.

Ramat_Gan, Israel

Ramat Gan, Israel

Pixtier plans to retain ownership of the 3D maps it creates, and offer access to these maps for a fee. Ouzana declined to disclose the price.

He believes that demand for 3D maps and services will increase rapidly in the coming years. Reports suggest that Uber, Tesla, Toyota and Ford are some of the major corporations in search of 3D mapping technology like Pixtier’s.

However, he is aware of the intense competition to meet this soaring demand. “Someone will eventually have 3D maps,” he says. “We just hope it will be us.”

pixtier 3d maps drones

Photos and video: Pixtier, Godot13Someone35

Israeli Researchers Develop Method To Catch Smartphone Thieves In 14 Seconds Sun, 19 Feb 2017 11:57:42 +0000 An Israeli research team has developed a method that detects exactly how you press your touchscreen, so that it can identify someone else using your phone within 14 seconds.

Studies have shown that smartphone passwords are not enough, and can be easily uncovered by hackers, since most people choose passwords that are fairly easy to guess. Annually, more than 3.1 million Americans are victims of smartphone theft; and 68 percent of them aren’t able to restore all of the information that was stolen.

That’s why researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) wanted to find a verification method that detects each person’s exact touch patterns.

SEE ALSO: Your Headphones Could Be Used To Spy On You


BGU’s Liron Ben Kimon examined the information gathered from 20 users over a two-week period. Her model is based on how the users touch the screen while using the device – where they touch the screen, and how much of the finger touches the screen.

In addition, Ben Kimon’s model takes into account which mobile application is being used, since how one presses on the screen is different for each app – for example, you will touch your screen differently when typing a WhatsApp message, as opposed to scrolling up and down your browser. Moreover, since users often accidentally touch their screen, the model classifies a group of touches to identify a user, as opposed to each touch separately.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Cyber-Security Startups Are Battling The World’s Riskiest Online Hacks

Another factor that the model computes is the history of each touch – what was done on the device 30 seconds before the current touch, and more specifically, which areas of the screen the user touched, which buttons they pressed and what the electricity consumption was during that time.

The findings show that unauthorized users can be identified in 14 seconds – after fewer than 35 touches of the screen (on average, a user touches the screen 35 times in 13.8 seconds).

According to the researchers, a criminal who wants to steal information from your device will almost certainly touch the screen more than 35 times, since someone who is not familiar with your phone will have to touch the screen more often to get to the information.

In conclusion, Ben Kimon says that “differentiating the user according to how they touch the screen is a verification method that is hard to imitate, since a thief cannot steal another user’s behavior.”

The team has not yet commercialized its findings, but this may point phone manufacturers in the right direction.

smartphone password

Liron Ben Kimon, a data scientist at PayPal in Beersheba, conducted the research under the supervision of BGU’s Prof. Bracha Shapira, Prof. Lior Rokach and Mr. Israel Mirsky of the Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering.

Photos: Ciklum

3D Virtual Reality Therapy Could Help Repair Damaged Limbs, Israeli Study Finds Thu, 16 Feb 2017 09:32:09 +0000 A combination of traditional physiotherapy and cutting-edge technology may improve the motor skills and mobility of an impaired hand by letting the more mobile hand “lead by example” through virtual reality training, a new Israeli study suggests.

Typically, patients suffering from hemiparesis — the weakness or paralysis of one of two paired limbs — undergo physical therapy. “But this therapy is challenging, exhausting, and usually has a fairly limited effect,” Prof. Roy Mukamel of Tel Aviv University, who led the research, said in a statement. “Our results suggest that training with a healthy hand through a virtual reality intervention provides a promising way to repair mobility and motor skills in an impaired limb.”

SEE ALSO: Virtual Reality Therapy To Treat Fear Of Flying

physiotherapy, hands

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

As part of the study, 53 healthy participants completed baseline tests to assess the motor skills of their hands, then strapped on virtual reality headsets that showed simulated versions of their hands. The virtual reality technology, however, presented the participants with a “mirror image” of their hands — when they moved their real right hand, their virtual left hand would move.

In the first experiment, participants completed a series of finger movements with their right hands, while the screen showed their “virtual” left hands moving instead. Next, participants placed motorized gloves on their left hands, which moved their fingers to match the motions of their right hands. Again, the headsets presented the virtual left hands moving instead of their right hands.

The research team found that when subjects practiced finger movements with their right hands while watching their left hands on 3D virtual reality headsets, they could use their left hands more efficiently after the exercise. But the most notable improvements occurred when the virtual reality screen showed the left hand moving while in reality the motorized glove moved the hand.

Tricking the brain

“We effectively tricked the brain,” Mukamel says. “We manipulated what people saw and combined it with the passive, mechanical movement of the hand to show that our left hand can learn even when it is not moving under voluntary control.”

SEE ALSO: DouxMatok Tricks Your Brain

According to the researchers, this research could be applied to patients in physical therapy programs who have lost the strength or control of one hand. “We need to show a way to obtain high-performance gains relative to other, more traditional types of therapies,” Mukamel says. “If we can train one hand without voluntarily moving it and still show significant improvements in the motor skills of that hand – we’ve achieved the ideal.”

The researchers are currently examining the applicability of their novel VR training method to stroke patients.


The study was conducted by Prof. Roy Mukamel of TAU’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, along with his student Ori Ossmy. It was recently published in Cell Reports.

Suiting Up For Mars: Israeli-designed Cosmic Ray Vest Approved For Mars Trial Wed, 08 Feb 2017 11:38:25 +0000 While it’s far too early to speculate on who will be the first humans to travel to Mars, we may have an idea of what they will wear: An Israeli-designed space suit.

Together with the Israel Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, Israeli startup StemRad is suiting up to launch a trial of its new protective suit against cosmic gamma rays on the next flight of NASA’s Orion satellite.

If an initial experiment flight to the moon next year shows that the suit adequately protects the flight test dummy wearing it, StemRad’s suit may be used on the first manned flight to the red planet.

SEE ALSO: Mission To Mars: Israeli Scientist Prepares To ‘Live’ On Mars

Testing on moon mission to prepare for Mars

The German Aerospace Center is responsible for research into the effects of deep space radiation on the human body. As part of this research, Orion will be sent to the moon in 2018 with dummies on its deck, some of which will be dressed in StemRad’s protective suit, while other remain exposed. With the return of Orion to the Earth a month later, the dummies, which will be equipped with thousands of radiation detectors, will be checked under laboratory conditions, and the level of radiation penetrating through StemRad’s suit and absorbed by them, if any, will be closely analyzed.

The team will then make adjustments to the suit in preparation for the first manned mission to Mars, which NASA believes could be scheduled as early as 2121-23, although President Obama once said it could be achieved by the mid-2030’s. StemRad is cooperating in the suit’s development with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which is also involved in NASA’s program for launching a manned flight to Mars.

StemRad, mars, first responders

The inspiration: From Fukushima to Mars

The story of how this Israeli radiation protection suit was born began during a restless night experienced by Dr. Oren Milstein soon after the earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan in 2011.

Following the disaster, they began developing a suit designed for the rescue forces in disaster areas who are exposed to dangerous high-intensity radiation. A few months after the disaster, Dr. Milstein founded the start-up StemRad to developed a special belt to protect the pelvic area, which contains half of the human bone marrow. Because the vest protects the wearer from gamma radiation, the belt is now widely used among first responders around the world. It comes in all sizes, is 100 percent fire-resistant, and has specialized features such as reflector strips and ballistic resistance.

StemRad’s suit protects mainly bone marrow, the lungs, chest, stomach, intestine, and the ovaries among women. These organs are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation. The suit itself is made out of hydrogen-rich materials and worn like a vest.

“High intensity ionizing radiation destroys the bone marrow, which is the body’s factory for blood production, causing severe anemia, infections and cancer”, Dr. Milstein said in a statement. “Research has shown that it is sufficient to protect about 5% of bone marrow cells to lead to renewal and recovery.”

The main hazard to which astronauts flying to Mars will be exposed is radiation from solar flares. These flares are liable to continue for many days, and Orion has limited space for its crew to protect themselves from dangerous radiation when solar flares are occurring. The function of the suit is to enable the satellite’s crew to function normally if a prolonged solar flare emitting large amounts of radiation takes place.

SEE ALSO: If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli-Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure

Space Week: Making space accessible to all

The StemRad agreement was signed by Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger and German Aerospace Center Chairwoman Profesor Pascale Ehrenfreund during the 12th International Ilan Ramon Space Conference, which was held as part of Israel Space Week. The annual event include meetings with collaborating space agencies.

“Space Week is an opportunity to make space accessible to the Israeli public as far as possible and close to home,” Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said in a statement. “Israel Space Week takes this complicated field and translates it into an enjoyable experience.”

Photos and video: StemRad

Tel Aviv University In Top Ten List For Most Billion-Dollar Startup Founders Tue, 07 Feb 2017 13:00:02 +0000 Israel’s Tel Aviv University is among the top 10 colleges worldwide that have graduated the most founders of privately held billion-dollar startups, also known as unicorns, according to British business management firm Sage, which ranked the Israeli institution at No. 8.

Topping the list is Stanford University, which boasts 51 unicorn founders as alumni, followed by Harvard University with 37. Rounding out the top five list are the University of California (18), the Indian Institute of technology (12), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which graduated 9 founders of unicorns.

Overall, US institutions account for nine of the top 15 most popular universities among unicorn founders. However, with seven graduates who founded billion-dollar startups, Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) is placed at a better spot than such Ivy League schools like Cornell University [click table to enlarge].

unicorn schools by Sage

TAU alumni who have gone on to establish startups that are currently valued at $1 billion or more include the founders of Israeli cyber-security company ForeScout Technologies: Oded Comay, Dror Comay, Ori Naishtein and Hezy Yeshurun, who studied computer science and mathematics, according to Forbes Israel. Founded in 2000, ForeScout offers organizations the ability to see devices connected to their network and remotely control them.

Founders of Conduit, another Israeli unicorn, are also on the Sage list. Founded in 2005 by Gaby Bilczyk, Dror Erez, and Ronen Shilo, the cloud-based software company is now worth $1.4 billion.

Some founders of ironSource, an Israeli software startup worth $1.02 billion, also graduated from Tel Aviv University. The online software distribution and monetization company was founded in 2010 by Eyal Milrad, Omer Kaplan, Arnon Harish, Itay Milrad, Tamir Carmi, Tomer Bar Zeev, Tomer Bar Zeev, and Roi Milrad.

Tel Aviv University Campus

Tel Aviv University

The largest university in Israel 

With more than 30,000 students, Tel Aviv University is the largest in Israel. The public research university boasts nine faculties, 17 teaching hospitals, 18 performing arts centers, 27 schools, 106 departments, 340 research centers and 400 laboratories.

SEE ALSO: Unicorn Dreams: Who Will Be The Next Billion Dollar Israeli Startup

Some of its most notable alumni include author Dan Ariely, novelist Etgar Keret, screenwriter Gideon Raff, and the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

The Center for World University Rankings recently ranked Tel Aviv University 81st in the world and third in Israel in its 2016 CWUR World University Rankings.

Most unicorns per-capita in the world

In a separate report released this week, accounting firm Baker Tilly says Israel is the nation with the most unicorns per-capita in the world. The report includes unicorns that were founded by Israelis but aren’t necessarily headquartered in Israel.

Among the highest-valued unicorns founded by Israelis is WeWork, a shared office space firm said to be worth $17 billion, which was co-founded by Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann.

SEE ALSO: A New Kibbutz? WeWork’s Urban Community WeLive Could Revolutionize City Living

Miguel McKelvey and Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann, founders of WeWork

Another well known Israel unicorn is navigation app Waze, which was sold to Google in 2013 for $1.3 billion. Israeli content recommendation platforms Taboola and Outbrain, are also on the prestigious unicorn list, as well as Israeli taxi-hailing platform Gett.

Other privately held Israeli startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more include Tango, Houzz, Tanium, Compass, Actifio and Magic Leap, according to Baker Tilly, which says that in 2016 there were 183 unicorns in the world.

Shahar Waiser, CEO of Gett

Shahar Waiser, Founder and CEO of Gett

Photos and infographics: SageDavid, Tel Aviv University, Gett, WeWork

How Israel’s 3D Printing Industry Is Paving The Way To The Future Mon, 06 Feb 2017 09:24:42 +0000 The future has arrived. The ability to create a three-dimensional object using a simple printer is a reality in today’s world.

Merely three decades after 3D printing was invented, Israel is already the manufacturer of roughly 40 percent of all 3D printers worldwide, Ziv Sadeh, VP sales at Israeli 3D printing company Su-Pad, tells NoCamels.

The prices of these printers vary depending on their intended use and the quality, but many of them can now be purchased by anyone for use at home. While a consumer 3D printer costs a few hundred dollars, a professional printer – up to $1 million. But beyond their prices, the applications of 3D printing are very broad, used today to create anything from objects like toys and clothes, to sophisticated medical equipment.

3d printer

The process of 3D printing is relatively straightforward. A digital file of the desired item is created and stored on a computer, which is then sent to the 3D printer for printing. However, creating the file from scratch is very technical and can currently only be done by trained programmers. According to Sadeh, as 3D printers proliferate in the market, children will be taught how to do this programming on their own. But that’s a while away.

3D printing “live” organs?

In the meantime, physicians are already using these printers to create anatomy mock-ups, so they can get the clearest view possible and know exactly where to cut once in surgery. They also use them to create medical devices that can match the exact need of any patient at a fraction of the price in a fraction of the time.

Medical professionals are even looking for ways to create live tissue on 3D printers, which could one day, hopefully, eradicate the need for donors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

Human stem cells are already being 3D-printed in Israel by Nano Dimension. Founded in 2012, the startup has created a worldwide name for itself. In addition to manufacturing PCB’s (printed circuit boards) which connect electronic devices through conductive tracks, Nano Dimension’s breakthrough has been to discover how to print stem cells at high resolutions and high volumes.


Another Israeli company, Syqe Medical, is using 3D printing for medical marijuana purposes. Its Syqe Inhaler is a 3D-printed device used to inhale medical cannabis. In addition to being healthier for your lungs, the Syqe Inhaler can distribute the dosage of medical marijuana with a higher accuracy than a standard medical marijuana cigarette, according to the company. Marijuana cigarettes make it difficult for doctors to accurately measure how much marijuana to distribute.

SEE ALSO: World’s First Precision Medical Marijuana Inhaler Hopes To Remove Stigma Of Smoking The Green Stuff

The Inhaler is also said to eliminate the feeling of a “high” for patients, which some don’t like, while still relaxing the patient and relieving their pain. Last year, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – one of the largest drug companies in the world – signed a distribution and cooperation agreement with Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.

Another strong evidence attesting to Israel’s strength in 3D printing is the acquisition of Simbionix by the company 3D Systems for $120 million in 2014. Simbionix is considered a leader in 3D virtual reality surgical simulation and training. Just last year, the company presented its cutting-edge software for printing anatomical models that enables doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery. Using this innovative technology, the doctor can 3D print the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure on, and study it while holding it.

Not only plastic objects 

Israeli 3D-printing pioneer Objet, which was founded some 20 years ago, is considered to be Israel’s first major 3D-printing company. In 2012, Objet merged with American printing giant Stratasys, making it one of the largest and most profitable 3D printing companies in the world. The current CEO of Stratasys is Israeli Ilan Levin, who previously served as the president of Objet.

SEE ALSOIsraeli 3D Printer Company Objet Merges With American Stratasys

Stratasys, which has headquarters in the US and in Israel, creates 3D printers ranging in price from $10,000-$400,000; some of these are used by large corporations to create prototypes of their products.

But while most 3D printers use plastic, Israeli startup XJet, founded in 2008, is a pioneer in 3D printing using liquid metal, making the resulting product stronger and more durable.

These and other 3D-printing technologies developed in Israel prove the country is set to become a 3D-printing powerhouse in the years to come.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

Tel Aviv Among 10 First Cities To Incorporate Driverless Cars In Public Transit Thu, 02 Feb 2017 09:26:28 +0000 Israel’s bustling metropolis Tel Aviv is among a handful of cities worldwide to incorporate driverless cars in its public transit system.

Joining Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Paris, Helsinki, London, São Paulo and Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv will become one of 10 cities participating in a new prestigious program run by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, dubbed “The Global Initiative On Autonomous Vehicles.”

The program, which helps top cities prepare for the advent of autonomous vehicles, is designed for “leading global mayors, who will work together to prepare their cities for the emergence of autonomous vehicles,” according to a Bloomberg statement.

According to the city of Tel Aviv, it was selected to participate in the program “thanks to its many achievements in the field of transportation, and its global leadership in innovations and creative solutions to urban challenges.”


Google’s self-driving car

Participating in the program is an opportunity “to reduce the use of private vehicles across town. Autonomous cars could have a positive impact on the city if they can be used as part of our car-sharing system,” Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement.

Tel Aviv is the first town in Israel to invest in a city-wide shared vehicle fleet, and one of only a handful in the world. It is also the Israeli municipality that pioneered the highly popular city-wide bicycle-sharing system, called “Tel-O-Fun,” in 2011.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Revolutionizes City Transportation With New $26M Car-Sharing Service

The Blomberg program will provide experts and data to accelerate cities’ planning efforts, and produce a set of principles and tools that participating cities, as well as cities around the world, can use to chart their own paths forward. Over the course of the next year, the selected multi-city cohort of mayors will discuss and implement strategies to capitalize on the new technology of autonomous cars.

Shaping the future of transportation

“The autonomous vehicle revolution is here – and by examining the opportunities and challenges, mayors can lead the way in adopting policies that benefit citizens and communities,” philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Together, we can help shape the future of transportation.”

According to Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, “The development of autonomous vehicles has the potential to have a significant impact on cities in unexpected and dramatic ways.” The new initiative “offers an excellent opportunity for cities and experts to share knowledge and collectively plan, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life in communities throughout the world.”

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

In order to solve chronic urban challenges, and to improve the lives of citizens, the program will create a cross-sector public dialogue, with leading experts across a wide range of practice areas to help cities explore the intersections of autonomous vehicles with various policies and issues – from the opportunities that can be created in the areas of inequality and mobility, to the potential challenges autonomous vehicles pose to commuting and public transport.

According to a statement by released by Bloomberg and Aspen, “insights developed during the year-long process will help a broad network of cities proactively and strategically prepare for the integration of autonomous vehicles.”

Photos and video: Bloomberg PhilanthropiesMichael Shick, Shaula Haitner for PikiWiki

Netanyahu Hails Israeli Cyber Security For Making World’s Top Five, Clarifies Trump Wall Tweet Tue, 31 Jan 2017 15:46:26 +0000 In a speech today kicking off the world’s second largest cyber security conference, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu praised his county’s leading role in cyber security while also clarifying a troubling tweet of his own.

“We have met the goal I set of becoming one of the top five cyber security powers,” Netanyahu told the crowd.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Cyber-Security Startups Are Battling The World’s Riskiest Online Hacks

Addressing Cybertech Tel Aviv 2017, a conference and exhibition attracting over 10,000 participants from around the world, the Prime Minister also warned of the growing international threats in regards to cyber security and urged the international community to join together to fight this common enemy.

Netanyahu, CyberTech

“Today warfare has changed dramatically,” Netanyahu said. “With a click of a button, you can bring down nations to their knees very rapidly if you so desire and if you’re willing to take the risks, because every system can be hacked.”

Banding together to fight cyber terror

“What you see today is going to get a lot worse if we don’t band together,” Netanyahu warned.  “By working together we can more effectively defend against the force of terror, this cyber terror. It’s important to have cooperation between some governments, especially like-minded governments. We need to expand this and recognize that there is a core interest of the civilized countries and the democratic countries to protect themselves against cyber attacks. The more we work together, the stronger and safer we will become.”

SEE ALSO: Cyber Security Nation: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web

Netanyahu mentioned that he discussed the issue of cyber security with former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who serves unofficially as US president Donald Trump’s cyber security adviser during his recent visit to Israel, and that he plans to also raise the issue with President Trump during their upcoming meeting in the US on February 15th.

PM: Tweet not directed at Mexico

Netanyahu also took the opportunity to defend a tweet he wrote on Saturday commending President Trump’s plan to build a border wall with Mexico, stressting that it was misinterpreted. The tweet triggered an angry response from Mexico’s government, who demanded an apology.

“I take this opportunity to explain or clarify what I did and did not say in my tweet the other night,” Netanyahu said. “I thought you’d be interested in that. I did point out the remarkable success of Israel’s security fence. But I did not comment about US-Mexico relations. We’ve had, and will continue to have, good relations with Mexico. And I believe our ties are much stronger than any passing disagreement or misunderstanding. And in fact, I’ve had a long, fruitful and very friendly relationship with Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto and it will continue.”

Other keynote speakers at the opening session were Michigan Governor Rick Snyder, Check Point Software Technologies Founder and CEO Gil Shwed, and CEO of Cisco, Chuck Robbins. Robbins boasted that Cisco has acquired 13 Israeli startups and stops 19.7 billion security threats on a daily basis.

Chuck Robbins Cisco, Cisco

Chuck Robbins, CEO of Cisco

“Punching 200 times above our weight”

In his remarks Netanyahu also added that Israel receives one-fifth of all global investment in cyber security.

“We’re punching about 200 times above our weight,” Netanyahu said proudly. “There’s something here that defies numerical size.”

Photos: CyberTech 2017

Unicorn Dreams: Who Will Be The Next Billion Dollar Israeli Startup Tue, 31 Jan 2017 10:21:10 +0000 A popular new pastime in Israel’s tech scene is hunting unicorns. No, not the mythical horse-like creatures with one horn, but startups valued at $1 billion or more.

The unicorn craze started in 2013, when Google bought Israeli GPS-based geographical navigation app Waze for just over $1 billon. Other Israeli startup unicorns include marketing platforms Taboola and Outbrain, software delivery system IronSource, and app developers Como. Public tech companies worth $1 billion or more (which aren’t technically called unicorns, as they aren’t privately held) include collision-avoidance tech provider Mobileye, enterprise security firm CyberArk, and web development platform Wix, to name a few.

So, as we get used to 2017, we looked at which Israeli startups might become the next unicorns. NoCamels profiles some of the top contenders:

Zebra Medical Vision: Using algorithms to fight diseases

Zebra Medical Vision, is an Israeli deep learning imaging analytics company which battles cancer and other life-threatening diseases. The company recently announced the development of a new software algorithm using machine and deep learning for detecting breast cancer. According to the company, the algorithm provides superior results compared to current tools, reducing misdiagnosis and false alarms.

SEE ALSO: This Company Invented A Machine Algorithm That Diagnoses Breast Cancer Earlier

Headquartered in Kibbutz Shefayim, Zebra was founded in 2014 by Co-Founders Eyal Toledano, Eyal Gura, and Elad Benjamin and is funded by Khosla Ventures, Marc Benioff, Intermountain Investment Fund, OurCrowd and Dolby Ventures. To date the company has raised $20 million. According to the company evaluation website Zirra, Zebra Medical Vision is valued at $194 million.

Zebra. Zebra Medical

Zebra CEO Elad Benjamin

Sisense: Making sense out of data

Sisence sells business intelligence and analytics software that helps companies make sense out of huge amounts of data, ranging from manufacturing efficiency to inventory and sales numbers to warranty use and return levels. Their clients include Motorola, General Electric, Target, Lockheed Martin and a range of small and medium-sized businesses.

The company, which was started in 2004 in Tel Aviv by Eldad Farkash, Aviad Harell, Guy Boyangu, and Adi Azaria, now has offices in both Israel and New York. The company has raised a sum total of $94 million thanks to key investors Bessemer Venture Partners, DFJ Growth, Battery Ventures, and Opus Capital. Their estimated 2016 revenue is $50 million. According to media reports,  Sisense was valued at about $650 million before the latest round of funding.

“It was five guys and a dog in a garage, dreaming about impossible technology,” CEO Amir Orad recently said in an interview with Forbes. In 2010 they launched their software and have experienced amazing growth ever since. “This was a rocket ship,” Orad told Forbes.

Kaltura: Setting out to ‘videofy’ the world

Israeli open-source video platform Kaltura is well on its way to becoming a unicorn after it raised a whopping $50 million from American investment bank Goldman Sachs this summer. The investment brought the company’s total capital to $165 million, and its valuation to $500 million.

Founded in 2006 by Shay David, Ron Yekutiel, Eran Etam, and Michal Tsur, Kaltura’s open-source video platform enhances websites with customized video, and additional functionalities. Considered a mature startup, it has 1,000 paying corporate and educational customers – including Viacom, Vodafone, HBO, ABC, Turner, Warner Brothers and Paramount – whose Kaltura-powered video content is seen by 700 million people every month. Kaltura employs roughly 400 people in Israel and in offices around the world.

“Video is booming,” Ron Yekutiel, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “It is the favorite data type for communication, collaboration, teaching and learning, marketing and entertainment.” He added that Kaltura “is in a unique position to capitalize on this huge market opportunity since it provides the broadest set of video products and capabilities to customers across all industries.”

Similar Web: Web traffic stats at your fingertips

SimilarWeb is another possible near unicorn. Its mission is to overtake Alexa as the most popular service for analyzing web traffic. Founded in Israel in 2007 by Or Offer and Nir Cohen, the company provides websites and mobile app publishers with statistics about their own traffic and that of competitors. SimilarWeb has thousands of customers and works with some of the largest global brands including Google, L’Oreal, AirBnb and eBay. Their team is spread across seven global offices with over 350 employees.

SEE ALSO: SimilarWeb, Out To Beat Website Ranking Giant Alexa, Raises $2.5M

The company makes money by charging for its Pro tier, which starts at $200 per month for its most basic package and is based around modular pricing where you pay just for the data you need. It’s been reported that Similar Web has had deals that scale up as high as half a million dollars per month (other customers include large companies in the financial industry).

A year ago, the company announced its most recent funding round, a $25 million investment by Naspers, a South African media conglomerate. In total, Similar Web has raised $65.2 million. Although the company is not publicly disclosing its valuation, last year TechCrunch reported that a source close to the company said that it is $400 million.

Technology News: SimilarWeb Is Trying To Tackle Website Ranking Giant Alexa

Moovit: Know when the next bus is coming

Hate missing the bus and standing around wondering when the next one will come? Israeli app Moovit provides real-time information on the fastest public transportation routes (buses, trains and subways).

Since its founding in 2011 by Roy Bick, Nir Erez, and Yaron Evron, the company has raised over $81 million from investors including BRM Capital, Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Gemini Israel Ventures. According to the latest valuation, Moovit is valued at $450 million.

“We release a service in a new city every 18 hours,” Erez, Moovit’s CEO, told NoCamels. Through Moovit, he hopes to remodel the dismal patterns of transportation we are so used to and “drive drivers to use public transport and change the world.” In other words, Moovit has the potential to make our world much “greener” by making taking public transportation much more manageable.

StoreDot: Charging your electric car in five minutes

StoreDot, an Israeli startup that can charge a smartphone in 30 seconds, is also developing a battery that can charge your electric vehicle in five minutes. StoreDot’s new type of electric-car battery consists of proprietary organic compounds – based on the innovative materials used in its FlashBattery for mobile devices. This new battery will enable a charging experience which is similar to fueling a gasoline-run car.

SEE ALSOStoreDot, Which Charges Smartphone Battery In 30 Seconds, Will Soon Charge Cars In 5 Minutes!

According to the company, the EV FlashBattery enables full charge in five minutes, providing 300 miles (480 km) of driving distance. The electric vehicle will have a pack comprising of hundreds of EV FlashBattery cells that can store enough energy for a 300 mile (480 km) range on a five-minute charge. This translates into 60 miles of travel on a 1-minute charge.

Founded in 2012 by Simon Litsyn, Gil Rosenman, Doron Myersdorf, the company has raised a total of $66 million from backers like Russian billionaire Roman Abramovich, Samsung Ventures, and Singulariteam. When asked, StoreDot declined to disclose their valuation, but according to the Zirra website, StoreDot’s valuation stands at $483 million.

CheckMarx: Finding bugs, blocking security attacks

A major problem for all app developers is making sure their code isn’t loaded with security bugs. CheckMarx, another Israeli company approaching unicorn status, provides solutions for application security testing and application layer attack prevention. Their technology can also block attacks in real time and fix the code.


Founded in 2006 by Israeli cybersecurity expert Maty Siman, the company has raised $92 million in total, mostly thanks to a huge $82 million investment from NY-based Insight Venture Partners last year. With offices in both Israel and the US, Checkmarx has grown to over 150 employees. Although Checkmarx has not disclosed the valuation of their company, media outlets previously reported on negotiations for the sale of Checkmarx to Insight at an anticipated valuation of about $100 million.

Only time will tell if these companies, and perhaps a few others, will eventually reach the elusive $1 billion milestone. But one thing’s for sure – Israeli startups will continue to dream about becoming the next unicorn.

Photos and video: Courtesy

EU Injects €7.7M Into NanoPack To Develop Nanotech Packaging That Prolongs Food Shelf Life Mon, 30 Jan 2017 11:21:30 +0000 The European Union has invested €7.7 million in the Israeli-led project NanoPack, a new initiative to develop antimicrobial food packages for perishable foods, based on nanotechnology. These solutions could reduce the staggering 1.3 billion tons of food wasted each year, which cause major economic loss and significant harm to the world’s natural resources.

SEE ALSO: Phresh Keeps Your Fruits And Veggies Fresh, Saves Up To $400 A Year

In order to extend food’s shelf life, the team – led by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology – is using novel antimicrobial surfaces and natural materials.

“NanoPack will demonstrate a solution for extending food shelf life by using novel smart antimicrobial surfaces, applied in active food packaging products,” Dr. Ester Segal of the Technion said in a statement. “NanoPack will enhance food safety for consumers by significant growth inhibition of food-borne microbes, which in turn will prevent food-borne illness outbreaks and early spoilage.”

shopping supermarket produce wraps packaging shelf refrigerator

Applying the power of nanotechnology, the project will employ polymer composites based on natural Halloysite Nanotubes (HNTs) as reliable and safe carriers, capable of tailored release of bio-active payloads. Thanks to their size, HNTs are unable to migrate from the food packaging into the food.

Worldwide, a trillion plastic bags are used each year, nearly 2 million each minute, according to the Earth Policy Institute. Simon van Dam, Project Manager of NanoPack, tells NoCamels the team will also examine whether these new packages can be recycled.

Natural oils prevent disease

Maximizing safety, HNTs in the NanoPack food packaging slowly release tiny amounts of potent, natural and EU-approved essential oils into the packaging headspace. The oils exhibit both antimicrobial and anti-fungal properties and can be tailored to inhibit growth of most food-borne microbes.

The active polymer films developed by NanoPack exhibit broad-spectrum antimicrobial properties, without the use of nanomaterials such as silver particles, which have raised health concerns of toxicity and microbial resistance.

NanoPack intends to develop, scale up and run pilot lines in operational industrial environments to manufacture and validate antimicrobial polymer films that are commercially feasible and accepted by retailers and consumers alike.

SEE ALSO: Anti-Bacterial Packaging To Prolong Pepsi’s Shelf-Life

According to Segal, the three-year project, involving 18 research teams from European countries, is excepted to “present better-performing, safer and smarter products that will position Europe as the leader in food nanotechnology and smart antimicrobial packaging while increasing competitiveness and growth.”


NanoPack, which is led by the Technion, is funded as part of HORIZON 2020, the EU Framework Programme for Research and Innovation. 

Ticket To The Moon: SpaceIL Among Five Google Lunar XPRIZE Finalists To Attempt Moon Landing Wed, 25 Jan 2017 13:29:47 +0000 Israeli startup SpaceIL is now one step closer to the Moon. Its “Sparrow” spacecraft is one of the five finalists in the prestigious Google Lunar XPRIZE competition, reaching the final stage of this modern Moon race.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Study Solves Mystery Of The Moon

This achievement positions tiny Israel as a leading candidate to join the small circle of superpowers that have reached the Moon, including the US, the former Soviet Union and China.

The Google Lunar XPRIZE competition started back in 2007 with 33 contenders; the final stage – the launch of the spacecraft to Moon – is slated for December 2017. If SpaceIL successfully launches its spacecraft – Israel’s first on the Moon – it will win the competition’s grand prize, $20 million.

“Israel is going to be the next nation to reach the Moon,” SpaceIL‘s co-founder Yariv Bash – who sounds confident, yet far from cocky – tells NoCamels.


The first to sign a launch contract

SpaceIL is competing against four other teams: Moon Express (USA), Synergy Moon (International), TeamIndus (India) and HAKUTO (Japan). “Each of these teams has pushed the boundaries to demonstrate that you don’t have to be a government superpower to send a mission to the moon, while inspiring audiences to pursue the fields of science, technology, engineering, and mathematics,” Google said in a statement.

These are the only five teams that currently have verified launch contracts – with Israel’s SpaceIL the first to have reached that milestone. In October 2015, the Israeli startup became the first to announce a signed launch contract. The launch will take place on an American SpaceX rocket.

Yes, one of SpaceX’s rockets recently exploded, Bash acknowledges, but says: “This IS rocket science. Accidents happen. Everyone in this industry has had accidents. It’s a risky business.”

Shooting for the Moon 

Founded in 2011 by Bash, Yonatan Winetraub, and Kfir Damari, and backed by donations from businessmen Sheldon Adelson, Morris Kahn and Sami Sagol, nonprofit organization SpaceIL strives to land its spacecraft on the Moon, despite its being a lean operation, with only 40 full-time employees.

SEE ALSO: SpaceIL’s Mission To The Moon Says Its Chances Of Winning Google Lunar XPRIZE Are High

According to Bash, there are several reasons to reach the Moon: “First of all, it’s there. But also, as a curious human being, I’d like to study our universe.” He adds that the hype around going to the moon helped the US breed a generation of enthusiastic young scientists – a process dubbed “the Apollo Effect” – and SpaceIL hopes to achieve similar results in Israel.

“Israel is at the forefront of global technology,” Dr. Eran Privman, CEO of SpaceIL, said in a statement. “Emerging as a competition finalist enhances our team’s ability to shoot for the Moon.”

According to Kahn, founder of Israeli giant Amdocs and chairman of SpaceIL, this innovative, “history-making project… showcases what Israel can do, and how Israeli ingenuity is changing the world for the better.”

Human colonies on the Moon? 

Once launched, it will take Sparrow (this is a temporary name; “Golda,” after Israel’s former Prime Minister Golda Meir, is also being mulled) a few weeks to reach the moon. The spacecraft will then take photos and videos of its own landing, and study the moon’s history and its relation to earth.

But nowadays, the question on many people’s minds is whether humanity should have colonies on the Moon in the next few decades. Says Bash: “It makes more sense to live in large skyscrapers or on the ocean. It will still be easier to live on Earth, despite global warning.”

Moonset Viewed From the International Space Station by NASA

Photos and video: SpaceIL, Google Lunar XPRIZE, NASA

Israeli Tech Cuts Prescription Errors, Harvard Study Shows Wed, 25 Jan 2017 08:24:28 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A new study by Harvard Medical School shows that software developed by Israeli startup MedAware helps reduce prescription errors, potentially saving the lives of patients.

Ra’anana-based MedAware has developed software that uses algorithms and machine learning based on data and patterns gathered from thousands of physicians who treat millions of patients. The data are used to identify and give alerts about prescription errors in real time.

The company says its self-learning, self-adaptive system is proven to dramatically reduce healthcare costs while improving patient safety.

capsules pills drugs pharmacy hand

The Harvard study analyzed records from almost 800,000 patients to assess the efficacy of MedAware’s software. The report found that MedAware’s technology identifies errors otherwise undetected by current systems in use, minimizes the risks arising from fatigued doctors who are used to getting false alerts from current systems, and reduces prescription errors with high accuracy.

SEE ALSO: Harmless? Herbal Medicines Could Interfere With Life-Saving Cancer Treatments

The findings, recently published in the Journal of American Medical Informatics Association (JAMIA), showed that MedAware’s technology sets a new standard for prescription alerts and patient safety vis-à-vis traditional safety systems, which only detect a fraction of actual errors, and are not geared up to identify random or complex errors, like prescribing a medication used only in pregnant women for an elderly make, for example.

The current clinical decision support (CDS) systems that are used by physicians are not patient-specific and suffer from high false alarm rates — which create a phenomenon known as “alert fatigue,” in which physicians simply learn to disregard notifications, a statement issued by MedAware, which is a part of OurCrowd’s portfolio of companies, said.


To read the full article, click here

Photos: NIH

Israeli Wearable Tech Upright Improves Posture, Reduces Back Pain Tue, 24 Jan 2017 12:20:33 +0000 With many of us sitting at our desks for hours every day, poor posture has become an epidemic, leading to widespread backache and other ailments.

According to Israeli startup Upright, back pain relief starts with good posture. And that’s why its posture trainer, which discreetly attaches to your lower back, trains you to stand and sit upright. Every time you slouch, it gently vibrates, reminding you to correct your posture.

The gadget – which costs $130 – comes with a mobile app, tracking your progress and offering customizable training programs.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startups Take Major Medical Competition By Storm, Win Top Three Awards

A leading cause of back pain

Founded in 2012 by Oded Cohen and Ori Fruhauf, Upright Technologies claims that by training for as little as five minutes a day, you can correct your posture.

The small startup of 13 employees claims it could help us get rid of our habit to slouch in a very creative way. Its tiny silicone device is invisible when placed under your shirt. It connects to your back via scotch tape, and reminds you to sit up straight. The idea for Upright was born after Cohen’s mother had experienced constant back pain. “I promised her I would find a way to relieve her pain,” Cohen tells NoCamels.

About three years ago, the company raised $155,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, more than doubling its original goal of $70,000. Immediately thereafter, Upright Technologies sold 1,700 units to customers around the world – and realized they had hit something big.

Upright wearable device prevents back pain

Capitalizing on the wearable technology trend

“We’re riding on two big waves right now – the wearable trend and the wellness trend,” Fruhauf says. “Everything is becoming wearable – from the iWatch, to the Google glasses, these devices are becoming more accessible to the wider public. On the other hand, we’re utilizing the wonderful wellness trend sweeping the world – to be healthier, look better, and mainly feel better”.

SEE ALSO: Wearable Device Livia Promises To ‘Turn Off’ Menstrual Cramps, Alleviate Period Pain

Using the app, the customers build their personalized training plans for better posture. Input your weight, age, and the number of hours you sit during the day, and the app will build your plan for you. Once the device is attached, a gentle electrical pulse is transferred, and a light vibration is felt every time you slouch. The vibration’s intensity and other features can be adjusted.

In addition, a physical therapist can answer any questions in real time through a chat feature. According the Upright, the training program can help whether you’re wearing the device for five minutes a day for a whole hour.

“It’s natural for us to slouch sometimes,” Fruhuaf says. “Upright trains your muscles to have the ability to sit up straight whenever you like.”

According to the company, hospitals the world over are using the device to help their patients, and “raving customer reviews have been gushing in, claiming an incredible back pain relief.”

More productive and alert

Upright can also help in the workplace. Nearly half of the labor force in America suffers from head, back or neck pains, which negatively impact their ability to work, costing US employers about $7 billion per year.

According to a study recently conducted by Upright and Ernst & Young, after a few weeks of consistent training with the device, E&Y Israel employees improved posture and decreased back pain. As a result, more than half of the participants felt more productive and alert while at work.

Upright wearable device prevents back pain

Upright Technologies recently won the first-place award at the MEDICA App Competition for Best Medical Mobile Solution. The competition was part of one of the world’s largest medical trade fairs. Last year, Upright presented at CES, the largest tradeshow of consumer electronics in the world, held in Las Vegas. So far, Upright Technologies has raised $3 million from investors.

While several clinical trials are ongoing in the US and in Israel, Upright is pending an FDA approval. However, Fruhauf is optimistic: “We’re very lucky to have founded a company based on a product that can truly change people’s lives for the better.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

Microsoft, HP Team Up For Social Impact Hackathon In Israel Tue, 24 Jan 2017 11:47:48 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee in Israel (JDC-Israel), a humanitarian assistance organization, teamed up with tech giants like Microsoft and Hewlett-Packard (HP) for a first JDC Social Impact Hackathon to help vulnerable Israelis. The hackathon was held in Israel earlier this month.

Bringing together 100 programmers and designers, as well as 30 mentors from seven global tech companies, the Social Impact Hackathon used technology to create apps and programs to solve the challenges faced by at-risk Israeli populations like the elderly and people with disabilities.


Out of nearly 100 social impact ideas that were put forward, 21 were chosen to be developed, with three receiving top prizes. Participants worked in teams on tech solutions evaluated by judges from JDC, the tech industry, and the NGO sector.

“One of the hallmarks of JDC’s work in Israel is channeling cutting-edge innovation in a variety of sectors, like the booming tech industry, to ensure a better life for Israelis whose needs aren’t met by established social services,” said the CEO of the JDC, David Schizer. The aim, he said, was to work with tech leaders, the Israeli government and hackathon participants to “make Israel a better place for those living on the edges of society.”

SEE ALSO: Karate Kids Kick Cancer By Channeling Stress, Fear And Pain With Martial Arts

First prize went to Connected Community, an app for managers of senior communities to efficiently follow up with clients, prioritize goals, and manage emergencies. Second prize went to Yad2All, a platform for people with disabilities to access rental apartments via the web. And third prize went to IRemember, an app to help the elderly track daily medication schedules and family members’ birthdays.

The winning groups will continue the development process via a new social entrepreneurship hub set up by JDC-Israel and Israel’s National Insurance Institute.

SEE ALSO: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall

Elderly couple

“We saw some great ventures that hold potential for serving populations in need and can truly become valuable tools for JDC professionals in their work at the Social Impact Hackathon,” said Elion Tirosh, an early stage investor, tech entrepreneur, and JDC Board member, who served as a judge. “The atmosphere enabled everyone to engage in open, non-formal efforts to identify real life needs and find matching solutions that can solve their target population’s needs.”

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

Tom Brady Stars In Israeli Startup’s Super Bowl Ad For 360-Degree Replays Sun, 22 Jan 2017 11:14:35 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A recent ad by tech giant Intel starring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady highlights video technology developed by Israel’s Replay Technologies that will be used by FOX Sports in its upcoming Super Bowl broadcast.

Intel’s “Be the Player” technology will provide viewers with 360-degree replays of key moments in the game.

SEE ALSO: Israeli ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Joins Forces With Tech Company Wix In Super Bowl Ad

Using the tagline “Intel 360 Replay makes anything look epic,” the commercial features triumphal music and dramatic views of Tom Brady getting out of bed, brushing his teeth and eating a dropped pancake off of the floor.

The “freeD” system developed by Replay allows broadcasters to freeze video, rotate the angle of view and zoom in on the action. It has been used in other sporting events, including NBA and Olympics games.

For the Super Bowl, 38 cameras were installed throughout the stadium for the 360-degree reconstructions. Each clip will be around 15-30 seconds long and is around one terabyte of data.

SEE ALSO: NBA All-Star Game And Dunk Contest To Use Israeli Tech For Real-Time 3D Replays

The technology was developed by Replay Technologies, founded in Israel in 2011. Replay specializes in seamless 3D video rendering, allowing a viewer to see a scene from any angle as it would be seen live.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

Israeli Power Duo: ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Joins Forces With Tech Company Wix In Super Bowl Ad Thu, 19 Jan 2017 10:48:33 +0000 The most-watched American sporting event of the year, the Super Bowl, will be packing an extra punch this year thanks to a new action-filled commercial starring Israeli actress Gal Gadot, who also plays Wonder Woman in the much-anticipated upcoming Warner Brothers movie.

According to Wix, the Israeli company that enables anyone to easily create their own website, the 30-second ad (for which the FOX TV network is said to be charging over $5 million) will be broadcast in the fourth quarter of Super Bowl 51, which will be held February 5 in Houston, Texas. The ad is part of a broader campaign Wix is launching using YouTube Live and Facebook Live.

SEE ALSO: Replay Technologies’ ‘freeD’ To Deliver Real-Time 3D Sports Replays To Mobile Devices

Gal Gadot, Wix, Super Bowl

The Wix campaign features a series of short films, including the Super Bowl commercial, directed by Louis Leterrier, best known for his work on the action-adventure Transporter films, Unleashed, The Incredible Hulk, Clash of the Titans and Now You See Me. The films will star Gadot, who will be portraying Wonder Woman in a movie set to be released this June, alongside another “The Fast and the Furious” alum, British actor Jason Statham.

The first of the videos was released by Wix yesterday, and additional videos will be released in the days leading up to the big game. The main, 30-second TV spot, which will air during the Super Bowl, is still under wraps.

In the first Wix video of the series, Gadot and Statham fight bad guys in a restaurant while an unaware young chef is sitting in the kitchen diligently working on his website using Wix. The commercial ends with the tagline, “To succeed in a disruptive world, Wix makes it easy to create your own website.”

“The hero of the story is our customer”

According to Wix CMO Omer Shai, “the Super Bowl is an incredible platform to showcase our talents. Fans around the world will surely recognize some famous faces, but the hero of the story is really our customer. It is an ongoing narrative about Wix and our customers, and our message about always enabling our users in a world that is often disruptive, so that they can be heroes.”

SEE ALSO: Hollywood, Beware: Interactive Video Startup Interlude Lets Viewers Decide How The Story Will Unfold

This will be the third consecutive year that a Wix commercial will be shown during the Super Bowl. Last year’s Wix ads were a cross-promotional effort for DreamWorks Animation’s Kung Fu Panda 3; in 2015, Wix’s Super Bowl ads featured former NFL stars.

98 million users – and counting

With Wix’s do-it-yourself online platform, anybody can create and publish their own websites, with easy-to-use, drag-and-drop tools and templates. Their basic design (and domain name) package is free. The company currently boasts more than 98 million registered users worldwide, and its customer base is constantly growing.

Founded in 2006 by Giora Kaplan, Avishai Abrahami, and Nadav Abrahami, Wix is headquartered in Tel Aviv, with offices in San Francisco, New York and Miami, to name a few. With a market cap of $2.2 billion, Wix’s shares trade for $52 on NASDAQ.

Photos and videos:, Wonder Woman

Bloomberg Ranks Most Innovative Countries; Israel In Top 10 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 15:16:51 +0000 Israel, also known as the Startup Nation, is the tenth most innovative nation in the world, according to Bloomberg News, which yesterday released its Bloomberg Innovation Index for 2017.

Ranking 50 countries, the index is based on the strength of each country’s research and development; productivity; high-tech density; higher education; concentration of researchers; added value in manufacturing; and patent activity.

Israel leads the world in the number of researchers per capita, it is second in research and development, and the third in high-tech density. Overall, the Startup Nation ranks at No. 10 this year, moving up one notch from 2016.

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie


The most innovative nation in the world, according to the Bloomberg Innovation Index, is South Korea, followed by Sweden and Germany. Rounding out the top-five list are Switzerland and Finland; the US ranks at No. 9; France, Ireland, China and the UK are all ranked below Israel.

The least innovative nation, according to Bloomberg, is Morocco, at No. 50, with Argentina and Kazakhstan at No. 49 and No. 48, respectively.

SEE ALSO: World Economic Forum: Israel Is 2nd Most Innovative Country In The World

Bloomberg’s report comes on the heels of the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report, which ranked Israel as the second-most innovative nation in the world. WEF ranks countries’ competitiveness based on 12 categories, including innovation, technological readiness, business sophistication and higher education.

Stellar year for Israeli startups

Despite a slowdown in some areas, Israel had a strong 2016 overall, with startups raising a record $4.8 billion from investors, according to IVC Research Center. In addition, last year Israeli high-tech and startup companies were sold for a whopping $10.02 billion – to other companies or through initial public offerings (IPOs).

With the largest number of startups per capita in the world, Israel is home to 2,000 startups that were founded in the past decade; another 3,000 small- and medium-size startup and high-tech companies; 30 growth companies; 50 large technology companies; and 300 R&D centers of  multinational corporations, according to a report released recently by Israel’s Innovation Authority.

tel aviv

Photos: PikiwikiYderovan, Barak Brinker

No Pedal To Play Metal: Israeli Startup Rocks Music World With Wireless Sound Effects Touchpad Thu, 12 Jan 2017 10:26:17 +0000 “Are you ready to rock?” Electric guitarists have been shouting that out to excited concert crowds for decades. The call is usually followed by mind-bending solos enhanced by cool sound effects produced by effects pedals. Using cables, most musicians connect their guitars to several pedals, which they step on throughout their performance to get their desired effects.

Seeking to free guitar rockers from their pedals, Israeli startup GTC Sound Innovations has created the RevPad, an innovative wireless sound effects controller designed as a compact touchpad that attaches easily to any amplified instrument.

Shaking up the music world, the wireless touchpad, which can be affixed to any guitar, allows guitarists to select the desired effect using their fingertips, while roaming freely on stage with no strings (or wires) attached – literally.

SEE ALSO: JoyTunes’ Apps ‘Gamify’ Piano Lessons, Make Practicing Fun

“Why do I need to step on the pedal?”

Daniel Shavit, the CTO of GTC Sound Innovations, has been playing the guitar since 2004. “I bought an electric guitar and the teacher showed me all the effects pedals,” Shavit tells NoCamels. “And I thought, ‘Why do I need to step on the pedal with my foot?’”

That’s when he first conceived of the idea for a wireless touchpad that allows guitarists to choose sound effects with their hands while roaming freely on stage. The result, the RevPad, allows guitarists to transition seamlessly between sound effects in real-time without the need for bulky pedals and cumbersome cables.


Making its mark in music

“To our advantage, some aspects of the music world are frozen in the past,” Oded Elboim, co-owner of GTC, admits to NoCamels. “If you look at the world of guitar effects, maybe the sound has been improved, but musicians are still using old-concept pedals.”

According to Elboim, the RevPad was well received by world-famous guitarists like Steve Vai, Vernon Reid, Phil X and Ron “Bumblefoot” Thal, who was the lead guitarist for Guns N’ Roses from 2006 until 2014.

“The RevPad is pioneering the new wave of technology in guitar FX (sound effects) and controllers,” Thal tells NoCamels. Elboim claims that the RevPad is also suitable for bass guitars, and that famous bass player Billy Sheehan was impressed with the product.

SEE ALSO: Mini-Amphitheaters Clean Up Noise Pollution, Give Street Bands A Stage

The concept of a pedal-less sound controller is not completely new, but existing wireless products need to be connected to sound effects software installed on computers. In contrast, the RevPad touchpad communicates with the RevPad base unit loaded with at least 30 categories of sound effects with numerous parameters, providing a large array of combinations. In contrast, most pedals offer just one sound effect.

On the RevPad, musicians can program several effects on each axis of the touchpad. For example, a finger-swipe on the X axis gradually adds distortion and tremolo, and a swipe on the Y axis adds delay and chorus. Even tapping on the pad can produce different effects, like the wah-wah effect popularized by Jimi Hendrix in the 1960s. By placing the RevPad below the strings, guitarists can swipe and tap the touchpad in coordination with their playing. This new device, as opposed to pedals, allows free movement on the stage.

“Bringing new music to the world” 

The company sees its product as a game changer, similar to how the synthesizer revolutionized pop music, and the sampler machine brought forth Electronic Dance Music (EDM). “Music evolves with technology,” Shavit explains. “You can now do a lot of EDM motives in rock music. You can combine them together and bring new music to the world.”


GTC, an eight-employee startup, received $450,000 in funding from Israel’s Chief Scientist, and has raised about $1.5 million from private investors. The RevPad is currently priced at $1,399, and will be available in the US, Europe and Israel next month. The team predicts that it will begin sales in Japan in March 2017.

The device can do the work of many pedals simultaneously, and that’s why it’s about 10 times more expensive than a standard effects pedal.

revpad wireless guitar effects touchpad

Not for everyone 

The RevPad generated much hype at music conventions like the 2015 and 2016 National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Shows in California, as well as Musikmesse 2016 in Frankfurt.

However, the company has also seen its share of naysayers, who are averse to parting with their pedals. But although the RevPad can completely replace pedals, it has also been designed to integrate with existing pedals, so that musicians need not discard the familiar for the the latest innovation. “The RevPad is an aid,” Elboim says. “If you’re a conservative guitar player who thinks that the pedal is the best thing since sliced bread, by all means!”

Keep on rocking

What’s next for for the company? Besides preparing for the next NAMM Show in January 2017, the team is exploring new possibilities through collaborating with a Swiss electric violinist who wants to experiment with the RevPad. The team is also working on an upgraded version of the RevPad, as well as new pioneering wireless products that would enable the company to “keep on rocking”.


Photos and video: Courtesy

IVC Report: Israeli Hi-Tech Companies Raise $4.8B In 2016, A Record High Wed, 11 Jan 2017 10:30:19 +0000 Israeli private high-tech companies raised an all-time high of $4.8 billion in 2016, up 11% from the $4.3 billion raised in 2015, according to a report released today by the Israel Venture Capital (IVC) Research Center and law firm ZAG.

The report also stated that the average financing round, which has been constantly growing over the past five years, reached $7.2 million in 2016, 19% above the $5.1 million five-year average.

The fourth quarter of 2016, saw $1.02 billion raised in 151 transactions, down 8% from $1.11 billion in 202 deals in the corresponding quarter of 2015, but up 9% from $933 million raised in 140 deals in the preceding quarter. The average financing round stood at $6.7 million in the fourth quarter of 2016, similar to the past two-year quarterly average of $6.6 million.


Chart 1: Israeli High-Tech Capital Raising, 2012- 2016 ($m)

SEE ALSO: The New Normal: Israeli Startups Raise Over $1Billion For Third Quarter In A Row

IVC Research Center CEO Koby Simana explained in a statement, “As expected, 2016 ended as a record year in Israeli high-tech capital raising. However, despite the higher total amount, it was characterized by a smaller number of financing rounds, along with a higher average capital raising per round. When we looked into the numbers to try and explain the trend, we found what I would call a ‘B Crunch’ – a 30% drop in the number of second rounds closed in 2016 compared to 2015, while the number of earlier rounds slightly increased. This is a troubling trend for the Israeli VC funnel, since the majority of capital goes into later rounds – if there are no companies lined up for later investments, there could be a more serious issue later on.”

Fewer than expected financing rounds

The survey also revealed that, while capital-raising reached new heights in 2016, the number of financing rounds were fewer than expected, with 659 deals closed in 2016, marginally above the five-year average of 657 deals, and 7% below 2015’s record 706 deals. While the number of early rounds (seed and A rounds) increased slightly (5%), the number of B rounds dropped 30% and the number of later rounds – C or higher – was responsible for more than 60% of the capital, down 11% from 2015. B rounds’ share of capital raising also decreased, falling from 25% in 2015 ($1.07 billion) to 16% in 2016 ($743 million), while early rounds and later rounds generated more capital and took up larger shares than the year before.

Israeli VC funds invest $634 million

Israeli venture capital funds invested a total of $634 million in Israeli high-tech companies in 2016, slightly up from $627 million invested in 2015. In the past five years, Israeli venture capital fund investments steadily increased, from $482 million in 2012 to the current level. At the same time, their share of total capital invested has been decreasing gradually, from 26% in 2012 down to 13% in 2016, the lowest yet.

In the fourth quarter of 2016, $111 million was invested by Israeli venture capital funds in local high-tech companies, 44% below the $198 million invested in the corresponding quarter of 2015 and 20% below the $139 million invested in the preceding quarter of 2016. Israeli venture capital funds’ share was down to 11% in the fourth quarter of 2016, from 18% and 15% in the corresponding quarter of 2015 and the preceding quarter of 2016, respectively.

Leader in funding: Software companies

Software companies led capital-raising in 2016 with $1.7 billion, up from 2015 when the sector attracted $1.4 billion (32%), also placing first. Internet capital raising has noticeably decreased in 2016, when the sector attracted only $744 million or a mere 16% of total capital, compared twith $1.12 billion raised in 2015, when Internet placed second with a 26% share.

Outlook: Optimistic but cautious

Regarding the statistics presented in the report, Shmulik Zysman, founding partner of ZAG-S&W (Zysman, Aharoni, Gayer & Co.) was optimistic, but cautious “We expect the uptrend in capital raising activity to continue in 2017, though possibly at slower rates,” he said in a statement.


Photos: IVC, PikiWiki

Life In The Power Lane: These Roads Wirelessly Charge Your Car As You Drive Mon, 09 Jan 2017 05:44:38 +0000 We’ve all heard of electric cars, but how about electric roads?

While driving an electric car has many advantages; it’s 100 percent emission-free so it promotes clean air and costs less than fueling a regular car, the need to charge it often is a major drawback. Most fully electric cars on the market today offer a range of 75 to 100 miles, which is fine for most typical driving situations, but does not allow for longer trips.

Rather than simply attempting to solve this problem with larger, heavier batteries or by adding more charging stations, Israeli startup ElectRoad is taking a novel approach by creating special roads that charge your car while you drive over them.

SEE ALSOStoreDot, Which Charges Smartphone Battery In 30 Seconds, Will Soon Charge Cars In 5 Minutes!

ElectRoad: Let the road charge your car

Using specialized electromagnetic induction technology, the same basic principle behind wirelessly powering smartphones, ElectRoad powers electric cars with renewable energy while you drive. By supplying electricity to the car wirelessly from the road, ElectRoad removes the energy source from the vehicle, reduces the cost and weight of the car, and eliminates concerns about driving distances of battery-operated vehicles.

How does it work? Electric cars fitted with the company’s technology have contacts fitted onto their undercarriage that receive electricity when driving over the smart road. The smart road is designed to give the vehicles enough energy to power them, as well as to charge their batteries.

First priority: Buses

ElectRoad is initially targeting the public transit market. According to the company, a bus will be able to travel for up to 5 kilometers (3 miles) on a regular road after being charged on the electric road. In many European city centers, buses use special lanes. These lanes could then be fitted with ElectRoad’s technology to become smart electrical charging langes for electric public transportation vehicles.

“The electricity will come from renewable energy transferred to the road,” Electroad’s CEO Oren Ezer told Inhabitat in an interview. “This is a really sustainable solution. A battery for an electric bus can cost $300,000 and weigh 5 tons. If you remove the battery then the bus is much lighter and requires less energy. This technology is cost saving. If you compare it to diesel buses, it’s half the price. If you just start with public transportation it will save money and then you can open it up to taxis and trams. Payback is very fast.”

Testing in Tel Aviv

Founded in 2013 with the goal of reducing global emissions and offering a more cost-effective, efficient and cleaner way to travel, ElectRoad initially plans to target highly trafficked routes in dense city centers and on university campuses.

In May, ElectRoad announced it was partnering with the city of Tel Aviv to test their under-the-road electric charging beds. Together with the city’s municipality, the company embedded a strip of a road in northern Tel Aviv. They then carved into the asphalt and a chain of copper loops was inserted. The chain was connected to a power converter on the side of the road. The trial will test how the technology stands up to vehicle traffic and weather over time.

This year, ElectRoad also intends to test its technology on a public electric bus that will operate on a set route.

Electroad, Electric car, charging, wireless charging

Powering a vehicle in real time

In an interview with Haaretz, Erez explained that while other electric road technologies are only capable of charging batteries, ElectRoad can actually power a vehicle in real time, enabling electric cars to have smaller batteries, thereby making them less expensive and lighter.

Charging, wireless charging, electric car, bus, electroad

Photos and videos: ElectRoad

Flying Ambulance Drone Heading For Takeoff Sun, 08 Jan 2017 08:15:33 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

A revolutionary drone aircraft, big enough to carry people, could be whizzing through the skies within a few years, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

Manufacturers of the Cormorant, formerly known as the AirMule, hope to see what has been dubbed a “flying car” on the aviation market by 2020.

The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) has been in development for 15 years by Yavneh, Israel-based Urban Aeronautics, which envisions it being used as an air ambulance for tricky rescue missions in tight urban environments or for moving troops around the battlefield.

Weighing in at 1.5 tons, the drone can carry a payload of up to 500 kg (1,100 pounds), uses internal rotors to keep itself aloft and can zoom along at 185 kilometers an hour (115 miles per hour). It can be remotely piloted or set to fly autonomously.

A first solo flight was made in November 2016 and, despite some minor glitches, the company considered the sortie a success. It is now aiming to see the Cormorant meet safety and other standards of the US Federal Aviation Administration, an achievement that would open up global markets for the vehicle.


To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

The Coolest Israeli Technologies Wowing The Crowds At CES 2017 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 10:26:16 +0000 From wearable technologies to artificial intelligence, the Israeli delegation to CES 2017 is showcasing a wide set of solutions for the consumer electronics industry, some of which are truly game-changing.

According to the Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry, the Startup Nation is home to some 500 consumer electronics companies in a range of fields: mobile devices, smart homes and smart TVs, video and gaming, automotive, wearables, Internet of Things and more.

Overall, this year’s Consumer Electronics Show, held in Las Vegas this week, is showcasing 3,800 exhibiting companies, including manufacturers, developers and suppliers of consumer technology systems from 150 countries. Roughly 165,000 people are attending this year’s show, which runs January 5-8.

CES has served as the proving ground for innovators and breakthrough technologies, and is considered the global stage where next-generation innovations are introduced to the marketplace. The largest tradeshow of its kind, CES has been produced by the Consumer Technology Association for the past 50 years.

Here are some of the coolest, up-and-coming Israeli technologies at the conference:

SCiO: A molecular sensor built into a smartphone

Changhong, one of China’s largest consumer electronics makers, and Israeli startup Consumer Physics, maker of the SCiO handheld molecular sensor, unveiled the world’s first smartphone with a built-in material sensor at CES this week.

This smartphone will allow consumers to scan materials and immediately receive actionable insights based on their underlying chemical composition, such as the nutritional value of foods, alcohol content of drinks, purity of cooking oils, and identification of raw materials used in manufacturing.


This capability has the potential to change smartphones forever, just like the integration of cameras and GPS units have over the past decade. The smartphone is set to launch later this year.

Founded in 2011 by Damian Goldring and Dror Sharon, Consumer Physics has so far raised $11.5 million from investors. Backed by Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran (who invented the USB drive), Khosla Ventures and Israeli crowd-funding firm OurCrowd, Consumer Physics could very well change the way we interact with the world.

According to Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, Consumer Physics “truly brought science fiction to life. This new integration of their SCiO technology into the Changhong H2 phone will unleash a tsunami of applications that will allow users to better know and understand the world around us and to lead more healthy and productive lives.”

Beyond Verbal: Deciphering people’s moods 

Israeli company Beyond Verbal‘s cutting-edge, artificially intelligent technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time.

Having already analyzed millions of voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions.

The company’s technology can be applied in mobile apps, voice assistants, wearables, and a variety of other settings. Its software can also be integrated into existing products, helping devices and applications envision not just what users type, but also how they feel and what they mean.

SEE ALSO: Beyond Verbal’s Technology Interprets Trump’s Real Emotions

Founded in 2012 by Yoav Hoshen and Yuval Mor, the company has already been granted several patents and raised $10 million.

TytoCare: Telemedicine at your fingertips 

Imagine you could skip the waiting time for a doctor’s appointment and also save the money you would have paid for the visit.

Israeli startup TytoCare has developed an innovative hand-held instrument, called Tyto, which can detect and classify common diseases such as the flu or ear infections. The kit includes a stethoscope, an otoscope and a computer-vision camera that helps the user diagnose the problem. In case a doctor is needed, the device can also be used to connect with a specialist for a remote consultation.

Founded by Dedi Gilad and Ofer Tzadik in 2012, the company has raised $18.5 million so far, with major drugstore chain Walgreens among its investors.

Radiomize: Reducing car accidents 

We all know texting while driving is dangerous, yet we still do it – we just can’t help ourselves. But safety doesn’t need to be comprised.

Founded in April 2015 by Shmuel Kaz and Gilad Landau, Israeli startup Radiomize works to reduce car accidents. Radiomize has created a steering wheel cover embedded with text-to-speech technology and a matching mobile app. This patented gadget fits most vehicles, allowing drivers to control their phones without taking their focus off the road. According to Radiomize, its technology can reduce distracted driving by 23 percent.

And, it can even help you choose your music without taking your eyes off the road.

Digisense: Monitoring infants and the elderly 

Founded by Eyall Abir in 2010, Digisense has developed a wearable, real-time monitoring solution for babies and the elderly, designed to respond to the needs of infants and geriatric patients.

The gadget, which clasps onto a diaper, helps prevent sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). It monitors hydration levels, urine quantity and quality, and minimizes irritation to the skin. For the elderly, this wearable device monitors quality of care, while empowering confidence, independence and dignity.

For use at home, hospitals or nursing homes, the device can be attached (using Velcro) to any diaper or cloth. This Internet of Things (IoT) device is noninvasive and provides data through an app. It can even tell you when the diaper is wet and the baby needs changing.

Mobileye’s most complex autonomous drive

As opposed to the budding startups featured above, Mobileye has been around for nearly two decades (founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Prof. Amnon Shashua); but its newest technologies being showcased at CES this week simply cannot be ignored.

Delphi Automotive and Israeli company Mobileye are presenting their cutting-edge driverless car at the show. Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver assistance systems that help prevent collisions, has contributed its innovative autonomous driving technologies to Delphi’s car.

Last month, the companies said they would hold the “most complex automated drive ever publicly demonstrated” in Las Vegas. The drive will tackle everyday driving challenges like highway mergers, congested city streets with pedestrians, cyclists and a tunnel.

Additionally, Mobileye, BMW and Intel announced at CES today that they will have 40 autonomous test vehicles on the roads by the second half of 2017.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

Laughter Is The Best Medicine: PowToon Brings Cartoons And Doctors To Remote African Tribe Wed, 04 Jan 2017 11:26:53 +0000 To children, animation is a universal language. Put a child in front of a cartoon in Chinese or French, and they somehow still manage to get the message and giggle at the gags.

So why is animation such a powerful tool? Are we brought up to love cartoons through countless hours of watching Saturday morning TV, or is it truly a universal language that everyone can instinctively relate to? To answer those questions, one would need to show a cartoon to someone who had never seen one before and observe the effects. But where in this day and age can you find a person who didn’t grow up watching the likes of Mickey Mouse, Bugs Bunny or Dora the Explorer?

A delegation from PowToon, the creator of software that lets anyone create their own animated videos and presentations, recently traveled to a remote African tribe in Tanzania to introduce the locals to animation for the very first time.

PowToon CEO Ilya Spitalnik, COO Daniel Zaturansky and Marketing Manager Talia Finn-Jakar, met the Hadzabe Tribe, who are technologically isolated and have never seen cartoons before.

SEE ALSO: Spreading Israeli Tech Throughout Africa, Sivan Ya’ari Transforms The Lives Of Millions

Animation & laughter: Universal languages

“From the first moment we opened PowToon, and they saw cartoons for the first time, the entire tribe was in fits of laughter,” Spitlanik wrote on the company’s blog. “It turned out that I was now their designated entertainer and stand up comedian. I made a Powtoon about a Hadza man making fire in the middle of the screen. One of the members of the tribe pointed out that the fire was burning the man’s legs. In response, I made the fire huge! This was met with raucous laughter from everyone. We were literally rolling on the ground laughing. The adults were cracking up, and the children wanted to know how they could get inside the screen. The connection was instantaneous, the laughter was infectious. Even though the members of this tribe did not grow up with Saturday morning cartoons – they immediately connected to this form of art.”

After making another Powtoon about the tribe’s coming of age ritual, Akko, one of the younger members of the tribe, wanted to try PowToon out for himself. He had seen Spitalnik use the touchpad to move the mouse on the screen and copied his movements. “The gentleness with which he manipulated the touchpad on my Macbook was extraordinary,” Spitalnik wrote. “He was adding assets to the stage, and created a scene where a Hadza girl is picking berries, and a hunter shoots arrows at a target. In the final scene, Hadza children are waving goodbye to us.”

“We were way beyond the scope of our mission,” Spitalnik wrote. “We only really wanted to see if cartoons would resonate with people who didn’t grow up with them. But this was truly incredible! Forget about watching animation, here was someone who had never seen a computer in his life, creating a Powtoon within minutes.”

Biggest medical need: Eye doctors

The PowToon team also learned that the main medical ailment afflicting the tribe is that many of them have sensitive eyes due to the dust and lack of clean water. The visitors requested if they could bring doctors to the tribe to treat them. Fortunately, the bonding experience they just had with the tribe helped build enough trust to allow the team to bring in much-needed medical aid to the tribe in the form of local eye doctors.

Although reluctant at first, slowly, individual tribe members allowed the doctors to treat them. When the doctors examined Akko, they noticed that he had some scarring and a damaged cornea. He had scratched his cornea on a branch on one of his hunting trips and was now unable to see well, especially in daylight. Within minutes, the doctors had treated him, prescribed glasses and ointments, and Akko’s face lit up. “I can see! I can see! I’m going to be the best hunter that ever lived!!” he exclaimed.

By the end of the day, many Hadza were walking around with glasses and eye medicine.

As a result of their emotional experience, PowToon has committed to continue to care for the needs of the Hadza tribe by working with local doctors to deliver ongoing medical care and food.

Powtoon, Africa

Anyone can create an animated video

Launched in 2012 by co-founders Spitalnik and Zaturansky, PowToon’s mission is to make it possible for everyone to feel like an animator by creating simple animated videos. In just four years, over 34 million Powtoons have been created for use in business presentations, product launches, digital and broadcast ads, education materials for the classroom, explainer videos, and much more. According to the company, over 11 million global users, including major companies, small and medium businesses and and leading universities, use PowToon.

PowToon is a U.K. Company, with its headquarters in London and R&D centers in Israel, the Ukraine and the Philippines. The company is planning to open a U.S branch in 2017. PowToon currently employs nearly 70 employees and is looking to expand in all departments within their Tel Aviv office.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Technologies Transform Africa, Save Lives

The power of laughter 

“It’s safe to say that when we started this journey it was a crazy idea and we truly didn’t know what to expect,” PowToon’s Founder & CEO Spitalnik said in a statement about their African adventure. “Our time together with the Hadzabe was truly unforgettable. It’s difficult to put into words how humbled we felt by their warmth and hospitality.”

“We accomplished what we set out to do,” Spitalnik said in a statement. “We proved that cartoons are a fundamental form of communication, instinctively understood by everyone across boundaries, borders, and cultures, regardless of whether you grew up watching Mickey Mouse or not. But beyond that, we learned that no matter how far apart we might be from one another geographically, people are all connected, and the power of laughter and a little open-mindedness can bring us all together.”

Powtoon, Africa

The PowToon Team (left to right: Talia Finn-Jakar, COO & Co-Founder Daniel Zaturansky, and CEO & Co-Founder Ilya Spitalnik) with some of the Hadzabe children.

Videos and photos: Powtoon

Israeli Startups ‘Exit’ For $10 Billion In 2016 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 12:13:17 +0000 Israeli high-tech and startup companies were sold for a whopping $10.02 billion in 2016 – to other companies or through initial public offerings (IPOs) – according to a report released today by IVC Research Center and law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal.

The figure reflects a 12 percent increase over 2015, primarily due to the acquisition of social gaming company Playtika for $4.4 billion. In one of the largest “exits” in Israel’s history, a consortium of Chinese companies led by Shanghai Giant Network Technology, one of China’s largest online gaming companies, acquired Playtika from Caesars Interactive Entertainment.

SEE ALSO: A Look Inside The Booming Startup Nation


Israeli high-tech exits by type: IPO, M&A and Buyouts, 2012-2016 ($B)

According to the IVC-Meitar High-Tech Exits Report, Israeli startup companies closed 104 deals last year. The figure includes 93 mergers and acquisitions totaling $8.8 billion (including the Playtika deal), eight buyouts that generated $1.22 billion, and three small IPOs garnering $15.1 million.

SEE ALSO: Chinese Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History

The second-largest deal in 2016 (behind Playtika) was the $811 million acquisition of Israeli company EZchip by another Israeli company – Mellanox. This deal, along with the Leaba acquisition by Cisco and Sony’s acquisition of Altair, established the semiconductors sector as a leader in 2016 exits, with an all-time record of $1.39 billion.

Also unique to 2016 is the following figure: 27 percent (more than one-quarter) of the mergers and acquisitions involved Israeli high-tech companies that were both on the acquiring and on the acquired sides.

“An obvious slowdown”

However, the astronomical sum of all these exits does not mean all is rosy in the Startup Nation. Excluding the $4.4 billion Playtika deal, the editors of this latest report acknowledge a slowdown in the Israeli high tech industry. At the IVC-Meitar conference held today in Tel Aviv, IVC CEO Koby Simana said there were fewer deals in 2016, and hardly any IPOs.

Attorney Alon Sahar, partner at Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal, said that “following several years of growth both in terms of deal numbers and their proceeds, 2016 presents an obvious slowdown.”

His analysis (excluding the Playtika deal) yields “figures that are substantially lower than in previous years,” he said and added that “it’s impossible to tell whether this is the beginning of a new trend or a natural correction due to significant hikes in previous years.”

Excluding buyouts and mega-deals, the average acquisition price in 2016 was $46.3 million, 31 percent below the previous year’s average. However, Simana remains optimistic.

“Entrepreneurs and investors may not be pushing for exits as they once did,” he says. “Instead, they choose to wait patiently, opting for company growth.”

Two reports, different results  

While today’s IVC-Meitar report includes the Playtika deal, a report released two weeks ago excludes it, since Playtika was previously sold in 2014 to Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a North American corporation.

Last month, accounting firm PwC reported that Israeli startup exits totaled $3.5 billion in 2016, a 67 percent decline. PwC’s report excludes the $4.4 billion Playtika deal and a host of small exits IVC chose to include in its report. IVC also tends to be more inclusive, perceiving more companies as Israeli, compared to the more conservative reports released by PwC.


Infographics: IVC Research Center; Photos: Pikiwiki

Israeli Universities Breed Next Generation Of Startup Nation Entrepreneurs Tue, 03 Jan 2017 06:31:19 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

The co-founders of InovyTec, a maker of portable emergency medical devices, both previously worked for the Shin Bet, Israel’s domestic security agency, but didn’t know each other. Then, as a perk, they were both sent to take entrepreneurship courses at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University of the Negev.

“The entrepreneurship studies gave us the opportunity to meet, first of all,” said company chairman Dror Matalon in a phone interview. “They also allowed us to take a pause from work and think, giving us the relevant economic knowledge that is the basis of what we do today. In brainstorming sessions in the classroom we discussed what we think are unmet needs, and the kernel for our company was formed there.”

InovyTec has just started sales of their airway collar, which allows the opening of patients’ airways noninvasively, and hopes to get European regulatory permits early next year for another product, a portable device that can treat both cardiac and respiratory failure. The company has raised $4 million to date, including $2 million from Germany’s RHON-Innovations GmbH.


As Israel boasts the greatest number of startups per capita in the world, garnering the title of Startup Nation, entrepreneurship courses have been sprouting at universities and colleges throughout the country, meeting a grassroots demand. These programs aim to arm students with much needed theory along with a toolbox of mentorships, networking and tips on how best to approach investors for funding.

SEE ALSO: The Top Six Global Accelerators Kick-Starting Israeli Startups

“Can someone talented manage without university studies? Anything is possible. But in life, a lot depends on chances. What are the chances of entrepreneurs succeeding if they don’t have mentors who want to push them forward, if they don’t know how to build a business model, if they don’t know how to build a team and when is the right time to approach the right type of investors?” said Dr. Yossi Maaravi, deputy dean at Adelson School of Entrepreneurship at the Interdisciplinary Center (IDC) Herzliya, in an interview. “Eighty percent of success stories can be pinned down to lessons learned, 20 percent on the person itself. Studying, in most cases, can significantly propel you forward.”

IDC’s recently inaugurated Adelson School of Entrepreneurship (ASE) has become a hub for all of the private college’s entrepreneurial activities, both academic and extracurricular.

SEE ALSO: IDC Herzliya Rolls Out Academic Program With Startup Accelerator To Address 21st Century Challenges

The school offers a variety of activities including courses, minor programs, different majors and special programs for outstanding students at the undergraduate and graduates’ levels. IDC’s flagship offering for undergraduates, the Zell entrepreneurship program, is one of the world’s most renowned venture creation programs within academia. In its 15 years of activity, 298 students have graduated and generated 85 ventures, according to Zell’s website. IDC also launched this year another honors entrepreneurship program, IDCBeyond, targeting graduates from Israel and abroad.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: IDCBeyond

Meet The Winners: Our Pick For 2016’s Coolest Israeli Startups Thu, 29 Dec 2016 08:00:30 +0000 2016 was another remarkable year for Israeli innovation, with the Startup Nation showing no signs of slowing its breakneck pace. The startup ecosystem has made global headlines with a host of new cutting-edge technologies that have the potential to better our lives, and even change them for good.

SEE ALSO: Innovation Nation: 10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World

NoCamels sifted through hundreds of startups that made waves over the past year, in order to make our picks for 2016. It wasn’t an easy task, to say the least.

Meet the 10 coolest Israeli startups and innovations that made 2016 unforgettable:


UPnRIDE, a revolutionary Segway-like device that allows quadriplegics to stand up and move around almost anywhere, is poised to change the life of thousands of paralyzed people.

The Israeli device was developed by Dr. Amit Goffer, who already previously invented the ReWalk exoskeleton, another revolutionary device that enables paraplegics to walk and climb stairs. His new device will help quadriplegics (people paralyzed from the neck down) to stand and be mobile.

Similar to a stand-up Segway or an electric scooter, the patented UPnRIDE moves over different kinds of terrains with the user’s guidance, using a joystick operated by hand or by mouth. Automatic balancing assures a safe ride uphill, downhill, and on slanted surfaces, in both standing and sitting positions.

Founded in 2013, UPnRIDE unveiled its device for the first time at the Rehacare International convention in Germany, earlier this year.



Otto Motors is an Israeli startup specializing in converting normal trucks into autonomous ones, which could give relief to tired truckers on highways. The company made it to the headlines in the summer of 2016, after giant Uber acquired it for $680 million.

Founded earlier this year by former Google, Apple, and Tesla employees, including Israeli entrepreneur Lior Ron, Otto develops artificial intelligence, cameras, and sensors that are attached to a vehicle, giving a truck full driving capacity without the need for a driver.

Earlier this year, Otto and Budweiser made a historic driverless beer run.

Replay Technologies (freeD)

In an age of video on demand (VOD), sporting events are among the few broadcasts still watched live. Millions of people watch events such as the World Cup Final and the Super Bowl, giving Israeli startup Replay Technologies a huge reach.

Founded in 2011, the company has developed a method of filming called freeD, which generates instant, real-time 3D replays that have already been used at the 2012 London Olympics, in Yankee Stadium, and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Earlier this year, giant chip maker Intel bought Replay for $175 million.


Is ice cream really bad for you? According to Israeli startup DayTwo, it could be great for you!

Founded last year, DayTwo translates your unique gut bacteria into a personalized diet. Spun off Israel’s Weizmann Institute, DayTwo suggests that people have different responses to food.

By studying and analyzing the bacteria that your body hosts, DayTwo designs personalized diets, potentially preventing diabetes and heart disease. The startup provides a cutting-edge test and app for a one-time fee of $500.



Israeli app Blindspot stirred up global controversy earlier this year, when it launched an anonymous messaging app that became super-popular overnight, with millions of downloads.

The app allows you to send anonymous text messages, pictures, videos and voice notes to any of your contacts who also have Blindspot.

SEE ALSO: Meet Blindspot, The Anonymous Messaging App That Stirs Up Global Controversy

Granted, Blindspot might enable harassment and cyber-bullying, but it didn’t stop a Chinese consortium from buying it for $32 million in September.


Potentially solving some of the world’s biggest problems, including hunger, pollution and animal cruelty, Israeli startup SuperMeat is working on a machine that can grow a full chicken breast, using the stem cells of a real chicken.

SuperMeat’s breeding method would use up 99 percent less land, release 96 percent less greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, and use 96 percent less water than the traditional meat industry, which is one of the world’s largest polluters.

By isolating cells obtained from a small biopsy that does not hurt the chicken, and placing them in an environment that imitates the animal’s physiology, SuperMeat makes them organically develop and grow into muscles – just like they normally would inside a chicken’s body tissues.

Co-founded by Koby Barak, a longtime vegan and animal rights activist, SuperMeat raised more than $223,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo earlier this year, doubling its original goal.

Flying Spark

With the global food shortage on the mind of Israeli startup Flying Spark – whose motto is to “fill 9 billion bowls by 2040” – in 2016 the company started developing protein powder made of fruit fly larvae, claimed to be more sustainable, nutritious, and eco-friendly.

As the world’s population grows far beyond the 7 billion mark, food is becoming scarce in several parts of the world: 795 million people around the globe do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, according to the World Food Programme.

The founders of Flying Spark are hoping that people will overcome the “yuck” factor and consume this new source of protein.


Most of us cherish our old family photo albums; however many of our Kodak moments are typically stuffed in the back of attics – barely accessible and almost forgotten.

To the rescue comes Israeli app Photomyne, which is helping people preserve their old photos by swiftly digitizing them and storing them in mobile archives and on the “cloud.”

Becoming one of the most popular mobile apps in 2016, Photomyne simplifies the process of digitizing old photos by allowing users to scan multiple photos in a single shot.

NUA suitcase

Traveling can be a serious hassle, especially during the hectic holiday season. Waiting at airport lines, rushing through security and schlepping your luggage are not activities you look forward to on your way to a vacation.

Over the past year, Israeli startup NUA Robotics has been working on a hands-free carry-on suitcase that follows you around, just like a loyal pet. This carry-on has a built-in camera that detects the location of its owner. The case connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, so you know where your luggage is at all times.

It can also charge its own battery on the go, as well as charge your phone, computer, or tablet.


Israeli gadget GearEye is a monitoring solution that helps keep track of your belongings. Comprised of a radio frequency ID (RFID) scanner, tags, and an app with connected checklists, GearEye uses Bluetooth technology to track your gear.

GearEye users can place tiny RFID tags on their items, like cameras, lenses, flashes, and even their wallet, and create a checklist for the items they need using the GearEye mobile app. With a simple wave of the GearEye smartphone battery-case, the app will let them know if their tagged items are in their bag, by marking them off on the checklist. If an item is missing from the checklist, the app tells you where its last scanned location was.

This month, the gadget raised $480,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, eight times the original amount its developers were hoping to raise.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

Mobileye, Delphi To Showcase ‘Most Complex’ Driverless Car Drive At CES 2017 Wed, 28 Dec 2016 10:58:56 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Mobileye, a Jerusalem-based developer of advanced vision and driver assistance systems, and its UK-based partner Delphi Automotive PLC, a supplier of vehicle technology, said they will hold the “most complex automated drive ever publicly demonstrated on an urban and highway” route in Las Vegas.

The 6.3-mile drive will showcase an automated vehicle driving system they developed, which the companies target for production by 2019, Delphi and Mobileye said in a statement. The demonstration will be held during CES 2017, the consumer and electronics trade show that will takes place in January in Las Vegas.

The Las Vegas drive will tackle everyday driving challenges like highway mergers, congested city streets with pedestrians, cyclists and a tunnel, the companies said.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021

The Centralized Sensing Localization and Planning (CSLP) automated driving system that is planned for 2019 will include technologies such as localization and mapping capabilities; free space detection, helping the car navigate lane splits or areas lacking lane markings; 360-degree pedestrian sensing; and 3D vehicle detection, in which vehicles can be detected at any angle. The platform will also allow the car more human-like driving behavior in determining the best path forward, the companies said.

There are some 30 corporate groups globally, ranging from the automotive industry to leading technology brands — including Google, Daimler and General Motors — that are chasing the dream of driverless cars by setting up research and development activities, and buying or teaming up with tech companies, according to CB Insights, a New York-based data company. And the race is on among them for who will be able to put the first driverless car on the road.

“Three factors will separate the leader from the pack in the race to offer driverless vehicles by 2019 best-in-class: perception sensors such as cameras, radar and LiDAR, automotive experience and computer processing speed,” said Glen De Vos, vice president of services for Delphi. “We will demonstrate the capability of the CSLP solution in our intensive drive at CES 2017.”

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Otto, Budweiser Make Historic Driverless Beer Run

Mobileye uses algorithms and video images from a single camera placed in the car to develop its assisted driving technology that can identify vehicles, pedestrians, animals, and lane boundaries, as well as traffic lights. The technology warns drivers of possible hazards and can brake autonomously. The Jerusalem-based company, which has had its product integrated into new car models since 2007 to help avoid collisions, held a $1 billion initial public offering of shares in New York in July 2014. The company had a market cap of around $7.7 billion on December 21.


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Stop Wasting Time Looking For Your Stuff – GearEye’s Got You Covered Wed, 28 Dec 2016 08:52:03 +0000 How often do you misplace your phone, or lose your keys? What about your wallet, or your passport – right before you need to leave for the airport?

Israeli company GearEye promises to put an end to frantically searching for missing valuables when you need them the most. Its technology uses a Location-of-Things platform to derive the precise location of our valuables at all times – taking a step beyond typical Internet-of-Things (IoT) platforms that connect objects to the internet, but cannot locate their whereabouts.

SEE ALSO: 73% Of Smartphone Users Willingly Share Their Location

geareye locator of lost items, app

A monitoring solution that helps keep track of your belongings at all times, GearEye is comprised of a radio frequency ID (RFID) scanner, tags, and an app with connected checklists.

Just place tiny RFID tags on your items, and create a checklist using the GearEye mobile app. With a simple wave of GearEye’s smartphone battery-case (GearEye is also available as a dongle), the app will let you know if your tagged items are in your bag, by marking them off on the checklist. If an item is missing from the checklist, the app tells you where its last scanned location was.

For professional photographers, for example, missing a crucial item from their gear can spell an end to a photoshoot and loss of a full day’s work. With GearEye, there’s an easy way to ensure you have everything you need before leaving for the day.

“All my life I’ve been misplacing important items like my keys and passport,” GearEye founder and CEO, Yulia Lerner, said in a statement.  “One day, I thought, why not tag these items and be able to find them with my phone?”

And so the idea for GearEye was born. “GearEye is the complete solution for managing people’s gear, allowing them to easily make sure they have everything they need,” she says. “It’s great for photographers, and can also be used by DJs, frequent travelers, electricians, plumbers, and everyday users to manage their gear.”

SEE ALSO: The Button To Rule Them All : Pressy Raises 10X Its Goal In Six Days On Kickstarter

In less than two months, the gadget has raised $493,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, eight times the original amount its developers were hoping to raise ($60,000). GearEye, founded in 2014, also received about $290,000 from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist and private investors.

Considerable competition in the IoT arena 

Given the rising popularity of Internet-of-Things gadgets, it is no surprise that GearEye faces considerable competition, including from Israeli company Pixie, which offers a Bluetooth-based locator.

Additionally, companies such as TrackR and Tile offer Bluetooth devices that serve the same location-tracking function. Both devices emit a loud signal at the press of a button on their corresponding phone apps, making it easier to find a missing item.

geareye locator of lost items, app

According to GearEye, unlike Bluetooth tags, its RFID tags are thin stickers allowing them to be placed on nearly any object, of any size. The RFID tags do not require any batteries and last for years before needing to be replaced.

GearEye’s price on Kickstarter starts at $129, and it comes with 20 RFID tags. Shipping is expected to start in July 2017.

Photos and video: Courtesy

Hand Over The Keys: Virtual Breathalyzer Uses Advanced Tech To Curb Drunk Driving Tue, 27 Dec 2016 09:53:54 +0000 The arrival of a new year is a time for celebration – and for many, intoxication. New Year’s is traditionally one of the worst times for alcohol-fueled road accidents, surpassing the average of 28 car deaths that happen in the US every day. 

While numerous campaigns warning of the dangers of drinking and driving have been mounted by law enforcement and advocacy groups, technology designed to prevent drunk driving has yet to be widely adopted by automakers or consumers.

Seeking a way to curb drunk driving by using the latest in technology, a new Israeli-designed “virtual breathalyzer” uses sensors in smartphones, smartwatches, fitness bands and virtual glasses to measure changes in how a person walks to indicate intoxication levels. Developed by Ben Nassi, a researcher at BenGurion University of the Negev (BGU), the virtual breathalyzer proved to have identical accuracy to police breathalyzer tests.

SEE ALSO: Alcohoot: The World’s First Smartphone Breathalyzer

“Alcohol distinctly affects movement, gait and balance in ways that can be detected by the built-in motion sensors on devices people carry around with them all the time,” Nassi, a Master of Science student at BGU’s Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering, said in a statement. “Our system simply takes a baseline reading while walking from the car to the bar and another one on the way back to compare and identify movements that indicate drunkenness.” 

Applications based on Nassi’s trained machine learning model for measuring intoxication could be used to alert people, or even a connected car, and prevent users from driving under the influence. 

Just as accurate as a police breathalyzer

Nassi was guided on this project by his advisors, Professors Yuval Elovici and Lior Rokach of BGU. The breathalyzer project has been uploaded to Arxiv, a repository of electronic preprints of scientific papers which can be accessed online.

drunk driving, breathalyzer

In the study, Nassi and his team collected test data from patrons at different bars on five nights. They asked 30 participants (60 percent men, 40 percent women) to measure their gait before drinking and then 15 minutes after their last drink, which is the same standard used for police breathalyzers. Most of the study participants were in their early twenties, which is the group considered by the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to have the highest risk of causing fatal accidents due to alcohol consumption.   

Participants wore Google Glass augmented reality glasses, an LG G-watch on their left hand, a Microsoft Band on their right hand, and carried a Samsung Galaxy S4 cell phone in their right rear pocket. Each person walked for 16 seconds until they heard a beep through their headphones. Test results validated with a police breathalyzer detected intoxication levels with 100 percent accuracy. 

SEE ALSO: This App Turns Your iPhone Into An Intelligent Dash Cam To Avoid Car Accidents

The threshold and counting method for measuring sobriety varies among countries. In the US, generally the threshold for illegal blood alcohol concentration level, or BAC, is .08 or higher. The researchers used Israel’s intoxication limit — which is 240 micrograms of alcohol per one liter of breath — as the measuring point for their experiment.

“While the experiment used all four devices to measure movements in different parts of the body, a combination of watch and smartphone readings taken from at least two parts of the body yields similar results,” Nassi said in a statement.  

Smart wearable devices are a burgeoning market, with 275 million sold in 2016, and another 322 million units forecast in 2017. The researchers are optimistic that within a few years, the application will be useful for people who routinely use a smartwatch along with their smartphone.  

“A system based on our approach could prevent a person from driving under the influence after an alert unobtrusively detects intoxication while they are walking to their car,” says Nassi. “As the Internet of Things (IoT) progresses, the system could even trigger a connected car not to start when a driver tests above the legal limit.”  

While drivers can always test their own blood-alcohol level before driving by using a personal breathalyzer, these items tend to cost between $100 to $150 and vary in accuracy, making the virtual breathalyzer a very attractive alternative.


Pictures: Ben-Gurion University,  Pexels, Wikipedia Commons

Your Headphones Could Be Used To Spy On You Mon, 26 Dec 2016 10:11:57 +0000 Earlier this year, Facebook’s CEO Mark Zuckerberg revealed that he uses tape to cover the webcam and microphone jack of his laptop, with many other people around the world following suit in efforts to prevent webcam hacking and spying. But while we’ve heard about hackers activating webcams and microphones remotely to spy on people without, did you know that your headphones are also a threat to your privacy?

A new Israeli study shows how headphones can be used to record you, without your knowledge. The Cyber Security Research Center at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University has developed proof-of-concept headphones to show exactly how dangerous this headphone vulnerability can be if not addressed.

SEE ALSO: Fan-tastic Hacking: Israeli Researchers Hack Into Computers By Listening To Their Fans

Called “Speake(a)r,” this new headset-turned-microphone works by secretly “re-tasking” the function of your speakers or headphones. “We found that most of the computers today support the capability to convert and use speakers as a microphone,” Mordechai Guri, lead researcher of the project, tells NoCamels.

This is because speakers are effectively designed like a microphone – in reverse. While speakers translate electric currents into sound waves, microphones turn sound waves into electric currents.

The Speake(a)r software reverses this process. The Realtek audio chip-sets used in most computers can have their function modified, meaning a sound card can be programmed to do more than simply emit sound, with enough software fiddling. No physical changes need to be made to the speakers, creating an opportunity for hackers to work their way remotely into a computer’s built-in speaker system and record sound.

Taping your computer is not enough

When it comes to taping your computer, well, “we just proved it’s not enough,” Guri says. “Even if you take out your microphone, hackers can still record you.” While we cannot be sure if such technology is already being used in the deep web, the Speake(a)r software proves that it is possible, and that it is not just about microphone and webcam hacking.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Cyber-Security Startups Are Battling The World’s Riskiest Hacks

The idea of hackers accessing speakers without our knowledge is disturbing. The researchers at Ben-Gurion University recognized a need to check privacy and security issues for all computers, which led to this “academic prototype” as described by Guri. If used in the future, the Speake(a)r concept will help prevent such invasions of privacy.

Guri says his team members don’t necessarily want to commercialize the technology, they want to bring awareness to a potential new threat and encourage new developments in cyber-security. “At the Security Center, we are always trying to find vulnerabilities. We want to expose vulnerabilities and to close them,” he says.

What would it take? It isn’t a simple endeavor as the problem lies in how audio chips are designed. They’re now so widespread, that the next challenge cyber-security faces is remote monitoring.

In the meantime, users can unplug their speakers and headphones when not in use, or try Bluetooth or USB connected speakers which can help avoid the risk of software manipulation.


Photos and video: Ben Gurion University, Apple

Snapped Up: Snapchat Buys Israeli AR Startup Cimagine Media, Sets Up Local R&D Center Sun, 25 Dec 2016 11:10:54 +0000 Snap, formerly Snapchat Inc, the $25 billion company behind the ever-popular Snapchat mobile messaging app, has according to Calcalist, purchased Israeli augmented reality startup Cimagine Media for $30-$40 million.

According to the report, following this acquisition, Snap will establish a development center in Israel where it will eventually employ more than the 20 people currently working at Cimagine. This is Snap’s first acquisition of an Israeli startup, following its purchase of eight other companies, mostly in the US, including a $110 million deal for Vurb, and $100 million for Bitstrips earlier this year.

Cimagine: Bringing your home to the store

Cimagine displays objects in 3D and in 360 degrees, and scaled to fit the dimensions of your home, using a tablet or smartphone camera and sensors. The technology allows shoppers to import product photos from the web or from catalogs onto their mobile devices and preview the way they would look in their home or office. Cimagine, which already has partnerships with major retail outlets such as Shop Direct, John Lewis, and Coca-Cola, also helps retailers tap into the potential of augmented reality by effectively demonstrating products as they would look in the customer’s premises. As Nir Daube, the startup’s VP of products told NoCamels, Cimagine “brings your home to the store and your store to your home.”

SEE ALSO: Cimagine Shows What The Future Of Shopping Looks Like With Augmented Reality App

“Our technology uses a combination of internal sensors in the mobile device and image processing that continuously scans the environment the camera sees, resulting in a near reality visualization of the product using live video and saved scenes,” Daube said.

It’s not hard to see why Snap was interested in the Israeli AR startup. Cimagine specializes in computer vision, real-time image processing, mobile development, and international marketing, all of which are of interest to Snap, whose Snapchat app relies on augmented reality. Cimagine also focuses on commerce and since Snap may be looking to go public next year, Cimagine’s technology could be an additional resource for revenue opportunities.

Also, with Facebook rapidly copying features from Snapchat, Snap needs to remain one step ahead of Facebook and Cimagine’s technology may give them an edge.

A billion dollar company

Snap has raised $2.63 billion since it was founded in 2011 by Bobby Murphy and Evan Spiegel. The company’s valuation is estimated between $25-$35 billion. Companies that have invested in Snap include: Google, Yahoo, and Alibaba, among others. According to reports, Snap has over 150 million users worldwide. The company announced to its investors that this year their earnings are between $250-$350 million for 2016 and the company expects to reach $1 billion in 2017.

Snapchat also recently debuted its newest product, Spectacles, special glasses with a built-in camera, recording the world from your point of view with 10-second videos.

Cimagine Media was founded in 2012 by Ozi Egri, Amiram Avraham, Yoni Nevo, and Nir Daube. Prior to this deal, Cimagine raised an undisclosed amount of funding from iVentures Asia Ltd., OurCrowd, PLUS Ventures and Explore. Dream. Discover, an investment group specializing in early stage Israeli ventures in the field of internet, cellular and new media.


Photos and video: Cimagine Media

Israeli High-Tech Industry Sees Startup ‘Exits’ Plummet By 67% To $3.5B In 2016 Wed, 21 Dec 2016 15:17:54 +0000 Israeli tech exits plummeted from $7.2 billion in 2015 to $3.5 billion in 2016, according to a new report by accounting firm PwC. The total value of Israeli high-tech and startup companies sold in 2016 – through acquisitions and IPOs (initial public offerings) – reflects a 67 percent decline from last year.

In total, there were 55 exits in 2016, lower than both 2015 and 2014, with 70 exits each. The average value per exit in 2016 was $64 million, sharply down from $153 million in 2015.

SEE ALSO: Record Year For Innovation Nation: Israeli Startups Sell For $7.2B In 2015

Exits by year (PwC)

Exits by year

According to Rubi Suliman of PwC, there aren’t enough “global buyers that are familiar and comfortable enough with the Israeli high-tech to drive a continuous wave of deals. And when potential buyers are relatively scarce, deal prices are expected to go down. This is a problem, but also an opportunity, since it points to the enormous potential of the local tech industry.”

SEE ALSO: Chinese Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History

One of the largest deals this year was the acquisition of Ravello by Oracle for $430 million. Founded in 2011 by Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider, Ravello is a cloud service that enables customers to run any type of workload through the cloud.

Also this year, global chip maker Intel bought Israeli startup Replay Technologies for $175 million. Founded in 2011, the company has developed a method of filming called freeD, which generates instant, real-time 3D replays that have already been used at the 2012 London Olympics, in Yankee Stadium, and at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas and most recently in the El Clàsico soccer showdown between Barcelona and Real Madrid.

This year’s acquisition of Playtika for $4.4 billion is not included in the report, since it was previously sold in 2014 to Caesars Interactive Entertainment, a North American corporation.

“We will have many more boom years”

Most of the exits in 2016 are in the computing and corporate software sectors; life sciences startups accounted for 15 percent of total exits. The semiconductors sector is the only one in 2016 that experienced an increase relative to 2015, thanks to the Cisco acquisition of Leaba for $320 million.

“Israeli innovation is still strong, and the amount of experience gained while running those successful companies is increasing every year,” Suliman says. “This alone should make us optimistic looking ahead. We will clearly have many more boom years later on.”


Photos and infographics: Courtesy

With 1 Million Daily Users, Group Video App Houseparty Could Overtake Snapchat In Race To Attract Post-Millennials Wed, 14 Dec 2016 14:02:50 +0000 Thanks to countless scenes in movies and television shows, the term “house party” often conjures up images of wild, loud teenagers partying hard at some popular kid’s home while his or her parents are away for the weekend.

But for millions of Generation Z (Gen Z, or Post-Millennials) teens, those born anywhere from the mid-1990s to the early-2000s, Houseparty is simply the name of their favorite video chat app. Even prestigious magazine Forbes has said this new Israeli app is winning over Generation Z, in an article titled “Move Over, Snapchat.”

Houseparty, created by Israeli startup company Life on Air, allows users to quickly jump into “parties” of up to eight people simultaneously, creating drop-in-drop-out style video chats among any friends who are online at the same time. The idea behind the app is to create a virtual space where you can hang out with your friends—a “house party” – where everyone you know is invited. When a friend loads the app, you’ll get a notification letting you know they’re in the house. If you want to chat, you launch the app and join.

SEE ALSO: ‘Rounds’ Provides Group Video Chats For Up To 12 Participants

Chats are organized by room, and anyone you’re friends with on the app has a virtual invitation to drop in on your conversation. Their friends can also join, in which case you’ll see a “stranger danger” message. Beyond that, it’s pretty much like any other party, where you can freely chat with friends. Up to eight people can be in a room at the same time, and you can casually move between rooms to interact with different groups of friends. When you want to prevent people from joining a private conversation, you can simply lock the room.

$52 million raised

Life on Air was founded in 2011 with headquartered in San Francisco and R&D in Tel Aviv. CEO Ben Rubin and COO Sima Sistani recently created the app Houseparty. Life on Air this week announced it has raised $52 million for Houseparty. The financing round was led by Sequoia Capital with the participation of previous investors Aleph VC, Comcast Ventures and Greylock Partners. The company has raised $70 million to date and The Wall Street Journal reported that the venture capital funds were competing to invest in this latest financing round.

From Meerkat to Houseparty

Houseparty is not the first app created by Life on Air. Their first product was live-streaming smartphone video app Meerkat, which launched in February 2015 and managed to generate lots of excitement initially, but eventually failed after being frozen out by social media giants Twitter and Facebook.

SEE ALSO: Inside The Rise Of ‘Meerkat’: How The Israeli App Is Helming Live Mobile Broadcasting

Twitter blocked Meerkat’s access to launch its own live-streaming app, Periscope. Facebook built live streaming into its mobile app, which has more than 1 billion monthly users, a few months later. Meerkat, which suddenly found itself was in a three-way battle against two huge companies with significantly more resources at their disposal, simply couldn’t compete.

The team quickly regrouped and Houseparty was released in early 2016. The new app has quickly emerged to the top of the mobile app charts to become what many are calling “the next big social network,” currently with 1 million daily active users. The Houseparty app is currently free and there are no in-app purchases that require you to spend money to join or host a Houseparty. However, it remains to be seen if the company decides to charge users in the future.

Attracting Generation Z: 60 percent of the users are under 24

Naturally, Houseparty’s target audience, and its primary users, are Gen Z, the next generation after millennials. A whopping 60 percent of the app’s users are under the age of 24.

“We’re constantly amazed by how many people reach out to us to let us know how much Houseparty is strengthening their friendships and family relationships,” Sistani told Forbes. “It’s a great feeling when you get to connect with a friend or loved one, or better yet, multiple friends and loved ones, totally unexpectedly. And we love to hear about how people are making Houseparty a part of their daily routine, whether it’s getting together with their squad to recap the latest episode of a favorite show, dealing with homesickness by cooking a nostalgic dinner ‘with’ your mom or dad, or reliving all the gory details of a rowdy night out with your best friends.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

Literary Voyage: Location-Based App ‘Books on Map’ Brings Stories To Life Tue, 13 Dec 2016 08:38:03 +0000 Reading for pleasure is losing its appeal in the technological age. Paperbacks don’t share in the immediacy of Netflix, Snapchat or YouTube, and can’t compete with our shortened attention spans.

But while some are mourning the demise of the reading culture, a few Israeli creatives are choosing to fight this trend and are bringing literature to the smartphone generation through a new mobile app called Books on Map.

SEE ALSO: Off The Beaten Track: Urban Navigation App Sidekix Bases Walking Routes On Your Interests

It’s part library, part treasure map, part social network. The app opens up to a typical GPS-locating digital map. Users from all over the world can submit “Bookations,” where they mark the locations in their city that make an appearance in their favorite novel, using certain quotes. They can also create entire routes designed to follow specific stories.

The app’s map and search bar enable you to seek out the books, quotes, authors, or cities you desire for your adventure’s starting point. Service is currently available in Paris, France, as well as in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel, with plans to add up to 25 new cities in the coming months.

paris, france

Books on Map gives you the opportunity “to walk in the footsteps of Hemingway, or to know where Dan Brown’s The Da Vinci Code took place,” Deddi Zucker, CEO and founder of Books on Map (and a former member of the Israeli parliament), tells NoCamels. “It’s a new way to travel and to encounter experiences.”

The app launched in beta mode in October 2015, and is expected to fully launch by June 2017, according to Zucker. There are expectedly a few beta bugs that need ironing out – such as the signup options, search bar and bookations – but Zucker says these will be fixed and improved.

A walking tour of Parisian literary gems 

Proving its potential, Books on Map recently won the City of Paris tourism app competition. Earlier this year, the app was featured on bus stations across Paris. In addition, the app has been made available for public use on 32 different touch-screens around the city – and will continue to be featured through May 2017.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Top Israeli Startups That Make Travel So Much Easier

Based in Tel Aviv, Books on Map’s five employees are inspired by mutual “curiosity, love for words and pleasure of travel,” according to the startup, which also claims the app provides a more intimate knowledge of a city, compared to standard tour guides. Zucker declined to comment on the company’s funding rounds, but according to reports in the Israeli media, the company has completed two rounds, the latter of which totaled $750,000.

You may download the app from Apple’s App Store or from Google Play for free; premium services will be available for a fee in the coming months.

It seems that the premise of Books on Map appeals to a fast-paced, technological world. Like the recent Pokémon Go fad – which created a huge global community of Pokémon enthusiasts – Books on Map could create a new tech-savvy, literary community.


Photos: Books on Map, Zinneke