Video – 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. Thu, 23 Mar 2017 14:31:38 +0000 en-US hourly 1 The Land of Milk, Honey And Whisky? Israel’s First Distillery To Market In Europe Thu, 26 Jan 2017 10:18:10 +0000

The Holy Land’s first whisky distillery is ready to cater to the European palate, with the first shipments of the liquor hitting the market later this year.

Located in Tel Aviv, the Milk & Honey Whisky Distillery (M&H) produces spirits that combine Middle Eastern flavors (such as the locally grown spice za’atar) with a faster maturation process that is mainly a result of the warm Mediterranean climate.

SEE ALSO: Drinks On The House?! Israeli Smart Cup Earns You Free Beers

whisky barrels - Milk & Honey Distillery - yifat zohar

Upon entering the distillery, visitors are hit by the scintillating aroma of single-malt liquors hibernating in wooden barrels. Tasting M&H’s ‘New Make’ – an unaged whisky bottled immediately after distillation – one can notice how it glides smoothly across the palate and leaves a bittersweet sensation; while M&H’s ‘Levantine Gin’ has the exotic flavor of za’atar.

But the distillery’s flagship single-malt whisky will only be ready in 2019, in accordance with the Scotch standard of at least three years of maturation in barrels. It seems the founders of the Milk & Honey Whisky Distillery are exceptionally patient in the fast-paced world of Israeli startups. Aiming to produce fine whisky, the company believes that there can be no shortcuts.

Gal Kalkshtein and Eitan Attir by Kirk D'Souza for NoCamels

Gal Kalkshtein (left) and Eitan Attir at the Milk & Honey Whisky Distillery

“Buying a cow when you want milk”

Founded in 2012 by six high-tech entrepreneurs who share a passion for whisky, M&H is led by co-founder Gal Kalkshtein and by CEO Eitan Attir. “Founding the distillery was like buying a cow when you want milk,” Kalkshtein, a serial entrepreneur and the founder of investment firm GKI Group, tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: Living It Up In Downtown Tel Aviv: 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Beer Mugs Discovered In Israel

The team spent two years studying the intricacies of producing top-notch whisky. They also sought the help of Dr. James Swan, a world-renowned Master Distiller and an expert on producing whisky in warm climates, who recognized the exciting possibilities that Israel has to offer.

Milk & Honey Distillery

Speeding up maturation by up to three times

This pioneering distillery combines time-honored tradition with technology and innovation. For instance, the team creates high-quality water using reverse osmosis, a process that filters impurities from water using a semi-permeable membrane. The subsequent processes of mashing, cooling and distillation are also carefully calibrated and monitored using advanced equipment.

According to Attir, the benefit of distilling whisky in Israel is that the country’s warmer climate speeds up maturation by up to three times. This means that a three-year-old Israeli whisky might taste similar to a nine-year-old Scotch whisky.

But the higher temperature also means that the “angel’s share” (the percentage of alcohol that evaporates from the barrels) is as high as 10 percent a year, compared to the annual 2 percent angel’s share in Scotland and the US. Nonetheless, this can be moderated using climate control technology. “We won’t use climate control in the first year and a half because we want fast-paced maturation from the heat,” says Attir. “But even with climate control, the taste of the whisky will be the same.”

SEE ALSO: Many Seniors Turn To Substance And Alcohol Abuse After Retirement, Study Finds

To ensure the high quality of ingredients, the distillery imports malt from England and handpicks other Israeli grains. The team also meticulously selects its barrels for the aging process, some of which were previously used for maturing Israeli cabernet sauvignons.

“Using ex-red wine casks is common for the last few months of whisky maturation,” Attir explains. “But we put some of our spirit in such casks from day one, so at the end of three years, we will get a very unique taste.”

In order to craft unique flavors, the team will store whisky barrels in different climate zones. These include the North, including the Sea of Galilee, an area with lower temperatures; the coast of Tel Aviv; the mountains of Jerusalem; and the South, especially the Dead Sea, where temperatures are typically high.

whisky barrels

“We have four different climate zones within a small country, each of which will affect the barrels differently,” says Attir. So far, the team has stored barrels in the distillery in Tel Aviv and near the Dead Sea.

“New World Whisky”

The market seems to be ripe for an Israeli whisky. Attir claims that there is strong global demand for “New World Whisky” – made outside the traditional countries of production – Scotland, Ireland, the US and Canada. His claim was evidenced in the success of the company’s crowd-funding campaign on Indiegogo in 2013. M&H founders raised over $77,000, 115 percent of their goal. In addition to the successful campaign, Kalkshtein also invested millions of dollars from his own money.

While M&H is the first whisky distillery in Israel, it is not the only one producing whisky. Pelter, a winery in the Golan Heights, started distilling whisky in November 2013, and the Golan Heights Distillery was established soon after M&H.

“We will be here for hundreds of years”

M&H has already tasted success. Its Levantine Gin won the gold medal at Terravino 2016, the Mediterranean Wine and Spirits Challenge; its New Make won the silver medal. While the company intends to market the New Make as a base for cocktails, Kalkshtein claims that “a master distiller of one of the biggest distilleries in Scotland told us that our New Make is good enough to drink on its own.”

milk & honey whisky distillery

New Make ($40) and Levantine Gin ($47) have so far been been sold only locally, but are expected to hit the European market later this year. The company has also sold two series of six- and eight-month old single malt spirits to give customers an idea of what their whisky will eventually taste like. When the flagship single-malt whisky is finally ready, it will be sold in Israel, Europe and the US.

“I believe that we will be sold out very quickly, and then we will need to build a factory that is 10 times bigger,” Kalkshtein tells NoCamels. “We want to build something that will be here for hundreds of years.”

Photos: Kirk D’Souza, M&HYifat Zohar for Milk & Honey

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IDC Herzliya Rolls Out Academic Program With Startup Accelerator To Address 21st Century Challenges Thu, 17 Nov 2016 10:37:42 +0000 Israel’s IDC Herzliya has rolled out a unique, hands-on program to promote innovation and entrepreneurship, with a focus on the toughest challenges of the 21st century – and beyond. 36 exceptional college graduates have joined this year’s exclusive program, which is excepted to culminate in the creation of several technology startups.

This one-year program for college graduates, called IDCBeyond, includes a curriculum of interdisciplinary training in technology, bio-medicine, globalization and sustainability, and is designed to encourage participants to set up ventures from the very start, with the assistance of mentors from the academia and the high-tech industry.

“I am confident that every student will make a difference in our lives,” Prof. Uriel Reichman, founder and president of IDC Herzliya, said in a broadcast statement.

At the end of the school year, students with exceptional initiatives will have the opportunity to enroll in a startup accelerator with access to venture capital funds to further promote their projects. 

“Doing well by doing good”

The student body includes Israelis and participants from countries such as the US, Canada, Russia and China. 42 percent of this year’s class have graduate-level degrees (including two Ph.D.s).

“These 36 exceptional men and women were carefully selected because we believe that, with our guidance, the top mentors who have agreed to commit their time and energy, and together with our partners, they can create meaningful ventures which will do well by doing good,” IDCBeyond managing director Nava Swersky Sofer tells NoCamels.

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


Students come from various fields, such as life sciences, space, engineering, computer science, law, business, communications, graphic design, the arts and humanities.

“Studies have shown that heterogeneous teams of individuals from many different backgrounds and various disciplines have a higher chance of success than homogeneous teams,” according to IDCBeyond. “The reason for this is rooted in the fact that multiple perspectives are important when integrating ideas in order to create something new.”

Resembling both Singularity University (a Silicon Valley think-tank) and Y-Combinator (which funds early-stage startups), the exceptional curriculum of IDCBeyond includes interdisciplinary training in various fields of technology, with a focus on world-changing initiatives.

The program recently recruited experts from the Mayo Clinic, a world-renowned medical practice and research center, to lead the curriculum of medical challenges within IDCBeyond. The project is led by Mayo’s Dr. Amir Lerman, who was recently appointed as the head of Mayo Clinic’s new initiative of discovery, investment and cooperation with Israeli companies and technologies.

The program’s tuition is $20,000 for the full year; scholarships are available. In addition, IDCBeyond alumni will be offered a 50 percent discount for MA and MBA programs at IDC Herzliya.

Once the program ends, student teams can continue with their ventures. IDCBeyond offers outstanding teams that have presented a prototype or proof of concept by the end of the program the opportunity to continue in the program’s startup accelerator for an additional 10 weeks, free of charge.

“Finding solutions to the major problems facing humanity”

The head of IDCBeyond, Sofer, is an attorney, entrepreneur, former venture capitalist, as well as an innovation and technology commercialization expert.

Previously, she served as the 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.

SEE ALSO: These Five Female Tech Leaders Inspire Innovation In Israel – And Beyond

Nava Swersky Sofer

Nava Swersky Sofer

According to Sofer, IDCBeyond is designed “to train and qualify participants in developing and establishing innovative ventures by implementing technologies to address global challenges which characterize the 21st century.” These challenges include: Water and energy solutions, brain and DNA manipulations, advanced medical treatments, driverless cars, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, cyber-security and more.

She adds that “understanding the challenges of bio-medicine, sustainability, technology and globalization being taught by experts, will form the basis for addressing problems and initiating startups designed to find solutions to the major problems facing humanity.”


Photos and video: Courtesy

NoCamels is supported by IDC Herzliya.

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Answering The Call: Yallo Aims To Revolutionize Phone Calls As We Know Them Thu, 16 Jun 2016 08:59:27 +0000 The phone has advanced tremendously since it was invented 140 years ago. Yet, the functionality of the phone call itself has seldom changed over the years. Despite the countless cellular and Wi-Fi platforms that exist today, the phone call has somehow remained the same one-size-fits-all utility service.

Now, Israeli startup Yallo is offering a more personalized and efficient phone call experience. The smart voice communication platform allows you to record calls and back up your phone data, among a dozen other innovative features.

For example, if you have no reception, you can use Yallo to make a phone call; you can record calls, save them, and listen to them later; if you want someone to know what you’re calling about, you may send them a “call caption,” a short message stating the reason for your call; and, if you lose your phone, you can use Yallo to make the call – using the same phone number, even though you don’t have your SIM card. Upcoming features include one-touch group calls and voicemail transcriptions.

Garnering roughly 200,000 downloads since its inception, Yallo first launched its mobile app last year in the US, UK, Singapore, Brazil and India; now, it’s available all over the world. To date, the company, which was founded in 2012, has raised $8 million.

SEE ALSO: Away From Friends And Family? ‘Rounds’ Provides Group Video Chats For Up To 12 Participants

There’s no doubt that Yallo entered a crowded arena, competing head-to head with popular apps such as Viber (also developed in Israel), Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger and Skype – which provide voice and video calls.

Nonetheless, Yallo claims it’s different because it reinvented the phone call itself, with a rich set of functionalities that can help people utilize their time better, Tal Elyashiv, CEO of Yallo, tells NoCamels.

Lost your phone? No problem 

The recording feature allows you to forward a recording to your email or a friend. There is a setting that records all calls automatically, so you don’t have to press anything. Since the recordings do not take up space from your device, you can record an unlimited amount of calls and save as many voice mails as you wish. To find a recording, all you have to do is search for keywords or phrases that were mentioned in the call.

SEE ALSO: $17,000 ‘Super-Secure’ Smartphone Solarin Will ‘Break The Rules,’ Says Founder Moshe Hogeg

The “flex” feature allows you to sign into Yallo through another device and all your data will be available to you. When you place a call, the number appears as your regular number even when you use a different device.

man with smartphone

“The future smart voice platform”

Yallo-to-Yallo calls are free, along with all incoming calls. However, the app charges a fee for calls made outside Yallo; the average cost is 1 cent per minute.

From an app standpoint, we want to keep introducing unique features that will keep on surprising and delighting people with a good old boring phone call,” Elyashiv tells NoCamels. “Looking at the bigger picture, we want to be the future smart voice platform that provides very rich functionality both to carriers and large business platforms.”

yallo app

Photos and video: Yallo, Plain Loud Visuals

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Virtual Personal Trainer: LifeBEAM’s Intelligent Headphones Get You In Shape Wed, 15 Jun 2016 13:18:15 +0000 Many of us who want to get in shape would love to hire a personal trainer, but the cost is simply too high. Imagine your own virtual fitness coach inside your headphones cheering you on and pushing you forward when you exercise.

After creating products for the Israeli air force and brands like Samsung and Under Armour, Israeli wearable tech company LifeBEAM is now making its own product – wireless, artificially intelligent headphones, or as many call them, “hearables,” headphones that can learn about you as you workout.

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

LifeBEAM’s newest product Vi will tell you if you are running behind your usual pace on a familiar run and ask you politely if you want to speed it up. Or if your heart rate is getting too high, Vi will sense that and advise you to slow down.

An awareable wearable

Vi has aerospace-grade biosensors, Hi-Fi sound quality, an ergonomic design, and the ability to learn and grow with each user, LifeBEAM says.

Having launched on Kickstarter on June 1, Vi is now available to pre-order for $199. The company, which previously raised $16 million in venture funding, has already smashed its original crowdfunding campaign goal of $100,000 by raising in excess of $500,000 in just two weeks.

SEE ALSO: Dario Turns Diabetics’ Smartphones Into Trendy Glucometers

LifeBeam has partnered with Harman Kardon, a manufacturer of audio and video products, to provide high-fidelity sound for Vi’s earbuds.

“The future of wearables is using AI to personalize our health and fitness in real time, and we created Vi to lead this new frontier,” said Omri Yoffe, CEO and Co-founder of LifeBEAM in a statement. “By improving a person’s awareness of their own behaviors, environment, and real-time physiology, Vi provides an inspiring and truly smarter workout experience. We call Vi an ‘Awareable,’ as it’s the first and only wearable with the power to actually be aware of a person’s activity patterns and coach their behavior in real time.”

vi-7-1465351441-HZqT-column-width-inline (1)

Vi does have some competition: In 2010, Sony came out wit $300 “artificially intelligent” headphones, the Sony MDR-NC300D Digital Noise Canceling Earbuds. Vi, however, have built-in software that adapts to your body using biometrics such as temperature, heart rate and other data measured through inner ear motion.

Vi also includes a workout coach and music to match your pace.

In the 2013 feature film “Her”, the main character falls in love with the voice inside his computer. With Vi, LifeBEAM hopes you’ll fall in love with your new virtual personal trainer.

Photos and videos: LifeBEAM

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Curbing Distracted Driving: Cellepathy Prevents Car Collisions Mon, 13 Jun 2016 12:52:11 +0000 Not too long ago, the term “distracted driving” probably referred to kids in the back seat fighting, causing the driving parent to shout: “Don’t make me pull this car over and come back there!”

Today, distracted driving has taken on a whole new meaning, typically involving the driver’s use of a cell phone or other electronic device to text or check social networks or navigation apps. Distracted driving can be visual (taking your eyes off the road), manual (taking your hands off the wheel) or cognitive (taking your mind off of driving).

SEE ALSO: Driving Change: Five Israeli Startups Revolutionizing The Way We Drive

In spite of the well known dangers of distracted driving, many motorists simply can’t help themselves. Now, thanks to Israeli startup Cellepathy (a combination of the words ‘cellular’ and ‘telepathy’), safety no longer needs to be comprised. Founded in 2011 by Dan Abramson and Sean Ir, the company uses the latest technology to reduce distractions for drivers.

Verify – Solving the ‘passenger problem’

One of Cellepathy’s products is Verify, a distracted driving risk management software that knows how to distinguish driver phones from passenger phones without the need for hardware in the vehicle. Using Verify companies can prevent costly accidents by defining the way their employees can use smartphones while in transit.

“Our technology verifies both drivers and passengers, preventing distracted driving by those behind the wheel while also allowing verified passengers to operate their phones freely in a car,” Sean Ir, Cellepathy’s co-founder and VP of Marketing tells NoCamels.

Ergo – Eliminating annoyance

Ergo, Cellepathy’s other prime product, reduces drivers’ interaction with navigation software, which can be a major distraction by itself.

“Drivers are constantly making decisions about their navigation software. When to turn it on, when to turn it off, when to mute it, and when to raise the volume,” Cellepathy’s CEO Dan Abramson, said in a statement. “Ergo automates all of that using artificial intelligence and pattern recognition.”

The app does this by recognizing the patterns of a driver’s usage. Many drivers turn off their navigation apps when they are in their own neighborhood or on their regular route home. Since they already know the way, and assuming there is no traffic to deal with, they no longer need audio directions from their navigation app.

In fact, Cellepathy found that nearly half of people who turn off their navigation app before the end of a trip (or refrain from using it entirely on some trips) do so in order to escape “the voice,” and better concentrate on their music listening. Although that voice may be a distraction, reaching out to close or open the app while driving is a bigger – and more dangerous – one. The Ergo app turns off the navigation activity in areas where the driver doesn’t need it, reducing the distraction level and removing the need to deal with it.

SEE ALSOIsraeli Tech Is Gearing Up To Keep The Vehicles Of The Future Safe

“Ergo not only learns when you don’t need navigation instructions anymore, like when you are in your own neighborhood and it can be shut off, but it also stresses changes in your daily route that you need to be aware of,” Ir said. “If your normal commute is going to be delayed by an unexpected traffic accident or road work, Ergo will be sure to let you know in advance to take an alternate route, before it’s too late and you drive your normal route just out of habit or because you weren’t paying close attention to your voice navigation.”

From Wall Street to all streets

Both co-founders, Abramson and Ir, have Wall Street backgrounds, and have made a surprisingly smooth transition from finance to technology. Abramson went from using algorithms to optimize potential stock market transactions to optimizing technology for Cellepathy’s products so users could get the most out of their system without draining their mobile phone batteries.

Entirely self-funded, Cellepathy continues to grow, its 10 employees are spread out across the globe; in Israel, the US, and Europe.

Regarding Verify, Cellepathy is currently only offering it to companies. Ergo, on the other hand is sold as software as a service, an additional layer to an existing package.

International recognition

In February Cellepathy won the ConnecteDriver 2016 Auto App Challenge, one of the most prestigious driver app contests in the automotive industry. In March the company announced that it had been accepted to participate in the Dreamit Health accelerator, one of the most successful accelerators in the world. Dreamit has launched over 200 startups that collectively have gone on to raise over $275 million and are worth more than $1 billion in enterprise value.

In March 2014, Celepathy’s co-founders presented their technology to the US Department of Transportation and the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) at a public meeting on the development of Driver Distraction Guidelines for Portable and Aftermarket Devices.


Photos and video: Cellepathy

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Off The Beaten Track: Urban Navigation App Sidekix Bases Walking Routes On Your Interests Mon, 13 Jun 2016 11:53:23 +0000 Have you ever unintentionally stumbled upon a hidden gem along the way to a main attraction when exploring a new city? A new Israeli app seeks to intentionally lead people to these lesser known spots that are worth a slight detour.

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

Called Sidekix, this urban on-foot navigation app customizes routes based on the interests and needs of its users. “Sidekix is an app for people who walk, which is different from other navigation apps that are primarily geared toward driving,” founder Jenny Drezin tells NoCamels.

Unlike many other popular navigation apps, Sidekix prioritizes unique routes over fastest routes, always by foot. According to Drezin, “the idea behind Sidekix is that there are many ways to get to the same point, and often taking a different route or going a bit out of your way can give you a completely different experience.”

SEE ALSO: The Next Social Network? ‘Space Tag’ Allows Users to Leave Eternal Tags Around The Globe

Before embarking on your trip, you can select among a wide variety of interest spots on Sidekix: Historical landmarks, art galleries, restaurants or bars. Once you define your set of passions, the app will lead you through a personalized journey, using recommendations from social media, lifestyle websites and local bloggers.

The Yelp of walking tours

In addition to incorporating hidden urban gems into the traveler’s walks, Sidekix makes suggestions of final destinations. The user can choose from a list of different categories of activities, from food to nightlife. Once you decide what type of activity appeals to you the most, the app opens a subset of more specific preferences within each category for more tailored recommendations. For instance, within the category of shopping, you can pick among fashion, food and beverage, malls and markets. In other words, Sidekix is somewhat like Yelp, but not just for food.

Another advantage of the app is that the map on the interface spins around you so you always know in which way you are going, preventing users from doing what Drezin calls “the chicken dance” as they try to figure out toward which direction their navigation app is pointing. The app also allows you to share your route with your contacts, in case they want to join you.

Sidekix also offers options of streets that are well lit at night and allows your contacts to monitor your walks in order to make you feel safer while exploring a new area.

Benefiting small businesses

The endeavor will hopefully profit small businesses that are scattered along the less-traveled routes – those that are so often overlooked, even by locals. “Cities are dynamic and changing, and there are always new things to discover,” says Drezin.

sidekix app

Sidekix is a free app, as of now, and does not charge for recommending restaurants, boutiques and the like. Looking to the future, the company plans to partner with hotels and tour operators to potentially develop branded versions of the app.

Upon launching last year, Sidekix raised $1 million from investors, with the aim of offering something its competitors (Israeli car navigation app Waze and Google Maps, for example) aren’t necessarily focused on.

Currently available in 15 cities, including London, New York, San Francisco, Paris, and Tel Aviv, Sidekix plans to expand into additional major cities around the globe, which could make taking the road less traveled a lot more enjoyable.

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Photos and video: Courtesy

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$17,000 ‘Super-Secure’ Smartphone Solarin Will ‘Break The Rules,’ Says Founder Moshe Hogeg Wed, 08 Jun 2016 10:07:52 +0000 Would you buy a smartphone for the price of a brand new Toyota? Not many people would, but the maker of a new luxury smartphone claims there is a market for such phones. Aimed at high powered business people, Solarin is a luxe phone launched for consumers who highly value their privacy and security. At a whopping cost of $17,000 – which makes it one of the world’s most expensive phones – Solarin’s military-grade security obviously doesn’t come cheap.

Solarin is a 5.5-inch android smartphone designed by Sirin Labs, a luxury phone manufacturer that was co-founded in 2013 by Israeli entrepreneurs Tal Cohen, Kenges Rakishev and Moshe Hogeg, who’s known for founding startups Mobli and Yo, as well as investment firm Singulariteam.

“We do not accept that price drives what’s available in technology,” Hogeg said in a statement. “With Solarin, we break the rules.” Indeed, Solarin phone would otherwise get you 28 new iPhones.

SOLARIN smartphone by Sirin Labs

“Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe”

The phone’s target market includes financiers and executives who value – and are willing to pay for – a very secure technology.

According to Sirin Labs, the Solarin smartphone delivers supreme protection against cyber-attacks thanks to the startup’s partnerships with security firms Koolspan and Zimperium, which employ the same technologies that security forces and armies around the world use to protect their communications. This technology thwarts the most advanced device, network, and mobile cyber-attacks, without compromising the functionality of the rest of the phone, Sirin claims.

But is cyber-security important enough to merit such an incredibly expensive phone? “Cyber-attacks are endemic across the globe. This trend is on the increase. Just one attack can severely harm reputations and finances,” Cohen said in a statement. “Cost doesn’t influence our decision making; optimal functionality and quality do.”

SEE ALSO: Do We Choose To Erode Our Own Privacy? 73% Of Smartphone Users Willingly Share Their Location

The idea for Solarin originated when Rakishev experienced a mobile phone hack. As a businessman with substantial sensitive information stored on his phone, he was disturbed by the apparent lack of security in mobile technology and the absence of better options on the market. He reached out to Hogeg to share his predicament and later they formed Sirin Labs, along with Cohen.

A luxury phone for the über-wealthy 

There has already been some demand for ultra-expensive phones; Vertu, starting at $9,500, also targets all of its devices to the über-rich and prides itself on supreme design. The company has sold some 400,000 phones since 2002.

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

solarin smartphone by sirin labs

Could Solarin surpass that? If Sirin Labs – which has already received $97 million in financing from private investors, including Hogeg himself – will indeed provide high-performance, supreme connectivity, security and speed (4.6Gbps), it might be able to carve out a substantial niche for its pricey smartphone.

But prepare for major heartache if your $17,000 smartphone is stolen!

Photos and video: Sirin Labs

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Paid Too Much For An Airline Ticket? FairFly Can Find A Better Deal, Get Refund Mon, 06 Jun 2016 07:17:01 +0000 Traveling is fun; planning a trip is not, especially during the summer peak season. Every detail of a trip can take hours to be decided upon and can leave you with a headache. And this frustration starts with the first step of any trip: Buying an airline ticket.

The cost of any plane ticket will fluctuate from the moment the flight becomes available until the flight takes off, but most people don’t bother to find out if the fare has changed. According to FairFly, an Israeli mobile and Web app dedicated to helping you find the best possible fare after you’ve booked, 88 percent of people don’t check the cost of flights once the ticket has been bought.

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


Many people have heard the trick that buying a ticket on a Tuesday afternoon for a trip in six weeks’ time will get them the best fare; another rumor says booking exactly five months in advance will do the trick. But, unfortunately, there is no magic bullet.

$100 billion in overpayment 

Overall, people overpay roughly $100 billion a year because they don’t check the prices after they booked an airline ticket, according to a 2015 report by Business Insider. Fortunately, the founders of FairFly were aware of the situation and decided to find a way to help people save money.

SEE ALSO: Three New Israeli Startups For A 5-Star Trip

Using FairFly is a simple process. Once you’ve booked your flight, you need to send a copy of your itinerary to the FairFly team at They will immediately put your flight into the system and start scanning for lower fares. You can add as many flights as you want.

If FairFly finds a better deal – which will save you money even after you add the airline’s rebooking charge – you’ll receive an alert on your smartphone (Android or iOS) that will allow you to view the suggested flight. If you accept the new flight, a FairFly team member will call you to take care of the switch online – only with your permission. Then, you get to enjoy the extra cash for your trip.

Be warned, though, that the app only scans for one ticket at a time. If you you’ve booked for multiple passengers, you might end up being on separate flights even though FairFly tries its hardest to keep you together, according to the company.

The app itself is free; there’s no charge if FairFly can’t find a better deal. The startup only makes money when you save money. Tracking your booked flight around the clock is also free. If you end up saving, a 9 percent fee will be charged when FairFly rebooks your trip, based on your savings. In other words, the 9 percent will be taken out of the difference between your original flight price and the rebooking price.

Founded in Israel in 2013 by Uri Levine (the co-founder of popular navigation app Waze), along with Gili Lichtman, Aviel Tov and Ami Goldenberg, FairFly has so far raised $2 million from venture capital firm Blumberg Capital, Emery Capital, and Levine himself, whose company Waze was sold to Google three years ago for $1.3 billion.

If Levine bet his own money on FairFly, it could become just as popular and successful as Waze.

fairfly app

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Going For The Gold: Israel’s RideOn To Compete In Rio’s ‘Tech Olympics’ Sun, 05 Jun 2016 07:10:09 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli augmented reality tech company RideOn is one step closer to winning a grand prize of 100,000 euros ($112,000), and getting top billing at the Summer Olympic Games in Rio.

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

The RideOn AR system installed in specially made ski goggles was chosen by the Hype Start-Up Foundation as the Israeli winner of its international startup competition. RideOn will now go up against submissions from the US, Greece, Italy, UK, Kenya and Brazil in the “Tech Olympics”, which will take place at the beginning of August, just prior to the real Summer Games.


Judges will include top figures in the sports and tech world: Carlos Arthur Nuzman, President of the Rio 2016 Olympic Organizing Committee; Daniel Brusilovsky, CIO of the NBA; Avram Grant, former coach of Chelsea football club; Yuval Brown, CEO of Saucony Israel; Mac Freeman, VP of Denver Broncos (Super Bowl champion of 2016); and representatives of investment funds and private investors.

Hype is using the contest to jump-start its wide-scale platform for groundbreaking innovation in sports, focusing on wearable accessories, broadcasting tech, apps for athletes, coaches and fans.

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

Technology, believes investor Amir Rave, who chairs Hype, can make popular sports even more popular, and even inspire more young people to get active themselves.

“While other areas around the world are at the forefront of technological progress, the world of sports has suffered from relative conservatism for decades,” said Rave. “Our goal is to change this perception.”

Among the characteristics of the winner will be its ability to engage fans and enthusiasts, and RideOn has that covered. With its system, skiers can get information about others who are on the slopes, exchange messages with them, see ski lifts and lodges highlighted around them, pull up virtual maps, play music and more.

The information is presented through a see-through display positioned over the user’s eye. The system includes a camera, the ability to record video and has wireless connections.

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: RideOn

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Double The Sweetness, Half The Sugar: DouxMatok Tricks Your Brain Into Cutting Sugar Intake Thu, 02 Jun 2016 08:56:36 +0000 There is something about sugar most of us simply can’t resist. With just one small bite, it enters our blood stream and rushes the body with pure energy. Our bodies are hardwired to love it, and that’s why the addiction to sugar is so hard to kick.

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

Public health bodies recommend eating a diet low in sugar to prevent the onset of diabetes. Fortunately, Israeli startup DouxMatok is coming to the rescue with a healthier solution which could revolutionize how manufacturers and consumers worldwide use sugar. DouxMatok has engineered a new form of sugar that offers the same sugar experience with half the calories. The sugar looks the same, but it’s physically altered to maximally satiate our tongues, so we consume less and protect our health.

Telling your brain: Enough sugar!

To make DouxMatok sugar, the company attaches regular sugar to a micron-sized, food-safe silica molecule (one of the most common substances on earth), using molecular bonding. This greatly increases the particle’s surface area, so when the sugar dissolves on the tongue, the taste buds are exposed to more of the sweet taste, and we feel satisfied.

SEE ALSO: Meet Valiber, The Smart Spoon That Tells You Exactly How Sweet Your Beverage Is

According to founder Eran Baniel, DouxMatok sugar tricks the brain into believing it consumed more than it actually did. “DouxMatok’s technology will allow for a reduction of 30-60 percent of sugar in a product, depending on the application, and with no effect on taste. When we tested it in the UK, our product had the exact same taste profile as sugar, with none of the aftertaste caused by artificial sweeteners.”

The technology would allow us to continue to consume the sugary chocolate and cakes we love, while experiencing fewer of sugar’s pernicious side effects, the most common being unwanted weight gain, obesity, and type 2 diabetes.

The tongue test

The product is a lab-based transformation of sugar, which requires no artificial chemicals. The enhanced sugar works by modifying how the molecules interact with the receptors on the tongue. DouxMatok’s technology coats the sugar molecules on to organic carriers using a natural mineral, which transports multiple sugar molecules together to the taste receptors on the tongue.

The gustatory system, through which the body perceives taste, is not a fully efficient process. When consuming food or drink with a sweet flavor, usually containing sugar syrup or powder, many of the sugar molecules move through the mouth and miss the sweet taste receptors.

Consumers ingest these sugar particles without registering their sweetness, and therefore the sweetness of the product as a whole. If people could taste every sugar molecule in a cup of regular soda, they would most likely find it undrinkable.


Founded in 2014, DouxMatok won the award for Outstanding Company at “Agravest 2015″, a conference organized by Israel’s Ministry of Economy and other companies. The startup recently partnered with the Warner Babcock Institute for Green Chemistry in Boston to optimize its technologies and is currently in the process of raising $4 million for research and development.

The implications of what DouxMatok is doing are far reaching. And who knows, perhaps in the near future, the age-old coffee/tea question ‘one lump or two?’ may soon be replaced with the statement ‘one lump is just as sweet as two’.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Bike-Stroller Combo ‘Taga’ Lets Parents Transport Kids The Green Way Tue, 31 May 2016 07:59:20 +0000 It’s a beautiful day and you’re a parent with local errands to run. With such nice weather outside it’s a shame to take your car out of the driveway, but pushing your child in a stroller can take forever. A bicycle would be a really good option, but unfortunately most bikes are two-wheelers with a child seat in the back, which are usually unstable and lacking important features parents and kids want.

Enter Taga, an Israeli startup company aiming to make it more practical, comfortable, safe, and easy to ride family bikes.

TagaPicTaga‘s first family bike, the Taga 1.0 bike-stroller, was created in 2007 and can be spotted around the globe. The original design concept, a bicycle that transforms into a stroller, was very popular, but the company sought to make a more affordable model without compromising quality or the features.

SEE ALSO: Israeli inventor seeks crowdfunding to put cardboard bike on the streets

With its new and improved version, Taga 2.0, the company seeks to take family bikes and travel to the next level. Taga is a safe and versatile way not only to handle day-to-day errands, but also a fun way to enjoy an active lifestyle with your children. Obviously, it’s much ‘greener’ than a car.

Recently launched on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter, Taga 2.0 raised $1.5 million in less than two weeks – 14 times the company’s original goal of $100,000. The newly launched Taga 2.0 starts at $599 on Kickstarter, below the standard price of similar bikes.

SEE ALSO: Qoros unveils what might just be the world’s coolest electric bicycle

Taga 2.0 has three wheels; in essence, it’s a tricycle for adults, which enables an easy and steady ride. The addition of a child carriage in the front allows for up to two kids to face both forwards and backwards while having enough space to store other cargo alongside. The child-seat attachment is versatile with multiple options including seat reclining and a full canopy enclosure for riding in bad weather.

Riders can secure an attachment bar which allows them to add various items, such as interactive toys, drinking bottles, and even a water gun. The entire bike is completely collapsible and can easily fit into a car trunk, or in most small spaces.

“With Taga 2.0 we are trying to create a method of transportation that is both practical and affordable,” Hagai Barak, Co-Founder and CEO of Taga, said in a statement. “Cargo bikes come in all shapes and sizes, but here at Taga we are looking to shift the focus from cargo to family. Taga 2.0 will be the next step not just for recreational bike riding, but for family transportation as a whole.”

Kids don’t need to take a back seat

With Taga 2.0, kids are sitting in the front, so parents and children can explore the world together. Carefully crafted with lots of add-ons for the entire family, Taga views their hybrid bike-stroller as a new way for riders to go green while staying active. But Taga is not just for shuttling kids around. Even if you don’t have kids, but just want to use it to carry your pets or cargo, Taga is just the ticket.

Intuitive functionality

In 2008 Taga first built a production line in Taiwan and the following year launched their first product – the Taga 1.0 convertible bike-stroller. Over the years, Taga sold their bike-strollers in over 40 countries, shipping them from their warehouses in the Netherlands, the US and Taiwan. Taga won several design and engineering awards, including the Red Dot Design Award, the Red Herring Top 100 Award and the two most prestigious awards in the bicycle and stroller industries: Eurobike and the Kind & Jugend award.

In 2014, Taga was ready for their next challenge – the Taga 2.0. The team began by reaching out to their customers and getting their feedback for a better understanding of their needs. With careful attention placed into every detail, Taga 2.0 is an easy to operate modern style bike-stroller with intuitive functionality that parents seek.

Whether it’s taking kids to school, running errands, or getting from place to place, Taga 2.0 seeks to turn what used to be a hassle into fun.

taga 1.0 stroller bike

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Check Out Coldplay’s Stunning New Music Video Created By Israeli Wunderkinds Sun, 22 May 2016 06:39:44 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Interactive video master Vania Heymann is at it again, this time with a video for Coldplay’s new single, “Up&Up.”

SEE ALSO: Bob Dylan’s Israeli-Made Music Video Is Voted Best Of The Year By Time Magazine

It’s a Lilliputian take on a surreal world, where eagles fly underwater, the planets bop about on a city sidewalk and volcanoes pop corn.

The Coldplay musicians, including lead singer Chris Martin, are cast as giants, whether they’re playing bass in the clouds, lolling on the edge of the beach, or romping on a patchwork quilt of fields, as seen from high up in the sky.

For Coldplay, it’s the third single from their seventh studio album, “A Head Full of Dreams,” to be fully launched as they start touring this month through September.

For young Israelis Heymann and Gal Muggia, the co-directors, it’s another notch in their growing roster of inventive videos. Heymann’s last production was for CeeLo Green’s single “Robin Williams,” which used the Google search bar to unfold the lyrics of the song.

Before that, he played with Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone,” which allowed viewers to surf through 16 television channels, all featuring characters lip-syncing the famed lyrics of the song.

SEE ALSO: Check Out CeeLo’s Crazy-Cool Interactive Music Video For Robin Williams

Like all of Heymann’s works, the Coldplay piece demands the viewer’s undivided attention, and there’s often the need to hit “pause” and scroll back to be sure you saw what you think you saw.

coldplay video heymann

Lilliputian scene from Coldplay’s new music video

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Coldplay

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Chinese Takeout: These Five Israeli Startups Are Taking China By Storm Wed, 18 May 2016 09:01:59 +0000 At first glance, the two nations couldn’t be more different. One is a tiny country in the Middle East with a population of just over 8.5 million, while the other is one of the largest countries in size and the world’s most populous, with 1.38 billion people. Despite their differences, ever since Israel and China established diplomatic relations in 1992, the two countries have steadily drawn closer to each other, partly thanks to Chinese investment in Israeli startups.

SEE ALSO: With Strong Tech Ties, Is Israel China’s New Best Friend?

“Thousands of Chinese investors are seeking strategic investment in Israeli startups,” Edwards You Lyu, CEO of Vadi Ventures, a Tel Aviv-based company aimed at supporting Chinese investments in Israeli startups, said in a statement.

ChinalovesisraelOnce unheard of, Chinese investment in Israeli companies has now become commonplace. A recent example is Fosun Pharmaceuticals, a division of one of the biggest companies in China, which bought Israeli cosmetics maker Ahava Dead Sea Laboratories for a reported $77 million.

These five Israeli high-tech companies have attracted the attention of major Chinese investors:

Visualead: ‘Designer’ QR codes

Many large Chinese firms and investors are already doing business in Israel. Giant online retailer Alibaba, for example, has invested in several Israeli companies, including Visualead, whose technology enables product manufacturers to print labels with unique QR codes for each individual product package.

QR codes are images for mobile devices that are used as “shortcuts” to reach websites, and Visualead’s technology utilizes aesthetic shapes and colors to create ‘designer’ QR codes that can be made to order products.

While the use of QR codes for mobile marketing is widespread across the globe, they’re especially popular in China due to their social network and app connectivity. Based on Visualead’s experience, consumers are four times more likely to scan a visual QR code than a regular black and white QR code, according to the company.

Pixellot: A new way of filming

Baidu, the Chinese company sometimes called the Chinese Google, invested $3 million in the Israeli video-capture firm Pixellot, which has developed a unique method of filming — the unmanned “capture-all” system, which deploys cameras to capture all angles and views of a venue. Pixellot is known for its high-quality and affordable alternative to traditional video capture and production processes, opening the way to a new era in sports and music video production.

“We’re very enthusiastic about bringing Pixellot’s ground-breaking technology to Chinese Internet users,” Peter Fang, senior director of Baidu Corporate Development, said in a statement. “For the first time, video content producers can broadcast concerts, sports, and stage events and enable the audience to watch streaming video with total freedom to choose camera angles in real time on their devices. We think this will revolutionize video content production.”

AutoAgronom: Saving water, one drop at a time

Another Chinese company that dove into the Israeli tech market was Yuanda, which in 2014 bought Israeli agricultural technology startup AutoAgronom, and last year invested another $180 million in it. With the investment, AutoAgronom is setting up a factory in China to manufacture autonomous irrigation systems and distribute them throughout China.

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

AutoAgronom is a major player in the world of smart, autonomous irrigation systems. Its products are currently used in 13 countries and the company asserts that it is an expert in improving efficiency of water and fertilizer usage for environmental protection. Its intelligent drip irrigation system makes it possible for 95 percent of the liquid to be absorbed and various targets to be monitored. With the help of the system, the water consumption for each acre plunges from 500 tons to 150 tons.

Tonara: Music education software

In China, performing classical music is seen as a status symbol for the rising middle class. An estimated 40 million children there are learning to play the piano. Perhaps this explains why Chinese Internet giant Baidu, China’s largest search engine, invested $5 million in Tonara, an Israeli music education software company.

Tonara, which was founded by Evgeni Begelfor and Yair Lavi in 2008, combines audio signal analysis with proprietary algorithms to enable computers to understand notes in live or recorded music. Tonara’s mobile app can follow any number of notes played simultaneously on any number of different instruments, track the user’s current position in the score even if he or she changes tempo or makes a mistake, and turn the page at the right moment.

It can also match any note in a score with the corresponding note in a session recorded on the Tonara app, called Wolfie, so musicians don’t have to rewind or fast-forward through audio playback in order to find passages they need to listen to or practice.

ThetaRay: Keeping us safe from cyber threats

Aibaba also invested in Israeli cyber-security startup ThetaRay. Founded in 2014 by Prof. Amir Averbuch of Tel Aviv University and Yale’s Prof. Ronald Coifman, the company has developed a solution to detect and prevent APT (Advanced Persistent Threat) and zero-day attacks (a hole in software that is unknown to the vendor) within minutes from the moment they occur.

chinese houseAs to the future, tightening the business relations between China and Israel could contribute to both nations. “For political reasons, we were apart for many years, but now China is very open,” E Hao, Co-CEO of GWC, the Chinese company behind this year’s Global Mobile Internet Conference (GMIC) in Tel Aviv, tells NoCamels. “But as long as the two countries have more understanding, opportunities happen.”

Following conferences in Beijing (with half a million attendees), Tokyo, Jakarta, Bangalore, San Francisco, Sao Paulo and Taipei, choosing Tel Aviv as the next venue for GMIC was a no-brainer for Hao. “50 CEOs from China came here, including a private jet with seven Chinese CEOs – that’s unprecedented,” he says. “A similar event in a major North American city wasn’t able to attract as many Chinese CEOs as the Tel Aviv event did. Israel is very attractive to Chinese businesses.”

As the Chinese-Israeli business cooperation continues to expand, one can only imagine what new experiences await us. Eating falafel with chopsticks perhaps?

Photos and videos: The companies, Severin.stalder, Ronen Machlev, Vallabh Rao, Idont

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JoyTunes’ Apps ‘Gamify’ Piano Lessons, Make Practicing Fun Mon, 16 May 2016 09:33:32 +0000 One of the most frequent fights children have with their parents is how often they practice piano. Teachers typically expect their students to practice three or four times a week, but for many kids, it’s a high expectation. Now, learning to play the piano can be much more enjoyable thanks to Israeli startup JoyTunes, also known as the virtual piano instructor.

SEE ALSO: App That Teaches You How To Play Piano Is Number 1 On iTunes Store

Founded in 2010 in Tel Aviv, JoyTunes has developed three mobile applications that help people learn an instrument. Teachers can use the app – currently available on iOS devices for piano – to enhance their lessons, and students can either practice or use the app to learn on their own.

At the moment, JoyTunes only offers tutorials to learn piano, but the team is working to expand the number of instruments.

According to the company, its three iOS apps (expected to be released to android devices soon), can improve musical skills. You may start with the basics, learning simple notes and scales, and eventually build your way up to playing entire songs. Just place your iPad or iPhone on any surface in front of you, and hit the keys (on an actual piano or keyboard) as they’re presented to you. Your mobile device will be able to hear if you’ve made mistakes, so you can go back to correct them if needed.

SEE ALSO: New Game Turns Your iPad Into A Piano

If you’re a teacher, you can use JoyTunes’ Piano Maestro app to help keep your students motivated by making their practice time more engaging. Students are able to practice the skills taught to them by their teachers by playing along to songs ranging from classical music to pop tunes.

While playing along with the application, Piano Maestro records the performances of its students and awards them stars if they play well. If a student earns three stars or more, they can send their score directly to their parents’ mobile device.

piano keys

If you’re an individual learning to play on your own, you can use JoyTunes’ Simply Piano app to learn the essentials and then tutor yourself by having the application open in front of you while you play on your instrument at home. The application is designed to hear if you make mistakes, giving you the ability to know when you erred and fix them.

JoyTunes’ third app, called Piano Duster, is a starter version designed for young kids who have no prior musical knowledge.

Since 2010, JoyTunes’ co-founders Roey Izkovsky and brothers Yigal and Yuval Kaminka have raised $7 million from angel investors and venture capital firms such as Aleph, Genesis Partners, Formation 8 and Founder Collective. Their current business model is based on in-app purchases, ranging from $5 to $60 each.

Keeping students engaged 

JoyTunes’ biggest drawback is that you need the motivation to continue practicing in order to improve. While the application does “gamify” the act of learning an instrument to make it more fun and attractive, without motivation (or a teacher breathing down your neck), there’s no way for JoyTunes to force you to keep working.

However, thanks to the gaming aspects of the application, JoyTunes has helped many teachers and parents keep their kids interested in playing and practicing the way they need to in order to hone their skills.

“Teachers have told us that they had a student who already quit piano and just as a last resort they gave them JoyTunes,” co-founder Yigal Kaminka tells NoCamels. “A few weeks later, the students asked to start again, and now they’re the star student of the whole studio.”

learning piano app joytunes

Using the power of games to master musical skills

The idea for JoyTunes was born after Kaminka – an oboe player in the orchestra – had toured Germany with a world-renown conductor. He returned to Israel to visit his nephew, who was extremely excited to show his uncle his new video games, but not at all interested in showing off his piano skills. After being urged by his mother to start practicing piano, a fight ensued, a fight that almost anyone who learned piano as a child has had with his parents.

“We decided that we wanted to end these fights using the power of games to master musical skills,” Kaminka says, and that’s why JoyTunes combines aspects of video games and music.

Can JoyTunes replace my instructor? 

While the JoyTunes team hopes the application will help new musicians, they urge people not to forget that as fun and helpful as JoyTunes’ apps are, nothing can help you capture the “soul” of music without a proper instructor.

So whether you’ve been hankering to master Beethoven’s Symphony No. 6 in F major, or want to impress your friends with Taylor Swift’s “Shake it Off” (or anything in between), JoyTunes could very well be the app for you.


Photos and video: Courtesy

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Innovation Nation: 10 Israeli Technologies That Are Changing The World Wed, 11 May 2016 07:40:56 +0000 Israel has been dubbed the “Startup Nation” – the country with the highest number of startups per capita in the world. Over the past decades, thousands of Israeli startups have given rise to innovations in a range of fields, from agricultural irrigation and GPS navigation to life-saving cancer treatments.

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

Just ahead of Israel’s 68th birthday, and in recognition of the country’s achievements in the fields of science, technology and medicine, an exhibition of the most outstanding Israeli discoveries opened at Ben Gurion Airport. A large part of the exhibition is devoted to Israeli Nobel Prize winners; another part showcases Israeli inventions such as the flash drive, Teva’s Copaxone drug for treating multiple sclerosis, the PillCam disposable capsule that films the gastrointestinal tract, a robot that helps with back pain, and Intel chips that were developed in Israel.

israeli inventions

Photos of Israeli inventions currently exhibited at Ben Gurion Airport

But which Israeli startups and technologies are truly changing the world? In honor of Israel’s 68th Independence Day, we highlight 10 innovations that have impacted the world for the better or are in the process of changing our lives forever.

IceCure: Turning tumors into ice balls 

What, if any, could be the connection between cancer and ice? It’s a tough one, but the Israeli scientists at IceCure seem to have figured it out. IceCure’s cryoablation technology, which has already shown promise in clinical trials in Japan and the US, actually turns small benign and malignant breast and lung tumors into balls of ice, eliminating the need for surgical procedures. The cryoablation system uses below-freezing temperatures and liquid nitrogen to essentially freeze the tumor in place, in a procedure that takes just 15 minutes and requires only a bit of local anesthetic. Watch out cancer – it’s about to get cold.

ReWalk: Helping paraplegics walk

If driving is something most of us take for granted, then walking surely is. In the US alone, there are nearly 250,000 individuals with spinal cord injuries that partially or entirely inhibit regular motor functions. For them, standing and walking around freely remains the stuff of dreams. Now, using a revolutionary exoskeleton walking device ReWalk, which was recently approved for home and communal use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the US, wheelchair-bound individuals are be able to move freely.

At the forefront of medical technology, ReWalk’s exoskeleton is powered not by robots, but by a computer and motion sensors that work together to mimic natural gait. The revolutionary system corrects itself to pick up slight changes in the user’s center of gravity; can be adjusted to a functional walking speed; and even enables users to climb and descend staircases. Claire Lomas was even able to complete the 2012 London Marathon in 17 days using the ReWalk device.

Founded by Israeli Dr. Amit Goffer in 2001, ReWalk could soon make wheelchairs obsolete.

Mobileye: Preventing accidents

Making driving safer and potentially saving lives, Israeli company Mobileye develops driver assistance technology to prevent accidents, but is also one of the major developers of autonomous car technologies.

Its systems use video cameras and advanced algorithms to identify and respond to other vehicles, bends in the road, pedestrians and traffic signs, providing advanced warning for drivers and thereby preventing road accidents. Mobileye has already embedded its technology into cars made by Audi, Tesla Motors and others.

Founded in 1999 by Ziv Aviram and Amnon Shashua, the Hebrew University professor who developed the technology, Mobileye raised nearly $1 billion in its initial public offering on the New York Stock Exchange in July 2014, making it the largest-ever Israeli IPO.


Waze: Saving you time on the road

Speaking of driving, no list about innovative Israeli startups would be complete without mentioning Waze.

Launched in 2008 in Israel, and now owned by Google, this navigation app uses a complex algorithm and the real-time speeds of its users to determine the best driving routes. Waze’s strength is its crowd-sourced reports. It’s stronger in denser areas than in rural ones and has the advantage of using both human and machine knowledge. Waze’s initial mission was simply to save five minutes a day for every motorist, but now it has become a must-have app for any driver.

As the world’s attention focuses on news of Google’s self-driving cars, Waze’s innovative technology will certainly play a major role in their development.

SniffPhone: Detecting deadly diseases on the breath 

Last year, Prof. Hossam Haick of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology introduced a device that can sense disease on the breath, much like a breathalyzer test. What he calls the SniffPhone uses nanotechnology sensors to analyze the particles on the breath and is able to pinpoint exact diseases, including certain kinds of cancer.

The SniffPhone, Haick’s new mobile device, contains his previously-developed ‘NaNose’ breathalyzer test, which “sniffs out” lung cancer before it spreads. The smartphone device is a vehicle for the NaNose technology that’s mobile and thus can be taken anywhere, including rural areas.

Netafim: Drip irrigation saves precious water 

Netafim is synonymous with the famous Israeli invention of drip irrigation, which is now helping numerous countries around the world to conserve water and save money by supplying plants with just the right amount of water. The 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.

SEE ALSO: In Face Of Global Shortage, World Leaders Praise Israel’s Water Technologies

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.

Solaris Synergy: Floating solar energy

Israel is known for harvesting energy from the sunlight using solar panels. Now, as solar energy companies around the world are competing for the relatively few vast land areas required to house solar farms, Israeli startup Solaris Synergy has found a new terrain to use. Instead of a land-based solar system, the company decided to develop a water-based technology. In other words: A floating solar power plant. According to Solaris Synergy, any fresh, salt or waste water surface can be turned into a solar energy platform. Founded in 2008 in Jerusalem,  the company claims its solar-on-water solution dramatically lowers the cost of renewable energy production since the water surface is also used for cooling the solar panels.

Takadu: Smart water management 

Since water is not just for irrigation, Israeli startup TaKaDu is working on solutions to leaking pipes. Founded in 2009 by CEO Amir Peleg, the company provides a water network monitoring system service that gives water utility companies the capability to monitor their network, detect leaks, bursts, inefficiencies and problems with their equipment or operational issues – all in real-time. The beauty of TaKaDu, which was founded in 2009, is that it uses existing data from already available sensors and meters on the network.

WoundClot bandages: Stop severe bleeding within minutes

Compression is one of the simplest ways to prevent severe bleeding, and yet it is not suitable in all cases, especially when the injured may have internal bleeding. Israeli-developed WoundClot bandages offer a solution, saving lives within minutes – before the injured even reaches a hospital.

Developed by nano-materials specialist Dr. Shani Eliyahu-Gross of Core Scientific Creations, WoundClot is composed of a highly absorbent gauze made from regenerated cellulose (what plant cell walls are made of). When applied to a wound, this single-use, sterile bandage turns into a gel-state membrane, forming a stable membrane with the platelets (clotting blood cells) from the wound. By enhancing the natural process of coagulation, WoundClot stops hemorrhaging within minutes. Perhaps more importantly, the membrane lasts up for up to 24 hours.

BioBee: Using insects to control pests

The big buzz around Israel’s Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, a pioneer in organic agriculture, is that it has successfully left its mark on chemical-free farming with its very own company BioBee. The firm, which was established in 1984, specializes in breeding beneficial insects and mites to help propel agricultural growth in open fields and greenhouses.

Through its subsidiary Bio Fly, the company sells pollinating bumblebees and sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies to help control pests. This well-established firm already exports eight different species of biological control agent to 30 nations, including the US, Japan and Chile.

Environment News: Researchers Use Bee Hormones To Kill Pests While Protecting Bees

While it’s hard to predict what the future holds for Israel, one thing is certain: Israelis will continue to innovate to try and make our world a better place, for the next 68 years – and beyond.

Photos and videos: Israeli Ministry of Science, Technology and Space; the companies

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Public Transit App Moovit Launches Official Rio Olympics App, Integrates With Uber Taxis Thu, 05 May 2016 10:52:39 +0000 Israeli app Moovit, which provides real-time information on the fastest public transportation routes (buses, trains and underground), has launched an Olympics app in Rio de Janeiro, which expects over 500,000 visitors to attend the August 2016 Games. This news comes on the heels of an announcement that the Israeli startup – which is dubbed “the Waze of public transportation” – will add real-time information on Uber taxis in 131 cities, starting with 22 major North American and European cities.

SEE ALSO: David Vs. Goliath? Inside The Gett-Uber Battle Over Mobile Taxicab Services

While the partnership with Uber doesn’t immediately affect Moovit users in Rio, the official Moovit app for Rio 2016 will help visitors arrive on time to Olympic venues, finding the fastest routes from one event to the next. 50 kilometers of new lines have been mapped with traffic information in order to make transit during the Rio 2016 Olympics smoother, according to reports in the local media. Moovit is also expected to be available on Rio’s official tourism website

Technology News: The Next Waze? Social Public Transportation App Moovit Raises $28M

From buses to ride-sharing services, Moovit covers it all

If you use public transportation to get from one place to another, knowing when your bus or train will arrive is a big help. Offering an alternative to transportation uncertainty, Moovit relieves commuters’ frustration by taking real-time user feedback about public transportation and making it useful to a wider audience. With 35 million users worldwide, the app already functions in 65 countries (850 cities), and is available in 41 different languages. According to the company, Moovit’s popularity is growing very rapidly with two million new users joining every month.

The idea for Moovit began in 2011 when Israeli founders Yaron Evron and Roy Bick decided that they should use mobile technology to the benefit of public transportation riders in Israel. They consulted with Nir Erez, the current CEO of Moovit and co-founder of Israeli software holding group Eyron, who decided the app should go big or go home – distribute internationally or not at all.

Since then, the startup has raised over $81 million from BRM Capital, Sequoia Capital, Nokia Growth Partners and Gemini Israel Ventures.

“So many moving parts” 

“When you are driving your private car, the roads are static, the only variable is traffic,” Erez tells NoCamels. “When you use other means of transportation (bus, train, taxi, etc.), there are so many moving parts (the weather, the traffic, transportation authority delays) that every day is a new challenge. If you ask people who use public transportation what their biggest frustration is, they will tell you that it’s the lack of information. You leave home and you don’t know if the bus is going to be late or if there was an accident that will force you to miss your train. It’s a chain of events. With Moovit, you have all the information literally at your fingertips. Many users have told us that Moovit changed their life and made taking public transportation a real option for them.”

Moovit uses crowdsourcing to gather data, both actively reported by users and automatically collected by the app. This data is used to address what Moovit believes to be all public transportation users’ basic needs: They need to know how to get from A to B at a given time, and they need to know the estimated time of arrival of a bus or train, so that they can plan their travel time accordingly. With these basic needs in mind, Moovit designed an app that uses several levels of data to satisfy their users with what they claim to be almost 90 percent accuracy for a major metro area like New York City transit.

As its first layer of information, Moovit uses the schedules of buses and trains published by the transportation companies. Then, there is a statistical layer provided by the users of the app, which records data on time and distance from previous trips. There is also the GPS data provided by the transportation companies about the locations of the vehicles, allowing Moovit to closely monitor and update ETAs. Finally – and this is where crowdsourcing comes in – the two final layers of the “Moovit cake” are based on active user reports about the condition of the roads and even how many seats remain on the bus. These ratings contribute significantly to the Moovit experience that allows public transportation users to better control their commute.

moovit app

A  mapping community

Moovit relies on a very active community of editors that map cities worldwide that otherwise would not have been able to launch the app due to a lack of readily available transit data. Since the program’s launch in 2014, the community has grown to more than 40,000 editors who help keep vital transit information up to date for commuters all over the world, and have helped to bring transit data to many regions and cities that otherwise wouldn’t be served.

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

“We release a service in a new city every 18 hours,” Erez tells NoCamels. Still, his biggest contribution to Moovit seems to be his commitment to the influence the app has on people’s lives. Through Moovit, he hopes to remodel the dismal patterns of transportation we are so used to and “drive drivers to use public transport and change the world.” In other words, Moovit has the potential to make our world much “greener.”

Not only that, Moovit is now making the world a better place by helping the blind navigate public transportation systems. Erez, who experienced serious vision problems and underwent several procedures, is eager to assist. “One of our core values is trying to do good – for everyone, all over the globe.”


Photos and videos: Moovit,

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Beepi Is Transforming The Used-Car Market With Online, Mobile Shopping Tue, 03 May 2016 09:02:10 +0000 Move over car dealers, Beepi is disrupting the used car industry by handing over the selling and buying of pre-owned cars to our own computers and smartphones.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Mobileye Gearing Up For Driverless Cars

Startup Beepi was born after CEO and co-founder Ale Resnik had a horrendous experience purchasing a pre-owned vehicle, resulting in numerous hours spent in court. Resnik recognized the need for an easy, trustworthy way to buy and sell used cars. So, in 2010, he founded Beepi with Israeli Omer “Owen” Savir.

The startup – which has expanded to 15 US markets since its inception – has so far raised $150 million, and is valued at $564 million. A year ago, it was reported that Beepi was planning to raise $300 million in a monster funding round that would have valued the startup at a whopping $2 billion. Today, a spokesman for the company declined to comment on the progress of this round.

Wrapped with a bow, delivered straight to your home 

If you’re looking to get rid of your car, download the Beepi app and enter a few details about your car and your location. Then Beepi will schedule a time for one of their inspectors to examine your car. If the car passes – has a clean title, no structural damage, and no more than three previous owners, among other criteria – and you agree on a selling price, your car will be published and available for sale on Beepi.

beepi car bow

How do you reach an agreement on the price? Beepi developed an algorithm that takes into account the market conditions in order to reach a price that satisfies both the seller and the potential buyer. At this point, Beepi takes over and all you have to do is wait for your check, with a guarantee of your car selling in 30 days or Beepi buying it from you. Beepi will take your car to one of their operation centers and hold it under their own insurance until it is sold or delivered.

SEE ALSO: Charge Your Car In Five Minutes

If you are in the market for a used car, you can browse Beepi, fill in a few details and the car will be delivered to you, wrapped with a bow. At delivery, the buyer must show proof of insurance in order for the transaction to be completed. Those who purchase cars through Beepi save an average of $1,706, according to the company, which charges 9-10 percent on each transaction, half of the industry standard. Recently, the startup also launched a used car leasing service.

Changing the way people buy and sell used cars 

Beepi’s goal is to fundamentally change the way people buy and sell used cars; however, the founders don’t plan on putting all used car dealerships out of business, as a spokesperson for Beepi told NoCamels: “There is plenty of room for traditional dealers and online marketplaces like Beepi to coexist and thrive.”

In addition to old-school used car dealerships, Beepi is competing against startup Vroom, which is headquartered in New York, and offers similar services.

Cars currently listed on Beepi are priced from $8,000 all the way to $144,000 (for a Porsche). It remains to be seen whether the convenience of shopping for a car with a touch of a fingertip will make consumers more comfortable making such a huge purchase online.

beepi app

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Not Your Childhood Lego: BRIXO Brings Building Blocks To Life Using IoT Technology Tue, 26 Apr 2016 09:36:35 +0000 Legos and kids go together like peanut butter and jelly. But while the favorite spreads haven’t changed all that much over time, the building blocks children play with in the 21st century certainly have.

Enter BRIXO, an Israeli startup developing electric blocks that bring high-tech functionality to low-tech toys. With BRIXO, kids can create simple electrical circuits using bricks to better understand how electrical connectivity works. Now, children all over the world will be able to bring their Lego creations to life through light, sound and proximity sensors that are able to detect the presence of nearby objects without physical contact; kids can also create mobile cranes, for example, or a nightlight that can be turned on and off with sound.

Integrated with standard-sized building blocks such as Lego, BRIXO safely conducts electricity through its chrome-coated blocks and connects to devices such as smartphones to add a modern element of interactive awesomeness – no wires or prior engineering knowledge are needed. Since BRIXO is intuitive, builders learn how circuits work as they continue to build.

SEE ALSO: TinyTap: Create And Play Personalized iPad Games With Your Kids

The crowds seem to be cheering for these animated Lego blocks: Over the course of only two weeks, BRIXO’s crowd-funding campaign on Kickstarter raised $422,000, eight times more than its original $50,000 goal. BRIXO’s starter kit, which sells on Kickstarter for $29, includes a battery case, one motor block, 32 blocks, one LED light, and a light switch.

For kids, inspired by kids

BRIXO’s co-founder Boaz Almog, a quantum physicist by trade, got the inspiration for his startup from watching his son play with an electric science kit. When he asked his son to point out the circuit he had just wired, he couldn’t, due to the tangled mess of wires on the board. That’s when Almog came up with the idea for BRIXO, wireless building blocks that conduct electricity. He then teamed up with Amir Saraf, a researcher in the physics department at Tel Aviv University, and in 2015 they co-founded BRIXO Smart Toys.

“Kids today don’t play with physical objects such as board games as much as they used to,” Almog said in a statement. “They know how to use technology, such as phones and computers, from such a young age, but don’t understand the technology and engineering behind those devices.”

According to Almog, STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) is missing from our children’s education, and we need to “close that gap, worldwide.”

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

BRIXO’s education division is now developing electrical engineering programs for children in 25 countries, in collaboration with Young Engineers, a global organization that provides STEM education programs for children. This initiative will develop electric engineering programs using the BRIXO blocks for children and is expected to reach 4 million elementary school students in 27 countries, mostly in Africa, within the next five years. The pilot program will start with 20,000 students in 2017. Countries include the US, Ivory Coast, Nigeria, South Africa, Philippines, India, Vietnam and Singapore, to name a few.

BRIXO co-founders Amir-Saraf and Boaz Almog

BRIXO co-founders Amir Saraf and Boaz Almog

Through this program, “children worldwide can really create anything their imagination desires,” the Israeli founder of Young Engineers, Amir Asor, said in a statement. “Anything is possible through BRIXO’s blocks,” which can even be triggered by Internet of Things (IoT) technology.

When asked how BRIXO differs from similar electric building blocks, BRIXO officials explained that unlike their competition, their blocks are wireless (no wires, literally), elegant and much more durable. What makes BRIXO fundamentally different from standard building blocks are the LED lights, motor blocks, sound, light, and proximity sensors at the core of the product. With these trigger blocks, a Bluetooth-enabled battery brick, the BRIXO mobile app (that’s in the making), and the entire world of IoT, there isn’t much that imaginative young builders can’t do.


Photos and video: BRIXO, Lego

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The Coolest Israeli Startups Making Our Planet ‘Greener’ Thu, 21 Apr 2016 12:27:15 +0000 “It’s not easy being green,” Kermit the Frog famously sang. While that may be true for some, many Israeli startups are helping the world go ‘green.’ By using innovative technologies which can lead to more environmentally friendly and ecologically responsible decisions and lifestyles, they help protect the environment and sustain its natural resources for current and future generations.

In honor of International Mother Earth Day (or, in short, Earth Day), which is celebrated annually on April 22, here are 10 of the coolest Israeli companies and technologies making our world greener:

Tal-Ya: Growing more food with less water

Water shortage is a pressing issue worldwide: According to the UN, 1.2 billion people (almost one-fifth of the world’s population) live in areas where water is scarce, and another 500 million people are nearing this situation. It’s no wonder, then, that the world is seeking to conserve water – both for drinking and for agriculture -especially during droughts.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Desalination Technology Helps Solve California’s Drought

Fortunately, Israeli company Tal-Ya Agriculture Solutions has developed technologies designed to grow more food with less water. Its reusable plastic trays capture dew from the air, reducing the water needed by crops by 50 percent. The square tray, which costs $3-$5 per piece, is made of recycled plastic. The innovative trays work by surrounding each plant, collecting dew as the weather changes overnight, and funneling it to plants and tree crops. The trays, which are supposed to last for 10 years, also block weeds that would otherwise compete with crops for water.

Since its founding in 2005, Tal-Ya (which means ‘God’s dew’ in Hebrew) has served farmers in Israel, the US, China, Chile, Georgia, Sri Lanka and Australia.


Phresh: Keeping your fruits and veggies crisp

One-third of the food produced around the globe, which is worth roughly $1 trillion, is lost or wasted during its production or consumption. In the US alone, 30-40 percent of the food supply is wasted – more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.

Israeli startup Phresh came up with unique food protectors, which preserve your fruits and vegetables for three times longer and could save each household up to $400 a year from the loss of spoiled fruits and vegetables, while also limiting humankind’s environmental footprint.

Using organic technology to triple the shelf life of fruits and vegetables, Phresh allows people to enjoy healthier foods for longer periods of time. The product comes in the shapes of an apple (red or gold) and robot (white), in which Phresh’s organic, non-toxic powder is inserted. The powder dissolves into the atmosphere and eliminates bacteria and fungi while oxygenating the area, according to the company. As a result, no physical application upon the produce is required, and no additional smells or tastes can be sensed. Phresh is designed to extend the shelf life of cucumbers, tomatoes, potatoes, eggplants, apples, lemons, lettuce, grapes, mushrooms, strawberries and pepper.

HomeBiogas: Turning grabage into cooking gas

Now that you’ve kept your fruits and vegetables fresh, what should you do with the scraps?

HomeBiogas is an Israeli startup that has created a self-assembled biogas system that turns kitchen waste and livestock manure into usable cooking gas and liquid fertilizer. The system can produces clean cooking gas for three meals and 10 liters of clean natural liquid fertilizer.

HomeBiogas empowers homeowners to minimize their gas bills, while significantly reducing dangerous greenhouse gas emissions and pollutants entering our groundwater.


Opgal: Detecting leaks to prevent pollution

Air pollution was shown to be responsible for many diseases, including cancer. Israeli startup Opgal checks the joints on the pipes that transport gas, oil, and chemicals. Its EyeCGas FX, a gas-leak detection infrared camera can quickly detect gas emissions such as ethylene, methane, butane and propane. It then automatically alerts plant managers.

BreezoMeter – Tracking air quality around the globe 

Israeli mobile app BreezoMeter tracks pollutants and determines air quality in nearly every corner of the world. Its big-data analytics platform uses local air-monitoring sensors to gather real-time pollution data. The information is collected by the startup from monitoring stations around the world and is then compiled and packaged to provide up-to-date information about air quality. The startup claims its localized pollution reading is 99 percent accurate.

SEE ALSO: What’s In The Air You Breathe?

BreezoMeter can’t change the fact that pollutants are a fact of life in our modern world, but the app does give consumers better knowledge of their surroundings, in hopes that they can then act on that knowledge. “We empower citizens to better plan their daily activities and to minimize their personal exposure to pollution,” BreezoMeter’s co-founder and CMO Ziv Lautman said in a statement.

Utilight: 3D-printed solar panels

Solar power is rapidly gaining momentum as the world’s alternative source of energy. One Israeli company at the forefront of harvesting sustainable energy is Utilight, a Yavne-based startup founded in 2009, which is using 3D printing methods to create solar cells at faster and cheaper manufacturing rates than conventional solar panels.

BioBee: Using insects to control pests

Before you swat that fly away, think twice; it may be on a mission to help make our planet greener. Israel’s Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu, a pioneer in organic agriculture, has successfully left its mark on chemical-free farming with its very own company BioBee. The firm, which was established in 1984, specializes in breeding beneficial insects and mites to help propel agricultural growth in open fields and greenhouses.

Through its subsidiary Bio Fly, the company sells pollinating bumblebees and sterile male Mediterranean fruit flies to help control pests. This well-established firm already exports eight different species of biological control agent to 30 nations, including the US, Japan and Chile.

The idea behind the system is to achieve a balance between the pest population and their natural enemies. If this balance is achieved, the spraying of pesticides can be reduced to a minimum, and agricultural produce can safely be collected without fear of chemical residues.

Earth - Environment News - Israel

HARBO: Keeping oil spills contained

We’ve all seen news reports of tragic oil spills that destroy entire marine ecosystems, often spreading hundreds of miles within the first 24 hours. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, tens of thousands of oil spills occur every year, and the prevention technology to deal with their aftermath has not changed in over three decades. Moreover, recovery rates continue to hover just below 15 percent, a figure that has not improved much over the years, making many of the cleanup efforts seem almost futile.

SEE ALSO: Volcanic Rock To Clean Up Oil Spills

Israeli startup company HARBO Technologies tackles this tough environmental problem using an easy-to-use “floatie” it has developed, which can contain an oil spill in less than one hour. It simply circles the spill and “encapsulates” it; then, the oil “stain” is lifted and disposed of – away from the water. HARBO’s 100-foot prototype “boom” (floating barrier) contains up to two tons of crude oil overnight, without leaking, according to the company.

Eco Wave Power: Turning ocean waves into energy 

Water covers three-quarters of the earth’s surface, but the world has yet to capitalize on the power of ocean waves, even though the energy that can be harvested from oceans is equal to twice the amount of electricity that the world produces now, according to the World Energy Council.

Israeli startup Eco Wave Power is taking giant steps forward in the field of renewable energy harvested from the sea. Founded in 2011, Eco Wave Power (EWP) turns water into electricity using uniquely shaped buoys (floating devices), which rise and fall with the waves’ up-and-down motion and the changes in water levels.

Eco Wave Power system in Gibraltar

Eco Wave Power’s system in Gibraltar

GreenWall: Grow your own food in a vertical garden

Vertical gardens, in which residents of high-rise buildings can grow their own food, use minimal amounts of water and soil, thereby conserving natural resources. Israeli company 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 and capable of growing almost every plant species with proper care.

vertical garden in Sydney

Kermit was probably right; it’s not easy being green, but that doesn’t deter Israeli startups from making our world a little greener.

Photos and videos: Maojin Lang, the companies

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Meet Atomation, The Israeli IoT Startup That Gives Any ‘Dumb’ Product Smart Capabilities Thu, 07 Apr 2016 09:20:56 +0000 Don’t you wish all your appliances were as smart as your smartphone? Israeli Internet of Things startup Atomation can turn any ‘dumb’ object into a smart one – from light bulbs and toys, to medical equipment and oil refineries.

SEE ALSO: nFrnds And Microsoft Aim To Turn 5 Billion ‘Dumb’ Phones Into Smartphones

Founded in 2014 by CEO Guy Weitzman and CTO Eran Keshet, Atomation has developed an IoT platform that combines cloud-based analytics, and enables you to interact with your objects, draw conclusions and make real-time decisions.

Israeli IoT startup Atomation

Essentially, Atomation is building an ecosystem of “atoms”, or modular hardware with Bluetooth connectivity, which gives any array of products IoT functionality. Obviously, IoT is a growing trend, with hundreds of companies trying to connect everything from air conditioners to cars to the Internet. However, Atomation seems to have established itself in just a couple of years: The startup signed agreements to implement its technology in agriculture, consumer electronics, and medical devices.

Yesterday, the company announced a partnership that will turn wristbands made by Hyginex (also founded by an Israeli) for the medical community into smart bracelets. Hyginex wristbands vibrate to remind staff when they forget to clean their hands before and after patient contact. The wristbands vibrate again when hand hygiene has been performed for the appropriate length of time. Now, it won’t just vibrate.


“Hyginex is now able to connect its wristbands via Bluetooth thanks to Atomation’s IoT technology,” Weitzman tells NoCamels. “We monitor the whole system, collect data from all wristbands, keep the information on the ‘cloud,’ and then we analyze and draw conclusions,” to keep patients infection-free. The data are used for management supervision and for real-time intervention.

1 million healthcare-acquired infections per year

Studies show that as hand hygiene duration increases, bacteria count on hands decreases. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in 25 patients will contract at least one infection in a hospital. This adds up to more than 1 million healthcare-acquired infections per year, resulting in 100,000 deaths, costing hospitals almost $40 billion annually in the US alone. Despite these disturbing numbers, compliance rates for hand washing in American hospitals are at 40 percent.

SEE ALSO: Why Bacteria Are Becoming Tolerant To Antibiotics

Initially, the new wristbands by Hyginex and Atomation will be deployed in 10 hospitals in the US, Switzerland and Israel this year.

How will they work? The technology is based on Atomation’s IoT platform. The wristband has a Bluetooth unit that communicates with a mobile app, enabling goal setting and generation of hand-hygiene reports. In addition, sensors are attached to soap and hand-sanitizing dispensers and they communicate with Atomation’s platform when a hand hygiene ‘event’ begins. In order to enable the vibrating reminder prior to patient contact, Bluetooth beacons are located in hospital rooms and identify the hand hygiene status.

“This ubiquitous system is raising awareness without interfering with everyday tasks,” Weitzman says. “It requires minimum effort and lets workers be monitored as naturally as possible.”

In February, Atomation raised $1 million in a financing round led by US venture capital firm JANVEST Capital Partners. Also participating in the investment round were Israeli VC Singulariteam (founded by entrepreneur Moshe Hogeg), a group of Australian investors, and Vocus Communications’ deputy chairman Tony Grist.

In 2014, Atomation raised $900,000 to develop a platform that turns any toy into a ‘smart’ toy that is able to connect and communicate with other toys and with a smartphone application.

Whether it’s a life-saving gadget or simply a doll, Atomation can give smart capabilities to an endless range of devices and products.

Lego figure

Photos and video: Atomation, Hyginex

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‘Happy Meals’ To Get Happier Thanks To Israeli Virtual Reality Startup WakingApp Sun, 03 Apr 2016 08:25:50 +0000 This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Those little toys kids get in “happy meal” offerings by the various fast-food chains were most likely made by international novelty firm PPI Worldwide, which has sold over 4 billion Disney figurines, Pokemons and just about any other plastic collectible.

SEE ALSO: Get Tech Savvy On The Slopes With RideOn’s Augmented Reality Ski Goggles

But with PPI’s new partnership with Israeli virtual reality tech firm WakingApp, the company is likely to find its warehouses overflowing with inventory, as kids start collecting new toys and devices stuffed with augmented reality and virtual reality technologies, changing the perception of what a freebie “toy” is for a new generation being raised on the latest digital technology.

“Happy meals,” of course, are the kids’ meals marketed by McDonald’s (itself a PPI Worldwide customer), but the company has many other fast-food and food industry customers, like Coca-Cola, Unilever, and Nestlé.

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

The company expects its customers to embrace the WakingApp technology, said Isaias Miremberg, the owner of PPI Worldwide. “The rising popularity of mobile devices and gaming with children of all ages has companies on the lookout for the right way to digitize their products to keep users engaged and sales strong.”

Where formerly a company needed to employ an army of engineers, programmers, and machine vision specialists to create an augmented reality (AR) or virtual reality (VR) app, PPI and thousands of WakingApp customers around the world can now use its plug-and-play platform to build apps that can be integrated with glasses, toys, devices, or anything else that can include a software component that can interact with the hardware.

With WakingApp, users can develop their own AR/VR apps using the company’s cloud-based ENTiTi Creator that uses plug-and-play templates and modules which, drag-and-drop style, allow anyone to build an app without any programming skills. Apps that can be created with the platform allow user app builders to develop interactive augmented reality content that includes live data feeds, personalization, social activities, high-quality 3D, games and more.

virtual reality goggles

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: WakingAppMaurizio Pesce

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Check Out Our New Video: Tel Aviv Co-Working Space ‘WMN’ Empowers Women-Led Startups Thu, 21 Jan 2016 14:12:44 +0000
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By 3D-Printing Solar Panels, Israeli Startup Utilight Significantly Cuts Renewable Energy Cost Tue, 13 Oct 2015 13:35:53 +0000 Solar power is rapidly gaining momentum as the world’s alternative source of energy, with a slew of new technologies aimed at harnessing the sun’s powerful rays. In search of non-polluting alternatives and cost-effective methods of capturing solar energy, scientists and companies alike are turning to technology to find a compatible solution.

And one Israeli startup is at the forefront of harvesting sustainable energy. Utilight, a Yavne-based startup founded in 2009, is using 3D printing methods to create solar cells at faster and cheaper manufacturing rates than conventional solar panels.

SEE ALSO: How Going Solar Can Earn You Some Extra Income

Environment News: Israeli Venture Helps People Go Green And Get Green By Going Solar

Utilight’s 3D printing method is particularly efficient for high-volume manufacturing of solar photovoltaic cells since the contact-free, laser-based printing process produces more solar cells, but uses the same or fewer materials as opposed to conventional printing methods, the company claims. “Striving towards a brighter future, our innovative technology aims to increase solar cell efficiency and reduce material use, reducing the cost per watt of solar electricity,” the company notes.

The innovative startup has developed a unique printing technology called “Pattern Transfer Printing” for high-volume manufacturing of photovoltaic solar cells, creating a cheaper way to apply a conducting metal layer to the cells. PTP, Utilight’s method of wafer-metallization, avoids excessive use of materials such as silver paste, and allows cells to generate more power. The good news for manufacturers is that this new technology simply requires one extra module at the plant, as Utilight‘s systems can be installed not only in new production lines, but also in existing manufacturing lines.

The system’s “implementation is designed for a quick and smooth assimilation within existing production lines, using the same metal pastes and production sequences and maintaining cell durability and bankability,” according to the company. Simply put, the production process yields more solar panels per minute that also last longer.

Annual savings of up to $1 million

The process is expected to save traditional manufacturers up to $500,000 in silver paste and an additional $500,000 in annual efficiency for a standard voltage manufacturing line, according to the company. “While the cost of solar cells has been steadily declining, it still remains one of the main barriers for wider adoption,” according to a company statement. “Utilight’s printing technology can provide significant reduction in manufacturing costs.”

SEE ALSO: Vast Solar Roof Makes Israeli Knesset World’s Greenest Parliament

This promise is exactly why Utilight has captured the interest of top investors. In 2012, the company secured a $4.5 million funding round from Robert Bosch Venture Capital, I2BF Global Ventures and Waarde Capital.


Utilight – founded by CEO Dr. Giora Dishon, Amir Noy, Misha Matusovsky and Moshe Finarov – has also raised funds from a series of government grants, angel investors and from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist.

By significantly cutting the costs of solar cell production, Utilight may have earned its place in the sun.

Photos and video: Courtesy of Utilight

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The Pita Ploy: Hackers Steal Sensitive Information Using Pita Bread-Sized Device Thu, 02 Jul 2015 12:48:01 +0000 However cool it may feel to sip your latte and write your business proposal from a café, this urban luxury may be no luxury at all. According to new research from Tel Aviv University, the person next to you nibbling on pita bread could be gaining access to sensitive encrypted information on your laptop computer, including passwords, credit card numbers and more.

Israeli researcher Dan Genkin and his team recently demonstrated that cheap and accessible radio equipment, the size of pita bread, can be used to read electromagnetic pulses off of your keyboard as you type. The team discovered that the pulses, given off by a computer’s central processing unit as it deals with information, have characteristic patterns of radio activity that could be used by hackers to decrypt your private information.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Cybersecurity Startups Are Battling The World’s Riskiest Online Attacks


A portable hacking device, inside a pita

In their research paper, Genkin and his team present the equipment needed, almost all of which is available for purchase at standard electronics stores, the assembly process and even the instructions of how to fit their PITA system into pita bread. While you may be thinking ‘pita bread is pretty random’, the researchers got the idea to put their decryption system into a piece of pita bread after coming up with the name for the system, Portable Instrument for Trace Acquisition (PITA). ‘Portable’ is really the key word here, because the system can detect most computers’ electromagnetic pulses remotely, while the hacker is in motion.

PITA is able to pick up on keys used in a number of encryption programs and algorithms to protect data. This gives hackers the ability to access passwords, encoded documents, bank account numbers and other sensitive information without having to wait for the user to punch in the keys.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Hacker Saves Gmail From ‘Killer’ Security Flaw

There are limitations to the system, which is a good thing. Made evident in the team’s trials was the fact that hackers can only access information on a laptop computer situated 50 centimeters away, about 1 ft. 8 in. That means that the hacker would likely have to be in the same room as the computer, and sitting very close to it. In addition, the tests were conducted on PC computers, and not Macs, with little protection or grounded metal screens that contain radiation.


It’s also important to note that a hacker couldn’t just sit down, or walk buy your computer and generate the encryption codes in a matter of seconds. The encryption codes must be triggered with a trick email or message from the hacker, whereby they are able to detect the electromagnetic waves, albeit in a matter of seconds. So if you’re smart enough not to open an email from a strange address, or to inspect your neighbor’s pita bread, this eerie pita ploy may not have an effect on you.

Photo: Tel Aviv University/ Jay

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Check Out Our New Video Series ‘The Office’ – Episode One: WeWork Thu, 12 Mar 2015 11:40:49 +0000
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Startup ‘TipRanks’ Tells You Who Are The World’s Best Financial Analysts Mon, 27 Oct 2014 16:07:44 +0000 In the world of investing, countless financial analysts are offering advice on which stocks and assets to buy, sell, and hold. Yet statistics show that the majority of analysts – even those who work for premier investment banks – often give recommendations that consistently underperform compared to the market. So, how can you know which analysts to trust?

TipRanks, a financial technology startup based in Israel, allows its users to discover the measured performance of any financial analyst by simply looking up their name in the company’s database. Using machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing, TipRanks analyzes the analysts, and ranks them according to the performance of their recommendations, kind of like the lists that rank top athletes. Even former New York governor and state attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who earned the nickname “Sheriff of Wall Street” after chasing down corrupt financiers during the early 2000’s, has invested in the company, expressing his faith that TipRanks is “what the market needs” – a “market-driven answer for investors.”

Former NY governor Eliot Spitzer, investor in TipRanks

Former NY governor Eliot Spitzer, investor in TipRanks

Founded in 2012, TipRanks has already received a swarm of attention from both investors and the media, drawing in over 100,000 users since officially launching a beta version some weeks ago. Though their financial tool is still in its early stages, it has been integrated into the trading platforms of several banks around the world, including the two largest in Israel – Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.

Sometimes failure is the greatest teacher

When Uri Gruenbaum, the CEO and co-founder of TipRanks, finished his army service, he was working as a software engineer and investing in the stock markets on the side. “I was a retail investor, a layman’s investor,” Uri said in an interview with NoCamels. Like many part-time investors, he sometimes relied on the recommendations of leading financial analysts. But then, one analyst’s bad recommendation led Uri to invest in a stock that lost him a lot of money.


Uri Gruenbaum, co-founder of TipRanks

     SEE ALSO: Going Public Is The New Exit: Six Israeli IPOs To Watch

“I found myself following some bad advice a few years ago and the stock I invested in fell,” Uri said. His wife questioned why he even bought that stock in the first place, to which he said, “I followed the advice of someone who published his opinion on a leading financial website on the front page.” His wife then asked him what he knew about this analyst and how he knew if the analyst was any good. And that’s when Uri had his revelation. “It hit me that I don’t know and that there is no way for any investor to evaluate how good a recommendation they are receiving.”

In retrospect, this bad investment turned out to be the best one he’s ever made.

Shortly thereafter, Uri quit his job and started TipRanks along with CTO Gilad Gat and Roni Michaely, a finance professor at Cornell University. Together they developed a financial accountability tool that allows investors to see which analysts are good and which are not. According to Uri, the only other tool on the market similar to TipRanks is the Bloomberg terminal. However, Bloomberg only lists the top five analysts in each sector and it doesn’t tell you how good they are. Even if it did, Uri notes, a retail investor wouldn’t have access to that information since subscriptions to Bloomberg cost around $2,000 a month.

Hey analysts, it’s time to step up your performance!

TipRanks rates about 6,500 financial analysts and bloggers on a five-star scale. The ranking is determined by a methodology that combines both the expert’s success rate (percentage of recommendations that result in positive returns) and the average return per recommendation into a single ranking. A “z-test” is also used, which takes into account the quantity of recommendations made by an expert.

Transparency is a number one priority for TipRanks with the goal of ensuring users that their rankings are based solely on the numbers. “We aim for complete transparency,” Uri claims. “I think the biggest challenge we had was creating a user interface that was intuitive enough and that would allow users to see all the different stats we have.” In fulfilling their promise of transparency, TipRanks provides a trail back to the information the company collected on each expert’s “portfolio” of stock recommendations.tiprankslist

When asked if TipRanks has the potential to motivate analysts to step up their game because their performance is now being exposed, Uri said, “Absolutely – that’s the idea. If we hold them accountable to what they say, they’re going to think twice about stocks they’re recommending to buy or sell.” It is no wonder why Spitzer likes this company so much.

The go-to wesbite for any investor

All that data TipTanks is collecting has the potential to do even more than just hold analysts accountable. For instance, the company noticed that it is actually the bloggers who rank more often in the top 25 than the paid analysts. So, what does TipRanks do with this information? “We license it to hedge funds in the US and tell them ‘Hey, here are your rock stars, just follow them.’”

     SEE ALSO: Charity Nation? Israeli Startups Donate Millions In Stock Options

In the future, TipRanks plans to do even more interesting things with their data. The company currently has a research and development team whose goal is to develop “reasoning trees” for investors to use when choosing stocks. “You have thousands of reasons for why you should invest in a stock or why you should short-sell a stock,” notes Uri. “We are trying to find the combination of the reasons that make most sense and generate the highest revenues.”

TipRanks is still young in startup terms, conducting its first round of funding this past August which raised $3 million from private investors, including former governor Spitzer. In order to keep the company’s content quality, TipRanks uses a “free-mium” business model, meaning their platform is free for anyone to use, but for more access to information on experts, one must pay a monthly subscription. As another source of income, the company also integrates widgets inside trading platforms at some of the world’s biggest banks.

With a mission to empower the retail investor, TipRanks hopes to become a leading market data provider, and as Uri boldly envisions, “TipRanks is going to be the go-to place for any investor in the world.”

Photos: Finance Blue/ Wide World of Stuff/ NooYalla/ TipRanks blog/

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Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows Tue, 14 Oct 2014 12:48:36 +0000 Spoiler alert!: If you’ve seen the movie “Black Swan,” then you’ll be familiar with the scene near the end when Nina, played by actress Natalie Portman, begins to hallucinate that she is becoming the swan she will portray in a ballet as feathers grow out of her back. Nina is the protagonist of Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 thriller that depicts the fierce competition in the professional ballet world through the eyes of one troubled dancer.

At a recent event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Tel Aviv University neuroscientist Prof. Talma Hendler presented her research on the mental and emotional reaction of viewers to this particularly haunting scene. She found that when people watch the scene, their brain patterns resemble those in people with diagnosed schizophrenia. Introducing her unique research to one of the world’s foremost directors, writers and producers of psychological thrillers, Aronofsky himself was touched by her comments and encouraged by the scientific proof to back them up.


     SEE ALSO: Study: The Human Brain Can Solve Math Problems Subconsciously

“My suggestion to you is that as Nina is getting crazier and crazier, the audience experiences something like schizophrenia,” Hendler stated to the panel’s audience, displaying the fMRI images that highlight the fascinating correlation between innocent movie watching and a serious psychological disorder.


Academy panel with Director Darren Aronofsky

Living a movie

At the Oscars event, Prof. Hendler explained her research on the investigating networks in the brain and their role in empathy, or the capacity to share and recognize another person’s emotions. She and her team found evidence for at least two kinds of empathy experienced in the brain when watching a film; the first was “mental empathy,” or feelings that require the viewer to step outside of their own selves and consider what another person is thinking or experiencing. The second was “embodied empathy,” or the intuitive, primal empathy that someone might feel when they witness another person getting punched or wounded.


fMRI scan during “Black Swan” scene

To back up her findings, Prof. Hendler presented fMRI scans of subjects who had been asked to watch movies like “Black Swan.” Hendler observed that when viewers watched the dramatic scene of Nina pulling a feather from her back (mentioned above), their “mental empathy” network was dominant, while the “embodied empathy” was largely dim. This corresponded with similar readings in Hendler’s schizophrenic patients, who tend to rely on mental empathy even when faced with a visceral experience.

     SEE ALSO: The First Israeli Film Festival Launches in Bangalore, India

However, Hendler did notice that feelings of “embodied empathy” were strong in viewers watching heavy emotional scenes like the touching mother-son moment in the 1998 drama-comedy, “The Stepmom.” This had a different, more ‘I’ve been there’ kind of emotional appeal to the viewers who really felt that they could relate with the characters. Differentiating between more cerebral empathy, like in the “Black Swan” and more ‘out-of-body-experience’ empathy, like in “The Stepmom,” Hendler believes that playing to these reactions, directors and screenwriters can influence what a moviegoer will experience.

Scene from "The Stepmom"

Scene from “The Stepmom”

Deciphering the audience

Though Hendler’s research is not complete in the sense that it analyzes reactions to a limited number films, using fMRI to identify what people are thinking when they watch a movie could crack a huge code for the movie business. But while trying to figure out how a viewer may feel during any given scene, there are still some scientific limitations to the fMRI brain-reading method. Firstly,  scientists have yet to discover what each region of the brain does specifically, making it difficult to understand exactly what each scan says about brain activity. Secondly, though Hendler has keen insight on the correlation between mental empathy and schizophrenia, it should be taken into account that Nina, the main character in the “Black Swan,” would be considered by most to be a schizophrenic herself, making it difficult to draw a wider conclusion without comparing the results to a similar mind-stirring film.

Aronofsky even asserted to the panel that although his partner and co-producer Ari Handel has a PhD in neuroscience, he doesn’t usually consult him about the brain when writing a scene. Instead, they think about the audience’s emotional reaction to a particularly shocking or disturbing scene, and according to Aronofsky, “There’s always a theory of where the camera is and why it’s there.” It seems that there is still some way to go until the movie business makes films according to the viewers’ emotional and cerebral reactions, but it may not be long until the “Thriller” genre will be renamed “A Schizophrenic Experience.”

Photos: Screenshot / The Academy

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Reinventing The Used Car Marketplace, One-Year-Old Startup ‘Beepi’ Raises $60 Million Tue, 07 Oct 2014 14:26:49 +0000 After a used car dealer swindled Owen Savir and Alejandro Resnick into buying a “lemon car” that immediately started smoking, the friends joined forces to tackle what they saw as a deadlocked used car industry. With Beepi, they created an online marketplace that, as Savir tells NoCamels, “is all about making the experience of buying a used car fun, fast, and simple”.

Fast forward one year, and Beepi has proved that investors are agreeing with its outlook, with $60 million raised in its latest funding round, valuing the company at $200 million.

The online platform is a peer-to-peer used car marketplace for buyers and sellers, transforming the once difficult and frightening process of used car dealing into an easy one by providing inspection, financing and delivery, all through its digital platform. “People don’t buy and sell cars everyday, so they really need guidance when doing so,” says Savir, from Israel.

Sherpa Ventures co-founder Shervin Pishevar, an investor in Beepi, believes that “companies like Beepi and Uber are really tapping into a generation that use their phone as a remote control” for what they want, according to the Wall Street Journal.

Relieving the stress of selling used cars with a guarantee

     SEE ALSO: Will Tesla’s Driverless Cars Be Powered By Israel’s Mobileye Technology?

Using Beepi’s platform, used car sellers can put their cars up for sale in only a few minutes, and then Beepi sends an inspector to the seller’s location to verify the quality of the car and to set a guaranteed selling price, which Beepi says is at least $1,000 more than what sellers could get through dealers. If the car is not purchased at this price within 30 days, Beepi then buys the car, making the process a seem like a win-win.

Yet before sellers get thinking that the whole Beepi buying deal sounds too good to be true, know that the Beepi inspectors conduct a 185-point pass or fail inspection (Mercedes and BMWs go through a 150-point inspection) to ensure, as Savir puts it, that, “Beepi is only dealing with the best cars in the best condition. In our standards, it’s either it’s a Beepi car, or it’s not.” Then, once the car is purchased online, Beepi will pick the car up and deliver it to its new owner, free of charge if it’s in the state of California.


A good deal for used-car buyers too

Beepi says it also thinks of its buyers, by offering a number of unique financing options. From financing their purchase through a site-partnered firm, paying for the car with up to five credit cards or even cashing in Bitcons for their new ride, Beepi wants to ensure that customers don’t feel trapped when they have to fork up the money. In addition, buyers are provided with a thorough run-down of the car’s history (the product of detailed inspection), with Beepi, “making sure to show them a map of all the scratches, so there are no surprises.”

     SEE ALSO: This Electric City Car Can Fold Into The Size Of A Motorcycle

Finally, Beepi allows buyers to return the car within 10 days for a full refund (the company takes a 9 percent commission) and provides a three-month, 3,000 mile warranty on all parts and service—a perk that is only available on used cars from the dealership. However, the cherry on the cake is that, “The car is then delivered directly to your front door, big bow and all,” says Savir. If the customer is unhappy with the car, they can return it with Beepi’s no-questions-asked policy, and the marketplace will pick the car up and find it a new home, for free.


Beepi’s promise to restore faith in the used car market

Beepi officially launched in the San Fransisco area earlier this year, and the company has since expanded to the Los Angeles area. And with a new paid launching service called Beepi Prime, the marketplace currently delivers cars to over 140 cities in Arizona, Nevada and Oregon.

Beepi’s latest funding included Foundation Capital and SherpaVentures as new investors. Others participating include existing investors Redpoint Ventures, SherpaFoundry CEO Tina Sharkey, OLX founder Fabrice Grinda, IG Expansion co-founder Jose Marin, Homeaway co-founderBrian Sharples, former Loopnet CEO Rich Boyle and Silicon Valley Bank.

Photos: courtesy

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WATCH: Illusionist Uri Geller Thinks He Knows Why Some iPhones 6 Are Bending Sun, 28 Sep 2014 12:55:48 +0000 Uri Geller, the Israeli illusionist, is probably best known for bending a spoon with his mind on live television, or many of his other ‘mind-bending’ magic tricks. But now, the 67-year-old illusionist is setting out to solve more practical problems, like the purported bending of the newly released iPhone 6 in user’s pockets.

Geller, who is based in England, told MarketWatch that there are two possible explanations for why some iPhone 6 users (only nine according to Apple’s reports) are experiencing bending in their device. “There are two possible explanations. Either the phone is so seriously thin and flimsy that it is bendable with mere physical force, which I cannot believe given the extensive tests Apple would have done. Or…somehow the energy and excitement of the 10 million people who purchased iPhones has awakened their mind powers and caused the phones to bend,” Geller proposed.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Firm Finds Serious Security Breach In iPhone


In light of his insights into why the device is malleable, Geller even suggested to the publication that Apple make him a spokesman in order to explain what appears to be a production fault, “I urge Apple to hire me to explain to the world that this is not the company’s fault at all.” Geller continued, “I don’t own an iPhone 6—I’m loyal to my BlackBerry and would never change—but if I did I have no doubt I could bend it with my mind.”

     SEE ALSO: New ‘Apple Pay’ Means Big Break For Israeli Technology ‘On Track Solutions’

In speaking with MarketWatch, Geller concluded that the bending of devices is not the woe of new iPhone 6 owners alone; in fact he says, “I’ve bent my old BlackBerrys before,” even sending in a picture to prove it.

So if you’re thinking of waiting until the iPhone 6 ‘bend gate’ incident dissipates to get Apple’s latest smartphone, that may be a good idea, particularly according to Geller’s calculations, because the more hype there is around the device, the stronger the ‘force’ that bends.

Photos: Uri Geller/ MarketWatch

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New Research Maps The Location Of Our Gigantic Galactic Supercluster – Laniakea Sat, 27 Sep 2014 16:12:48 +0000 The universe is endless, or so we believe, but is it possible to map the location of our home galaxy amidst a sea of black? Researchers at Hebrew University and an international team of astronomers have, for the first time, mapped out the location of our galaxy in the vast infinity that is the universe using new techniques. As part of their findings, they discovered that our galaxy is actually part of a supercluster that contains a mass of one hundred quadrillion suns and 100,000 galaxies. Talk about putting things here on Earth in proportion!

Mapping out galaxies with velocity

Superclusters are among the largest structures in the known universe. They are comprised of galaxy groups containing dozens of galaxies, and galaxy clusters containing hundreds of galaxies. When these groups and clusters of galaxies intersect, they create superclusters with poorly defined boundaries. A galaxy that is unfortunate enough to get stuck between two superclusters will be caught in a gravitation tug-of-war, with the balance of gravitational forces determining the galaxy’s motion.

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

In the research, which appeared as a cover story in “Nature”, Prof. Yehuda Hoffman of Hebrew U’s Racah Institute of Physics, together with his partners, mapped out the velocity of galaxies throughout our local universe. Breaking all existing paradigms of knowledge regarding our galactic location, the researchers found that the galactic supercluster that contains the Milky Way (the name for our galaxy) is 500 million light-years in diameter. They also found that it contains a whopping mass of a hundred quadrillion suns in 100,000 galaxies. Using the forces of gravitational pull mentioned above and other methods, the team was able to map out the location, size and mass of our supercluster with more specificity than ever before.


A map of the gravitational forces in our supercluster

Laniakea is the name of our supercluster

Led by University of Hawaii astronomer R. Brent Tully, the team named the supercluster “Laniakea,” meaning “immense heaven” in Hawaiian. The name honors the Polynesian navigators who used knowledge of the heavens to voyage across the immense Pacific Ocean.

     SEE ALSO: Israel To Launch Satellite To Monitor Crops From Outer Space

The Pandora Supercluster

The Pandora Supercluster

The research group also clarified the role played by the Great Attractor, a mysterious gravity anomaly in intergalactic space that has perplexed astronomers for decades.

So, if you ever encounter an extraterrestrial and want to let them know within which supercluster they’ve landed, you’ll know to tell them Supercluster “Laniakea”, or “Immense Heaven.”

The research was conducted by Prof. Yehuda Hoffman of Hebrew University’s Racah Institute of Physics, R. Brent Tully of the University of Hawaii Manoa, Helene Courtois of the University of Claude Bernard Lyon 1, France, and Daniel Pomarede of the Institute of Research on Fundamental Laws of the Universe, France.

Photos: Virgo Supercluster/ Figure 2/ Phil Plait

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Can’t Find Your Glasses? LOOK Is The Smart Tracking Device That Will Wed, 03 Sep 2014 15:16:09 +0000 Anyone who wears glasses knows the disaster of misplacing your specs. Not only do you spend hours frantically  turning over every single thing in your house, but you do so blindly because, without your glasses, you can’t see a thing.

If you know all to well what we’re talking about, then you will probably be happy to hear about the LOOK glasses locator. Launched as an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign that is hoping to raise $50,000, the tiny LOOK chip easily attaches to most any pair of glasses to help the user locate them with a Bluetooth-connected device. Created by CEO Dafna Ariely (the mom of the bestselling author of Predictably Irrational author Dan Ariely) after she couldn’t find her own glasses, LOOK is the smallest attachable glasses locator that’s hoping to shake up the market.

You may be thinking to yourself—someone has to have thought of this already—but the truth is that LOOK is the first Bluetooth-connected and fashion-conscious glasses tracker that fits on the arm of most glasses. The user is able to track their glasses with an application that causes the chip to beep, informing the user when they are approaching the mystery location of their glasses. According to the creators, the chip is so light that it doesn’t add additional weight to the glasses, measuring only 35 mm long and 10 mm wide.

Inspired by the everyday predicaments we share

Many with glasses can most likely relate to the annoyance that drove Ariely to create LOOK together with CTO Shmuel Gan, “I looked for hours and couldn’t find them [my glasses]. The next day, I found them between the couch cushions. After all the time I spent and the long, frustrating experience of searching, I thought that if I had something to help me find my glasses, I could have avoided all the pressure and loss of time I experienced.”

LOOK-collageLOOK is currently selling the device on Indiegogo in four different styles, with each style available in five different colors, for $28 (if you’re shipping within the US), hoping to raise $50,000 by November 1st. However a few questions regarding the product have yet to be answered by company: does the device interfere with the fitting of eyeglasses? Does it make them less comfortable? And what does it mean to be wearing a Bluetooth chip for the entire day?

While these questions won’t be answered until the product is released in April 2014, one thing is certain—the Arielys are keen on saving time. With mother Dafna’s release of LOOK and son Dan’s scheduling and reminder app Timeful (currently available in an IPhone beta version), the Ariely’s have made it their unofficial mission to create technology that will save precious time wasted looking for glasses and remembering appointments for more important endeavors.

Photos: courtesy

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SpaceIL’s Mission To The Moon Says Its Chances Of Winning Google Lunar XPrize Are High Tue, 02 Sep 2014 11:05:18 +0000 “One small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” These were the famous words uttered by astronaut Neil Armstrong to describe the first Moon landing in world history on July 20, 1969. In an event that immediately secured its place in history, an American team of astronauts ended the Space Race by successfully landing the Apollo 11 on the Moon.

Now, teams around the world are once again engaged in a Space Race, with the goal this time to win the Google Lunar XPRIZE, a first-of-its-kind space innovation challenge to create a vessel that can travel to, traverse 500 meters and photograph the Moon by 2015, all for a $20 million dollar prize. So which will be the first team to declare, “One giant leap for innovation?”

Yanke Margalit, Chairman of SpaceIL

Yanki Margalit, Chairman of SpaceIL

Making big waves amid the competition is SpaceIL – Israel’s only Lunar XPRIZE contender that has employed some of the country’s finest engineers and enlisted the support of powerful donors to create a winning craft. NoCamels spoke with SpaceIL Chairman and former IBM Israel head Yanki Margalit to gain insight into the Innovation Nation’s chances of winning the competition and what it means to travel to space.

Moon travel for the people, by the people

In its description of the Lunar XPRIZE competition, Google writes on the competition’s website, “Our Moon – ‘the eighth continent’ – has a land area larger than Brazil and North America put together…and people have only been to 5% of it! There are amazing natural wonders, valuable resources, and unsolved mysteries waiting to be discovered.”

However hard Google may be trying to become the first company in the world to “inhabit” the Moon, Margalit says that for him the competition is about something else entirely. “The real goal of this entire mission is to encourage space industry research in the private sector. This is the first time that space has really been taken out of the hands of governments, and it’s a major step in creating a new private sector of space technology and entrepreneurship.”

SEE ALSO: Medigus The World’s Smallest Camera Now Being Used By NASA Robots

Yet his team, now a leading contender, almost didn’t make it into the competition. “The then three-man SpaceIL team,  Yariv Bash, Kfir Damari and Yonathan Winetraub, only heard about the competition as the registration was about to close,” Margalit says. When he heard the team was scrambling to make it into the competition, Margalit, well-known in the venture capital world, hopped on board to help them raise the $50,000 entry fee.

Four years later, SpaceIL’s ship model, which is only three feet tall and two feet wide, about the size of a dishwasher weighing 300 pounds, has a raised a massive $36 million, from wealthy families, as well as eager “crowdfunders”.

“When I met the three young team members and they told me that their motivation was not just the excitement of engineering challenge, but also the opportunity to educate younger generations on the power of entrepreneurship and taking risks, I immediately connected with the project and made a vow to get it up and running. Four years later, I am the Chairman of a project that I have enormous faith in it,” Margalit tells NoCamels.

Competing for the crescent in the sky

Since the engineering trio began work in 2010, the SpaceIL team has grown to more than 60 members, mostly volunteers, who have made it their mission to get Israel to the Moon. But competition for the Lunar XPRIZE is fierce, with 33 other teams from a number of countries and experienced aeronautical organizations joining the race to get the first ‘homemade’ robotic spacecraft to the Moon. Unlike others, the SpaceIL project is not-for-profit, which is why many of its participants are volunteers and most of its funding has come from crowdfunding campaigns like Indiegogo (where the team was able to raise over $250,000).

This non-profit dedication from the team is, in Margalit’s eyes, what makes the group exceptional.

Adam Green, a British graduate of Bristol University, is one of these SpaceIL uber-fans, who moved to Israel to volunteer for the project in 2011, until he was made Head of Mission Analysis, or the person responsible for planning out the flightpath of the ship to the Moon.

SEE ALSO: Israel To Launch Satellite To Monitor Crops From Outer Space


Adam Green

Whether it is due to the fact that Israel is a small country filled with engineering buffs, or this is part of an effort to exert itself in the international arena, Israelis and internationals are flocking to SpaceIL’s project.

Funding for the little spaceship that could

The Morris Kahn Foundation, The Schusterman Family Foundation, Bezeq, Tel Aviv University, the Israel Aerospace Industries and others have all donated to SpaceIL, but it is the Adelson Foundation, run by billionaires Miri and Sheldon Adelson, who signed the biggest check, $16.4 million be exact. With the humble request that the words ‘Israel’ appear on the spaceship, this is one of the largest sums donated in the Lunar XPRIZE yet, and may be the biggest in its history when the competition is completed at the end of 2015.

spaceshipSpaceIL’s chances are as good as their vision for the future

But you may ask what are SpaceIL’s real chances of winning the competition? Of the 33 teams that originally signed up for the competition, only 18 are still competing, which for the Israeli team is good news. Margalit says SpaceIL’s biggest competition comes from two American groups, one Spanish group and a German group (he did not specifically name them). But he remains optimistic about Israel’s chances.

“The chances of Israel winning are very good. I think that the fact that we have transformed the entire project into a scientific and educational mission has a deeper meaning that will remain whether we are the first ones to the Moon or not. The entire project has given us the legitimacy and ability to the raise money and recruit good people who believe in the positivity of this mission, which I think means a lot for our chances of winning,” says Margalit.

Photos: courtesy

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EverythingMe’s ‘Super App’ Will Help Your Smartphone Get To Know You Better Than Ever Before Sun, 24 Aug 2014 12:47:39 +0000 Are you and your smartphone inseparable, or, as they say, joined at the hip? If you’re like most people the answer is probably yes. And yet, after all your time spent together, can you say that your phone knows you on a personal level? Or is it just a fancy screen with a bunch of apps and widgets spread out everywhere?

Chances are it’s the latter.

Meet EverythingMe, the launcher app for Android that adds contextual mobile technology to your smartphone. The moment you install the launcher, it automatically begins learning how you use your phone, and without getting too creepy, is able to anticipate what apps and information you need throughout the day, becoming more accurate with time.


SEE ALSO: Cook Like The Chef Of Your Dreams With Popular App ‘Look & Cook’

With its global release this past June, EverythingMe’s innovative contextual technology is already earning its place in the hearts and smartphones of millions of Android users the world over. Joey Simhon, CTO and cofounder of EverythingMe, tells to NoCamels that the startup’s success lies in its real ability to foster a relationship between users and their technology, “The most popular feedback we receive is that people begin to love their phone once they install EverythingMe.”

Bringing more smarts to your smartphone

Here’s how the launcher works. When you turn on your Android, EverythingMe takes into account the time of day, your location, how you use your apps, and other contextual parameters to give you the four apps on your center screen that are most relevant to you.

They are displayed on what is called a ‘Prediction Bar,’ which becomes more accurate every time you use your phone. For example, you may turn on your phone to see news and weather apps in the morning, calendar and social apps during the day, and games and cooking apps in the evening.

     SEE ALSO: Mobli Releases MIRAGE, A Social App That Allows You To Send 15-Second Photos

Of course, you are going to want to access your other apps throughout the day, too. EverythingMe automatically sorts all of your apps into ‘Smart Folders’ such as Social, City Guides, Sports, etc., not a big difference from the standard app organizer. However, gone are the days of scratching your head to figure out how to drag apps around and naming categories, because EverythingMe will do it for you based on the app’s content.

According to Simhon, EverythingMe is “the fastest in-phone search on Android. Often one or two letters are enough to bring the right result.” As soon as you begin typing, it searches across the entire phone—installed apps, contacts, songs, etc.—while also providing results from the web, making it a comprehensive search tool.

Launchers are the latest in lazy tech

What inspired the founders to start EverythingMe,  which made “Forbes” list of 25 Hot Israeli Tech Startups, was the realization that many smartphone users simply don’t want their phones to feel like a desktop computer. “Our user testing proved searching for information on phones as if they were desktops simply didn’t work,” said Simhon. “We discovered that users want to be given the right information at the right context, without having to look for it in traditional ways.”

A leader in a growing sector of the app industry

everythingmesearchAlthough it is a free app in the Google Play store, generating revenue for EverythingMe is actually quite simple according to Simhon. “We provide app discovery and search results, therefore we generate revenue based on the results we present to users,” he said. “The idea is to help users discover the most relevant apps, content and information at exactly the right time, according to their individual preferences,” similar to Taboola and Outbrain, the Israeli content-discovery platforms that are making big bucks by monetizing the ‘You May Also Like’ section of websites.

EverythingMe is one of the top launchers in the young, but growing sector of the app industry. Of course, a major downside of the launcher is that it is not available for the widely popular iOS run iPhone, but hopefully (and EverythingMe didn’t comment on this), such a similar launcher option, be it EverythingMe or not, will be available in the near future.

With millions of downloads in just five months, a staff of 50 committed engineers, $37 million in funding, a global release that went ahead of schedule, and a recent nod from Forbes, they are certainly a startup to watch.

Photos: courtesy


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This Designer’s Jewelry Is Inserted Under Your Skin To Harvest Energy From Blood Flow Wed, 20 Aug 2014 11:19:28 +0000 As many of the world’s resources continue to deplete, scientists and engineers alike are coming up with alternative energy sources to power the future, but none as creative as Naomi Kizhner’s solution.

Israeli industrial designer Kizhner thought up a futuristic and fashionable way to harvest the body’s biological wealth—the energy generated in blood and electricity flow through the body. In her “invasive” jewelry line entitled ‘Energy Addicts,’ Kizhner expresses her hope that blinking eyes and blood flow will charge the technology of the future, possibly even the very near future.

closeupneckEyes, mind and blood are the fuel of the future

Kizhner’s line of strangely beautiful sustainable jewelry contains three pieces that each harness electricity from a different bodily function. ‘The Blinker’ is a symmetrical piece that wraps tightly around the bridge of the nose between the eyebrows to generate electricity from blinking. Another piece, the ‘E-Pulse Conductor’ is placed at the base of the neck along the spine and creates electricity from the neurological system. Lastly, and maybe the most sci-fi of them all is the ‘Blood Bridge.’ This gadget is inserted in the forearm below the wrist, harvesting electricity from the blood pumped through the veins by turning a little wheel that converts the energy into a resource.

eyepiecebloodgeneratorAll of the pieces are welded from gold, a 3D-printed biopolymer and have a little needle at the end to penetrate the skin. Although the ‘Energy Addicts’ collection may be too morbid of a gift to give those you care about, and the idea may not have too many practical applications for energy generation, these pieces of jewelry are really meant to get us thinking about the future.

closeupeyepieceneedle“I hope that the project will make people think about the possibility that this could be their future, and make them think about whether it is the future they want or whether we can do something different today to avoid it,” Kizhner told Dezeen Magazine.

Kizhner’s project ‘Energy Addicts’ was created as part of her graduation project at Jerusalem’s Hadassah College.

Photos: Shahar Tamir

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Just Say ‘Let There Be Light’ And The Vocca Light Switch Will Make it Happen Mon, 18 Aug 2014 12:13:22 +0000 “Why haven’t they thought of a technology for this?” That’s what you may think when you’re dosing off while reading your favorite book in bed, but you then realize you have to get up to turn off the light. Well, someone has gone ahead and come up with the solution. The Vocca voice-activated light bulb attachment is the modern-day version of the timeless eighties “Clapper,” only lights are turned on and off using a voice activated cue, and you don’t look like a fool clapping at the ceiling.

SEE ALSO: This Israeli Kickstarter Campaign Has Less Depth Than You Think

The Vocca Light Switch, a technology created by Ori Indursky and his team in Israel, is a physical add on for your regular light bulb, but with state-of-the-art Bluetooth connectivity, advanced Sensory voice recognition and, of course, an app. After screwing a light bulb into the Vocca device, and the device into the light socket, all you need to do to is say “Go Vocca Light,” to turn lights on and off—no installation for WiFi required.

The Vocca team is currently running a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign where each contributor can purchase a basic version Vocca Light Switch for $39 or a ‘Pro’ version for $49 that will allow you to remotely control the device from an application and choose which phrase you want to turn on the light (maybe “Let there be light”). Despite the tough competition in the smart lighting sector with Phillips recently releasing the world’s smallest LED light bulb and the crowdfunding campaign for colorful WiFi controlled lights LIFX, Vocca has already raised its $40,000 funding goal and more with over a month left until the campaign closes.

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

Before you decide on making this futuristic device a part of your home life, however, it is important to note that due to difficulties conducting heat, the Vocca Light Switch only works with energy saving light bulbs like LED and CFL, fluorescent lights that can be hard on the eyes, especially in the home. This setback aside, the Vocca Light Switch is the only voice-controlled lighting method out there and it could save you a lot of unnecessary squabbles with your significant other when its time to turn out the lights (see: hilarious promotional video).

Photos: Courtesy

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Futuristic EIMindA ‘Helmet’ Monitors Brain Health Like Never Before Thu, 14 Aug 2014 09:41:56 +0000 This article was first published on The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Helmet-like Israeli brain monitor that works without penetrating the skull has the potential to spot problems early, giving doctors a chance to step in with treatment programs to help patients cope with disorders like Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and ADHD.

ElMindA received FDA clearance in early August for use of its brain activity monitoring system in assessing brain function in patients. ElMindA’s BNA Analysis System uses sensors that measure and analyze neural activity during specific brain processes, presenting information about brain activity and measuring it against a database of over 7,000 brain functions to see how a patient’s condition stacks up. BNA stands for Brain Network Activation.

SEE ALSO: The Top Ten Futuristic Technologies Made In Israel

“Greater understanding of how our brain processes information, how it gets its job done, ultimately holds the potential to improve brain health and disease management over a person’s lifetime,” said Ronen Gadot, CEO of ElMindA. “BNA adds an objective layer of information to clinical symptom assessments and neurocognitive tests, providing clinicians with a comprehensive view of brain health.”

While most brain monitoring systems require the an invasive insertion of a sensor inside the head, ElMindA’s BNA takes its measurements using a sensor-laden, futuristic-looking “helmet” that contains dozens of electrodes that measure activity through the skull. The sensors are able to measure the electronic activity of the brain at different points, with each sensor recording the activity associated with a specific brain function – thought, memory, activity, and others.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s ‘GlassesOff’ App Said To Make Eyes A Whopping 8.6 Years Younger

Shimon Peres Observing ElMindA Brain HelmetThe data is analyzed by specially-developed algorithms based on patented signal processing and pattern recognition techniques that can connect among the signals, revealing three-dimensional images of BNA patterns, or BNAs, which represent high resolution functional neural pathways. The data can aid doctors in the profiling of brain function and changes in functionality, and can assist follow-up of changes in disease progression and/or response to therapeutic interventions.

To continue reading this article on the TOI site, click here.

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Wear It Well: The Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel Wed, 13 Aug 2014 12:01:36 +0000 Wearable technology is steadily becoming the next frontier for high tech companies, investors and consumers. From earphones to pedometers, we are only at the beginning of a rising trend in wearable technology gear, gadgets, and gizmos.

Leading in this steadily growing sector, also known as the Internet of Things (IoT) movement that wants to connect every aspect of our worlds to the Internet, is Israel. Although the country is somewhat of a novice in this sector, holding its first ever wearable tech conference this past May, Israel has, in a short span of time, produced an impressive number of incredible technologies for you to wear.

Here we bring you the top 10 list of Israeli wearable technology:

1. OrCam Technologies

woman wearing orcam glassesEyewear enhances our vision, while OrCam’s eyewear allows the blind and visually impaired to ‘see.’ OrCam’s small camera that attaches to glasses verbally identifies words and objects that the wearer motions to, using a smart computer to say out loud what the wearer is ‘seeing’ with audio. OrCam allows the blind to ‘see by hearing,’ providing them with the mobility they need to keep living their lives. In the future, OrCam hopes to develop models that will be able to recognize colors, faces, and places that the wearer has encountered before.

2. ReWalk
barack obama with a woman wearing the rewalk biosuitReWalk has graced the headlines plenty here at NoCamels, a display of our belief that this technology is a big winner in the wearable tech sector. With ReWalk, individuals with waist-down paralysis can get up from their wheelchair and walk away from it — literally. ReWalk is a wearable, bionic leg brace made of light materials. It is powered by batteries and navigation and is controlled by sophisticated, wrist-mounted controllers that detect and guide walking motion. The device recently received FDA approval in the US and has been deemed by the likes of President Obama a ‘life-changing’ device.

3. Angel Sensors
the angel sensors and appThe more we know about our bodies and our health, the better we can take care of them and improve our lifestyles. The Angel Sensor is the first open sensor, effortless health-tracker that can be worn 24/7 as a bracelet. It collects data about the body and sends that information to one of several fitness and health apps that are compatible with Angel. Just last year Angel Sensor raised 335 percent of its fundraising goal on Indiegogo, with “TechCrunch” praising the technology, “Angel is potentially infinitely malleable, becoming a heart attack sensor for one developer and a sports band for another.”

4. MUV Interactive
tom cruise in minority report

MUV’s Bird transforms any flat surface into a usable touchscreen through light projections and its wearable fingertip sensors. The interactive display of smartphones, tablets, laptops, etc. can be brought to life simply by connecting these devices to a projector, turning anything from a table to a blank wall into an active touchscreen. It may take some time before you can start punching walls with purpose, however, because MUV Interactive is still raising capital towards the development and marketing of their product.

5. Meta
the meta glassesMeta’s shades blur the line between augmented reality and reality by making smart devices virtually accessible though they’re physically not there. Through these sophisticated Ray-Ban look-a-likes, wearers can access their smartphone or computer wherever they are with a simple waving motion of the hand. Before brushing Meta off as a Google Glass copycat, know that Meta’s technology offers its users with 40 degrees field of binocular view, 16 times larger than what Google Glass offers.

6. HereO
hereo watch in blue and yellowEvery child could use a HereO, and for parents, HereO makes a great sidekick. HereO is a colorful GPS watch for kids that provides information on a child’s whereabouts to parents’ smartphones. All that parents need to do is download a complementary Family App that comes with the HereO watch, and they will receive notifications when their child leaves school, goes out on the playground, or even in case of an emergency. Each watch is equipped with an emergency button, which allows children to immediately and discretely call their parents when they face trouble. The app can also sync with fellow family members, adding a level of reassurance that allows kids to be kids.

7. Modrillian Smart Strap Buckle
 Modrillian Smart Strap Buckle

Sometimes, not even the most advanced technologies can beat the ease and comfort of your favorite old gadgets. This, and an effort to save consumers money, is what drove the inventors of the Modrillian Smart Strap Buckle to create sleek and smart watch buckle that allows its wearers to receive wireless Bluetooth notifications without having to purchase an entirely new ‘techy’ watch. All Modrillian does is replace your regular ardillion buckle (a basic pin and loop style of buckle) to alert the wearer when they have a phone call, message or Facebook friend. At first, Modrillian will only work with Android device, but the engineer inventors from Israel ptomise that an iPhone app is also in the works.

8. Oxitone

a patient with the oxitone watch onWhen a heart attack occurs, there’s a 50 percent chance that the victim’s life can be saved given a timely medical response. Oxitone is an advanced heart monitor worn around the wrist that detects changes in a patient’s heart rate and oxygen levels, triggering an alert for medical assistance in case of an incoming heart attack. The wrist band continuously monitors blood oxygen levels, pulse rate, activity, sleep and breathing patterns so that even if emergency never strikes, a wearer’s health professionals are in the know regarding overall state of health. And, in unfortunate case of an emergency, medical aid is notified just before the wearer potentially suffers from a heart attack, increasing the likelihood and speed of proper care.

9. LifeBEAM
the lifebeam hat in white the lifebeam helmet in whiteNot all of us can be an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean we can’t wear innovative gear inspired by them here on Earth. LifeBEAM brings state-of-the-art monitoring technology to consumers by integrating them to everyday wearables like the LifeBEAM smart biking helmet and hat. Using wireless sensors and cloud networks, LifeBEAM’s gear collects data via optical sensors, heart rate monitors, step and calorie counters from the person wearing the helmet or hat. This data is then transferred to their smartphones, fitness watches, and cycling computers so that the active among us can keep track of everything that’s going down in our bodies during our fitness routines.

10. Tempdrop
woman wearing the tempdrop strapPlanning to have a baby can be a stressful planning process for women who track basal body temperatures (BBT), the lowest temperature bodies reach during sleep and an important indicator of when a woman’s body is most likely to conceive. Tempdrop is a wearable smart-sensor thermometer that measures a woman’s BBT as she sleeps (regardless of her sleeping schedule), sending the data it collects to an existing fertility app. The drop-shaped device standardizes BBT readings and is set to making conceiving much easier for countless hopeful women around the globe.

Photos: LifeBEAM/OrCam/ ReWalk/ Angel Sensors/ Screenshot/ hereO/ Oxitone/ LifeBEAM/ Tempdrop

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Top 10 Furry Innovations: When The ‘Startup Nation’ Turns Its Eyes To Pets Sun, 03 Aug 2014 12:27:16 +0000 If you’re a pet owner then you know that there is one universal truth: pets aren’t animals, they’re family! And Israelis are no exception, extending their technological life hacks to their furry, four-legged friends. From VIP treatment for flying pooches to high tech pooper-scoopers, check out these innovative pet-friendly products, born and bred by Israeli innovators, that will leave your tail wagging!

cat2seeCats are the kings of the pet jungle. At least that’s what Gilad Gelfand thinks, the developer of Cat2See, the newest feline innovation which keeps cats happily occupied at home. Designed to allow owners to play with, watch, and feed their cats remotely, Ca2See combines a robotic toy fishing line with a mobile/web controlled webcam and an automatic feeder. Cat2See also features a social network so fellow cat owners and lovers can connect with one another. The company has completed testing the game-webcam-feeder in 450 cat-loving Israeli households and plans to start manufacturing in early August. Cat2See expects to begin shipping in September, with pre-orders already coming in for this feline fun station from Canada, United States, Colombia, New Zealand, Brazil and more!

SEE ALSO: Israel opens the first ever hotel for flowers!

petbnbSay goodbye to cages and kennels, and hello to Petbnb – the animal version of the popular lodgings service for travelers Airbnb. Petbnb is a service that pairs pet owners with caretakers who can watch their pets when they leave town. Petbnb, which includes full insurance coverage, is significantly cheaper than conventional boarding and allows owners to leave specific instructions for the care of their precious pooches. Petbnb also updates owners by sending them a picture of their pet every day! The site was recently named by “Forbes” as one of 25 Israeli startups to watch in 2014. Pet owners – it’s time to take that vacation you’ve been putting off.


AshPoopieThis novel pooper-scooper from Ramat Gan-based company Paulee Clean Tech gathers dog droppings and turns them into odorless, sterile powder within seconds. The Ashpoopie encloses the droppings, incinerates it, and you guessed it – turns it into ash! Despite its funky name, this eco-friendly invention aims to reduce landfill waste and plastic bags. Using a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the researchers behind Ashpoopie hope to develop human applications for their technology in the developing world, where people still lack access to indoor plumbing and sanitation services.

oggii-dog-chip-660x370This “24-hour wellness advisory tag” could be a life-saving chip for pooches the world over. Oggii alerts owners to possible health problems with their pet such as ticks, skin allergies, seizures, arthritis, poor joints, brain damage and even ear infections. With these ailments accounting for 30 percent of all visits to the vet, Oggii helps owners make better informed medical decisions with personalized recommendations for their beloved pets. Users receive action alerts like “diet” or “go to the vet” and can tap into a network of other dog owners and experts for further support and advice.


swiftoIf you work full time with and don’t have time to take Fido out for his daily walk, look no further. Swifto, the new mobile pet-walking marketplace developed by Israeli entrepreneur Penina First connects dog walkers with pet owners who want the best care for their furry, four-legged companions. Pet owners can choose walking schedules, interview potential handlers, and receive live updates about walk times and even track their dog’s walking route with GPS on their mobile devices. Headquartered in New York City, Swifto just received a $2.5 million investment from Benchmark Capital and now hopes to expand to Boston, San Francisco, and Chicago.

SEE ALSO: Abandoned dogs help people overcome grief and suffering in the most beautiful way


dogtvWhen your dog barks at the TV, it may be because they are actually enjoying the programming. The observation that dogs may like TV too is what inspired the creation of the first network for canines, DogTV. The network functions as a 24/7 digital channel with dog-friendly programing scientifically developed to keep pooches stimulated, relaxed, and comforted while at home alone. Following years of research with some of the world’s top pet experts, special content was created to suit canine vision and hearing and support their natural behavior patterns. The experts behind DogTV say that ordering this channel for your pups can actually help prevent stress, separation anxiety and other related problems.


terminal4petsThis Israeli company offers a door-to-door VIP (Very Important Pet) courier service for pooches with plane tickets. Clients can have their dog accompanied on the flight by a professional animal attendant and, if desired, an in-flight veterinarian. A vet is also available to give pre-flight checkups and recommendations for a safer and easier trip. Terminal4Pets handles all kinds of pets and has arranged for stray dogs adopted by servicemen in Iraq to be flown to new homes in the US.

Dog Bio-Security System

bio-sensorCreated by Bio-Sense Technologies, the Dog Bio-Security System is a biometric alert sensor integrated into a special dog collar, analyzing a dog’s bark to determine if your pup is distressed, communicating with the neighbors or at ease. The computer-based system, which can be integrated into existing security systems like central control systems, home alarms, and CCTV monitoring systems, goes into operation the moment a dog starts to growl or bark. Alerts are sent to the dog owner’s phone to let them know of potential dangers or discomfort that their best friend may be facing. In addition, the collar is equipped with a GPS tracker that lets owners know when and where their dog wanders off too. With this collar, dogs can bid adieu to the mischievous fun they have while you’re away.


The Tasko team

The Tasko team

Launched in August 2013 by three Israeli entrepreneurs, Tasko is a website that serves as a comprehensive marketplace where users can look for accredited dog walkers and sitters. Alternatively, the site can also allows users to create personalized profile pages to advertise and offer their own dog sitting services. According to Tasko co-founder Tomer Dean is service is way more personalized than just an online marketplace, “We personally interview all hosts and hand-select the very best, who in turn create detailed personal profile pages, with pictures and residence information to give the dog owners a chance to get to know their pet hosts and develop trust.”Tasko is already operating in the greater Tel Aviv area and is planning a European launch in the coming months.



Based in Tel Aviv, Qruso creates smart ID tags, which can be hooked to pets to make sure they never get lost again! When anyone scans the tag either with a QR scanner or using a NFC code, a mobile app will fire up displaying the owner’s information, pet details, critical medical information, and an optional finder’s reward. The app will notify you with the GPS location of the finder of your pet, making it super easy to meet up and retrieve your lost pup. The tags, which cost only $25, do not require a battery and do not have a range limit, making them the perfect lost & found solution for your pet!

Photos: Thomas Hawk/ Cat2See/ Oggii/ Swifto/ DogTV/ Terminal4Pets/ Bio-Sense/ Tasko/ QRUSO

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Buy Your Food Straight From The Local Farmers With Farmigo Fri, 01 Aug 2014 10:42:34 +0000 The United States currently suffers from a declining food system – according to many, the quality of grocery produce is deteriorating as is the overall mindfulness of where food comes from. As a result, local farmers struggle to find a reliable market where they can sell their goods directly to consumers and many Americans have trouble accessing fresh and affordable food — even at the grocery store down the street.

The challenges faced by farmers and consumers alike are what inspired Farmigo co-founders CEO Benzi Ronen and CTO Yossi Pik to bring the farmers’ market experience to our fingertips. Through their online platform, consumers place grocery orders directly with their local farmers who use this data to grow only what is needed and cut down on the potential waste of time and money that results from overharvesting. Then, Farmigo delivers the produce to pick-up locations, like schools, creating a strongly-bonded community with a shared passion for fresh and local produce.

Turning the ‘food desert’ green with fresh, local produce

By simply having access to the Internet, even families that live in ‘food desert’ neighborhoods (the suburbs) can treat themselves and their communities to a healthier and affordable grocery option. Companies, too, are adopting Farmigo: Google, Etsy, and Twitter are among some of the companies where employees have taken the initiative to use Farmigo as their source for fresh, local foods.

SEE ALSO: A Bug’s Life: Extraordinary Images Capture Nature At It’s Freest

According to Benzi Ronen, who originally founded the startup with Yossi Pik in Israel, Farmigo is more than just another eco-friendly startup embracing technology to improve lifestyles—it is also a crusade aiming to change the way we economically and physically consume food.

“We’re getting people to self-organize into these groups so we’re skipping out on a retailer that, today, takes 50 percent margin,” Ronen tells NoCamels.

Farmigo uses a cloud-based software that overlooks the activities and exchanges between farmers and consumers through their online portal, bridging gaps between these usually alienated groups.  Consumers search for local farmers based on their residential location (currently the service is available in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York City and New Jersey) and place their orders online. Farmers sign up for Farmigo based on their capabilities and goods offered, tailoring each order to the needs specified by the consumer. By cutting out the middleman retailer, providing transportation to deliver orders to pick-up sites, and making sure the goods sold are comparable to grocery store prices, Farmigo helps both parties receive exactly what they want and helps them save money.

Building relationships between farmers and eager consumers


Benzi Ronen

The key to Farmigo’s continued successes (the company has been around since 2009) is their emphasis on relationship-building among its participants. By creating communities between people over something as simple as the exchange of fresh produce, Farmigo returns some meaning to the value of human interaction at the farmers market that we’ve lost while roaming the aisles of the grocery story. “With Farmigo there’s a social contract,” says Ronen, who also turned his Brooklyn apartment into a Farmigo community for his entire building. “It’s much more than just the food — it’s also a whole other level of emotional commitment that we’re seeing and creates a higher retention rate because of that loyalty”.

SEE ALSO: These Self-Sustaining ‘Mini Farms’ Could Be The Best Solution To Feed The Third World


From farm to fridge

Competing with grocery giants like Whole Foods and Trader Joe’s, two large U.S. chains that provide organic, although not usually local options, has to be one of the biggest challenges that Farmigo’s new food consumption system faces. Yet Farmigo does have the added value of creating a sense of community between neighbors and co-workers, the by-product of the weekly produce pick-up meetings. In turn, these communities are a natural support network for struggling local farmers who can rest assured that their goods are going directly from farm to fridge.

Within the next year Farmigo hopes to continue expanding its services across the United States, specifically targeting cities like Seattle, Chicago, and Philadelphia. Two years ago, Farmigo considered running a pilot program in China. Though this is no longer in their immediate plans, Farmigo does have its eyes set to expand internationally in the future, hoping to revolutionize our food economy for the good of consumers and farmers too.

Photos: Courtesy

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Another Snapchat? Mobli Releases MIRAGE, A Social App That Allows You To Send 15-Second Photos Mon, 28 Jul 2014 14:40:21 +0000 The creators behind the wildly popular (and often mocked) social application Yo! and mobli, a platform for sharing photos and videos, announced the release of MIRAGE, a new social app that rivals the likes of Snapchat.

Like Snapchat, MIRAGE is a camera messaging app that allows users to send  photo or video messages that disappear after being viewed for 15 seconds. However, contrary to Snapchat, files can be sent to anyone with a single tap, regardless of whether they have downloaded the app or not.


Fifteen-seconds of fun with your contacts

The announcement on MIRAGE comes mere days after a leak revealed Instagram might be coming out with its own Snapchat competitor, a one-tap messaging app called Bolt.  While some may question the need for another Snapchat (or in this case two), which already sees 700 million images shared on its platform daily, the mobli/MIRAGE team believes the market for disappearing files has not been fully tapped.

Say Yo! Why This Ridiculously Simple Israeli App Is Going Viral

Mobli is hoping that the simple interface of MIRAGE, which is already available for iOS and Android devices,  may draw users to its app. In order to send a photo message, all a user needs to do is tap the profile picture of the person they want to connect with. Longer taps allow users to send up to fifteen-seconds of video instantaneously.

Cook Like The Chef Of Your Dreams With Popular App ‘Look & Cook’

Whether MIRAGE will succeed in getting a piece of the Snapchat pie remains to be seen, but judging by the success of ‘Yo!’, the ridiculously silly app which mobli recently released and which is already valued at $10 million, they may have a decent chance (‘Yo!’ allows you to send messages to contacts but limits those messages to the word ‘Yo!’.) It also doesn’t hurt that mobli is backed by celebrity investors like Serena Williams, Toby Maguire and Leonardo DiCaprio.

Moshe Hogeg, the man behind mobli, Yo! and MIRAGE

moshehogegIn an exclusive interview with NoCamels, Moshe Hogeg, the CEO and co-Founder of mobli and the brain behind ‘Yo!’, says: “We shared MIRAGE with a handful of people in Silicon Valley and in just a couple of days several dozen more users adopted it as it spread virally from user to user. We are already seeing some high-usage from this small handful of early adopters and we know that MIRAGE has the potential to shake up the messaging industry,” he adds.

“Our vision as a company has always been to bring people together through visual content. We built MIRAGE as a messaging tool to extend our natural daily conversations that in real life are simple and unrecorded. The technology enables us to send temporary messages to anyone without being limited to the ecosystem of the app.”

But while Hogeg seems to have a knack for game-changing apps, he may have a tougher time breaking in with MIRAGE as a myriad of Snapchat copycats were recently released, notably Facebook’s ‘Slingshot’.

In any case, whether mobli’s social and temporary messaging app will rise to the success of Yo! or remain a ‘MIRAGE’ remains to be determined, but one thing is for sure—temporary messaging is sealing its place among our common methods of communication.

Photos: Courtesy/ Moshe Hogeg (Google Plus)

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Outgoing President Shimon Peres To Head Peace-Driven Economic Corporation Thu, 24 Jul 2014 17:59:15 +0000 As President Shimon Peres, Israel’s ninth President, fills out his final day in office, making way for incoming President Rubi Rivilin, he is already about to announce his next endeavor as one of Israel’s most influential figures. According to a report by Israeli news source “Ha’aretz,” 90-year-old Peres is set to head a large economic corporation that invests in peace initiatives throughout the Middle East.

In an interview given by Presidential spokeswoman Ayelet Frisch to Channel 2 News in Israel, it was stated that Peres will assume his position in the unnamed economic corporation starting next week. While the name of the corporation remains undisclosed, according to Frisch’s assertions, it seems that it is a prominent investment group that will place funds in the health and agriculture sectors, see to the construction of hospitals and water infrastructure in the region.

PeaceTube: Using video chat to work through the conflict

Peres will leave the presidential residence on Friday morning and will move to a new apartment that he recently purchased in Tel Aviv. In addition, he will move his offices to the Peres Center For Peace in Yaffo.


The Peres Center for Peace in Jaffa, Israel

Throughout his seven-year term as president, Peres has worked adamantly through various channels, and technological ones in particular, to promote peace and cooperation in the region. During his time as president, the Noble Peace Prize winner was also granted honorary knighthood by Queen Elizabeth II of England and the President Medal of Freedom by US President Barak Obama—a display of the extraordinary faith placed in a man who has been deemed Israel’s preeminent visionary.

Photos: Screenshot/ Peres Center for Peace

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Sci-Fi: The Top Ten Israeli Inventions That Allow The Blind To ‘See’ Wed, 16 Jul 2014 10:08:56 +0000 Reading someone’s facial expressions; looking at the night sky, or browsing the internet – these are mundane tasks that hardly require our attention. But not everyone can call them routine; for the 285 million people worldwide who are visually impaired, these simple tasks are nearly impossible.

Known as the Startup Nation, Israeli startups have now taken their expertise in innovation and technology to create revolutionary tools for the blind and visually impaired.

Here are ten Israeli companies whose vision is brightening the lives of those who cannot see.

EyeMusic: Seeing is hearing

Do you know what a square sounds like? You may argue that shapes don’t have sounds, but the Israeli-developed EyeMusic application was designed in order to help the blind “see” these common visual perceptions through sound. EyeMusic conveys the sounds of common shapes and colors by using soundscapes – assigning different musical notes and pitches to shapes and colors. A diagonal line, for instance, sounds like a chord of rising music notes. The EyeMusic application, available for iOS and Android, is based on the 2013 research by Prof. Amir Amedi and uses a simple algorithm to convert images from the device’s camera into a complicated array of sounds. Over time, users learn to differentiate between sounds and associate them with particular shapes, colors, and eventually objects.

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OrCam: The Google Glass competitor

Artificial vision technology called OrCam is a tiny camera that clips onto your glasses, similar to Google Glass. When users direct their glass’ vision at newspaper articles, labels, or a street sign, OrCam verbally identifies what they’re looking at and trabslates it into spoken words. The OrCam device is connected to a small pocket-size computer that stores the verbally interpreted information and is able to remember different objects, places, and people that the device has seen before, with the help of special algorithms. Orcam can also connect with hearing aids and cochlear implants, so that it not only serves the blind and visually impaired, but also the deaf-blind and mute. Earlier this year, Orcam Technologies received a $20 million investment from Intel for the development of its technology, which is based on research conducted by Prof. Amnon Shashua of the Hebrew University, also the founder of the successful Israeli startup Mobileye.

Nano Retina: The dream of restoring sight to the blind, realized

Restoring sight to the blind is for many a dream that may soon become a scientific reality with Nano Retina’s retinal implant technology. Macular degeneration, the leading cause of blindness for individuals 60 years and older, is caused when a specific section of the eye’s retina dealing with object recognition begins to deteriorate. In order to combat the visual decline, Nano Retina’s founder Yossi Gross designed a miniature chip to replace the tiny but critical retinal part with an electric one. The implanted chip converts light into electric signals, which are then transmitted to the brain, with every image broken down into 600-pixel images and 100 different shades of grey, enabling sight in basic digital camera quality. Nano Retina completed its first clinical trial in 2010, in which 11 blind people were able to recognize surrounding objects, and hopes to be on the market in Europe by 2016 with the help of its investors Sony and Medtronic.

Bionic contact lens: Seeing is feeling

Scientists at Bar Ilan University developed a unique bionic contact lens based on the classical method of touch-based Braille reading. According to Prof. Zeev Zalevsky who headed the research team, there are 600 times more sensors in the cornea of one’s eye than in one’s fingertips, which are used for reading Braille. Therefore, the contact lens that Zalevsky and his team created allows the blind to see by transmitting visual information collected using a tiny camera to the bionic contact lens, which then sends signals to the cornea and sensory brain areas. The lens figuratively ‘presses’ images onto the eye’s surface through electrical signals, at which point the brain deciphers what the wearer is looking at, enabling them to see the full picture. Zalevsky believes that this contact will primarily  help those who are blind from birth, giving them the ability to really ‘”feel” images without the need for invasive procedures.

Project RAY: Taking the ‘eye’ out of IPhone

The invention of the smartphone has made life much easier, and thanks to Project RAY’s revolutionary technology, this sight-driven gadget will make the lives of the blind easier too. Project RAY’s vision-free smartphone was designed around touch and speech, letting the user select which application or message they want to open using a sliding motion, instead of the usual tapping, together with a voice and vibration function. In addition, the device orients itself around the user’s fingers, making it easy to search for applications, send text messages and even post on Facebook. Project RAY is also equipped with sensors, text-to-speech, and audio feedback features, as well as a public transportation navigation system, an emergency orientation system and a library for the blind that features audio magazines and books.

Holography: Restoring sight using ‘Google Glass’ for the blind

An inherited degenerative condition called retinitis pigmentosa (RP) causes the gradual degeneration of light sensing cells and ultimately leads to vision impairment or blindness later in life. Now researchers at the Technion Institute of Technology have found a futuristic way of restoring light sensitivity to vision cells by using a computer-driven technology called holography. In what the researchers call optogenetics, a light-sensitive protein is taken from another organism and inserted into a target cell to  photosensitize that cell, making it capable of sight. A bright light source is then projected on the cell, like a laser or  holograph, activating the cell and enabling the RP patient to see. The team hopes to develop a headset similar to Google Glass that will be able to convert visual images into light that would allow the hundreds of thousands of people with RP to finally see past the shadows.

BlindAid: Letting the blind feel out their surroundings

When exploring new places, the blind rely almost entirely on the people around them to get to know their surroundings. However, Dr. Orly Lavan of Tel Aviv University has created a software tool to help the blind navigate through new and unfamiliar places with ease. The BlindAid 3D haptic device, connected to an existing joystick, digitizes spatial information and virtually maps it out. As the user approaches a wall, sidewalk curb, or other obstacles, the joystick connected to the device stiffens, letting the users know the boundaries of their surrounding. The program can also be designed to emit sounds, like a telephone ring, when the user approaches a reception desk, or a car speeding off as they near a vehicle.

Implanted telescope for macular degeneration

A tiny telescope designed by Dr. Isaac Lipshitz is on its way to dramatically improve the most common cause of blindness in the elderly: age-related macular degeneration (AMD). The miniature telescope is implanted into one eye and works by enlarging central images over the damaged retina, while the other eye supplies the peripheral vision for mobility. This breakthrough technology is already helping the elderly in the United States not only see better but recognize facial expressions and nuances they would otherwise miss.

Inpris’s UpSense Keyboard: Creating a language of movement

Bulky external Braille keyboards are a hassle for the tech-savy, but now Nissan Yaron and his father Ben-Etzion invented an efficient keyboard that enables the blind to freely type on tablets and smartphones. Designed by the father-son team, UpSense Keyboard allows users to create their own intuitive language of finger gestures that their device is able to interpret and remember. In addition, the UpSense Keyboard can be activated at any point on the device’s screen, eliminating the difficulty endured by the visually impaired with finding the right spot on the screen to start typing. Recently, Inpris was nominated for the CSS Design Awards and was deemed by President Shimon Peres “a brilliant idea.”

Notal Vision ForeseeHome AMD Monitor

We’ve already mentioned that macular degeneration in the leading cause of blindness in the elderly, affecting nearly 10 million people in America alone, but one Israeli technology is already working towards minimizing this statistic. Founded in 2000, Notal Vision created the first home-based system to monitor patients with age-related macular degeneration (AMD) between eye exams, which has proven effective in detecting important visual changes at an earlier stage. The system posts the patient’s current data on a secure website where the physician can review it at any time to monitor their progress. In 2009, Notal received FDA approval for its ForeseeHome AMD Monitor and it is currently being sold, with great success, out of its St. Louis headquarters.

Photo: picture of handsome businessman with digital glasses on Bigstock

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Israel’s ‘GlassesOff’ App Said To Make Eyes A Whopping 8.6 Years Younger Wed, 09 Jul 2014 14:55:20 +0000 Aging can come with wonderful things like new-found understanding of priorities and deeper self-awareness, but getting older also comes with some inconveniences, like the need for reading glasses.

However – and you may want to put your reading glasses on for this one – a simple mobile app is said to be able to turn the clock back almost nine years for your eyes. GlassesOff, invented in Israel, helps individuals aged 40-60 improve their vision by playing a simple game only a few times each week. The app is based on research from Tel Aviv University, published in’s “Scientific Reports”, which shows that presbyopia (literally ‘aging eyes’) is not caused by visual clouding, as previously thought, but by prolonged brain processing time of images.

‘Coding’ our brains to read better

glassesoff1With these findings in hand, the team at Israeli startup GlassesoOff began developing a mobile game that can train the brain to bypass presbyopia. According to the research findings, the brain’s visual cortex is very similar to a binary code on a computer; like the 1’s and 0’s that instruct our computers what to do, any image in the brain can be represented as abstract Gabor patches (like the ones at every optometrist visit, that contain a big letter ‘E’) that vary in their frequency, contrast and orientation. Our brains too can be trained to differentiate between and bypass these variations, known as the art of neuroplasticity.

This change in our ‘perspective’ on vision is one of the revolutionary things about GlassesOff, CEO Nimrod Mader tells NoCamels: “When people think about their vision system they immediately think about the way their eye functions. However, while focusing on the quality of the image captured by the eye, many people forget the significant role that our brains play in interpreting images.”

Mader says that by training the brain with GlassesOff to adapt itself in cases of visual crowding, or the inability to identify words or objects inside a paragraph, reading glasses can be made obsolete.

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Better vision is only three-months of play

The GlassesOff game is simple; after undergoing an initial diagnostic test to determine what kind of vision problems need to be addressed, the app constructs a customized training regimen. Practicing regularly three days a week for 12-15 minutes a session, individuals aged 40-60 are presented with grey Gabor. Over a period of two to three months, the user works to stimulate the visual cortex in the brain by memorizing the placement of the Gabor patches and eliminating the visual confusion that usually warrants reading glasses.

glassesoff2“As you age, you need bigger letters and wider spaces between the letters in order to read clearly. But if you are trying to read a book, this option is not always accessible [unless you have a Kindle] and reading glasses are the inevitable option because no one is going to stretch the book out for you.” According to the study’s findings, there is more than 80 percent chance that the application will produce results for people between the ages of 40 to 60.

After each session, the GlassesOff app gives the user feedback on how their vision has improved, including tables and charts, which, (for the brave) can also be shared with friends on social networks. According to Madar, “Through the program, you reach various milestones that track your progress as you play so that the user isn’t just looking at the results three months ahead. It is always about getting to your next milestone that is just two to three weeks away.”

Reduce your ‘eye age’ by 8.6 years

glassesoff3Indeed, the findings of the same “Scientific Reports” study tested at the University of California at Berkley showed that through the GlassesOff application and its use of a neuroplasticity-based strategy, the “eye age of the reader” can be reduced by a whopping 8.6 years. However, before this makes you toss your reading glasses for good, it is important to know that GlassesOff does not claim to cure presbyopia and other age-related eye conditions, and it is uncertain that playing the game for an extended period (over three months) of time can further improve eyesight beyond the aforementioned statistics. In addition, there is the price variable, the app costs $59.99 for an iOS or GooglePlay subscription (following a free 2-week trial period), and the fact that some experts, like Peter J. Bex of the Schephens Eye Research Institute in Boston, believe that all GlassesOff may really be doing is helping its users read fine print.

Has an Israeli researcher found mankind’s holy grail – the fountain of youth?

As incredible as it sounds, it is difficult to say if the GlassesOff neuroscience-based method of visual training works miracles on every one of its users. What is certain, however, is that this app is nice proof that in Israel, members of the scientific research sector and the technology sector can come together to create potentially game-changing products.

Photos: Camera Eye Photography/ GlassesOff

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The Top 10 Israeli Startups Changing The World Of Sports Tue, 08 Jul 2014 11:45:54 +0000 Roaring crowds, fans decked out in national flags, nail-biting overtimes, unexpected twists and turns and hilarious Suarez and Howard memes. The 2014 World Cup is well under way, and while Israel may not be in the running for the glorious title, the Startup Nation sure does know a thing or two about winning sports fans over. In honor of the 2014 World Cup, NoCamels proudly presents the ten most cutting-edge Israeli companies re-inventing the world of competitive sports.


timhowardmemeKicking off our list is the world’s largest fan-generated soccer website, where anyone can sign up to become a sports journalist, regardless of their level of experience. Founded in 2011 by four Israeli entrepreneurs, FTBpro currently has over 2,000 passionate “fan writers” who put together thousands of articles each month in nine languages for an audience of more than 10 million readers.

With the 2014 World Cup under way, FTBpro features almost 300 articles every day about the tournament written by fans, covering topics ranging from in-depth analyses of upcoming matches to lighthearted topics such as Top 10 lists of memes and tweets.


smartcourtTennis legends Novak Djokovic and Billie Jean King are among investors who recently contributed $3.5 million for the global launch of Israeli company PlaySight’s SmartCourt, a tennis-analytic system designed to measure and record playing performance. SmartCourt provides 3D tactical, game management, information and holistic real-time statistics for tennis players to improve their skills.

SmartCourt also enhances the overall tennis-playing experience by making it digitally interactive and sharable via social media outlets. PlaySight’s recent investment will also further research in applying the SmartCourt technology to other kinds of other sports like basketball, soccer, and hockey.

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Replay Technologies, based in Tel Aviv, has developed the latest in 3D video playback technology—freeDimension, or “freeD” for short. The company already has some impressive clients already on its roster such as the NFL’s Dallas Cowboys and the 2012 London Olympics.

The technology works by installing 24 cameras around the sporting arena. Each camera’s footage is then recorded and synchronized, creating a 3D replay experience to make viewers at home feel as though they are watching the game live. Thanks to FreeD, you can look forward to watching your favorite replays from every perspective—including through the ‘eyes’ of the ball!


This startup has less to do with screaming and more to do with cheering! Screemo gives fans the opportunity to interact directly with advertisements at sporting events like basketball games, using nothing but their smartphones. The technology enables event sponsors of all kinds to quickly set up mass participatory events for sporting event attendees like engaging trivia games and competitions for prizes.

Screemo has already scored, with McDonald’s Pong event in Sweden in 2011. The fast food giant ran an interactive game that pitted players against each other, with all of the Pong action displayed on a giant billboard. Passersby logged into an app developed by McDonald’s, and winners were awarded coupons for free food items, like desserts. Not exactly the most figure-conscious app on this list.


vuboooSoccer fans who love to watch games live, but find the television viewing experience a bit too removed now have a way to virtually “be present” at their favorite sporting events. Israeli startup Vubooo’s “virtual stadium” app brings the game to fans’ phones and tablets, letting them be a part of the action in real time.

Vuboo takes advantage of Internet updates and social networking to report on what is happening in the game in real time — who took a shot on goal, how far the players ran, who blocked and who didn’t, who passed to whom, who’s in the penalty box, etc. You can cheer your favorite player (called “Vuvu-ing” in the app) or boo during the event, although the fans in the stadium, and of course the players on the field won’t hear you. You can also comment, or see the comments of other fans, all of whom are watching and/or following the game together with you through Vubooo.

Check out this awesome extreme sports drone created with Israeli tech!


365scoresThis company provides “Personalized Content Channels,” or a media platform that allows users to create their own sports channels based on their personal viewing preferences. 365Scores supports 10 sporting categories for sports like soccer, basketball, handball, rugby, cricket, and more. The service also allows fans to view scores, statistics, game predictions, video highlights, and even player tweets in over 18 languages. Users can get 365Scores on their web browser or mobile device, whether at home or on the go. With ultimate 2014 World Cup viewing access, we think this one is a keeper!


varsatyThis “player development platform” is a site that allows coaches to send personalized feedback to each one of their athletes based on team data such as video analysis, statistics, and more. After uploading their footage, these teams will be able to crop the video, write their comments about it, and then send it to the selected players. The players can then log onto their own profiles and see a dashboard filled with insight on how to improve their game from their coaching staff.

This process has the potential to completely change the way coaches use the data they generate, and provide an affordable coaching solution to younger or underfunded teams. Varsaty is still brand new, and has just been released to a few hand-selected professional teams.


etgarimEtgarim means “challenges” in Hebrew, but it’s also the name of a groundbreaking non-profit organization that helps disabled children and adults in Israel take part in extreme outdoor sports. Founded in 1995 by two disabled Israeli Defense Force veterans and several rehabilitation experts, Etgarim’s program allows more than 5,000 children and 700 adults to take part in strenuous activities and extreme sports such as running, cycling, sailing and rappelling. Some Etgarim members have already won several gold medals. It’s sailing team, comprised of disabled IDF veterans, won the gold medal in the Athens 2004 Paralympics.


apostherapyThe Israeli company AposTherapy offers athletes who suffer from orthopedic injuries after years of strenuous competition an alternative to invasive medical procedures with specially designed orthopedic shoes. AposTherapy is a personalized program for the treatment of various orthopedic conditions, which uses an individually calibrated, patent protected, foot-worn biomechanical device. NFL veterans who tried the shoes and are singing their praises include New York Giants players Bart Oates and Karl Nelson.


intelligymMore and more basketball and hockey coaches are now adopting the IntelliGym® system, a cognitive training program originally created by Israeli company ACE to train fighter pilots. The IntelliGym program has been proven to improve the performance of athletes on the court by more than 30 percent. The Basketball IntelliGym and the Hockey IntelliGym both work to improve crucial skills, considered un-trainable until recently, including awareness, reading plays, anticipation, decision-making under pressure, execution, long term concentration, and avoiding errors.

Several hall-of-fame coaches endorse the system and the results are also quite impressive. The U.S. under-18 national hockey team increased their win ratio from 29 percent to 70 percent after only ten IntelliGym® training sessions. In addition, several NCAA Division 1 powerhouses adopted the Basketball IntelliGym® as part of their training regimen including the University of Florida, Memphis, Kansas, Iowa, Georgia Tech, Kentucky, and others.

Photos: French Soccer Player on Bigstock/ FTBPro/ SmartCourt/ FreeD/ ColorblindRain/ screenshot/ screenshot/ Varsaty/ Etgarim/ screenshot/ screenshot


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ReWalk, The Revolutionary Israeli Tech That Allows Paraplegics To Walk, Nabs FDA Approval Tue, 01 Jul 2014 15:33:24 +0000 In the US alone, there are nearly 250,000 individuals with spinal cord injuries that partially or entirely inhibit regular motor functions. For them, standing and walking around freely remains the stuff of dreams. Now, using a revolutionary exoskeleton walking device invented by Dr. Amit Goffer called ReWalk, which was recently approved for home and communal use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) in the United States, wheelchair-bound individuals will be able to move freely and experience what it feels like to learn to ‘ReWalk’.

Following the announcement of FDA approval for the ReWalk device earlier this week, Dr. Goffer’s company, ARGO Medical Technologies, which is based in Israel, will attempt to raise $40-50 million on Nasdaq at a company value of $250-300 million. ReWalk’s growing international fan base includes among its notable members President Barak Obama, who praised the device while visiting Israel last year.

Enter the age of the exoskeleton

At the forefront of disruptive medical technology, ReWalk’s exoskeleton is powered not by robots, but by a computer and motion sensors that work together to mimic natural gait. The revolutionary system corrects itself to pick up slight changes in the user’s center of gravity; can be adjusted to a functional walking speed and even enables users to climb and descend staircases. Thirty-one year-old Claire Lomas was even able to complete the London Marathon in 2012 using the ReWalk device, albeit in a total of 17 days.

With FDA approval and the likely IPO, the device now looks set to put the wheelchair for paraplegics in the back pages of history books.

“It is physically hard work and incredibly frustrating at times to get the technique right, but when I make progress, it gives me a fantastic feeling,” Lomas told the Telegraph, following completion of the marathon. Lomas here refers to the ReWalk training process, which usually takes users up to a week to master and involves the use of the ReWalk Rehabilitation system, a product that was approved by the FDA for use in rehabilitation centers long before this week’s approval of the ReWalk Personal for home and communal use.

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In order to once again learn walk on their own, new ReWalkers train themselves to tilt their bodies forward in order to take a step and to continue moving in unison with the system. Soon people who only dreamed of standing, walking around, turning in different directions and climbing and descending stairs are once again able to feel the joy of these “simple” movements.

Those who have used ReWalk, including paralyzed US Marine Corps Veteran Captain Derek Herrera, who called the system “incredible”, assert that it improves mental and physical health, aids with digestion, cardiovascular health and the building of muscle mass.

The mobility to test out all terranes

Dr. Goffer’s goal in the invention of the ReWalk device was to allow those with debilitating spinal cord injuries to move freely at home, work, in social situations and even on the trail. As he puts it, “The person walks the system, the system does not walk them.”

However, the ReWalk, which has already been in full use in Europe for over two years, is not yet available for purchase in the US, despite the FDA approval. It also comes with a hefty price of about $69,500 for one system, which in reality is only a fraction of the half a million dollars that most paraplegics will pay for conventional care in the US.

But as the FDA approval and the upcoming IPO shows, ReWalk, just like the people it helps to walk, is beating all the odds in the fight for life-changing medical devices.

Photos: Courtesy of ARGO Medical Technologies

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