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. Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:21:06 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Israeli Startup Blindspot Sells Popular Anonymous Messaging App For $32M Tue, 27 Sep 2016 09:21:06 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

An Israeli startup sold its controversial messaging app and music radio app to a Chinese consortium in a deal worth $32 million, according to media reports. The Blindspot app will be bought for $28 million and Chinese radio app Mr. C. for another $4 million, according to Channel 2 news.

The Blindspot app allows users to send anonymous messages, photos and videos to their contacts without the receiver being able to trace it. Launched in December 2015, the app has already had over 2 million downloads, but has drawn charges of being a platform for anonymous bullying.

The Israeli firm behind Blindspot, called Shellanoo Group, called it “a wacky anonymous messaging app that gives people the opportunity to say what they really feel.”

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


The Blindspot team will remain in Israel for the next year, the Huffington Post reported, and will then move operations to Asia.

Backed by and Nicki Minaj

The app is a key part of the Shellanoo Group, which is funded in part by investments from global celebrities, including music stars and Nicki Minaj, as well as Jewish Russian billionaire and owner of Chelsea football club Roman Abramovich.

SEE ALSO: Find Out Which Celebs Are Betting Their Money On The Startup Nation

The Chinese consortium which purchased Blindspot includes Hong Kong investment firms Wuhan Capital Ltd, Tianjin Games (Hong Kong) Ltd., and a group of investors led by William Ding founder of Chinese internet giant Netease, Huffington Post reported.

Despite its success, the app has been extremely controversial, with accusations of teen bullying and harassment.

The app works like other social networking channels such as Whatsapp, with users able to chat, send pictures and videos. But the identity of the sender remains anonymous.

blindspot app

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Aiming High: Intel Israel Creates ‘World’s Smartest Office Building’ Mon, 26 Sep 2016 10:24:51 +0000

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Intel Israel broke ground yesterday on what it claims will be the world’s smartest building. Being constructed in Petach Tikva, Israel, this 34,000-square-meter research and development center will join half a dozen Intel locations in Israel, including two manufacturing facilities.

Thousands of smart sensors scattered around the building will use cutting-edge information technologies to gather relevant data and provide what employees need in order to do their work. “The smart building will make the work environment work for you,” says Kobi Bor, Intel Israel’s smart campus project manager.

According to Intel, this energy-saving building, which will be home to some 2,500 employees, will recognize employees’ faces, so they won’t need a badge; turn the lights on and off; offer carpools to employees based on estimated arrival times to the office; and even direct employees to vacant parking spots.

SEE ALSO: Report: Apple Israel Could Be Behind Company’s Smart Home Breakthrough

If you’re having a meeting, the smart building will turn on the lights for you, set the temperature, the computer and the projector, and even upload the relevant files for you. It can help you navigate the campus, and even tell you when you can squeeze a haircut into your schedule!

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

Hungry? The smart building will tell you how long the line is at the cafeteria and, if it’s packed, will provide more convenient lunch times. It can even tell you the nutritional value of the dishes served and what the most popular dish of the day is.

Intel stresses that its smart building will only learn the habits of employees who choose to share their information, and will adjust its recommendations accordingly. The employees who choose to opt in will enjoy a unique mobile app that will cater to their needs, including ordering the cup of coffee they like in the morning.

The new building, which is expected to be completed in 2019, will be LEED-certified (a green building certification), with emphasis on energy conservation and water recycling. “Building this new campus highlights the importance of our presence in Israel, and reflects our values of innovation, technology and green building,” Intel Israel CEO Maxine Fassberg said in a statement.

Her statement comes on the heels of a reorganization that led to the furlough of hundreds of Intel Israel employees, and thousands in other Intel locations around the world.

10,000 employees in the Holy Land 

With roughly 10,000 employees in Israel, Intel is the largest multinational high-tech company in the country. It has four development centers in Haifa, Yakum, Petach Tikva and Jerusalem, as well as manufacturing facilities in Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Recent statistics show that Intel exports account for roughly 9 percent of the total goods exported from Israel.

Intel picked Israel for its first R&D center outside the US 40 years ago. Since the chipmaker set up shop in Israel, it has developed a series of breakthrough computer processors and has evolved beyond hardware.

Intel processor

Photos and video: Courtesy

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DLD Tel Aviv 2016: 10 Innovation Festival Events Not To Miss Thu, 22 Sep 2016 07:00:25 +0000

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The largest annual startup conference held in Tel Aviv, Israel, will once again open its doors next week. The DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival 2016 will see 10,000 startup and high-tech industry executives, including 3,500 attendees from abroad, participating in dozens of events, meetups, lectures and demos.

Like every year, DLD is attracting some of the world’s most influential tech and finance firms, all eager to get in on the Startup Nation action. As Tel Aviv was recently voted the world’s best startup ecosystem outside the US, it is no wonder that global organization Digital Life Design (DLD) picked Tel Aviv as one of a handful locations for its conference.

“DLD has become one of the most intriguing high-tech conferences in the world, bringing together the finest minds, companies, entrepreneurs and investors in the world into one place,” according to Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist.

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

Aside from the main DLD conference, the whole week (Sept. 25-29) – known as “Innovation Festival”- is packed with other private- and city-sponsored events scattered across some of the coolest locations around town.

To help you figure out which events and parties not to miss, NoCamels has prepared a comprehensive roundup of the best and most noteworthy events happening next week in the “city that never sleeps.”

Tel Aviv: Skyline (night)

  1. DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Conference 2016

DLD features a plethora of events happening simultaneously at the site of the 124-years-old Jaffa Railway Station, the first of its kind in the Middle East. This beautifully preserved 19th century spot, which no longer serves as a railway station, perhaps symbolizes the Startup Nation’s journey from a small colony to a vibrant center of innovation and high technology.

Events will include lectures, panel discussions, technical sessions, meetups, demos, cocktail parties and social events, which will offer conference guests access to high-tech and investment gurus, up-and-coming startups, high-tech giants and cool gadgets. Admission is steep – 2,000 shekels. And be prepared, the panels take place in tents and it gets a little hot and humid!

When: Sept. 27-28

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

  1. Creative Boulevard

Various events will be taking place on Rothschild Boulevard, including an urban happening, where a host of meetups will provide opportunities for global networking; and live exhibitions, which will turn the boulevard – Tel Aviv’s main startup hub – into an open-air digital media arena, featuring interactive digital games.

The evening is expected to be “an amazing visual representation of the startup ecosystem and innovations in Tel Aviv,” according to the mayor’s office.

When: Sept. 27, starting at 7 p.m.

Where: Along Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

  1. Tel Aviv Cities Summit

This annual summit will address key issues that urban administrators must consider as they face ongoing technological and urban revolutions that shape communities nowadays. It brings together entrepreneurs, city planners and visionaries from cities around the world – who together experience the innovative spirit of Tel Aviv.

The opening plenary feature a discussion on local solutions for global challenges. Speakers include the Deputy Secretary General of the OECD Douglas Frantz and Mayor of Bogota Enrique Peñalosa.

When: Sept. 26, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: The Tel Aviv Museum of Art, 27 Shaul Hamelech Blvd., Tel Aviv.

  1. The second China-Israel Investment Summit

The summit will connect prominent Chinese investors and corporations to innovative Israeli companies from a variety of industries. Delegations include leading companies in the fields of medical devices, AgTech, CleanTech, internet, mobile and FinTech.

When: September 24-26

Where: David Intercontinental Hotel, 12 Kaufman St., Tel Aviv


  1. Chief Scientist’s consultation meetups

As part of the DLD convention, Israel’s Innovation Authority (formerly Office of the Chief Scientist) will set up a pavilion to consult early and later stage startups on support and grants, opportunities for research and development cooperation with countries in North and Latin America, East Asia, Europe, and more.

This is an opportunity for members of the high-tech ecosystem to meet Innovation Authority staff face-to-face and get updates and information.

When: Sept. 28, 2-6 p.m.

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

  1. Tempest: The French Tech Party

Musician Franck Vigroux, along with Antoine Schmitt – a contemporary artist, programming engineer and designer – will present a show of digital media and sounds on Rothschild Boulevard, just outside the French Institute.

Called “Tempest,” this audio-visual performance depicts the universe right after the Big Bang.

When: Sept. 27 in the evening

Where: 7 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv

  1. Exclusive events held by Amazon, Intel, Google and Microsoft

DLD also offers an opportunity to get to know some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Google, Microsoft, Amazon and Intel, which all have offices in Israel. Some sessions are by-invitation only, others simply require registration.

At the events, some of the world’s most cutting-edge technologies will be presented by leaders of giant tech corporations.

When: Sept. 26-28

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

  1. Jamming with smartphones 

The availability of affordable mobile platforms allows for creating a new generation of musical instruments and interactive audio applications. These systems are currently redefining the boundaries between music listening and music performance. This DLD meetup will explore mobile platforms that create collective performances. Bring your own smartphone.

When: Sept. 27 at 6:30 p.m. 

Where: BuXa Bar, 31 Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv 

  1. Berlin’s creative popup laboratory

At the Berlin Popup Lab, visitors can get comprehensive information about the Berlin startup scene, and life and work in the German capital. The lab will feature meetups, exhibitions, and a dinner. An open-stage event will feature the stories of entrepreneurs that expanded their startups from Tel Aviv to Berlin.

When: Sept. 25-29

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv



  1. 4YFN Mobile Event

4 Years From Now (4YFN) is a platform that enables startups, investors and corporations to connect and launch new ventures together. The organization will host several events, including startup pitching sessions and networking.

When: Sept. 28, 9 a.m.-5 p.m.

Where: The Old Jaffa Railway Station (“HaTachana”), 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv

*Please visit event websites for registration and admissions information.

Photos and video: dautrescordesPikiwikiOrenvo5, Random, Berlin

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Chinese Take Out: 100 Israeli Startups, 1000 Chinese Investors At Shanghai GoforIsrael Conference Wed, 21 Sep 2016 09:40:15 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Around 100 Israeli high-tech and startup companies are taking part in the GoforIsrael conference in Shanghai, China, which aims to introduce Israeli technology to Chinese investors.

Israeli companies, including Mobileye, Kaminario, Xjet, Tufin, Zerto, WeWork, Satixfy, ReWalk Robotics, Juganu and other startups in the fields of life sciences, media, telecom, internet and green tech are attending the event, which is expected to attract about 1,000 Chinese investors, including representatives from conglomerates such as Alibaba, Baidu, Tencent, Lenovo and Fosun, GoforIsrael said in a statement.

goforisrael, Shamir, GoForIsrael 2016, China,

Left to right: Yair Shamir (Managing Partner, Catalyst Fund), Ronnie Chan (Chairman of Hang Lung Properties) and Edouard Cukierman (Chairman of Cukierman Investment House and Managing Partner of Catalyst CEL)

SEE ALSO: These Five Israeli Startups Are Taking China By Storm

Following the September 20 Shanghai event, the conference will continue to Wuhan in the Hubei province, where it is expected to attract 800 additional investors.

Over 30 of the participating companies will get a chance to pitch their technologies to investors. Among the companies are Upright, which teaches users to remain upright by attaching a pad-like device to the back which vibrates when the person slouches; HeraMed, which has developed an app to monitor the health of fetuses through the measurement of the pulse, and Real Imaging, which has developed a machine for early-stage diagnosis of breast cancer by measuring temperature changes around the tumor.

The conference is organized by Cukierman & Co. Investment House, which offers investment banking services to Israeli and European customers, together with Israel-based private equity fund Catalyst Funds.


Photos: GoforIsrael

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Toy Story: World’s Largest Toy Maker, Mattel, Teams With Israel’s StartApp To Bring Barbie To Mobile Tue, 20 Sep 2016 06:26:49 +0000

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“I’m a Barbie girl in the Barbie world. Life in plastic, it’s fantastic!”

Those may just be song lyrics, but for Mattel, the world’s largest toy manufacturer, and the creator of the Barbie doll, life in plastic is indeed fantastic – and getting even better with a little help from an Israeli startup.

StartApp, an Israeli mobile platform that helps publishers monetize, distribute and advertise in apps and on mobile websites, announced a strategic collaboration with Mattel, in which StartApp will develop digital experiences for many of Mattel’s iconic brands, including Barbie dolls and Hot Wheels toy cars.

As part of the partnership with Mattel, and in conjunction with Apple’s recent iOS 10 launch, StartApp released two new iMessage apps for stickers and content, Barbie and Hot Wheels, for downloading to iPhones or iPads.


Under the multi-year agreement, StartApp will become Mattel’s premier licensee to create digital stickers, emojis, wallpapers, gifs, mobile app themes, avatars, memes, and related apps for a number of Mattel’s global consumer brands.

SEE ALSO: Not Your Childhood Lego: BRIXO Brings Building Blocks To Life Using IoT Technology

“We are exceptionally excited to join forces with Mattel to help them reimagine their iconic brands for today’s world,” Gil Dudkiewicz, StartApp’s Co-founder and CEO said in a statement. “Through this partnership, we will draw upon our extensive experience in the mobile industry to expand on Mattel’s efforts to bring their brands to a new and exponentially more connected generation.”

Helping companies understand their users

StartApp, which was founded in 2010 by Dudkiewicz and Ran Avidan, is headquartered in New York City with offices in San Francisco, China, Russia, Israel, Brazil and India. The company offers a variety of products including rich media ads, exit ads, 3DApp Wall, text ads, 360 ads, interstitials and display ads. StartApp reaches over 350 million users and is embedded in over 150,000 Android and iOS apps.

StartApp’s full suite of mobile technologies helps companies better understand their end-users and execute multi-layered mobile strategies to create a unique experience for each them. StartApp partners with over 280,000 applications, including the King company’s ever-popular mobile game Candy Crush, working with a database of over 1.5 billion mobile users worldwide. To date, the company has raised a total of $7.3 million in funding from Ascent Venture Partners, Cedar Fund and TPY Capital.

SEE ALSO: Rent Your Favorite Legos Online With ‘Pley’ – Or Design Your Own Set

Mattel: A toy giant

Founded in 1945, Mattel’s portfolio of global consumer brands includes American Girl®, Barbie®, Fisher-Price®, Hot Wheels®, Monster High® and Thomas & Friends®, among many others. Mattel also creates lines and products made in collaboration with leading entertainment and technology companies including Disney-Pixar. With a global workforce of approximately 31,000, Mattel operates in 40 countries and territories and sells products in more than 150 nations.

Photos: Courtesy

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Safe & Sound: AngelSense’s GPS Tracker Gives Parents Of Autistic Kids Peace Of Mind Mon, 19 Sep 2016 12:10:54 +0000

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Do you know where your children are? For parents of autistic children, knowing that their child is safe at all times, even when they are indoors or at school, is a dire necessity.

Like all children, autistic kids are naturally curious, and have an intense desire to explore the outside world. The National Autism Association calls this phenomenon “wandering”. Sadly, many of these wanderers get lost. More than a third of them can’t communicate their name, address or phone number, and most of them have had a close call with traffic.

SEE ALSO: Understanding Gender Differences Could Improve Autism And Alzheimer’s Treatment

Seeking a better way to keep track of their own autistic children’s whereabouts, in 2013 Israelis Doron Somer and Nery Ben developed AngelSense a GPS and voice monitoring solution designed exclusively for children with special needs. Consisting of a child GPS tracker along with an app for the parent, AngelSense provides peace of mind knowing exactly where your child is at every moment of the day. Also, with AngelSense, parents instantly get alerted as soon as their kids are on the move, so they can see online if they’ve gone into an area of the school building where they are not supposed be.


Built for children with autism
Although there are many GPS trackers on the market geared to keeping track of kids, the AngelSense tracker is specifically designed to meet the needs of autistic children. For example, the device that is attached to the child’s clothing can only be removed by the use of a special key, which the parents keep. This ensures that the child won’t damage or take off the tracker during the day.

SEE ALSO: New Study Examines Autistic Brain Function, Finds Every Brain Unique

To help better serve their customers’ needs, AngelSense’s support line is staffed with parents of special needs children. Their representatives are all expert users of AngelSense who understand what their clients are going through and are passionate about helping parents in similar situations.

According to the company, over 3000 users worldwide currently use AngelSense to monitor their children. The Guardian Kit, which includes the GPS tracker, costs $149 and the AngelSense service, which includes special monitoring features such as ‘listen in’ and other alerts and updates, is $39.99. The company declined to comment on how much money they have raised to date.

In explaining the drive behind the founding of the company, Somer told NoCamels, “I tried to find a solution that will let me, as a parent to a child with special needs, understand what’s going on with my child. That’s all I really want.”

For parents of autistic children, AngelSense may indeed be heaven-sent.

angelsense2Video production: Hoff Reshef (Executive Producer & Director), Brandon Barry (film), Maya Shechter (editing)

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Israeli Wearable Device MotionCure Relieves Motion Sickness In Minutes Sun, 18 Sep 2016 12:05:33 +0000

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If you get nauseous or queasy when on a boat, ferry or a plane, and even when you just ride the bus to work, you are not alone. Motion sickness affects one in every four people, for whom Israeli wearable device MotionCure could now provide relief within minutes.

Developed by Sidis Labs, MotionCure is a neck collar that uses tingling pulses to relieve the dizziness, nausea, and vomiting that people experience when their sense of balance is disturbed by constant motion.

SEE ALSO: Wear It Well: The Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel


Founded in 2014 by Ohad Raz and Ami Dror, Sidis Labs came up with the idea for a motion sickness device after Raz completed his military service as a captain in the Israeli Navy, where “the problem of motion sickness was very close to my heart, as you can imagine,” he tells NoCamels.

Building on groundbreaking NASA research, MotionCure “creates customized pulses that are transmitted to the area of the median nerve that is at the nape (the back of neck),” he says. “Those help to reduce the signals that are sent from the brain to the stomach and basically calm down the stomach.”

SEE ALSO: MUV’s Smart ‘Ring’ BIRD Transforms Surfaces Into Giant Interactive Touchscreens

Raz describes the device as “an easy-to-use combination of a neck collar and a travel pillow that you wear on the plane.” In order to feel the pulse’s tingling sensations, all the user has to do is put in two AAA batteries and situate the device comfortably around the neck.

While previous attempts to help motion sickness include prescription, over-the-counter pills, and bracelets, “we are providing a natural alternative for drugs,” he says. “I think there is an understanding in the world that we should minimize the amount of drugs we take.”

Still, MotionCure is up against several competitors, in Israel and abroad. Israeli company Sea-Band, for instance, sells acupressure wristbands that are said to treat nausea as well as motion sickness. Similarly, drugs such as Dramamine and Travel-Ease are popular among people who face these symptoms.

Another problem might be its bulky nature. Wearing a big neck collar on your bus ride to work isn’t exactly subtle.

“Feel better in a matter of minutes”

MotionCure says its device can also be used by people undergoing chemotherapy, whose side effects include nausea and vomiting: “We didn’t plan for this to happen, but we keep getting feedback from people who have used it with chemotherapy and it helped them a lot,” Raz says. However, this was not independently verified.

MotionCure is sold for $150 on Amazon and on It is best used before the symptoms begin, but you can use it at the onset. Says Raz: “Either way, you will feel better in a matter of minutes.”


Photos: Courtesy

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Meet The Israeli Phone Hackers That Governments Have On Speed Dial Thu, 15 Sep 2016 07:11:52 +0000

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When the news broke last month that a virtually anonymous Israeli company hacked the iPhone of a high-profile civil rights activist, the media were bursting with speculations and theories as to who was behind the breach. When the price of the hacking was revealed – $650,000, plus a $500,000 setup fee for 10 devices – all eyes were on Israeli startup NSO Group.

But the clandestine company – which is said to help governments spy on people through their mobile devices – has kept mostly quiet. In fact, this closely held enterprise has largely flown under the radar since its inception in 2010, even when it was bought for $120 million by American private equity firm Francisco Partners in 2014.

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

Cybersecurity israel

Founded by Niv Carmi, Shalev Hulio and Omri Lavie , NSO – which stands for the first letters of the founders’ first names – has developed a mobile device surveillance software called Pegasus, with which it can reportedly accesses phone records and conversations as well as photos, text messages and web surfing history. The spyware leaves no traces on the phone, according to media reports.

This software was used to hack the iPhone of a United Arab Emirates citizen, after which Apple issued a security patch to its operating system, in order to tighten users’ security and privacy.

“The most sophisticated mobile attack we’ve seen”

Cyber-security firm Lookout, which along with research group Citizen Lab discovered the Pegasus attack last month, says Pegasus is a “highly sophisticated piece of spyware” that can turn on a phone’s camera and microphone, intercept text messages, and alter the existing apps on the device “to spy on any encrypted or unencrypted data.” According to Lookout, “this is the most sophisticated mobile attack we’ve seen yet and marks a new era of mobile hacking.”

How does it work? According to the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, Ahmed Mansoor, a human rights activist based in the UAE, received a text message on his iPhone promising “new secrets” about detainees tortured in UAE jails if he clicked on an included link. Sensing a ruse, Mansoor didn’t click on the link and instead sent the message to Citizen Lab researchers. “We recognized the links as belonging to an exploit infrastructure connected to NSO Group, an Israel-based ‘cyber war’ company that sells Pegasus, a government-exclusive ‘lawful intercept spyware product,” the research group said in a statement.

In response, NSO told the media it only works with legitimate law enforcement agencies and governments.

Significant abuse potential

According to Citizen Lab, once a user clicks on such a link, their mobile device becomes infected, and in fact becomes “a digital spy,” capable of snooping on camera and microphone activities, record WhatsApp and Viber calls, log messages sent in mobile chat apps, and track the user’s movements.

SEE ALSO: Cyber Terrorism Has Grave Psychological Impact On Victims, New Study Finds

This set of vulnerabilities, dubbed “Trident,” used on Mansoor’s phone “is further evidence that ‘lawful intercept’ spyware has significant abuse potential, and that some governments cannot resist the temptation to use such tools against political opponents, journalists, and human rights defenders,” Citizen Lab said in a statement.

However, many claim the company is legitimate and that all powerful technologies could potentially fall into the wrong hands. NSO recently told Forbes that its mission is to make the world a safer place “by providing authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.”

Furthermore, NSO stresses that it sells its software solely to authorized governmental agencies, and that it “fully complies with strict export control laws and regulations.” The company has said that its contracts with clients include a condition to use its software only in a lawful manner.

Social media on smartphone

The serial entrepreneurs behind NSO

The 200-employee NSO Group is not the first company Lavie and Hulio founded (Carmi left NSO a couple of years ago); the serial entrepreneurs already have several startups under their belt.

In 2007, they founded MediAND, which identified products in videos and then sold them to the viewers. The company raised $2 million but shut down in 2010 after a legal battle with one of its other founders.

CommuniTake, which Lavie and Hulio founded in 2008, enables cellular network providers to remotely access smartphones; Kaymera, which was founded in 2013, develops mobile security services and solutions; and finally, in 2014, the two founded investment fund Founders Group which controls more than a dozen startups.

With so much expertise and experience, it’s no wonder that Francisco Partners recently valued the duo’s NSO Group at $1 billion. But as high as the company’s valuation may be, very little is known about it or its founders, which is sure to raise some questions.

NSO Group and Francisco Partners declined NoCamels’ requests for interviews.


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Trump Card: Beyond Verbal’s Technology Interprets Trump’s Real Emotions Wed, 14 Sep 2016 11:28:04 +0000

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How can you tell when politicians are lying? Their lips are moving.

It’s a joke of course, but what makes a joke funny is that it has elements of truth. After all, can we really know what a politician, or anyone for that matter, is really thinking?

Israeli company Beyond Verbal says it can. Its cutting-edge technology deciphers people’s moods, emotional characteristics, and attitudes in real-time, as they speak.

The company has already tested its technology on the likes Barack Obama, Donald Trump and even Steve jobs.

In a recent video that Beyond Verbal analyzed, Republican presidential nominee Trump answers questions from Megyn Kelly of Fox News during a televised debate last August. Beyond Verbal’s algorithm detected characteristics such “arrogance” and “intolerance” inTrump.

Emotions behind the words

Having already analyzed 2.3 million voice samples from 170 countries, Beyond Verbal’s technology decodes human vocal intonations into their underlying emotions. In a video of one of the late Steve Jobs’s last interviews, in which he talks about how he came up with the idea for the iPad, Beyond Verbal detects “loneliness, fatigue, emotional frustration” and also “sadness mixed with happines” from Apple’s legendary founder.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App

$3 millon Chinese investment

Last week Beyond Verbal announced it had raised $3 million in series A funding led by Chinese investor Kuang-Chi Science. Founded in 2012, the company has already been granted eight patents and more are pending.

According to the company, Beyond Verbal’s technology is applicable in mobile applications, voice assistants, wearables, and a variety of other settings. Beyond Verbal’s 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.

“We envision a world in which personal devices understand our emotions and well-being, enabling us to become more in tune with ourselves,” Yuval Mor, CEO of Beyond Verbal, said in a interview with Tech in Asia. “Understanding emotions can assist us in finding new friends, unlocking new experiences and, ultimately, helping us understand better what makes us truly happy.”

Video: Beyond Verbal

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Israeli App ‘Heed’ Gives You Insider Access To New York Fashion Week Wed, 14 Sep 2016 10:29:00 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Fashionistas, take heed: There’s a new app offering instant access to the the New York Fashion Week runway, with real-time, closeup glimpses of the trends and looks being shown this fall.

Called Heed, it’s the latest technology from Israeli entrepreneur Mati Kochavi, who lives in the US and made his millions managing his cybersecurity company AGT International.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Hottest Israeli Fashion Designers Who Dress The Stars

New York fashion-week 2016

Kochavi developed the app with Ari Emanuel, brother of Chicago mayor Rahm Emanuel, and CEO of talent agency WME-IMG, known for his knack for figuring out the next big thing.

Designed to bring people closer to their passions, Heed is an official partner to the 2016 New York Fashion Week, but it can be used for other events, such as sporting or food demonstrations.

SEE ALSO: Japanese Designer Uses Israeli Tech To 3D-Print Futuristic Garments

At New York Fashion Week, the events previously reserved for fashion insiders, Hollywood stars and models, are now available to any Heed user. The company first deployed their web-enabled sensors at last year’s fashion weeks in September and February, linking them to the Heed app so that users could watch the models backstage and on the runway.

The app allows users to see what’s going down the runway in real time, to buy certain designer pieces right after the shows, and to chat with leading stylists, such as Preston Konrad and Sam Escobar, who are working with the Heed app during the current fashion week.

heed app

To read the full article, click here

Photos: New York Fashion Week, Heed

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Tel Aviv Helps Kenya Build $14.5B ‘Silicon Savannah’ City Sun, 11 Sep 2016 11:43:40 +0000

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Israel’s ‘startup city’ Tel Aviv is helping Kenya to build its first tech hub in the new city of Konza, just outside the capital Nairobi. The ambitious, $14.5 billion project will feature a science and business park, convention center, shopping malls, hotels and international schools, among other facilities. The new smart city will be built on 5,000 acres of land, about 37 miles south of Nairobi.

In the coming months, the City of Tel Aviv – which was named the world’s smartest city and is home to hundreds of startup and high-tech companies – will host entrepreneurs and developers from Kenya to meet with Israeli experts in order to “create urban and technological models for the new city.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Doctors Open First ER Facility in Kenya’s Third Largest City

Headed by Tel Aviv Global, the city also plans to host seminars and meetups with local startups, in order to foster collaboration between Kenya and Israel, and connect Israeli startups that market to African countries with the founders of the new city of Konza.

According to Tel Aviv mayor Ron Huldai, “Tel Aviv is one of the world’s main technology entrepreneurship centers, with the highest concentration of startup accelerators, and a vibrant entrepreneurial community that has drawn techies from all over the world. We’ve been fortunate to collaborate with the developing world in recent years on projects that lead to creating innovative smart cities.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Firm AlefBet Partakes In Ethiopia’s Initiative To Build 2.4 Million Houses In Five Years

konzaIsraeli companies have been involved in Africa for years, but the Holy Land’s own transition into a modern country can contribute to budding technology centers around the globe. “Within two generations, Israel has transitioned from a developing country to a developed country, and this makes our ecosystem attractive to the developing world,” Eytan Schwartz, CEO of Tel Aviv Global, said in a statement. “We’re pleased to make a positive impact and serve as Israel’s ‘ambassadors’ in the world.”

‘Techno City’ in the heart of the African Savannah

Kenya approved plans for the new city Konza, which is expected to be completed in 2019, about three years ago. In the initial phase, the city will be home to 30,000 residents and offer 17,000 jobs. By 2030, it is expected to grow to 200,000 residents and add thousands more jobs.

SEE ALSO: By Improving Access To Basic Necessities, Israeli Technologies Transform Africa, Save Lives

But the Konza smart hub, dubbed “Silicon Savannah’ or ‘Techno City,’ has also had its share of criticism. Some say the $14.5 billion investment in building the city should, at least partly, go towards funding local startups. Other critics say Konza is located too far from the bustling capital Nairobi.


“Konza City will play a critical role in building a knowledge-based economy”

Albeit ambitious, the project is undoubtedly groundbreaking. City planners designed Konza as a smart city, by integrating communication networks into the urban fabric, so that city services will be automatically linked to the infrastructure, businesses and residents. An advanced system will collect data from sensors in different locations to efficiently serve dwellers and business people in the fields of transportation, events, public safety, environment and more.

According to Joseph Mucheru, the cabinet secretary in Kanya’s Ministry of Information and Communications, “Konza City will play a critical role in building a knowledge-based economy that will shift the current industrial development path towards innovation – where creation, adoption, adaptation and use of knowledge will drive economic growth.”


Photos and video: Konza Techno City Kenya, SHoP Architects

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Paralympic Dancer Wows Opening Ceremony In Stunning Israeli-Designed 3D Printed Dress Thu, 08 Sep 2016 09:48:44 +0000

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All eyes were on US snowboarder and dancer Amy Purdy  at the Rio de Janeiro Paralympic Games opening ceremony last night – and not just for her amazing dancing skills on her prosthetic legs.

SEE ALSO: 3D Fashion Designer Danit Peleg Takes Tyra Banks And US By Storm

Purdy, who won second place on the 18th season of ABC’s “Dancing With the Stars”, danced a solo at the opening ceremony – with an industrial robot named KUKA.

However, that wasn’t the only high-tech element of her performance. Purdy wore a 3-D-printed dress created by Israeli fashion designer Danit Peleg. In a choreographed routine representing the complex relationship between humans and technology, the fact that her dress was printed using desktop printers added depth to her performance.

Inspired by Venus

Purdy battled with meningitis at the age of 19, as a result of which she lost both of her legs. Peleg saw Purdy’s story as a rebirth.  With Botticelli’s “The Birth of Venus” as her prime inspiration, Peleg also added diamond shapes from the painting’s composition, while the nude color is that of Venus.  Part of Peleg’s latest collection, for the custom dress she decided to use FilaFlex, a soft material printed in a lacelike textile which moved and bounced as Purdy danced. According to Peleg, it took approximately 120 hours to print the dress.

SEE ALSO: Going For The Gold: Israeli Paralympic Team Is Hoping To Score In Rio

For her 2015 graduate collection, Peleg was the first to design and 3-D print an entire ready-to-wear collection. Peleg believes that 3-D printing is “liberating because the designer’s imagination is the only constraint. As the technology evolves and materials and printers improve, designers will find a lot of freedom in this technique.”

Print your own clothes

“As technologies evolve, we all soon will be printing our own clothes at home,”  Peleg told NoCamels a year ago in an interview . “Just imagine the potential…If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room.”


As for last night, Peleg was understandably ecstatic in describing Purdy’s performance on her Istagram account. “What an incredible night!! Amy Purdy rocked my 3D printed dress! Words cannot describe how I feel right now!”


Israeli designer Danit Peleg

Photos: Danit Peleg

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Reports: Scientists From Israel, Iran And Pakistan Develop New Particle Accelerator In The Middle East Tue, 06 Sep 2016 08:21:06 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli scientists are reportedly participating with colleagues from Pakistan, Iran, Egypt and Jordan on a $100 million project to develop the Middle East’s new particle accelerator — the Synchrotron-Light for Experimental Science and Applications in the Middle East, or SESAME.

Construction of the site, which is due to be formally inaugurated next spring in the hillside town of al-Balqa, northwest of Amman, is underway and the first experiments are expected to take place this autumn, The Guardian reported.

SEE ALSO: Israel, Iran, Jordan And Turkey In Joint Science Project

SESAME’s members are Iran, Pakistan, Israel, Turkey, Cyprus, Egypt, the Palestinian Authority, Jordan and Bahrain — a group among which diplomatic discomfort is rife: Iran and Pakistan don’t recognize Israel, for example, nor does Turkey recognize Cyprus.

Sesame particle accelerator

SESAME particle accelerator

Iran’s participation continued even after two of its scientists, who were involved in the project, quantum physicist Masoud Alimohammadi and nuclear scientist Majid Shahriari, were assassinated in operations blamed on Israel’s Mossad, The Guardian said.

“We’re cooperating very well together,” Giorgio Paolucci, the scientific director of SESAME told The Guardian. “That’s the dream.”

“I don’t know how many places there are where all these governments have representatives who have the opportunity to come and talk to each other,” he added.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Invents Laser Beam To Monitor Tiniest Particles In Water And Oil

Progress on the accelerator is made through government officials meetings, discussing technicalities and coming to agreements, unaffected by the enmity they may feel outside the conference halls, the report said.

The aim of SESAME is to “foster scientific and technological excellence in the Middle East and neighboring countries” and prevent or reverse regional brain drain “by enabling world-class scientific research in subjects ranging from biology, archaeology and medical sciences through basic properties of materials science, physics, chemistry, and life sciences,” SESAME says on its website.

It also aims to build “scientific and cultural bridges among diverse societies, and contribute to a culture of peace through international cooperation in science.”


To read the full article, click here

Photos: SESAMEDon Richards

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UPnRIDE: This Segway-Like Vehicle Will Help Quadriplegics Stand Tall Mon, 05 Sep 2016 11:06:03 +0000

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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 when it will be unveiled at the Rehacare International convention in Germany, later this month.

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

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


The brain behind ReWalk, Goffer is himself a quadriplegic who does not have full use of his arms, which means he cannot use the ReWalk to walk. In fact, this incredible device can only be used by roughly 10 percent of handicapped individuals.

That is why Goffer, who is confined to a wheelchair, has been working on a more comprehensive solution over the past three years. 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.

“Being able to stand and move is extremely important for people’s physiological health and their dignity,” Goffer says. According to him, the UPnRIDE reduces secondary complications of long-term sitting, lowering the need for hospitalization, medications and physiotherapy.

“Shifting attention away from the disability”

Standing wheelchairs were first created in order to facilitate better circulation and other health benefits for the wheelchair-confined, and to provide a chance for eye-to-eye social interaction. However, according to UPnRIDE Robotics CEO Oren Tamari, “most other standing wheelchairs don’t allow travelling on surfaces that aren’t plain.”

While using the device, a set of jointed braces and harnessing straps provide support when transitioning between sitting and standing positions. Cutting-edge motion technology and real-time computing ensures automatic balancing and stability when UPnRIDE maneuvers on sloped sidewalks, parking lots and ramps, maintaining a constant center of gravity to minimize the risk of hazardous situations.

ReWalker Oliver, Ursel & Andre – Berlin, Germany

ReWalk, Goffer’s previous invention

According to Tamari, UPnRIDE, which is expected to cost roughly $32,000 (wheelchairs typically cost $15,000-$50,000) will significantly cuts healthcare expenses, by reducing the need for standing and physiotherapy apparatuses – a major cost saving for insurers, hospitals, patients and their families.

A comprehensive solution  

SEE ALSO: ReWalk, The Revolutionary Israeli Tech That Allows Paraplegics To Walk, Nabs FDA Approval

Meanwhile, the ReWalk exoskeleton already has a market cap of $73 million on Nasdaq. In 2012, one woman completed the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using ReWalk. And, in 2015, the US Department of Veterans Affairs announced it will provide ReWalk exoskeletons for eligible veterans with spinal cord injuries.

“An extremely good feeling”

Founded in 2013, UPnRIDE Robotics is headed by Tamari and by president and CTO Goffer, both graduates of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, who left ReWalk to found UPnRIDE. The startup received a grant from Israel’s Chief Scientist, $1.7 million in funding from Israeli crowd-funding platform OurCrowd, and additional funds from angel investors. So far, UPnRIDE has raised $3 million, and is in the process of raising another $4 million, Tamari says.


Dr. Amit Goffer using UPnRIDE

David Stark, OurCrowd general partner, tells NoCamels that “Amit’s personal need for an upright mobility solution fueled his drive to develop the UPnRIDE, which will one day benefit wheelchair-bound people all around the world.”

But money isn’t everything; Goffer’s true passion is to improve the lives of millions around the globe. Just last year, Goffer – who became quadriplegic as a result of a 1997 accident – was able to leave his home standing up, for the first time since the accident, using UPnRIDE: “It was a very strange feeling, an extremely good one.”

Photos and video: UPnRIDE, Technion

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Will The Explosion Of AMOS-6 Satellite Halt Israel’s Space Program? Sun, 04 Sep 2016 11:37:29 +0000

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Following the explosion of Facebook’s Israeli-built satellite AMOS-6 last week during a test launch by Elon Musk’s company SpaceX in Florida, all eyes are on the future of Israel’s space industry.

SEE ALSO: NASA And Israel Ink Deal On Space Cooperation

SpaceX, which designs, manufactures and launches advanced rockets and spacecraft, was set to launch Israeli communication satellite AMOS-6 last Thursday, when an explosion destroyed both.

AMOS-6 was touted as Israel’s most advanced satellite, the latest in a series of six which are mostly operated by Israeli company Spacecom and developed by its partner, Israel Aerospace Industries.

The biggest promise: Free internet access in Africa 

Its goal had been to beam free internet across sub-Saharan Africa for Facebook, which in October 2015 had announced it would launch AMOS-6. Currently, only 17 percent of the population in the region has access to the internet.

AMOS-6 satellite

AMOS-6 satellite

The project was part of Facebook’s, a non-profit initiative that brings together technology leaders, nonprofit organizations and local communities to provide Internet access to the most remote regions of the world.

But the deal with Facebook – which aimed to connect millions of Africans to the internet – has now been canceled due to the surprise explosion, Spacecom said on Saturday.

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg wrote on his page on Thursday: “I am deeply disappointed to hear that SpaceX’s launch failure destroyed our satellite that would have provided connectivity to so many entrepreneurs and everyone else across the continent.” However, he stressed that Facebook remains “committed to our mission of connecting everyone, and we will keep working until everyone has the opportunities this satellite would have provided.”

The cancellation of the project is a blow to Israel’s Spacecom, since Facebook was expected to pay $100 million for the use of AMOS-6 in the years 2016-2032. Spacecom was in the midst of being acquired by Chinese company Xinwei for $285 million, a deal which now might not come to fruition, since one of the conditions was a successful launch of AMOS-6.

Meanwhile, future customers of AMOS-6 (such as television companies) are being diverted to the already orbiting AMOS-2 and AMOS-3 satellites, according to Spacecom.

Today, the company said in a report to the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange (TASE) that it expects a $173 million insurance refund for AMOS-6, which the company developed for the Israeli Airspace Industries (IAI), a government-controlled corporation. In addition, SpaceX – the launcher – is expected to reimburse Spacecom for $50 million for failing to launch the Israeli satellite.

SEE ALSO: Life on Mars? Israelis Design 3D-Printed Space Home For NASA

In its report to TASE, IAI confirmed today it has insurance funds to cover the loss of the satellite. IAI and Spacecom are waiting to learn more about the explosion from SpaceX, which is investigating the accident and is expected to provide a report.

More opportunities for the Israeli space industry 

Founded 23 years ago in Israel, Spacecom operates an AMOS satellite fleet; it’s traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, with a market cap of $201 million, down sharply from last year’s $253 million.

But beyond the loss of AMOS-6, and the damages to Spacecom and its customers, questions are now being asked about what this means for the Israeli space industry, which has collaborated with NASA on several projects, including a future 3D-printed space home for its astronauts.

SpaceX rocket that carried AMOS-6 exploded Sept. 1

The SpaceX rocket that carried AMOS-6 exploded Sept. 1

The prestigious magazine Defense News estimates that the explosion and the potential cancellation of Spacecom’s sale to China could turn out to be good news for the Israeli space industry.

With the Chinese deal clouded by uncertainty, the magazine posits that “IAI may have greater chances of snagging an Amos-6 replacement order, as well as follow-on contracts, that may have gone to non-Israeli firms once the sale was complete.”

Photos: USLuanchReport, Facebook, Brian Solis

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Armed With Waze, Google Is About To Take On Uber With Ride-Sharing Wed, 31 Aug 2016 10:56:15 +0000

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Uber, which recently began beta-testing low-cost carpool rides in San Francisco, may soon face some tough competition in that lane. The Wall Street Journal reports that former partner-turned rival Google is set to do the exact same thing.

Google, which acquired Israeli navigation app Waze in 2013 for $1.3 billion, is planning to make its service available to all users in the San Francisco area this fall, according to the report in The Wall Street Journal citing anonymous sources. If successful, the service would put Google in direct competition with Uber.


Waze Traffic Navigation App

Google first tested carpooling programs for Waze users in Israel and then expanded its pilot program to the Bay Area in May. Initially, it was only available to 25,000 employees at select companies like Adobe and Walmart, but will now expand it to all San Francisco users.

Carpooling on demand

To use the service, users request a ride via the special Waze Rider app based on their origin and destination. They will then be matched with a driver among Waze’s 700,000 San Francisco users. Drivers can then accept or decline ride requests.

SEE ALSO: Waze Reminds Parents Not To Leave Kids In Cars

The pilot program charged users 54 cents per mile to go towards the driver’s expenses. However, Google’s carpooling service is not meant for drivers or for Google to turn a profit, unlike Uber and Lyft’s ride-sharing apps (Lyft recently shut down its program due to lack of participation from its drivers).

SEE ALSO: Ride-Sharing Startup Via Raises $100M; Revs Up Competition Against Uber, Lyft

Taking on Uber and Lyft

Google’s foray into ride-sharing is putting additional strain on its sensitive relationship with Uber. In 2013, Google’s parent company Alphabet invested $250 million in Uber. Alphabet senior vice president of corporate development David Drummond was on the Ubers’s board until he stepped down several weeks ago because of the increasing conflict of interest. And Google Ventures partner David Krane is an observer on Uber’s board.

To make matters more complicated, Uber also recently acquired Otto, a startup developing self-driving trucks founded by former Google employees, including one of the co-founders of Alphabet’s own self-driving car project.

Waze: 65 million users

Waze has 65 million active users worldwide. Like Uber, Waze’s drivers aren’t employees of the company. But unlike Uber, which checks driver credentials, Google won’t vet its drivers and will rely on its users to red-light bad drivers.

The carpooling project seems like a natural next step for Google, which is increasingly showing its will to enter the transportation market. It is even working on a Google Self-Driving Car, a project by Google X that involves developing technology for autonomous cars, mainly electric cars.

Of course, it goes without saying that Uber is also pursuing self-driving car technology.


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Reporty App Live-Streams Emergency Situations From Your Smartphone To First Responders Mon, 29 Aug 2016 09:05:37 +0000

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During an emergency, it’s not always easy to call 911 and explain the dire situation. Now, Israeli startup Reporty provides rescue teams with the precise location and real-time information from your smartphone, including live video.

SEE ALSO: Personal Rescue Backpack SkySaver Lets You Rappel Down Buildings

Reporty is a free app that facilitates the communication between people in emergency situations and public safety agencies, live-streaming video from your smartphone’s camera to the applicable authorities. Once contacted, the dispatcher will also have access to relevant information, including the person’s name, location, needs, and more. Using the power of the crowd, Reporty is revolutionizing the way first response and public safety agencies manage events in the field.

The US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) estimates that improving location accuracy could potentially save about 10,000 lives a year. Now, Reporty offers precise location accuracy (1 meter), according to CEO Amir Elichai. When the app is on, the user can click on one of the assistance options on the user interface, which include different emergency services, such as medical assistance, police authorities and firefighters, in addition to local municipal authorities. Once an option is selected, the app live-streams video from the smartphone’s camera, showing authorities exactly what is happening around the user. If the user is unable to speak, Reporty also allows for instant messaging.

“The main goal of the company is to change the way people interact with authorities in an emergency event,” Elichai tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Ambu-Cyclists Speed Through Traffic To Save Lives

The advantage of Reporty over simply calling 911, is that in many emergency situations, the ability to coherently explain the situation may be impaired or non-existent. Furthermore, 911 dispatchers on the other side of the phone are completely blind over what is going on with the caller – that is, they literally cannot see where exactly the caller is, who’s around them, if they’re alone, and other general information about their surroundings, Elichai explains. Sometimes they won’t even be able to identify whether it might be a prank call or not.

By showing the incident to the dispatchers through the phone’s camera, these can give instructions to the person in need even before they physically reach his or her location. Elichai recalls an episode in which an eight-month-old baby started to shake while in the mall with his mother. Someone who had Reporty on their phone approached the frightened mother and requested help through the app, and the medical assistant immediately gave instructions about what to do to save the baby’s life. The mother did as she was told, and the baby survived.

Chaired by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak

Launched in March, Reporty has raised $1.8M and attracted roughly 100,000 users in recent months. In June, the startup won the Tel Aviv Startup Challenge competition run by StarTAU, Tel Aviv University’s entrepreneurship center.

Reporty was founded by Elichai, Alex Dizengof, Lital Leshem and Yoni Yatsun; its chairman is former Israeli prime minister and defense secretary Ehud Barak, who also invested in the startup; former secretary of the US Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, is on Reporty’s advisory board.

Elichai didn’t comment on how the company plans to monetize the app, but sources estimate that the company will sell its solution to emergency authorities.

“The world is facing new challenges” 

The idea for Reporty arose when Elichai was robbed on Gordon Beach in Tel Aviv two and a half years ago. He was overwhelmed with the amount of questions he needed to answer in order to receive assistance from the police: “I think the world is facing new challenges, and people will be part of their own personal security, no matter how many systems you’re going to put on the streets, no matter how many cameras.”

reporty app

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Battery Drained? Disposable Charger Instantly Gives Smartphones 5 Extra Battery Hours Wed, 24 Aug 2016 08:00:56 +0000

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Our grandparents would scoff at our modern-day problems, but for many smartphone users, low battery life is a distressing predicament! Indeed, smartphone users consistently say poor battery life is their main grievance.

While phone companies have yet to find the solution to battery drainage, a flurry of products are offering emergency solutions. ResQBattery invented a one-time, pocket-sized battery that plugs directly into mobile phones, instantly extending battery life for up to five hours.

SEE ALSO: StoreDot’s Technology Charges A Smartphone In 30 Seconds!


ResQBattery, which can be used once, costs $10, and has a five-year shelf life. It comes in five bright colors: blue, pink, orange, purple, and green. Available on leading online retailers such as Amazon, this innovative lithium battery was developed by Israeli company Nofet, and designed by Igloo Design Strategy, one of Israel’s award-winning industrial design firms.

The battery, said to be created from eco-friendly materials, is manufactured in China and is currently patent-pending. It has received the US Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval, according to the company, which also says the battery will be recyclable in the future.

StoreDot's Organic Technology Can Charge A Phone In 30 Seconds!

This on-the-go charger suits any device with a micro USB connector running on Android, Windows, and Blackberry smartphone and doesn’t require any additional cables. The company is currently working on a battery for iPhones.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Develops Wireless Mobile Chargers Using Infrared Light

Although the battery is disposable, it comes with a switch that allows you to turn it off when you’re not using it. Therefore, ResQBattery can rescue you multiple times from emergency situations – until you’ve used up all five hours of its battery life. But beware, once you’ve hit the battery life’s limit, don’t expect to be able to recharge it.

“Magic battery”

Founded and self-funded in 2013 by Israeli CEO Idit Hoter-Ishay, Nofet started marketing ResQBattery about six months ago, and sales are growing quickly, she says.

Hoter-Ishay came up with the idea for ResQBattery after her own modern-day personal emergency. Upon landing in Beijing, she found that both of her phones were dead, with no extra batteries or chargers, leaving her stranded and with no way to reach people.

That’s when she envisioned ResQBattery. “I felt really helpless, uncomfortable, and insecure,” she tells NoCamels. “At that moment, I longed for a ‘magic’ battery that would give me enough battery to contact my friends.”

According to Hoter-Ishay, “most smartphone users are busy, and have little time to recharge portable chargers over and over. Many are price-sensitive and looking to spend just a few dollars on a cable-free pocket charger to help get them out of a fix. ResQBattery does just that, all wrapped up in a chic yet simple design.”

Multi-use portable chargers, which cost $10-$100, are tough competition for ResQBattery. But Hoter-Ishay believes customers will want an emergency charger that is ready for immediate use, without the constant need to recharge.

Hoter-Ishay compares the ResQBattery to a safety pin, as opposed to a sewing kit. The pin is there the moment you need it but won’t provide a lasting fix. That pin should be sold on every corner, she says: “Think about all of these people who find themselves without battery, they could go to the corner deli and buy it just like buying ChapStick at the checkout.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Drinks On The House?! Israeli Smart Cup Earns You Free Beers Mon, 22 Aug 2016 07:30:21 +0000

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“A man’s got to believe in something,” comedian-actor W.C. Fields used to say. “I believe I’ll have another drink.”

Before downing another frosty beverage, consider raising a toast to a new smart beer glass that keeps track of your drinking – and could be a big money saver too.

The glass, from Tel Aviv-based startup Glassify, gives you discounts every time you order a cold one.

SEE ALSO: Thirsty? ‘The Right Cup’ Turns Water Into Your Favorite Drink Using Scent – Not Sugar

After downloading the app, order your favorite beer and swipe the smart glass over your phone. The chip at the bottom acts like a barcode, and the discounts load onto your device – just be sure to swipe the code gently to avoid spilling beer on your screen.

Better memory than a bartender

The discounts received from Glassify are personalized based on what and where you’re drinking. The app also remembers what you ordered and will offer targeted discounts on your favorite drinks. The more drinks you order, the more offers you get.

“There’s always an incentive for users to scan their glass,” Ben Biron, CEO of Glassify said in an interview. “This could be anything from a free drink, chaser, or a food combo.”

As for bar owners, there are plenty of advantages for them as well. In one of Glassify’s pilot projects, customers were told that if they scan their glasses they’d get their second drink either 50 percent off or free. According to Biron, customers who usually only had one beer took the second one, and stayed for the third, or fourth, or fifth. Bars saw a significant increase in drink purchases because they gave the second one away for free or at half price.

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Self-Driving Truck Offers Relief For Tired Truckers, Safer Travel For Motorists Sun, 21 Aug 2016 08:59:12 +0000

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“Keep on trucking”, a popular expression in the 1960s, means to carry on, to continue what one is doing, to keep plugging away. But if tired truck drivers ‘keep on trucking’ beyond their normal work hours, they put both themselves and other motorists at risk. 

Ride-hailing giant Uber announced on Thursday a $680 million acquisition of Otto Motors, an Israeli startup specializing in converting normal trucks into autonomous ones. Self-driving trucks could spell an end to tired truckers on highways.

SEE ALSO: Ride-Sharing Startup Via Raises $100M; Revs Up Competition Against Uber, Lyft

Founded by former Google, Apple, and Tesla employees, including Israeli entrepreneur Lior Ron, Otto develops artificial intelligence, cameras, and sensors that are attached to the vehicle, giving the truck full driving capacity without the need for a driver. Otto trucks are currently undergoing trials in the San Francisco area.

A replacement for truckers?

Uber’s moves reflect its eagerness to advance self-driving technology. If its ambitions are realized, these vehicles could over time reduce its biggest cost, paying drivers. Uber would also be positioned to expand into the trucking industry, which had revenue of about $726.4 billion in the United States in 2015, according to trade data.

SEE ALSO: Public Transit App Moovit Launches Official Rio Olympics App, Integrates With Uber Taxis

Otto’s online blog cited the potential for the merger to transform the trucking industry. As one in three truckers get into a serious accident and 90% of truckers leave their jobs each year, this technology can “provide a path to sustainable commercial transportation.”

So far Otto has tested self-driving trucks for highway use only.

Developers hope for productivity gains with the new technology that will enable trucks to drive around the clock, leaving humans to rest, do paperwork and take controls only while going on and off highways.

Over the long-term, Uber and rivals such as Lyft could cut the cost of paying drivers if they can gradually incorporate self-driving cars into their fleets. But at least for now, said the source familiar with the Uber-Otto agreement, Uber will expand its driver network, which now stands at 1.5 million globally in more than 450 cities.

Pilot program in Pittsburgh

Uber, which has a research center in Pittsburgh, will by the end of this month begin a pilot program in which trusted Uber customers will be able to use their phones to summon a self-driving car for use in a downtown Pittsburgh, according to a source with knowledge of Uber’s plans.

It will be the first time members of the public will be able to use self-driving vehicles. A driver trained to handle the autonomous cars will be behind the wheel to step in if needed.

$680 million: A truckload of cash

The purchase of Otto, a start-up company less than a year old with fewer than 100 employees, will be for 1 percent of Uber’s valuation, if certain technical targets are met, accourding to reports.

Recently, that valuation was about $68 billion, placing the value of the deal at about $680 million. Current Otto employees would get a fifth of profits Uber earns from a self-driving trucking business, if those targets are met.

Anthony Levandowski, one of Otto’s co-founders, will lead Uber’s self-driving efforts in San Francisco, Palo Alto and Pittsburgh. That includes personal transportation such as ride-hailing services, as well as delivery services and trucking. Levandowski was one of four founders of Otto, each of whom worked at Alphabet Inc’s Google and its self-driving program.

Eye on safety

A spokesman for U.S. safety regulator National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said in a statement  that their office “continues to engage with all entities that are developing, testing and deploying automated technologies to ensure that they are advancing road safety.” He also added that, “federal guidelines will be issued soon on development and testing of “highly automated vehicles.”

We may have to wait a while till we see driverless trucks roaming our highways.

Until we do, ‘the truck stops here’.


Photos & Video: Otto, Uber

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These Five Female Tech Leaders Inspire Innovation In Israel – And Beyond Thu, 18 Aug 2016 09:10:41 +0000

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Israel is known as the Startup Nation, and Israeli women are filling the top seats at many of the country’s thousands of technology companies.

And that is reflected in other industries as well: Amazingly, three of the CEOs of Israel’s five largest banks are women (Lilach Asher-Topilsky at Israel Discount Bank, Rakefet Russak-Aminoach at Bank Leumi and Smadar Barber-Tsadik at First International Bank).

However, workforce figures still reflect a bias towards men: According to Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, only 35.5 percent of high-tech workers in the country are women.

SEE ALSO: Are Women Equal In The Startup Nation?

Still, Silicon Wadi is closer to equality than Silicon Valley, where only 20 percent of the developers and 11 percent of the executives are women. And, according to a study conducted by the International Institute for Management Development, Israel ranks 21st out of 59 nations with advanced economies that promote gender equality in the workplace. It can do better, but it’s a start.

To celebrate the inspiring women who lead the startup sector in Israel, NoCamels highlights five female entrepreneurs whose vision and leadership are the driving force behind some of the most innovative technologies developed in the Startup Nation.

Dr. Kira Radinsky: Predicting the future

She’s been splashed across the pages of newspapers worldwide as the Israeli prodigy who can predict the future. Wunderkind Dr. Kira Radinsky started university at age 15, earned her Ph.D. at 26 and founded two startups, one of which – SalesPredict – was recently sold to giant eBay for $40 million.

dr. kira radinsky, technion, ebay, salespredict, predicts the future

Now 30, Radinsky is eBay Israel’s chief scientist. Also a researcher at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, Radinsky has successfully predicted the future, including epidemic outbreaks and social upheavals.

Similarly, the innovative software she developed for SalesPredict uses a complex algorithm that can help businesses spot promising leads.

Radinsky’s decade-old obsession with predicting the future turned out to be exactly what our data-overloaded world needs right now. “I came to realize there is so much untapped data that can be leveraged in amazing ways,” she told NoCamels in a prior interview. “I never really stopped to think of how difficult the problem of predicting the future would be. But I thought maybe that’s a common thought for ordinary people trying to achieve extraordinary things.”

Maxine Fassberg: Leading 10,000 tech employees

Maxine Fassberg has been managing the operations of giant chip maker Intel in Israel since 2007 as president of Intel Israel and vice president of the global corporation. In 2009, she was inducted into the Women in Technology International Hall of Fame. In 2012, she was recognized by CNN as one of the 10 most powerful women in tech.

With Intel being the largest multinational high-tech company in the Holy Land, Fassberg manages roughly 10,000 employees in six locations across Israel, including four development centers – in Haifa, Yakum, Petach Tikva and Jerusalem – and manufacturing facilities in Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Government statistics show that Intel exports alone account for 9 percent (!) of the total goods exported from Israel.

maxine fassberg, intel israel

Intel picked Israel for its first research and development center outside the US some 40 years ago. Since the chip maker set up shop in Israel, it has developed a series of breakthrough computer processors and has evolved far beyond hardware. Under Fassberg’s leadership, it’s currently collaborating with car maker BMW and Israel’s Mobileye on developing a driverless car.

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

Fassberg, a chemist and lithography engineer by trade, now manages one of the largest corporations in Israel, and she’s among a handful of female managers who oversee such a large operation. She’s particularly passionate about her leadership role in the Startup Nation, as she recently said in a conference: “Israel is crucial to Intel. Intel cannot do without the geniuses here in Israel.”

Dr. Orna Berry: The first female chief scientist

Dr. Orna Berry is both a scientist and a high tech entrepreneur. Now 67 years old, she was Israel’s first (and only, so far) female chief scientist, serving in that role in the 90s.

Berry joined venture capital firm Gemini Israel as a partner in 2000. She chaired PrimeSense, an Israeli startup which created the sensor technology for Microsoft Xbox Kinect and its 3D capturing technology. PrimeSense was bought by Apple Inc. for a whopping $360 million in 2013.

Unfortunately, only 20 percent of board members in Israel are women, according to the Workplace Gender Equality Agency, but Berry, with her vast knowledge in technology and science, was appointed to several boards. She chaired the boards of several high-profile companies, including: Lambda Crossing, which was engaged in manufacturing optical components; computer security startup Riverhead Networks, which was acquired by Cisco in 2004; and communication company Radware, to name a few.

In 2011, she joined EMC Corporation as vice president for innovation, heading EMC Centers of Excellence and R&D centers, and serving as the general manager of the EMC Israel Center of Excellence. The local center is one of eight international sites that drive and promote entrepreneurship and technological creativity.

Dr. Orna Berry, EMC

Throughout her career, Berry has been the recipient of various awards, including the “WITI Hall of fame” award by WITI Women in Technology International; the “Yakirat Ha’Negev” award from Ben Gurion University, for establishing an EMC R&D branch in the heart of Israel’s desert; and the Viterbi Award from the University of Southern California (USC) for integrating entrepreneurship with professional excellence.

Berry holds B.A. and M.A. degrees in statistics and mathematics. In 1986, she earned her Ph.D. degree in computer science from the USC and a fellowship from the RAND Corporation.

Dr. Michal Tsur: Leading Kaltura towards a “unicorn” valuation 

Dubbed the “iron lady” of Israeli startups, Dr. Michal Tsur is considered one of the most powerful women in the Israeli startup ecosystem. The co-founder of Cyota, an online security firm that sold to RSA Security for $145 million in 2005, she’s currently the president and co-founder of Kaltura, an open-source video platform that enhances websites with customized video and other functionalities.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Kaltura Raises $50 Million To ‘Videofy’ The World

Kaltura’s clients include big companies such as HBO, ABC, Turner, Warner Brothers and Paramount; the startup recently raised $50 million from Goldman Sachs, bringing total investment in the company to $165 million. According to reports in the media, Kaltura is on its way to becoming a “unicorn” – valued at around $500 million.

Dr. Michal Tsur, The 'Iron' Lady Of Israeli Startups, Tells NoCamels About Success Sans Coding And Women In High-Tech

Tsur, who was named a promising tech entrepreneur by several leading publications such as, holds a doctoral degree in application of game theoretic models to law from New York University, and was a post doctoral fellow at Yale Law School’s Information Society Project.

Nava Swersky Sofer: Commecilazing technology to better lives

In her 25-year career, attorney Nava Swersky Sofer was an entrepreneur, venture capitalist, senior executive, as well as an innovation and technology commercialization expert.

Currently, she’s the managing director of IDCBeyond, an IDC Herzliya program designed to train a new generation of successful visionaries and entrepreneurs. The program is focused on addressing some of the main 21st century problems in sustainability, bio-medicine, technology and globalization.

“As I put together our cohort of exceptional participants in the class of 2017, I focus on diversity in backgrounds, ages, nationalities and gender, hoping to have a balanced group of men and women,” Sofer tells NoCamels.

Nava Swersky Sofer

She also serves as an adviser to the UN’s World Intellectual Property Organization on Innovation (WIPO), and is a board member of several organizations.

Her most influential role so far, was that of CEO of Yissum, the Hebrew University’s technology transfer company, which commercialized such companies as Mobileye, a developer of driverless car technologies. Applying the university’s academic research in the real world, Sofer impacted the lives of thousands around the globe.

Rebeca Maia contributed to this report 

Photos: Sivan FaragAdi Cohen Zedek, Technion, Intel Israel

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Refund Relief: Earny App Rebates The Difference If Price Drops Wed, 17 Aug 2016 13:00:52 +0000

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Shopping can be lots of fun, especially when you’re sure you got a great deal on your purchase.

But what happens later, when you find out that your ‘great deal’ was not so great, that a friend got it cheaper, or that a competing outlet is selling it for considerably less?

SEE ALSO: Paid Too Much For An Airline Ticket? FairFly Can Find A Better Deal, Get Refund

Most consumers aren’t aware of price protection policies offered by major stores and credit card issuers. Many stores offer policies that promise to pay back the difference when a price drop occurs on past purchases, but customers must do their own research and go through the hassle of requesting refunds.

Earny: automatic refunds

With Earny, a new free app created by Israeli developers, all that work is no longer necessary. The app, which the company is describing as ‘a personal assistant’, automatically tracks purchases through emailed receipts, finds better prices, monitors price adjustments and files refund claims back to the original payment method. Earny automatically unlocks those savings from credit card issuers as well as more than 50 of the largest retailers in the United States, including Amazon, Target, Walmart, Best Buy, Nordstrom, and many others. The app is programmed to understand each individual store’s price match policy and knows how to file claims without requiring any interaction on your part. All Earny’s transactions are securely and safely handled by MasterCard’s trusted Simplify Commerce technology.


No more hoop jumping

The idea for Earny originated when one of the future founders was doing some personal clothes shopping. He paid what he believed was a good price for a blazer; $129, only to be told soon after by his roommate that he had bought the exact same blazer online for half the price. After jumping through many hoops to get the difference back via a price protection policy, he realized there was an opportunity to automate this process for consumers. He subsequently formed a team that entered MasterCard’s Masters of Code Hackathon, and won first place.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Redefines Online Shopping

Earny has raised $1.2 million in seed funding from Sweet Capital Ltd. and Science Inc., with participation from Jeff Bonforte, SVP, Communications Products at Yahoo, and Wealthfront CEO Adam Nash. The team also relocated to Santa Monica to work out of Science’s offices there.

Although the app is free, the company takes a 25 percent cut on each of your refunds (besides the first, which is free). This may seem like a large cut, but the way Earny sees it, this is money you would not have otherwise bothered to get back, money left on the table.

“Earny’s ultimate vision is to protect users’ wallets by making sure they don’t overpay on any purchase made,” Oded Vakrat, CEO of Earny said in a statement. “We want to eliminate the headache of tracking down money people are owed on discounts on flights, hotels, products and more. We expect to get consumers approximately 10 percent of their yearly purchases back.”


Earny co-founders: Dori Yona, Oded Vakrat, and Ilan Zerbib

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Israeli Startup BioCatch Tracks Online Behavior, Human Memory To Catch Cybercrooks Wed, 17 Aug 2016 08:00:40 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Did you know that everyone has a distinctive way of moving a mouse, tapping a phone or typing on a keyboard? Moreover, when you identify yourself to your bank or an online store by inserting information about yourself, like your home address or date of birth, you are using long-term memory rather than short-term, and this can be seen from the way you interact with your computer or smartphone.

In fact, that’s what Israeli start-up BioCatch uses to distinguish the bad guys from the good guys.

The company’s latest product, which is already deployed in a set of tier-one banks and eCommerce customers, “differentiates between good users and criminal users, for situations where there is no historic data about these first time visitors,” said Avi Turgeman, the founder of Tel Aviv-based BioCatch, a financial security tech firm.

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

The company has already been selling software that checks over 500 bio-behavioral, cognitive and physiological parameters to create unique user profiles — and an individual web presence — for visitors to banking and eCommerce sites.

BioCatch is able to continuously authenticate users at every stage of an online banking session by analyzing these parameters, including hand tremors, eye-hand coordination, and how a person moves a mouse, combined with behavioral traits such as usage preferences and device interaction patterns. This enables the creation of what BioCatch calls a Cognitive Signature, a sum total of all the factors that go into an interactive session.

BioCatch’s technology can record all this information, associating it with the user who is logged in and interacting with the site. In this way, banks or e-commerce sites can be alerted if the person performing the actions isn’t who they should be, for example. The company has already been marketing its continuous authentication software and its malware detection products to banks and other customers globally.

SEE ALSO: Keeping The Lights On: Israeli Startups Protect Against Dire Cyber Attacks

At the end of 2015, there were more than 33 million banking customers globally using the company’s behavioral biometric software, the company said. Its customers include some of the largest banks and eCommerce sites in Europe, Latin America and North America.

BioCatch’s latest software, called Criminal Behavior, comes at a good time. Cyber crime will cost businesses over $2 trillion by 2019, market analyst Juniper Research has forecast, almost four times the cost of breaches in 2015.

Cybersecurity israel

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Delivering The Goods: Israel Leads The Way In Drone Innovation Mon, 15 Aug 2016 08:04:25 +0000

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For many of us, drones are objects from science fiction or far-flung wars. But drones are increasingly becoming commonplace in everyday life, and soon anything from your mail to pizza could be delivered by drone.

Postal services in various countries are starting to adopt drones as a delivery method, and companies like Amazon are on the hunt for the best drone tech.

SEE ALSO: Soon Enough, This Robot Could Be Delivering Your Packages

One of the countries leading the surge in drone innovation is Israel. According to Yariv Bash, founder of drone delivery startup Flytrex, as well as SpaceIL (the Israeli team trying to land a craft on the moon for Google’s space competition Lunar XPRIZE), the number of drone startups in Israel exceeds 30.

“It’s really not surprising that Israel has become a hub when it comes to drones,” Bash tells NoCamels. “Much of the technological know-how that today’s Israeli drone developers have acquired comes from the military. In fact, many of them served in Unit 8200, an Israeli Intelligence Corps unit responsible for collecting signal intelligence (SIGINT) and code decryption.”

According to Bash, Israel exports some 60 percent of the world’s military drones. However, as the proliferation of drones for commercial use increases, demand in the non-military sector will increase as well.

SEE ALSO: ‘Flytrex Sky’ Personal Delivery Drone Will Ship Goods To Your Location Within Minutes

Delivery by drone

The advantages of delivery by drone are many. Drones can deliver packages much quicker than regular messenger services, as they don’t have traffic to contend with. In fact, the Ukrainian postal service has teamed up with Yariv Bash’s Flytrex to begin testing delivery drones in Ukrainian cities for the first time.

“A drone costs much less than a delivery truck and operates on batteries instead of costly fuel. Plus, maintenance for drones is also much cheaper,” Bash says. “There is also the added benefit of safety. Imagine if we could replace many of the delivery trucks and bike messengers on our roads – which are involved in far too many accidents – with drones. Not only would delivery be cheaper, faster, and more efficient, it would be safer too.”

Delivery by drone is even spreading to Africa, where it is being considered as a more efficient solution for transferring medical supplies between remote villages, as medicine is so lightweight.

Israel: Drone home

Israel’s many drone startups are not all doing the same thing.

One such company, Airobotics, is building a drone platform that will allow companies to operate drones themselves, without the need for expensive and skilled drone operators. The Airobotics system is a patrol drone comprised of three components. There’s the drone itself, the base station known as the “Airbase,” and the command software that takes the place of human brains (or at least, their functions). Capable of flying with a 1 kilogram load for half an hour at a time, the drone can patrol an area, then land itself on its base station autonomously. From there, a robotic arm comes in to change its battery and relieve the drone of its payload — sort of like a robotic pit crew. Airobotics currently has 70 employees and has so far raised a total of $28.5 million in funding.

Arbe Robotics, which won first place at the TechCrunch’s first-ever Tel Aviv Startup Pitch Off in June, has developed a solution that uses radar technology — radio frequencies — to help drones detect objects and avoid collisions. A mix of hardware and software, their product can be connected to all kinds of existing drones. It will enable the craft to read the 360-degree space around it and will allow a visual range of up to 200 meters. “Today drones are not allowed to fly in areas in which a collision could be dangerous,” Kobi Marenko, the Co-Founder and CEO of Arbe Robotics said in an interview. “Our system tells the drone to automatically avoid the obstacle, and it can also include an alarm mode to alert the operator about an imminent danger.”

Another innovative Israeli drone startup is Rosh Haayin-based Percepto, which is putting military-grade tech at the service of the renewable energy sector.  It uses machine vision that allows drones to check and inspect windmills in remote areas. The project has won the financial backing of billionaires such as Mark Cuban, Richard Parsons, and Xu Xiapong. Percepto has raised $1 million in funding so far.

Monitoring by drone can be life-saving

Drones are also being used for monitoring agriculture, livestock, farming, and irrigation. Bash points out that drones are much safer to use when checking things like power lines or monitoring crops. “A pilot can only get so close without risking his own safety,” Bash explained. “Drones can get much closer without endangering human life.”

However, replacing human delivery with drones has some drawbacks. One issue the industry is grappling with is how to drop off a package. Some companies have tested landing on a customer’s doorstep while others have tried lowering packages down on a line. But global-positioning-system data can be inaccurate—enough to put a drone at the wrong house or over a swimming pool.

A drone in every home?

Asked whether he believes that soon each family will have their own personal drone, Bash was not prepared to go that far. “Drone adoption will indeed happen gradually, within the next 5-10 years , but I don’t believe it will lead to a world where everyone will have their own drone,” Bash said. “Rather, drones will be commercial. If you order a pizza, it will be delivered to you by drone. If you are expecting a package, instead of a delivery truck pulling up to your home, a drone will land in your yard. The companies will be owning and using the drones, but the general public will be benefiting from it.”

Nothing to fear

Asked if mass drone adoption is something we should dread, Bash dismissed the notion. “A hundred years ago people feared cars in the streets, until it became the norm. The same initial fear applied to air travel, but now flying in a plane is even safer than driving a car. As far as drones go, in the not too distant future, delivery by drone will seem like the most natural thing to all of us.”

drone in sky, in flight

Photos and videos: Courtesy

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Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: Israelis Develop Glasses-Free 3D Movie Screen Wed, 10 Aug 2016 11:27:40 +0000

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The best part of watching a movie in 3D is being able to see places and things in ways we otherwise couldn’t. The worst part is having to wear those awkward 3D glasses.

Fortunately, 3D movie glasses may soon become obsolete.

A team from MIT’s Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Lab (CSAIL) and Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have demonstrated a display that lets audiences watch 3D films in a movie theater without the need for glasses.

SEE ALSO: Intel’s 3D Vision Technology Enables Drones To ‘See’

Dubbed “Cinema 3D,” the prototype enables viewers to watch a 3D movie from any seat in a theater with no glasses required.  The complex arrangement of lenses and mirrors creates a set number of parallax barriers (similar to Venetian blinds) which show a slightly different set of pixels to each of the viewer’s eyes to simulate depth, and can address every viewing angle in the theater based on seat locations.


“Existing approaches to glasses-free 3D require screens whose resolution requirements are so enormous that they are completely impractical,” MIT professor Wojciech Matusik, one of the co-authors on a related paper whose first author is Weizmann PhD Netalee Efrat,  said in a statement. “This is the first technical approach that allows for glasses-free 3D viewing on a large scale.”

Not quite ready for cinemas

Cinema 3D isn’t particularly practical at the moment. The team’s prototype requires 50 sets of mirrors and lenses, and yet is just barely larger than a pad of paper. But, in theory, the technology could work in any context in which 3D visuals would be shown to multiple people at the same time, such as billboards or storefront advertisements. According to Matusik, the team hopes to build a larger version of the display and to further refine the optics to continue to improve the image resolution.

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

Other glasses-free 3D options

Glasses-free 3D already exists, but not in a way that scales to movie theaters. Traditional methods for TV sets use a parallax barrier, a series of slits in front of the screen that allows each eye to see a different set of pixels, creating a simulated sense of depth. But because parallax barriers have to be at a consistent distance from the viewer, this approach isn’t practical for larger spaces like theaters that have viewers at different angles and distances.

Other methods involve developing completely new physical projectors that cover the entire angular range of the audience. However, this often comes at the cost of image-resolution.

The key insight with Cinema 3D is that people in movie theaters move their heads only over a very small range of angles, limited by the width of their seat. Thus, it is enough to display images to a narrow range of angles and replicate that to all seats in the theater. The team demonstrated that their approach allows viewers from different parts of an auditorium to see images of consistently high resolution.

3d without glasses cinema

“With a 3D TV, you have to account for people moving around to watch from different angles, which means that you have to divide up a limited number of pixels to be projected so that the viewer sees the image from wherever they are,” Gordon Wetzstein, an assistant professor of electrical engineering at Stanford University, who was not involved in the research, said in an interview. “The authors of Cinema 3D cleverly exploited the fact that theaters have a unique set-up in which every person sits in a more or less fixed position the whole time.”

Among the paper’s co-authors are MIT research technician Mike Foshey; former CSAIL postdoc Piotr Didyk; and two Weizmann researchers that include Efrat and professor Anat Levin. Efrat will present the paper at this week’s SIGGRAPH computer-graphics conference in Anaheim, California. The team’s work was funded by the Israel Science Foundation and the European Research Council.

Hopefully optimistic

While the researchers caution that the system isn’t currently market-ready, they are optimistic that future versions could push the technology to a place where theaters would be able to offer glasses-free alternatives for 3D movies. “It remains to be seen whether the approach is financially feasible enough to scale up to a full-blown theater,” said Matusik. “But we are optimistic that this is an important next step in developing glasses-free 3D for large spaces like movie theaters and auditoriums.”

Video: MIT, Weizmann Institute

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Israeli Startup Kaltura Raises $50 Million To ‘Videofy’ The World Wed, 10 Aug 2016 07:27:27 +0000

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On its way to becoming a “unicorn?” Israeli open-source video platform Kaltura has raised a whopping $50 million from American investment bank Goldman Sachs, reportedly bringing its total capital to $165 million, and its valuation to $500 million.

Kaltura’s $50 million round is one of the largest financing rounds by an Israeli startup in recent months (mobile taxicab service Gett recently raised $300 million; and ride-sharing startup Via raised $100 million in May.)

Founded in 2006 , 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.

SEE ALSO: Dr. Michal Tsur, The ‘Iron Lady’ Of Israeli Startups, Tells NoCamels About Success Sans Coding And Women In High-Tech

This is Kaltura’s “pre-IPO funding,” according to the company, which signals it plans to sell its shares to the public in an initial public offering (IPO) on the stock exchange, rather than sell to a bigger corporation through an ‘exit.’

Kaltura, which employs roughly 400 people in Israel and in offices around the world, says it will use the capital raised to extend its footprint around the world, and “to further its unique positioning as the ‘everything video’ company.”

SEE ALSO: Kaltura: The Israeli Up-And-Comer That Is Revolutionizing Online Video

“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.”

In other words, the company’s mission is to “’videofy’ companies and organizations all around the world,” he says.

Engaging audiences across devices

Though we can no longer imagine the internet without video content, it’s still – perhaps surprisingly – a tricky medium for many. Different formats, large file sizes and a variety of operating systems and devices can make the use of video on the web difficult. Kaltura’s open-source video code allows its customers to easily manage their videos, including uploading, streaming and editing, as well as analyzing the content.

Basically, the system identifies which type of video input it receives and processes it in a way that enables different types of videos to be displayed through the same output method. Kaltura handles the various details involving the use of video online: copyright, information control, quality assurance, analytics system, moderation systems, etc.

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

Other Kaltura solutions include enterprise video solutions, such as webcasting for executive communications, and educational videos; Harvard, Yale and Stanford all use Kaltura for teaching purposes, according to the startup.

video conference room

“Excellence, agility, and leadership”

Michal Tsur, one of Kaltura’s founders, previously sold Cyota, an online security firm to RSA Security for $145 million in 2005. Shortly after, she founded Kaltura.

“Kaltura has developed market-leading technology with a flexible architecture that stands out to us as a strong and sustainable advantage,” Hillel Moerman, co-head of Goldman Sachs’ private capital investing group, said in a statement. “Kaltura has an impressive roster of marquee customers across a large and diversified set of markets, and an experienced management team that has demonstrated excellence, agility, and leadership.”

Tourism technologies iPad

Photos and video: Courtesy

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It All Adds Up: Matific Raises $45M To Make Math Fun For Kids Mon, 08 Aug 2016 12:02:37 +0000

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“Mathematics should be fun,” British mathematician Peter J. Hilton used to say. Israeli educational game-maker Matific couldn’t agree more.

Matific is a series of math video games developed by Slate Science. The company produces learning games in math and science for kids between preschool and elementary school. Matific uses software that develops individualized games automatically, suiting it for the player’s skill level.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Entrepreneurs Use Facebook To Teach Kids History

According to the startup, its videos are played 2.5 million times each month, mostly within the US.


Can you count to 45 – million?

Hoping to expand its reach beyond the twenty countries where it already has a presence, the company recently announced the closing of a $45 million Series B funding round. The funding round was led by Australian entrepreneur Leon Kamenev and brings the company’s total funding to $57 million, after securing a $12 million round in 2015.

SEE ALSO: Scratch Teaches Kids How To Program Online Games

Bite-sized learning

Matific takes a unique approach to teaching K to 6 math using hands-on and interactive mini-games, called episodes. These immersive bite-sized apps for tablets and personal computers are based on a modular and progressive spiral learning system. The Matific approach was designed to provide optimal support for educators to convey math concepts in as effective and engaging manner as possible. Matific episodes enable a blended learning approach. Having selected the relevant episodes, teachers can seamlessly integrate hands-on math explorations into their own class learning format.

Focus on fun – for all

Combining machine learning, data mining and automatic content generation, the company created a set of products that make the learning experience fun, interactive and creative. The products can be customized for each child and for different school curricula — and enable students across the world access to superior math education tools at an affordable cost, with free distribution for remote areas.


Slate Science was founded 2011, and the Matific website and apps were launched in late 2014. Matific was founded by Prof. Raz Kupferman, an expert on math education and a former head of the Einstein Institute of Math at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem; Prof. Shimon Shocken, the founding dean of the EFI Arazi school of computer science at the IDC School in Herzliya; Shmulik London, a computer science expert; and Guy Vardi, a former executive at Oberon and a thought leader in the gaming industry.

With its research and development and its global operations based in Israel, the company has sales offices in the US, Australia, Canada, South America, UK, and South Africa. Its R&D center in Israel includes specialized game design teams that provide both mentorship and hands-on experience for computer science students and graduates. According to the company, the current investment will provide Matific with even more growth opportunities and allows them to expand their R&D center and global sales team.

Hands-on learning

“Matific appeals to children’s love of playing games,” Slate Science CEO Guy Vardi said in a statement. “By making math interactive and hands-on, children learn the important fundamentals and enjoy the process of learning more.”

Photos and video: Matific

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Baby Keeping You Up? Nanit’s Innovative Monitor Helps Parents Get A Good Night’s Sleep Sun, 07 Aug 2016 13:24:19 +0000

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One of the biggest problems new parents deal with is severe lack of sleep: Newborns and babies often wake up in the middle of the night, leaving mom and dad exhausted by dawn.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Research Finds Parents’ Interrupted Sleep Is The Equivalent Of No Sleep At All

In order to learn more about your baby’s sleep cycles, and adjust yourself better to their snooze patterns, startup Nanit, which was founded by Israelis, has come up with a smart baby monitor, which not only alerts you when your little one wakes up, but also documents on video every minute of their sleeping hours, using innovative computer vision technology.

Nanit tracks four measures: sleep quality – which is the ratio of the time the baby is asleep to its time in bed; how much time the baby sleeps through the night; how many times the parents attend to the child throughout the night; and sleep onset – how long it takes the baby to fall asleep.

“Parents know their child best; we are just giving them the information, so they can make the best decisions for their child,” Tor Ivry, co-founder and CTO of Nanit, tells NoCamels.

nanit baby monitor

Nanit uses machine learning technologies to monitor the baby’s sleep behavior by live-steaming the crib in HD to an app on the parent’s smartphone. The monitor itself – a slick, white device – provides a bird’s-eye view of the crib, streaming video that uses algorithms to analyze the baby’s movements. The computer vision technology allows the app to differentiate between a sleeping baby and a restless baby, so if the app senses motion in the middle of the night, the parents will be alerted through the app.

How does Nanit help you optimize your baby’s sleep? Here’s an example: One of Nanit’s beta testers realized that when they gave formula to their baby right before he went to sleep, it took him longer to fall asleep. Thus, Nanit can give parents the tools to better manage their baby’s sleep.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Reveal What Lack of Sleep Does To Your Brain

The mobile app provides a comprehensive sleep report each morning, through which parents can watch a time-lapse video and see a summary of the night’s events. In addition to the sleep analysis, Nanit has a night-light, built-in temperature and humidity sensors, and it can also play nature sounds or white noise to help your baby fall asleep.

Nanit is available on the company’s website for $329 for the hardware and $100 for a year of analytics. Pre-orders are $279, and $50 for the analytics. If the parents decide to only buy the hardware, they will still receive real-time alerts and a free 30-day trial of the analytics.

Baby sleep guru 

Founded in 2014 by Ivry, CEO Assaf Glazer and COO Andrew Berman, this revolutionary baby monitor has already received $6.6 million in funding from several investors.

baby crying

Obviously, Nanit competes against many other baby monitors, some more sophisticated than others. It also competes against one of Israel’s most revolutionary inventions in this field – respiratory monitor BabySense (by HiSense), which is placed under the baby’s mattress and alerts parents when breathing stops or becomes irregular, protecting babies against sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).

Some call Nanit a “sleep guru,” while others call it a “baby translator.” No matter what you call this monitor, we hope it gives you a good night’s sleep!
sleeping baby

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Ready For Rio: Israeli Technology Takes Center Stage At Olympic Games Wed, 03 Aug 2016 12:06:52 +0000

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With the opening of the Olympic Games on Friday, Israel’s delegation to Rio de Janeiro is its largest ever: 47 athletes competing in 17 different sports, plus 34 coaches and about 25 support staff. However, they won’t be the only Israelis seeking to make an impact on the summer games. Several Israeli companies will be working behind the scenes to ensure that the Olympics run as safely and as smoothly as possible.

NoCamels profiles some of the innovative Israeli startups making their mark in Rio:

ISDS: Safety first

The prime concern regarding any large scale event, especially the Olympics, can be summed up in one word: security. According to reports, the security budget for the Rio Olympics stands at $2.2 billion.

International Security and Defense Systems (ISDS), an Israeli company which has been providing integrated solutions for complex security projects since 1982, is the “Official Supplier” of security solutions for the 2016 Olympic games in Rio. ISDS’s role in Rio de Janeiro is to analyze all the events relating to the games – the stadium environs, the facilities, the routes for bicycle riders and sailors, the Olympic Village, the parking lots etc. – and to design worst-case scenarios and find answers for all of them. As the integrator for the Rio security system, the company is in contact with other companies, defines their responsibilities, selects the appropriate technologies, and divides up the work.

rio olympics

This is not the first time that ISDS is involved in security for the Olympic Games, but it is the first time that is it being hired to manage all the complicated security systems for the event.

“When you boil it down, ISDS is not managing security for Brazil,” ISDS CEO Tomer Fulman said in an interview with “Globes”. “Brazil has intelligence units, an army, policy and the state authorities for that. We’re like a special unit helping and advising the various agencies dealing with the event itself. We give them coverage through advanced tools, operate them, and list rules – if everyone observes them, they will prevent terrorism, crime, and vandalism.”

ImageSat International: Security via satellite

Security for the Olympics will not only on the ground, but from above as well. The Eros-B satellite, developed by Or Yehuda-based company ImageSat International, takes pictures with extremely high resolution. In July, Brazil’s Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told a press conference of his government’s decision to use the EROS-B satellite to strengthen security by allowing detailed inspections of Rio de Janeiro during the Olympic and Paralympic events in August and September.


Artist’s view of the deployed EROS-B spacecraft

“This is an Israeli satellite at a low Earth orbit altitude capable of capturing high-resolution images of up to 50 centimeters [about 1½ feet] in an area of 450 kilometers [some 280 miles], thus enabling the identification of objects, people, cars and goods,” Jungmann told local media.

Moovit: Getting around Rio

For spectators in Rio, the most challenging part of attending the Olympics may be simply getting from one Olympic venue to another. Israeli app Moovit, dubbed “the Waze of public transportation,” will guide tourists and local residents to the fastest and safest routes to and between competition venues and also through the entire city of Rio during the Olympics.

SEE ALSO: Public Transit App Moovit Launches Official Rio Olympics App, Integrates With Uber Taxis

Moovit, which boasts over 30 million users worldwide, will provide real-time information in 35 languages on the fastest public transportation routes – buses, trains, subway, light rail transport, ferry boats and cable cars – to some 1.5 million current local users and another 500,000 visitors, according to  Rio’s official tourism website.

To facilitate this, fifty kilometers of new lines have been mapped with traffic information in order to make transit during the Rio 2016 Olympics smoother. Moovit will work based on data provided by the Rio municipality database.

“Contributing to the Olympic Games is directly connected to our commitment to leverage the experience of users when using public transport. It’s the perfect opportunity to contribute to Rio by helping solve one of the city’s biggest challenges,” Moovit CEO Nir Erez said in a statement.

LiveU: Broadcast from anywhere

For those of us not lucky enough to be in Rio for the Olympic games, watching a live broadcast is the next best thing. Israeli company LiveU‘s IP-based, award-winning live video transmission solutions will help more than 80 international broadcasters deliver all the live action of the Olympic Games to their audiences. LiveU also provided this service for the FIFA World Cup 2014.

According to the company, LiveU is currently the only company offering a robust transmission solution for broadcasters. LiveU says their cellular-based live video transmission technology will allow broadcasters to beam images from Brazil around the world in real time, with little latency and superb picture quality.

RideOn: Bringing augmented reality to the Olympics

Some Israeli startups had to compete just to get to Rio. That was the case for Israeli augmented reality startup RideOn, which makes special ski goggles that overlay useful maps and information into the field of vision of the skier, like a Google Glass for the slopes. In May, RideOn won Israel’s sports innovation contest and a ticket to Rio to compete against seven other regional winners at the Global Innovation for Sports Competition. For winning the contest, RideOn is the official Israeli representative for this year’s inaugural “Tech Olympics” in Rio.

“The goal is to provide the first-ever international exposure for innovations that will revolutionize the world of sports as we know it,” said Amir Raveh, CEO and founder of the HYPE Foundation, which joined forces with Microsoft and Saucony to launch the first global platform in tech innovation for sports.

Motionize: Counting every stroke

One novel Israeli startup, Motionize, even caught the attention of the US Olympic kayaking team. Motionize provides real-time feedback to kayakers through a virtual coaching system.

SEE ALSO: Motionize’s Virtual Kayaking Coach Helps US Olympic Team Train For Rio Games

Consisting of an app and two sensors – one placed on the boat and one placed on the paddle, the kayaker simply props their smartphone on the front of the boat and the app is activated. Through its dual sensor technology, it immediately reports on distance per stroke, strokes per minute, stroke length, number of strokes per session, the ratio between the efficiency of your technique, and more.

Guy Aharon, CEO and co-founder of Motionize, explains that the system works by using an algorithm that converts the athlete’s movements into a mathematical module that quantifies the motions of the athletes.

“Our goal is to improve technique,” he tells NoCamels. “In sports and in life, if you have a good technique it means you can improve your performance. And if you improve your performance, you simply enjoy it more.”

While nobody knows who will bring home Olympic medals, we can all be sure of one thing – it will be exciting. Let the games begin!


The 2010 Olympic medals designed by Omer Arbel and Corrine Hunt.

Photos and videos: Courtesy

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Motionize’s Virtual Kayaking Coach Helps US Olympic Team Train For Rio Games Tue, 02 Aug 2016 07:10:08 +0000

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The 2016 Rio Olympic games are right around the corner and one Israeli company is changing the game by giving real-time feedback to kayakers through a virtual coaching system. Motionize’s technology is leading these athletes one step closer to victory, and the US kayaking team is already a fan.

Motionize consists of an app and two sensors – one placed on the boat and one placed on the paddle. It works when a smartphone is propped on the front of the boat and the app is activated. Through its dual sensor technology, it immediately reports on distance per stroke, strokes per minute, stroke length, number of strokes per session, the ratio between the efficiency of your technique, and more.

SEE ALSO: The Top 10 Israeli Startups Changing The World Of Sports

American kayaker Maggie Hogan, who is part of the US Olympic team, has openly professed her support of Motionize, which she has been using to train for the upcoming Olympics in Rio. Hogan recently told Sports Illustrated that Motionize makes a big difference in her training, since coaches can only observe the athlete from one side and the naked eye often misses important details.

Motionize, on the other hand, offers a comprehensive report of her full body motion; sprint canoer Michele Eray, Hogan’s coach, has said that the app can observe the exact catch point of the water, as well as exit points, which are essential to better Hogan’s overall performance.

Motionize virtual coach for canoeing

Hogan used to film her training sessions in order to detect errors in her technique by watching these videos with her coach. Now, Motionize computes all that information for her and delivers it in a much faster way.

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

Guy Aharon, CEO and co-founder of Motionize, explains that the system works by using an algorithm that converts the athlete’s movements into a mathematical module that quantifies the motions of the athletes.

“Our goal is to improve technique,” he tells NoCamels. “In sports and in life, if you have a good technique it means you can improve your performance. And if you improve your performance, you simply enjoy it more.”

Remotely coaching water sports

This virtual coach proposes a solution to the inherent setbacks of coaching water sports during the race. Whereas it is possible to coach athletes during a break in many other sports, correcting a kayaker’s technique during a match is much harder – you simply can’t make the athlete abandon the canoe and swim toward their coaches to hear what they think about their backstroke. However, with Motionize, you can have that information right on top of your canoe.

That’s how Motionize “can compare the optimum motion and the actual motion,” says Aharon. “When we see any deviations or differentiation, we actually provide the user with instructions.”

Expanding to additional sports 

Founded in 2012 by Aharon, Eyal Postelnik and Sivan Postelnik, Motionize has so far raised over $2 million from private investors, and is on track to reaching $5 million by the end of this year, Aharon says, and adds that Motionize plans to expand its technology to other sports in the future.

A canoer himself, Aharon was prompted to create these technologies for the curious and passionate niche of athletes who, just like him, were willing to invest money in the sport but didn’t find a wide variety of gadgets that could contribute to their performances.

Motionize's kit

Motionize’s kit

The standard dual sensor offered by Motionize costs $499. Motionize also offers a lightweight paddle edge that costs $249, offering only one sensor to be placed at the paddle. Motionize recommends waterproof cases to protect the smartphones while the app is being used, transmitting the much needed guidance to the kayakers.

Photos and video: Motionize

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Baby On Board? Waze Reminds Parents Not To Leave Kids In Cars Mon, 01 Aug 2016 08:34:48 +0000

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You can hear every parent think it when they read someone else’s kid was left in a car: “I’d never forget my kid in the car!” That is, until they do.

The numbers paint a grim picture: Every year, an average of 37 children die in the US alone because they are left behind in burning hot vehicles.

And while cars now have features that remind drivers to buckle up, remember their keys in the ignition or turn their headlights off, no driver reminder chimes in to tell you your baby is snoozing in the back seat.

To fill this gap, the creators of the popular Israeli GPS app Waze decided to add a new feature to remind parents to check everyone has exited the vehicle.


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

The feature, still in beta, provides a customizable notification when users arrive at their intended destination. Users can choose to enable or disable the warning and customize the message.

Numbers of incidents of kids left in cars rises

Without air conditioning, temperatures in cars can rapidly skyrocket. On a hot 32 degrees day (90 °F), the temperature inside a car can soar to a life-threatening 42 degrees (109 °F) degrees in just thirty minutes. Within an hour, a car can reach over 54 degrees (130 °F) and after that will surpass 65 (150 °F). And that doesn’t mean it’s safe to leave your child in the car on cooler days! Even then, cars can absorb sunlight very rapidly and heat up internally.

According to – the only American nonprofit child safety organization dedicated solely to preventing injuries and deaths of children in and around vehicles – since 1990 more than 775 children have died in these preventable tragedies. This year, four children died over the July 22-24 weekend in the states of Florida, Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas.

In Israel, where Waze was created, 400 incidents of children left in cars occurred between the years 2008-2016, with an actual total of 449 children involved, according to the Beterem-Safe Kids Israel organization. Of these incidents, 23 resulted in the death of the child. In the past two months alone, five toddlers died in Israel after being left in hot cars.
Could you last 10 minutes in a hot car?

In an experiment conducted this week in Israel, entertainers and politicians were asked to sit inside a locked parked car in 37 degree (98.6 °F) heat for 10 minutes. With paramedics standing by, the celebrities gained real appreciation for what children left unattended in parked cars experience.

Gathering user feedback

Waze, which was founded by Uri Levine, Ehud Shabtai and Amir Shinar in 2007 and was acquired by Google for $1.3 billion three years ago, has not said when they will be rolling out this new feature to non-beta users. However, they are currently asking users to leave feedback that they will gather to become a part of the standard version of the app that everyone has access to. Anyone can sign up to be a part of the Waze beta community, which gets them access to new features, like the child reminder app, while they are being tested.

SEE ALSO: Waze Acquired By Google For Over $1B

While the initiative by Waze is a welcome one, the danger, of course, is that if people are forgetting their kids in cars, nothing can fully ensure that they will be paying attention to their notifications. So the safest route is still the oldest: Keep your heads firmly strapped on!

waze community

Photos: Courtesy

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China’s Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History Sun, 31 Jul 2016 09:58:04 +0000

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A consortium of Chinese companies led by Shanghai Giant Network Technology, one of China’s largest online gaming companies, is acquiring Israeli social games developer Playtika from Caesars Interactive Entertainment for a whopping $4.4 billion – one of the largest “exits” by an Israeli company in the history of the Startup Nation.

SEE ALSO: Six Israeli Companies Changing The Gaming World

This is the second time Playtika swaps hands: In 2011, the company was bought by casino giant Caesars for about $100 million. Now, the Herzliya, Israel-based startup is sold to a consortium partly owned by Alibaba founder Jack Ma.


The deal is one of the largest acquisitions of an Israeli high-tech company: Israel’s NDS, which develops software for the pay TV industry, was acquired for $5 billion by Cisco, the world’s largest maker of equipment for computer networks, in 2012. Israeli company Mercury Interactive, a leading IT management software and services company, was acquired by computer giant HP in 2006 for $4.5 billion.

Following the transaction, Playtika will continue to run independently with its headquarters remaining in Israel, and its existing management team will continue to run day-to-day operations. The deal is expected to close by the end of the year.

“This transaction is a testament to Playtika’s unique culture and the innovative spirit of our employees, who for the past six years have consistently designed, produced and operated some of the most compelling, immersive and creative social games in the world,” Robert Antokol, co-founder and CEO of Playtika, said in a statement. “We are incredibly excited by the commercial opportunities the consortium will make available to us, particularly in its ability to provide us access to large and rapidly growing emerging markets.”

SEE ALSO: Chinese Takeout: These Five Israeli Startups Are Taking China By Storm

Playtika, a social and mobile gaming company, was founded in 2010 by Antokol and Uri Shahak, and has since opened studios and offices in the US, Argentina, Australia, Belarus, Canada, Japan, Romania and Ukraine.

The startup is the creator of popular online gambling games such as Slotomania, House of Fun and Bingo Blitz, which consistently rank among the top-grossing games on Apple’s App Store, Google Play and Facebook.  Playtika’s games are played daily by roughly 6 million people in 190 countries, in 12 languages.

“Playtika’s growth has been exceptional, and highlights its outstanding team, excellent corporate culture, cutting-edge big data analytics, and its unique ability to transform and grow games,” Giant’s founder and chairman Shi Yuzhu, said in a statement.

slotomania_playtikaThe acquiring consortium includes the following companies: Giant Investment; Yunfeng Capital, a private equity firm founded by Alibaba Group Holding founder Jack Ma; China Oceanwide Holdings Group; China Minsheng Trust; CDH China HF Holdings Company; and Hony Capital Fund.

According to Caesars’ chairman and CEO Mitch Garber, “it has been a particularly rewarding experience growing Playtika from a 10-person startup into a global leader. Playtika today is a highly profitable growth company with more than 1,300 employees, multiple top grossing titles and millions of daily users.”

He added that Antokol “is a true visionary and Israeli business leader who has created not only a great business, but also the most unique corporate culture I have seen in my career.”

Photos: Courtesy

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The Sky Is The Limit: Buzz Aldrin Wows Israel With His Vision Of Mars Landing Thu, 28 Jul 2016 08:41:52 +0000

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Is there life on Mars? Former astronaut Dr. Buzz Aldrin says there will be, by 2040. Speaking in Israel this week, the second person to ever walk on the surface of the moon wowed the crowds by sharing his vision of starting a human colony on the Red Planet in 24 years.

Aldrin, who currently serves as the International Space University’s chancellor, is visiting Israel for ISU’s 2016 Space Studies Program. The intense, two-month program gives participants a unique, comprehensive professional development experience covering all aspects of space programs and enterprises. Based in the Middle East for the first time, the program is hosted this year by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, one of the first universities to have launched a satellite and establish a space program.


Buzz Aldrin, at the podium, addressing the audience at the Technion

A West Point graduate who joined the US Air Force and fought in the Korean War before becoming an astronaut in 1963 – six years before he walked on the moon – Aldrin remained involved in space exploration in later years and is one of the leading advocates for a human Mars mission.

SEE ALSO: Life on Mars? Israelis Design 3D-Printed Space Home For NASA

Addressing a crowd of over 650 students and faculty at the Technion Tuesday night, Aldrin described the system he conceptualized, called the “Aldrin Mars Cycler,” whereby spacecraft cycle between Earth and Mars. The Cycler aims to reduce the amount of fuel needed for the epic journey, as well as to limit the health risks posed to astronauts by long-term spaceflight.

Planet Mars

140 million miles away from home 

The legendary astronaut acknowledged the vast round trip required to visit Mars, which is 140 million miles away from Earth. Since it takes a few months to get to Mars, Aldrin sees the first missions as one-way trips. Those early settlers could be the first to establish new a civilization on another planet. In fact, Aldrin dreams that humans will walk on Mars by 2040.

“There is no greater endeavor that humanity will undertake for generations to come, than to establish a permanent human presence on another body in the solar system,” Aldrin said at the event. “If not now, when? If not us, who?”

However, a mission to Mars “is going to take about a half year just to leave Earth to get to Mars and a half year to come back – you can’t just come back immediately,” Aldrin told NoCamels at the event, noting that flights need to be timed around the planets’ orbital positions. “All in all, it’s pretty close to a three-year mission.”

The ultimate goal of such missions is to create a permanent Mars base that would truly make humanity a two-planet species.

From astronaut to author

Aldrin has received US patents for his schematics of a modular space station; for “StarBooster,” a family of reusable flyback rocket boosters; and for his multi-crew modules for space flight. He founded Starcraft Boosters, a rocket design company, and Buzz Aldrin’s ShareSpace Foundation, a nonprofit organization devoted to inspiring children’s passion for science, technology, engineering, arts and math, through delivering hands-on activities.

SEE ALSO: Space Ace: Israeli Scientist To Uncover Jupiter Mysteries With Juno Probe

An author of nine books, including his New York Times best-selling autobiography entitled “Magnificent Desolation”, Aldrin continues to inspire today’s youth with his illustrated children’s books, including “Reaching for the Moon” and “Look to the Stars.”

His 2013 book, “Mission to Mars: My Vision for Space Exploration”, outlines his plan to get us beyond the moon and on to Mars. As one of the leading space exploration advocates, Aldrin continues to chart a course for future space travel and is passionate about inspiring the younger generations of future explorers and innovators.

A historic moonwalk

Aldrin earned his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), where he wrote his thesis on manned orbital rendezvous, a technique for piloted rendezvous of two spacecraft in orbit. In 1963, he was selected by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) to join its third group of astronauts, and earned the nickname “Dr. Rendezvous.” The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised are still used today.

Aldrin also pioneered underwater training techniques as a substitute for zero-gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking. In 1966, on the Gemini 12 orbital mission, Aldrin set a record for his 5.5-hour spacewalk.

Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission

Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission

47 years ago, on July 20, 1969, Aldrin and Neil Armstrong made their historic Apollo 11 moonwalk, becoming the first two humans to set foot on the moon. They spent 21 hours on the lunar surface and returned with 46 pounds of moon rocks. An estimated 600 million people – at that time, the world’s largest television audience in history – witnessed this unprecedented heroic endeavor.

Referring to the Apollo 11 spaceflight, the 86-year-old, but spry Aldrin felt very fortunate to come along at that particular time in human history. He recently joked that the reason Armstrong, and not him, was the first person to walk on the moon was “because he was standing closer to the door.”

Buzz Aldrin

Photos and video: NASA, Nitzan Zohar, Technion Spokesperson’s Office, James O.Davies for Aldrin

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Meet NUA, The Smart Carry-On Suitcase That Follows You Around, Just Like A Pet Wed, 27 Jul 2016 11:13:32 +0000

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

SEE ALSO: FUGU Luggage Expands, Turns Into A Table

Now, Israeli startup NUA Robotics plans to make your travel experience a little bit easier, with its newly developed hands-free carry-on suitcase that follows you around, just like a loyal pet.


“By combining central networks and computer vision, the robot inside the luggage recognizes the user,” Alex Libman, CEO of NUA Robotics, tells NoCamels. Simply put, the 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 knows where your luggage is at all times.

The luggage is able to do more than just follow you around and carry your clothes. It can charge its own battery on the go, as well as charge your phone, computer, or tablet. It can also communicate its weight through the app, and it has a built-in anti-theft alarm.

The alarm will react if the distance between you and your luggage becomes larger than 10 meters. And if you forget your luggage somewhere, it will send a notification to your smartphone.

Founded in early 2015, NUA – which means “move” in Hebrew – has raised $125,000 in funding from venture capital firm SOSV, and is currently raising its seed round.

The company believes that our objects should become our personal assistants by helping us with everyday tasks. “Our vision is to transform things around us into smart robots,” Libman says. In the future, the company plans to apply similar technologies to shopping carts and possibly autonomous cars down the road.

The company’s NUA suitcase, which it plans to launch later this year, is one of the first in the world to introduce the idea of robotic luggage.

NUA expects to price the suitcase at $599; about six times the price of same-size suitcases, most of which cost about $100. While the luggage is not yet available for consumers, they can register to purchase it on the company’s website.

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

The design of the luggage is slick, but basic, made to fulfill airlines’ carry-on sizing standards and with handles for when the traveler chooses to forgo the “follow me” function.


Despite the exciting features that come in this robotic carry-on suitcase, there are still a few kinks NUA has to figure out. For example, the pace of the bag is currently set to slow/medium, so the company might have to further customize it based on the speed of the user.

Soon enough, we’ll get to watch people sprinting to make their connections and see their loyal luggage running right beside them.


nua smart luggage

Photos and video: Courtesy

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New Peres Center To Showcase Israeli Technology, Inspire Dreams Sun, 24 Jul 2016 11:53:41 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Former Israeli president Shimon Peres, together with President Reuven Rivlin and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, laid the cornerstone Thursday for the Israeli Innovation Center, which aims to be a visitors center as well as a source of technological innovation.

SEE ALSO: Record Quarter For The Startup Nation

The new center, planned to open in 2018, will be located at The Peres Center for Peace on the Jaffa coast in the south of Tel Aviv. It aims to draw guests from around the world to learn about Israel’s achievements in the high tech sphere.

Peres Center for Peace

The Peres Center for Peace

At the event, attended by leading figures of the high tech industry, including Check Point Software Technologies founder Gil Shwed and Yossi Vardi, Peres unveiled his aspiration to use the center to close the gaps between the Arab and Jewish populations, and between rich and poor, and lead to regional innovation collaboration.

“We will prove that innovation has no limits and no barriers. Innovation enables dialogue between nations and between people. It will enable all young people – Jews, Muslims and Christians — to engage in science and technology equally. Here we will emphasize that we can promote peace from childhood, and we will spark the imagination of every boy and girl and enrich their dreams,” Peres said, his 93-year old voice at times feeble, other times resounding. “We must open our doors to all the populations, ultra-Orthodox and Arabs, so they too can enjoy the fruits of this innovation. But together with technology, children must also be instilled with values, “because without values, technology threatens the world,” he said. “Technology must be used for both social and economic growth.”

SEE ALSO: BriefCam’s Instant Video Surveillance Helps To Quickly Catch Terrorists, Criminals

Peres, who was the orchestrator behind Israel’s air force and nuclear reactor, and an architect of Israel’s peace accords with Jordan and Egypt, called on Israel’s neighboring countries to join forces and to create a “startup region.” “Peace, innovation and science must be the realm of all. Not only Israel should benefit from the fruit of innovation, but the whole region,” he said. “Let us adopt the road to peace and innovation, which will always be better than war and terror,” Peres said.

The center will showcase the story of Israel as the Startup Nation; it will contain a kinetic exhibition of thousands of interactive screens planned to display the best of Israel’s technology; host a digital library where visitors can ask questions and get answers about the history of Israel’s innovation; and host an entrepreneurial hub to enable meetings, hackathons and courses in a multitude of languages for students, entrepreneurs and innovators.


To read the full article, click here

Photos courtesy of the Peres Center for Peace

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Space Ace: Israeli Scientist To Uncover Jupiter Mysteries With Juno Probe Sun, 24 Jul 2016 10:27:42 +0000

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After a five-year trip covering nearly two billion miles in outer space, NASA’s Juno spacecraft finally went into orbit around Jupiter on July 4th — and Professor Ravit Helled of Tel Aviv University’s Department of Geosciences played a major role in getting it there.

Helled, an astrophysicist and planetary scientist, joined the Juno science team in 2008. Her Juno research will specialize in Jupiter’s internal structure and interior formation.

SEE ALSO: Life on Mars? Israelis Design 3D-Printed Space Home For NASA

On July 4th, Juno slowed down just enough to be pulled into the orbit of the giant planet Jupiter. A spinning, robotic probe as wide as a basketball court, Juno will circle Jupiter 37 times for 20 months, observing the gas giant from its polar orbit, some 3,000 miles above its dense clouds.

On July 19, Juno already beamed back more than 1,300 raw images it took as it made its final approach to Jupiter. It is the first spacecraft to orbit Jupiter since Galileo, which deliberately crashed into Jupiter in September 2003.

Clues to the origins of the solar system

Jupiter and the gaseous planet’s four largest moons — Io, Europa, Ganymede, and Callisto — have been the subject of fascination for centuries. It was the first planet to form and holds vital clues as to how our solar system formed and evolved. The Juno mission will help scientists understand planetary systems in other parts of the universe as well.


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

“Jupiter is a very mysterious planet,” Helled said in a statement. “It is huge, has no solid surface, has strong winds and magnetic fields, and we don’t know exactly what it is made of.”

Spacecraft have flown to Jupiter before, but none were equipped with the advanced technology and instruments on board Juno, instruments that will offer insight into the planet’s origins, structure, atmosphere, and magnetosphere.

New images of Jupiter

Upon its approach, Juno shot a video of Jupiter’s moons traveling around the planet, capturing the first “live” footage of the movement of objects around a celestial body. The JunoCam is poised to take “spectacular close-up, color images” of Jupiter that, according to NASA, will unlock the secrets of the giant planet. Does it have a solid core? What lies beneath its dense clouds? How much water is in its atmosphere? How deep is that giant red spot?

“Juno just started to orbit Jupiter, so it will take at least a few weeks to get initial results,” Helled said. “I am most eager to receive information on Jupiter’s gravitational field — this can then be used to constrain its density profile, and therefore describe its composition. I want to know if Jupiter has a core, so we can better understand how giant planets form.

The Juno mission ends on February 20, 2018, when Juno is expected to crash into Jupiter.


Prof. Ravit Helled

Photos & Videos: NASA, Tel Aviv University


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Meet The Israeli Startups Digitizing The Art World Thu, 21 Jul 2016 07:31:29 +0000

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When Michelangelo painted the Sistine Chapel in the 16th century, few people around the world had the opportunity to admire it, or even knew it existed. Now, with the digitization of the art world, there exists an endless number of ways to create, experience and interact with art.

From sketching and design software to online art auctions, dozens of artsy apps are now at our fingertips. And with the ever-booming global art market valued at $70 billion, a myriad of startups are looking to capitalize on that success.

SEE ALSO: From Art To Light Fixtures, Designer Ayala Serfaty Illuminates The World With Stunning Installations

Even giant search engine Google has come up with its own art app. Called Arts & Culture, this mobile app lets you discover the stories behind artworks hung at over 1,000 museums around the world, and search the huge database by color, time period and other keywords.

But some of the most innovative apps and online platforms that are at the forefront of digitizing the art world were developed in Israel. NoCamels highlights five of them.

Artbit: The Shazam of artwork

Most of us know Shazam, the app that identifies the titles of songs simply by “listening” to them. Israeli app Artbit does the same for works of art. Just point to a painting hung in a museum or drawn on a wall, snap a picture of it using your smartphone, and voila: the app tells you everything about that piece, from the artist who painted it to their life’s work.


With its innovative image-recognition technology, Artbit bridges the gap between the physical and digital art world. It allows you to instantly recognize artwork using your smartphone, discover facts and stories behind a million works of art by 80,000 artists, find nearby art venues and exhibitions, and more.

It also enables galleries and artists to launch professional platforms for their businesses designed for art enthusiasts, and promote their art portfolio to a broad market of art enthusiasts – Artbit’s thousands of app users.

Founded by Aric and Yoram Ben Zvi in 2015, the company has raised $700,000 and is now in the midst of raising additional funds from investors, according to media reports.

ArtSetters: Create and share digital showrooms  

Israeli online platform ArtSetters allows artists to be discovered on a global scale, without needing to attend trade shows. The startup allows you to create shareable showroom collections, connect with industry leaders and manage orders seamlessly.

This super-trendy “community of leading young creatives,” where artists from all walks of life can share and sell their works with the world, was founded in 2013 by Alexandra Schinasi and Lee Rotenberg.

SEE ALSO: Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Alex And Lee Of ArtSetters

The startup has so far raised $1 million from Israeli venture capital firm Pitango.

Niio: Displaying and monetizing digital art

The world of art is increasingly becoming digital, from video art to interactive art. According to Israeli startup Niio, “this medium’s evolution and growth should be accompanied by the right standards, legal and copyright attribution and professional tools that allow artists and content owners to define terms for experiencing their work and methods for monetization.”

Niio‘s platform supports digital artists, allowing them to connect and collaborate with galleries, collectors, curators, organizations and art fans. It provides a set of professional tools for managing, distributing, monetizing and displaying multi-format artistic content.

The startup’s tools include a high-resolution art player, which can turn any screen or projector into a continuous art installation.

Based in Tel Aviv, Israel, the company was founded by Rob Anders and Oren Moshe in 2014. It has since raised $1.2 million, according to reports in the media.

Dreame: Painting your dreams

Dreame is an online platform for commissioning personalized artwork inspired by you and designed by artists around the world. It is a new way to capture a memory, thought or fantasy and make it tangible. “Frame, wear or hold anything you can dream up,” the Israeli company states.

Founded in 2014 by Sharona Karni-Cohen, this budding startup has sold some 1,500 pieces of art last year, for prices ranging from $10 to $300.

Taking roughly 14 days to create and deliver, the artist you choose on Dreame creates either a jpeg photo or an A3 print based on what you tell them: a childhood memory, a wild dream, or fantastic scenery. You can even order it as a gift.

"The Dream" by Henri Rousseau

“The Dream” by Henri Rousseau

ArtRunners: Fine art logistics managed online

ArtRunners is an online platform for contracting, monitoring and management of fine art logistics services. The Israeli startup has built a network of fine art logistics specialists offering services such as packing, transport and storage of fine art, which naturally needs to be handled with caution.

Founded in 2015 by art collector Serge Tiroche and entrepreneur Daniel Lev-er, ArtRunners relies on technological innovation, streamlined processing, resource optimization and a large community of users.

So, if you ever ship a $60 million Renoir piece over the ocean, make sure to put it in trusted hands!


Photos and videos: ArtbitAndré Lage Freitas, Google; Jeff Koons’ artwork courtesy of Beatrice Brandini

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Skin Deep: Temporary Electronic Tattoo Can Read Your Emotions Tue, 19 Jul 2016 13:09:24 +0000

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A penny for your thoughts? Put your coins away. A new stick-on electronic tattoo could help reveal what people are really thinking.

Developed by Professor Yael Hanein, head of Tel Aviv University’s Center for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology, the user-friendly electrode can be used to improve the therapeutic restoration of damaged nerves and tissue – and could even lead to new insights into our emotional life.

SEE ALSO: Light Beams, Not Pacemakers, Could Be The Future Of Heart Treatments

Stick-on monitoring

Consisting of a carbon electrode, an adhesive surface that attaches to the skin, and a nanotechnology-based conductive polymer coating that enhances the electrode’s performance, the tattoo records a strong, steady signal for hours on end without irritating the skin.

The tattoo allows users to continue on with their regular schedules, while monitoring their muscle activity for many hours, for a range of medical and other purposes. “Our tattoo permits patients to carry on with their daily routines, while the electrode monitors their muscle and nerve activity,” Hanein said in a statement.

Mapping of emotions

One major application of the new electrode, already under development, may be the mapping of emotions. “The ability to identify and map people’s emotions has many potential uses,” Hanein said. “Advertisers, pollsters, media professionals and others – all want to test people’s reactions to various products and situations. Today, with no accurate scientific tools available, they rely mostly on inevitably subjective questionnaires. To address this need, researchers worldwide are trying to develop methods for mapping emotions by analyzing facial expressions, mostly via facial photos and smart software. Our skin electrode provides a simple, convenient solution: monitoring expressions and emotions based on the electric signals received from facial muscles.”

SEE ALSO: Using DNA Nanotechnology, Israeli Scientists Develop The Future Of Flexible Display Screens

Conducted within the framework of an EU project, and partly supported by the BSMT Consortium of Israel’s Ministry of Economy, the study Hanein led was presented at an international nanomedicine workshop at Tel Aviv University in June.

Nanotechnology temporary tattoos

The new skin electrode is based on a fusion of nanotechnology with a very basic and commonplace product: the temporary tattoos that children love so much. “We used readily available materials and conventional industrial printing techniques, in order to simplify and speed up the development process,” Hanein explained. “Our ‘electric tattoo’ consists of three parts: a carbon electrode, an adhesive surface that sticks temporary tattoos to the skin and a nanotechnology-based conductive polymer coating, with special nano-topography, that enhances the electrode’s performance. The result is an efficient skin electrode that records a strong and steady signal for many hours, and does not irritate the skin. The user just fixes it onto the skin at the right spot and forgets about it, then carries on as usual while the little ‘tattoo’ measures and records muscle activity.”


Additional applications

According to Hanein, this is only the beginning. The new skin electrode has many more potential applications: a study initiated recently in collaboration with researchers at the Tel Aviv Medical Center uses it to monitor the muscle activity of patients with neurodegenerative diseases; physiological data measured in specific muscles may be used in the future to indicate the alertness of drivers on the road; patients in rehabilitation following stroke or brain injury may utilize the ‘tattoo’ to improve muscle control; and amputees may employ it to move artificial limbs with remaining muscles.

Photos: Tel Aviv University

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Pokemon Go Fever Sweeps Israel, With IDF And President Hooked Mon, 18 Jul 2016 10:30:29 +0000

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From the hills of Haifa to central Tel Aviv, from the streets of the Jerusalem to the beaches of Eilat, young Israelis are roaming around with their mobile phones looking for virtual creatures to catch in a highly addictive augmented reality game.

Pokemon Go, the newest mobile gaming obsession sweeping the world, has also caught fire in Israel. The app challenges users to catch the creatures from Nintendo’s Pokemon franchise when they appear on their smartphone screens as if they were actually surrounding the player.

SEE ALSO: Scratch Teaches Kids How To Program Online Games

85 million players, 5 million new users a day

The free app, based on a Nintendo title that debuted 20 years ago, has been adapted to the mobile internet age to overlay play on the real world. The game uses GPS and mapping capabilities in mobile phones to let players roam the real world to hunt cartoon monsters. Over 85 million players worldwide have already downloaded the game since it launched in the US, Canada, and Europe just two weeks ago, making it the #1 app on both the App Store and Google Play. According to the company, five million new users download Pokemon Go each day.

Game finds shelters too

Pokemon Go has not only captured the attention of the Israeli public, it has even ‘joined’ the military. While Israeli soldiers from all battalions enjoy playing the game, the Home Front Command, responsible for preparing and protecting Israeli civilians in case of attacks, decided to harness the power of the Pokemon Go craze to assist in defense preparedness. The unit turned to Facebook and Twitter to ask Israelis to send in photos of Pokemon creatures located in home bomb shelters in order to raise civil defense awareness and ensure citizens know where the closest protected space is.

“Have you found Pokemon in your shelter?” the post asks. “If you are playing Go, send us a screenshot of the creature in your protected space.”


Pokemon monsters in bomb shelters

Pokemon a ‘no go’ on army bases

But not everyone in the military sees playing Pokemon Go as a harmless way to pass the time. The growing popularity of the game among Israeli soldiers prompted the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) to issue a message that Pokemon Go not be used on military bases because the game requires access to the players’ location and camera in order for them them to play. The fear is that by downloading and playing the game soldiers might unwittingly reveal sensitive information about military bases and army operations.

SEE ALSO: Mossad: Use Your Smartphone To Become A Spy

“The game is a source for gathering information!” reads the warning, issued by the IDF’s Information Security Department, against the background of one of the Pokemon characters. “The game cannot be used on an army base!”

‘Startup nation’ goes Pokeman crazy

It comes as no surprise that Israelis have widely embraced Pokemon Go. Israel has one of the highest percentages of smartphone ownership in the world. Although the game has only been released in North America, parts of Europe and Australia, and is not available on the Israeli app stores, changing one’s phone region to download the game onto a smartphone makes it fully operational in Israel. Pokemon Go’s Hebrew-language  Facebook page already has over 3,500 members.


Pokemon perched atop a major Israeli army base

But Pokemon Go is not only for young people. Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin joined in on the fun by posting a photo of a Pokemon cat creature in his residence and suggesting that someone should probably alert his security detail.


Pokemon monster hovering in Jerusalem

Asia and more European countries are expected to receive the game soon, but it is not clear when it will be released in Israel. To download Pokemon Go on the Android Play store, click here. For the iOS Apple store, click here.

Pictures and videos: Courtesy

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Your Personal TV Channel: TVibes Lets You Store, Share Unlimited Videos Sun, 17 Jul 2016 08:55:34 +0000

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Many of us have hours of video sitting in our smartphones’ camera rolls, with no one to share them with. It may be a concert with friends or your baby’s first steps, but unless you decide to upload every video to Facebook, or share it through other social media channels such as Vimeo, no one is likely to see it.

Now, TVibes, a free Israeli app that serves as your personal TV channel, is planning to change that. The app allows you to upload infinite visual content and organize it, so that you and your followers can search by date, location, or hashtags. Followers can also have access to your videos in real time through live-streaming or go to a specific account to relive the memories.

SEE ALSO: Facebook Messenger Incorporates Slick Israeli Video App ‘Magisto’


Although the app is for people of all ages and backgrounds, TVibes is mainly “targeting people with a lot of video produced in daily life: Parents and travelers, the type of people who want to record their experiences and share them from a specific place,” CEO and co-founder Uri Schneider tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: Photomyne Scans All Your Old Photo Albums Into Slick Digital Creations

TVibes users can decide whom they share their content with. If it is something more personal, they can choose to share it with “soul mates,” “family,” or “friends.” But if it is more public, they can choose to share it with “everyone” and allow the whole world to access their video content.

Luckily, users can constantly change who sees their content. “If you were drunk and regret posting a video, the next day you can easily change it from ‘everyone’ to ‘soul mate’ mode and it will disappear from everyone’s phones,” Schneider says.

Personal, social or experimental 

There are three main approaches to TVibes: Personal, social, and experiential. On the personal level, users can choose to keep their content private and use the app for organizing and storage purposes; all videos are stored on the ‘cloud,’ so there’s no limit to the number of videos and their lengths.

If users want a more social approach, they can follow friends and family and use the app to keep up with moments in their lives.

For the experimenting user, videos from all over the world are available on TVibes, namely sports events, concerts and rallies. The videos are curated in channels that can be discovered by hashtags or locations.

But while the app is colorful and pleasing to the eye, there are still a few glitches; when testing TVibes, some videos were not recognized by date and location. Acknowledging the need to improve, Schneider says the company is working on making the app more user-friendly.

Up against serious competitors 

Founded in 2014 by Schneider and Gilad Carni, TVibes has so far raised $1 million from entrepreneur and producer Damian Collier, together with other private investors. Clearly, it is up against several competitors in the live-streaming field. Periscope, which is Twitter’s live-streaming video service, also allows for the same kind of searches using hashtags. And Facebook’s recently launched live video option already engages millions around the globe.

Another challenge TVibes is facing is how to monetize the app. Currently available for iOS devices, the app is expected to remain free, but the company plans to market it to large businesses such as NBA teams, so they have their own channels. Another possibility is adding user-relevant advertisements in between videos.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Feeding The World: Could Israeli AgTech Startups End World Hunger? Thu, 14 Jul 2016 08:00:40 +0000

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As the world’s population grows far beyond the 7 billion mark, food and potable water are 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, and 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, according to the World Health Organization.

SEE ALSO: In Face Of Water Crisis, Indian Minister Praises Israeli Technologies: “Israel Is My Guru”

In face of global food and water shortages, several Israeli AgTech startups and companies are working to meet the ever-growing demand of the world’s expanding population, through agricultural technologies that enhance crops, conserve water and soil, and keep produce pest-free. NoCamels highlights nine of the most intriguing Israeli AgTech companies working to maximize the world’s natural resources.


Sensilize: Making the most out of soil

Sensilize strives to make the most out of a soil’s potential. Based in Haifa, the startup gathers information about a plot of land with unique sensors that provide intricate data, allowing farmers to tailor their crops to the soil’s conditions. This method allows farmers to adapt the quantities of seeding, fertilizers and water to the quantities required by the land, thus cutting costs and producing more crops, according to Sensilize.

Founded by Yoav Zur and Dr. Robi Stark in 2013, the company has so far raised $1.5 million.

BioBee: Turning mites into natural pesticides

By unleashing predatory mites onto farmlands all over the world, BioBee has helped farmers get rid of harmful insects without the use of chemicals since 1984. Located in Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, BioBee breeds different kinds of spiders, bees and flies that prey on and eat harmful bugs. The technology helps farmers export their produce, since international regulations limit the commerce of crops that were sprayed with chemical pesticides.

The company has already exported its products to Colombia, Russia, South Africa, and India, among others.

spider by alex keda

miRobot: Robots can milk your cows!

miRobot has developed a multi-stall robotic milking system to make the milking of cows more efficient. Essentially, these automatic milking systems perform many of the duties usually executed by trained operators, such as cleaning, stimulating, and performing post-milking routines, among other tasks. By providing an alternative to human labor, miRobots cuts salary costs and increases milk production.

Founded in 2011 by Tal Bareket and David Rubin, the company has not disclosed its financial information.


ROOTS Sustainable Agricultural Technologies: Temperature control that enhances crops

Israeli company ROOTS Sustainable Agricultural Technologies aims to yield more crops by keeping the soil at its ideal temperature. Its technology involves placing water-filled pipes in the soil, regulating its temperature to the optimal condition. In other words, if the soil is too warm, Roots can cool it; and if it’s too cold, Roots will make it warmer. This technology is said to yield better results for crops such as basil, strawberries and lettuce. The pipes can also dispense water, fertilizers and pesticides around the roots.

The company was founded in 2009 by Dr. Sharon Devir and Boaz Wachtel.

Tal-Ya: Capturing dew for agricultural irrigation

Following the trend of growing more food with less water, Tal-Ya manufactures reusable plastic trays that capture dew from the air. These trays, which are made of recycled plastic, reduce the water needed by crops by 50 percent, cost $3-$5 per piece and last for 10 years.

Tal-Ya, which means ‘God’s dew’ in Hebrew, has benefitted farmers in Israel, the US, China, Chile, Georgia, Sri Lanka and Australia ever since its founding in 2005 by Avi Tamir.

Morflora: A “vaccine” for plants

Morflora’s “flu shot for plants” technology called TraitUP, “vaccinates” plants and seeds against a variety of diseases while simultaneously injecting them with new traits. One of the upsides of Morflora is that these traits are not inheritable, so future generations can opt whether to employ TraitUP to other batches of crops.

Even though genetic modification of plants is a controversial issue, Morflora claims that its solution consists of a middle ground that provides a solution to feed the world’s ever-growing population.

The company was founded in 2008 and is supported by private investors; TraitUP is a patent-pending technology developed at Israel’s Hebrew University by Prof. Haim Rabinowitch and Prof. Ilan Sela.

Netafim: Implementing drip irrigation to save water

No AgTech review is complete without Netafim. This veteran Israeli company is a pioneer in the field of drip irrigation. Netafim is now helping numerous countries around the world conserve water and save money by supplying plants with just the right amount of water.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Experts Help California Grow More Rice With Less Water

Its drip irrigation technique was developed back in the 60s by Israeli engineer and inventor Simcha Blass, along with Kibbutz Hazerim, which later started manufacturing the original drip irrigation systems on site.

Today, Netafim is the world’s leading manufacturer of drip irrigation systems, which save 30-70 percent of the water used with overhead sprays, oscillating sprinklers or rotors.

drip irrigation

GreenWall: Vertical gardens save water and soil

By building vertical gardens in high-rise buildings all over the world, GreenWall takes self-sufficiency to a whole new level. With minimal amounts of water and soil, residents of these buildings can now grow their own food in built-in personal greenhouses, including staple foods such as rice, corn and wheat.

Thus, GreenWall saves considerable space when implementing small modular units onto a building’s sidewalls. Furthermore, the technology also helps save water through a drip irrigation system developed by Netafim.

GreenWall, which was founded in 2009 by engineer and gardening pioneer Guy Barness, has developed an advanced technology with which it erects gardens that line the walls, both inside and outside of buildings, taking up less space compared to conventional gardens.


EdenShield: Non-toxic bug repellent

EdenShield combats harmful insects with a natural, toxin-free extract that masks the odors of plants. The extract, based on desert plants that grow in Israel, leads these bugs to believe the crops aren’t where they actually are, so the pests leave them alone.

According to EdenShield, which was founded in 2012 by Yaniv Kitron and has raised $1M, “it’s like putting a ‘nose clip’ on bugs.”

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

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Record Quarter For The Startup Nation: Israeli High-Tech Companies Raise $1.7B In Three Months Wed, 13 Jul 2016 12:00:03 +0000

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187 Israeli startups raised a record $1.7 billion in the second quarter of 2016, a whopping 55 percent above the $1.1 billion raised by 174 companies in the previous quarter, according to a report released today by IVC Research Center and accounting firm KPMG Somekh Chaikin.

The figure is also 52 percent higher than the $1.12 billion raised by Israeli high-tech and startup companies in the second quarter of last year.

SEE ALSO: Volkswagen Invests $300M In Israeli On-Demand Taxi Service Gett

The largest deal during the three-month period ending June 30 – the $300 million raised by Israeli mobile taxicab service Gett – accounted for 18 percent of the total proceeds. Operating in 60 cities worldwide, Gett is one of the fastest-growing mobile ride-hailing providers in the world, rivaling $60 billion company Uber. The plan is for investor Volkswagen to offer on-demand ride services to its business customers, while Gett drivers will be offered discounted VW cars for their taxis.

via suv

According to IVC, even if you exclude Gett’s giant deal, the capital raised in the second quarter reflects a 27 percent increase compared to the first quarter of the year.

Another large financing round was that of Israeli ride-sharing startup Via, which raised $100 million in May. Headquartered in New York City, the company’s development center is in Tel Aviv, Israel, and it has an office in Chicago. Founded in 2012 by Israelis Daniel Ramot and Oren Shoval, Via enables tens of thousands of passengers each day to share their ride with others headed the same way. Via has so far provided more than four million rides, and is growing rapidly. Via ride prices start at $5 plus tax for those who prepay on the app.

Average financing round peaks 

According to the report, the average company financing round peaked at $9.2 million in the second quarter of 2016, 41 percent higher than the average in the first quarter of the year, which indicates that investors increasingly believe in Israeli startups.

SEE ALSO: Ride-Sharing Startup Via Raises $100M; Revs Up Competition Against Uber, Lyft

Overall, in the first half of 2016, Israeli high-tech capital raising reached $2.8 billion in 361 deals, 35 percent above the $2.1 billion raised in 327 deals in the first six months of 2015.

According to Ofer Sela, partner at KPMG Somekh Chaikin‘s technology group, “all indicators point to a healthy and vibrant ecosystem that continues to mature and generate new companies.”

ivc q2 2016The IVC-KPMG survey also reveals that the number of deals greater than $20 million accounted for $1.1 billion of the proceeds.

“The clear increase in large deals is driven by the enhanced activity of foreign investors – primarily corporate investors and venture capital funds – in growth-stage companies,” Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, said in a statement. “2016 will continue to be strong in capital raising, with a projected 20 percent year-on-year increase, or about $5.3 billion in total to be raised by the end of the year.”

hand money cash fundraising vc benjamins

Photos: VIA, Pikiwiki; infographics: IVC Research Center

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Fan-tastic Hacking: Israeli Researchers Hack Into Computers By Listening To Their Fans Tue, 12 Jul 2016 12:06:09 +0000

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If you fear your computer may be getting hacked, disconnecting it from the internet is a good first step. However, that ‘air gap’ by itself is not necessarily enough to prevent data from being stolen from your PC.

lsraeli scientists have recently discovered a new way for data to be extracted from even air-gapped (physically isolated) computers, with a new malware attack that combs data from the whirring sound of your PC’s internal fan.

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

In a paper published by Ben-Gurion University, Researcher Mordechai Guri, head of Ben-Gurion’s Cyber Security Research Center (CSRC), along with his team, Yosef Solewicz, Andrey Daidakulov, and Prof. Yuval Elovici, presented how they were able to succesfully access data from an air-gapped computer, one without an internet connection and not networked with computers with an internet connection, which are used for the most secretive tasks.

Computers have two or more fans which revolve at an audible frequency. Guri’s team used the audible sounds of the computer’s cooling fans to steal its data. By introducing malware into the air-gapped computer, the team was able to take control of the fans and have them spin at varying frequencies and transmit data to a nearby device. The “fansmitter”, as the team calls it, even works on computers that have deactivated their speakers or do not have any speakers attached.


SEE ALSO: Can Hackers Stalk You On Google’s Popular Navigation App Waze?

While the method can only be used to steal small amounts of data, the team still managed to steal enough data to get usernames, passwords and encryption keys. So far the team has been able to steal data at a rate of 15 to 20 bits per minute, but they are working on finding ways to increase that speed.

Guri and his team have also proposed several other methods to penetrate air-gapped computers using elements like radio waves, electromagnetic waves and even the heat the computer generates.

Pictures and videos: Ben-Gurion University, Pixabay

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This App Turns Your iPhone Into An Intelligent Dash Cam To Avoid Car Accidents Mon, 11 Jul 2016 11:39:03 +0000

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Few things are more maddening than reckless drivers getting away with it; especially when it’s your car they’re hitting! That’s why Nexar has launched the world’s first artificial intelligence dashboard camera app; one that turns your iPhone into a recording device that can track and report on bad drivers – and even give you advance warning.

The app recognizes traffic lights, remembers the license plates of bad drivers, notices if you break suddenly and records events for you to share them with insurance companies or police.

SEE ALSO: Curbing Distracted Driving: Cellepathy Keeps Drivers Focused

How does Nexar work? After downloading the app, prop your smartphone on your car’s dashboard, with its rear camera facing the road ahead. If someone cuts you off, forcing you to hit the brakes, Nexar asks you if “something happened?” If you confirm the occurrence by tapping a button on the screen, the app captures footage from 20 seconds before and 10 seconds after the incident and sends it to the company’s database for archival, therefore collecting factual proof of the event.

Blacklisting problematic drivers 

Nexar also says it can re-create a 3D graphic reconstruction of the car’s exact positioning during the accident by using the smartphone’s sensors, something that might prove incredibly helpful when attempting to settle disputes over who incited the accident two cars

SEE ALSO: No More Texting While Driving: Radiomize Keeps Your Eyes On The Road, Saves Lives

In addition, Nexar is able to “read” and identify license plates of problematic vehicles, those that have committed repeated traffic violations, warning you about who to avoid on the road. However, some users are pointing to the fact that the app could become a distraction itself, as it presents an overflow of information. Others are saying Nexar is like a “Big Brother,” collecting information on millions of drivers.

Nexar’s natural partners: Insurance companies 

Undeterred, Nexar follows the trend of driver assistance systems, started by Israeli company Mobileye, the pioneer in this field. Nexar also integrated with top Israeli navigation app Waze to provide real-time alerts of car crashes and other disruptions to the regular traffic flow.

To generate revenue, the company – which was founded by Eran Shir, former manager of Yahoo’s Creation Innovation Center in Israel, along with entrepreneur Bruno Fernandez-Ruiz – plans to work with insurance companies by providing documentation on car accidents.

Since last year, Nexar has raised $14.5 million from investors. As of now, Nexar is available on iOS devices in some areas in California as well as in Tel Aviv, with plans to expand into additional cities in the future.

Naturally, the budding startup still has a long road ahead of it, but at the price of saving lives, it is definitely worth the toll.

nexar Photos and video: Courtesy

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Afterlife Messaging: SafeBeyond Allows You To Communicate With Loved Ones After You’re Gone Sun, 10 Jul 2016 12:42:11 +0000

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“The regret of my life,” artist/singer Yoko Ono once said, “is that I have not said ‘I love you’ often enough.”

Tapping into that sentiment, a new Israeli app gives everyone an opportunity to communicate with their loved ones from the great beyond.

SEE ALSO: Vidoco: Turn Your Life Into A Documentary

With SafeBeyond, you can decide when you want those messages released to your loved ones. It could be on a specific date like a 21st birthday, or a special wedding anniversary. The recipient is then notified through a push notification on their smartphone that they have a message waiting for them.

A digital inheritance

Israeli entrepreneur Moran Zur created SafeBeyond, as a ‘digital inheritance’ after doctors diagnosed his wife with brain cancer.

“We had a three-year-old kid at the time,” Zur tells NoCamels. “We wanted to make sure that he would get the chance to know his mother for many years to come, no matter what happens.”

This turn of events prompted Zur to leave his job of five years as CEO at one of the leading and largest investment houses in Israel, and to found SafeBeyond in 2014. The startup has already raised $1.5 million from investors. To date, the company has some 20,000 users and expects to grow further as they begin to collaborate with family-oriented websites. Though the app is free, SafeBeyond charges $3.99 a month for extra storage space (for messages, videos and photos, etc.) over 1 GB.

SEE ALSO: Research: Doctors Should Be Trained To Talk About Death

According to Zur, “there are so many things we don’t plan for in life, and things we don’t think to discuss with our loved ones while we are with them – SafeBeyond will change that. SafeBeyond was established to ensure that users could be both in control of their digital legacies, and be there, in a virtual way, for the people they care about, at the times when they are needed the most.”

To be prepared

SafeBeyond’s unique technology and service “redesigns” the perception of death, empowering all people to better prepare for the eventualities of life. Users can assign a trustee, who will be responsible for their digital will, and heirs, who will receive the components of the digital time capsules.

The interface is user-friendly and messages are sent based on unique dates, events and geo-based triggers. This means the user can schedule birthday messages that are date-based or a wedding message which is event-based. Geo-based triggers will send a loved one a message when they are at a location. For instance, you can send your spouse a message every time they are at “your place” or send a video of a cherished memory.

Unsettling or comforting?

Some digital experts say people may be unsettled by receiving messages from loved ones years after their death. On the other hand, some may view SafeBeyond’s service as comforting, as if the dearly departed is reaching out to them on their special occasion.

No matter the situation, Yoko Ono was right. We don’t tell our loved ones we love them often enough.

Photos and videos: SafeBeyond, Leah Tardivel

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Life-Saving Wearable Tech: This T-Shirt Monitors Your Heart And Vital Signs Wed, 06 Jul 2016 10:46:14 +0000

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If you or a someone you care about has suffered from a heart condition, you know how important early detection is.

That’s why Israeli startup HealthWatch has developed hWear, a high ‘tech-xtile’ wearable technology that monitors ECG (the electrical activity of the heart) and vital signs in real time.

SEE ALSO: Light Beams, Not Pacemakers, Could Be The Future Of Heart Treatments

hWear by HealthWatch

hWear is a sleeveless shirt that can be worn under any blouse, shirt or dress. Its fabric is embedded with ECG sensors that monitor the patient’s condition. If there are any irregularities, the shirt will send immediate updates using Bluetooth or Wi-Fi to both the patient and their doctor, so the situation can be promptly addressed and treated.

Oftentimes, patients aren’t aware that they are having a cardiac episode, as heart problems can appear in many different forms. When this happens, problems can be left unchecked, and therefore untreated, until the next doctor’s appointment – when it could be too late.


It’s important to note that hWear itself is not the solution to the problem. Should the wearer experience any heart problems, hWear will only notify them and not actually rectify the problem. Once the wearer receives a notification, however, they can quickly consult a physician. With hWear, patients are able to take care of medical issues before they become life threatening.

SEE ALSO: One Heart Sometimes Beats As Two Dozen: New Study Could Improve Heart Disease Treatment

HealthWatch, hWear’s developer, is located in Ra’anana, Israel. The company was founded in 2010 by CEO Uri Amir, who has spent the past few decades creating and manufacturing medical devices.

In an interview with NoCamels, Amir describes the company as “weaving health into everyday life.”

Washable and FDA-approved 

hWear is one of the first heart-monitoring shirts on the market. It has little competition; while some wearable technologies like the “D-shirt” and “NuMetrex” monitor people’s heart rates, hWear monitors all vital signs – pulse rate, temperature, respiration rate, and blood pressure – giving both doctor and patient much more information.

Despite the advanced technology of this potentially life-saving product, hWear is quite simple to operate. No skin preparation or shaving is needed. Just slip on FDA-approved garment, and you’re ready to go. You can even put it in the washing machine along with the rest of your clothes!

Making health awareness as simple as getting dressed in the morning

Wearable technology is a rapidly growing industry. According to research firm Gartner, the industry is expected to grow by more than 18 percent this year.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, roughly 610,000 Americans die of heart disease each year. Fortunately, hWear can potentially save thousands of lives by making health awareness as simple as getting dressed in the morning.


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Israeli Startups Sell For $3.3B In The First Half Of 2016 Tue, 05 Jul 2016 13:46:32 +0000

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Israeli startup companies were sold for a total of $3.32 billion in the first six months of 2016, according to the IVC-Meitar Exits Report released today by IVC Research Center and Israeli law firm Meitar Liquornik Geva Leshem Tal.

These ‘exists’ span 45 deals in which high-tech companies were either acquired, or merged with other companies. Four buyout deals (the purchase of a controlling share in a company) accounted for an additional $878 million, hiking up the total to $4.19 billion.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Winners: The Coolest Israeli Startups And Innovations Of 2015

hand money cash fundraising vc benjamins

The figure is 21 percent lower than the $5.3 billion reported for the first six months of 2015. In all, 2015 was a fertile year for mergers, acquisitions and IPOs (initial public offerings on the stock exchange), when Israeli high-tech and startup companies were sold for a whopping $9.02 billion.

Despite the sharp decline in overall proceeds from acquisitions, the average ‘exit’ deal in the first half of the year – that is, the average sale price of each company – was $86 million (including buyouts), nearly 12 percent above last year’s $77 million, which means Israeli companies are getting much higher valuations now.

SEE ALSO: The Most Active Venture Capital Firms Investing In Israeli Startups

h1 ivc report

The largest deal in the first half of 2016 was the $811 million acquisition of EZchip by Mellanox, both Israeli companies. Mellanox Technologies is a supplier of end-to-end connectivity solutions for servers and storage, which optimize data center performance. It was founded in 1999 by Eyal Waldman, Shani Cohen and Roni Ashuri.

Another significant deal was the $643 million buyout of XURA (formerly Comverse), an Israeli company that provides digital communications services, by New York-based investment fund Siris Capital.

The $430 million acquisition of Ravello Systems by software giant Oracle was the third-largest deal.  Ravello is an Israeli ‘cloud’ software startup founded in 2011 by Rami Tamir and Benny Schnaider.

2016 has so far seen only a single IPO – that of Trendit, which raised $5.9 million at a $17.6 million valuation on the London Stock Exchange. The data reflect a sharp drop compared to the $609 million in IPOs in 2015. According to IVC, “the international IPO markets have been unfavorable since late 2015.”

Capital raising expected to grow

It’s no secret that the exits market has slowed down in recent months; it is estimated that by the end of 2016, 100 exit deals, with a total of approximately $7 billion in proceeds, will have closed – well below the $9 billion proceeds generated in 2015.

According to Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center, “our projections reflect a decline in exit volumes, since we believe companies are using the current market atmosphere to focus on growth rather than on exits.”

The good news is that capital raising in the first half of 2016 – a report due in the next few days – is expected to show increased investments in Israeli startups.


Infographics: IVC Research Center

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Israel’s ‘Arbe Robotics’ Uses Radar To Avoid Drone Crashes Tue, 05 Jul 2016 07:37:07 +0000

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This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Commercial unmanned aerial vehicles – now used largely by hobbyists – are set to be a $4.8b industry by 2021

It appears that in just a couple of years, drones – unmanned flying craft – will be everywhere. They will be used by companies to deliver books and clothes, by governments to monitor borders and for military surveillance, and by farmers to keep tabs on their produce in distant fields.

But with so many drones buzzing around, the chances for these crashing into each other or into other objects rises significantly. So, Tel Aviv-based Arbe Robotics has developed a solution that uses radar technology — radio frequencies — to help drones detect objects and avoid collision.

drone in sky, in flight

“The drone market started only two or three years ago and it is still an emerging technology,” Kobi Marenko, the co-founder and CEO of the startup said in an interview. “Today, it is mainly a hobby market” for people who use drones for taking pictures and other fun activities. “But in the next three to five years, drones will be used in almost every area in industry.”

SEE ALSO: ‘Flytrex Sky’ Personal Delivery Drone Will Ship Goods To Your Location Within Minutes

Arbe Robotics’ product, which is a mix of hardware and software, can be connected to all kinds of existing drones. It will enable the craft to read the 360-degree space around it and will allow a visual range of up to 200 meters, Marenko said.

“Today drones are not allowed to fly in areas in which a collision could be dangerous,” he said. “Our system tells the drone to automatically avoid the obstacle,” and it can also include an alarm mode to alert the operator about an imminent danger, he said.

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

There are no other radar-based drone products on the market yet, Marenko said, and competitors are using sensors with vision technology, which is both costlier and has a limited 50-meter range, Marenko said.

Arbe Robotics' drone

Arbe Robotics’ drone

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Wearable Device Livia Promises To ‘Turn Off’ Menstrual Cramps, Alleviate Period Pain Mon, 04 Jul 2016 13:35:15 +0000

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Most women suffer pain during menstruation; oftentimes, the aches can get bloody awful. It happens every month, and painkillers don’t always alleviate the cramps.

Now, an Israeli device called Livia is offering a solution to these scheduled periods of discomfort, by sending weak electric pulses to your abdomen. This wearable technology, which clasps onto your pants and is hidden under your blouse, can be discreetly worn in public (it certainly doesn’t cramp your style!) and also helps women stay away from painkillers.

SEE ALSO: Medasense’s Pain Assessment Monitor Among Winners Of Prestigious Startup Competition

Livia is marketed as “the off-switch for menstrual cramps.” It consists of a small square device with two gel pads attached to it, which are placed on the affected area of the abdomen.

SEE ALSO: Music For Medicine: How Musicians Are Easing The Pain Of Patients

The device utilizes a technology similar to Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), usually employed in physical therapy, to block pain receptors from processing the hurtful sensation in the brain and thus work its magic.

Chen Nachum, co-founder and CEO of Livia, explains the technology through the gate control theory of pain, which hypothesizes that there are “gates” that can prevent pain sensation from traveling to the central nervous system.

“The nervous system can only handle one type of pain at a time, one type of signal,” he tells NoCamels. “So, if you create a signal that is not pain but a tingling sensation, and you transmit it to the body faster than the pain, then the nervous system will be busy with that signal and not with the pain.”


However, Nachum explains that there is a specific difference between TENS and the technology behind Livia. “Livia’s  wave shape is different, making it so effective for pain,” he says. “So, if you use a physical therapy device and if you use Livia, it feels similar but the body is reacting differently to the pulses.”

He could not go into further detail at the moment, since the company is currently trying to patent its technology.

Raising $775,000 in just one month 

Over the past years, Prof. Bari Kaplan, an OBGYN at Israel’s Beilinson Hospital, has constantly been looking for an alternative to painkillers to help his patients. And so, in April 2015, he co-founded Livia, along with Nachum.

Livia recently raised nearly $775,000 on crowd-funding platform Indiegogo, 1340 percent more than its initial goal. According to the company, with additional funds from private investors, the company already has more than $1 million in funding.

Taking care of back pain  

Livia is also said to work for back pain in the lower abdomen area of the body, which can be an advantage to women who suffer increased levels of back pains during their periods.

But with all its alleged advantages, some have criticized Livia for not being very discreet: If you don’t wear the right shirt, the device could potentially draw unwanted attention to your abdomen.

Pending FDA approval 

The company is expected to officially launch its product in October, for $85-$149. In the meantime, Livia is working on obtaining FDA approval.

The feedback from women who tested Livia so far has been encouraging, saying the device has really helped them, according to Nachum: “The responses I get are amazing, way beyond what I imagined.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021 Sun, 03 Jul 2016 13:30:28 +0000

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Israeli company Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver assistance systems that help prevent collisions, has joined BMW and Intel on their quest to manufacture a driverless car by 2021. Test drives are expected to begin as early as next year.

With Mobileye contributing its cutting-edge autonomous driving technologies, and Intel Israel contributing the tremendous computing power needed for the future car, there’s no doubt Israel is playing a significant role in the emerging self-driving car industry.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Mobileye Gearing Up For Driverless Cars

mobileye bmw intel

Intel CEO Brian Krzanich (from left), Chairman of the Board of Management of BMW AG Harald Krüger and Mobileye Co-Founder, Chairman and CTO Prof. Amnon Shashua

“The computer processors for the car will most likely be designed in Israel, where we can collaborate with Mobileye,” Intel‘s Israeli director of sales (South Europe) Guy Bar-Ner tells NoCamels. “In the future driverless car, Intel’s processors will collect all data from Mobileye’s sensors and make real-time decisions. This requires a very powerful computer.”

Bar-Ner declined to comment on the future price of the car, but said it would likely cost about the same as other high-end luxury cars, and would not initially be mass marketed.

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

Despite the recent fatal crash of a Tesla car, which was operating on autopilot mode, the three companies believe they can make a safe driverless car by 2021. According to a joint statement the companies released, “the future of automated driving promises to change lives and societies for the better. But the path to get to a fully autonomous world is complex and will require end-to-end solutions that integrate intelligence across the network, from door locks to the data center.”

We must keep in mind that in the US alone, some 90 people die in car crashes involving human drivers every day, so driving in general has its risks. “Car accidents happen because of humans,” Bar-Ner says. “Driving nowadays is a lot scarier. Autonomous cars may not be perfect, but they will be much safer.”

Taking your hands off the wheel and your mind off the road 

Called “BMW iNEXT,” this model will set the basis for fleets of fully autonomous vehicles, not only on highways but also in urban environments for the purpose of automated ride-sharing solutions, according to BMW.

The goal of this joint venture is to enable drivers to not only take their hands off the steering wheel, but also to reach the so-called “eyes-off” (level 3) and ultimately the “mind off” (level 4) level, transforming the driver’s in-car time into leisure or work time. This level of autonomy would enable the vehicle to achieve the final stage of traveling “driver off” (level 5) without a human driver inside.

“Trucks will be able to ship goods without a human driver,” Bar-Ner says. “It’s not a question of if – but when.”

According to Mobileye’s co-founder and chairman Prof. Amnon Shashua, “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.”

Intel, which develops technologies to power and connect billions of smart and connected devices, will now provide that same computing power – that is, extremely fast  processors – to autonomous cars. “Highly autonomous cars and everything they connect to will require powerful and reliable electronic brains to make them smart enough to navigate traffic and avoid accidents,” Intel CEO Brian Krzanich said in a statement.

According to Harald Krüger, BMW’s chairman, “the combined expertise of Intel, Mobileye and the BMW Group will deliver the next core building blocks to bring fully automated driving technology to the street.”

cars on highway

Photos: Intel, BMW

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