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.2015-10-08T10:08:43Z Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[3D Fashion Designer Danit Peleg Takes Tyra Banks And US By Storm]]> 2015-10-08T10:08:43Z 2015-10-08T10:08:43Z

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Just recently NoCamels discovered Israeli 3D fashion talent Danit Peleg. Barely a month later, none other than US supermodel and TV star Tyra Banks is one of Peleg’s biggest fans.

Banks is said to be so taken with the young Israeli’s home-printed designs that Peleg will make an appearance on Tyra Banks’ new talk show “FABLife” or “Tyra Presents FABLife” to showcase her unique designs on October 12th.

Tyra Banks reportedly reached out to Peleg after news of her entirely 3D printed collection went viral, with publications appearing in the “The New York Times” and “The Wall Street Journal,” as well as on Hollywood personality Kylie Jenner’s blog. Peleg, a design graduate of Israel’s Shenkar College of Engineering and Design, created the impressive 3D printed collection for her final university project, including five full outfits that took over 2,000 hours to print.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Fashion Design Student 3D Prints Brilliant Collection At Home


Peleg’s collection on FABLife models.

“My goal was to create a ready-to-wear collection printed entirely at home using printers that anyone can get,” said Peleg. Inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s painting, “Liberty Leading the People”, Peleg wanted to challenge herself in creating a collection that could be manufactured entirely on home-scale 3D printers.

To complete the project, she used Witbox 3D printers as well as a 3D rendering software called “Blender”. She also received advice from leading 3D printing experts at TechFactoryPlus and XLN, located in Israel. She experimented with a number of different printing materials until she pinpointed FilaFlex as the most precise and flexible material that could be made to look like fabric.


Peleg watching the episode rehersal.

According to Peleg, the five outfits she 3D printed for her project are just the beginning of a much larger conceptual change in the world of fashion – in which everyone is their very own in-house designer. “Just imagine the potential…If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room. Will we soon be able to design, share and print our own clothes directly from home?”

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

This kind of thinking is what brought Banks to fly Peleg out to Los Angeles to appear in a six-minute segment on her show “FABLife,” which stands for “Fun and Beautiful.” The talk show is a soundboard for the latest in fashion, food and celebrity gossip hosted by Banks and model Chrissy Teigen, among others.



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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Exit Nation: ProQuest Acquires Israeli Firm Ex Libris For Cool $500M]]> 2015-10-07T11:59:51Z 2015-10-07T10:42:06Z

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American library automation giant ProQuest has acquired its Israeli competitor Ex Libris for an estimated $500 million, one of the largest “exits” for an Israeli company in recent years, and the latest in a string of foreign acquisitions.

Three years ago, Jerusalem-based Ex Libris was bought for $250 million by private equity firm Golden Gate Capital, which is now selling it to ProQuest – for double the price. The acquisition is expected to close in the coming months.

This deal comes only one month after Israeli medical startup Valtech was acquired by American medical device maker HeartWare for a whopping $920 million. And in June, Hong Kong-based investment group XIO bought Israeli medical device firm Lumenis for $510 million. This latest “shopping spree” reflects higher price tags for Israeli companies: The average “exit” deal was $212 million in 2014, according to accountancy firm PwC Israel.

SEE ALSO: How To Breed More Israeli ‘Unicorn’ Companies


ProQuest, a provider of information solutions primarily to academic institutions, bought Ex Libris Group, a leading provider of management software for libraries around the world, thanks to their shared expertise: “The capabilities of ProQuest and Ex Libris span expertise in print, electronic and digital content, as well as solutions for library management, discovery and research workflows,” according to Ex Libris.

Bringing these complementary assets together will enable ProQuest and Ex Libris to offer new services that address some of libraries’ most pressing challenges: Disparate workflows for print, electronic and digital resources, and navigation of complex and rapidly changing technology, content and user environments.

SEE ALSO: Two Startups Sell For Quarter Billion Dollars Each In One Day

Spun off from the Hebrew University over 30 years ago, Ex Libris employs 380 people locally and an additional 220 around the globe. It is now considered a leading global provider of library automation solutions, serving 5,600 institutions in 90 countries. According to the company, a grand 43 of the top 50 universities worldwide and 40 national libraries employ Ex Libris solutions.

Ex Libris is “helping hundreds of institutions worldwide to improve their libraries’ value to their users,” ProQuest CEO Kurt Sanford said in a statement. “Together, the companies will build on and create more groundbreaking library services, bringing additional value to our customers and the broader industry.”

According to Ex Libris CEO Matti Shem-Tov, “the combined talent and expertise of ProQuest and Ex Libris will enable more efficient development and support of our leading solutions, and will accelerate innovation in both current and new products.”

Photos and video: Ex Libris

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Facebook To Beam Free Internet Across Africa Using Israeli Satellite]]> 2015-10-06T10:00:40Z 2015-10-06T09:51:02Z

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Facebook is teaming up with French satellite provider Eutelsat to launch an Israeli satellite, AMOS-6, that will beam free Internet to most of sub-Saharan Africa.

AMOS-6 is currently being built by the Israel Aerospace Industries for Israeli satellites operator Spacecom, and according to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg, will be launched into orbit by 2016.

This project was launched by Facebook’s, a non-profit initiative that brings together technology leaders, nonprofits and local communities to provide Internet access to the most remote regions of the world. Currently, only 17 percent of the population in sub-Saharan Africa has access to the internet, according to the 2015 Global Internet Report issued by the Internet Society.

SEE ALSO: ‘Gilat’ To Deploy Broadband Satellite Network In Kazakhstan

AMOS-6 satellite

According to reports in the media, Facebook is expected to pay Israel’s Spacecom about $100 million for the use of its satellite in the years 2016-2032. The total cost of the project is estimated at $300 million, with an additional $330 million in insurance coverage costs.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Trio Tries To Land Small Spaceship On the Moon

Founded over 20 years ago in Israel, Spacecom operates an AMOS satellite fleet, currently consisting of four satellites and more to come in the next two years. Traded on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, the company’s market cap is currently at $253.3 million, with its share price continuing to soar today.

“I’m excited to announce our first project to deliver internet from space,” Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a post yesterday. “As part of our collaboration with Eutelsat, a new satellite called AMOS-6 is going to provide internet coverage to large parts of Sub-Saharan Africa.”

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Over the past year, Facebook has been exploring ways to use aircraft and satellites to beam Internet access down into communities from the sky. In order to connect people living in remote regions, traditional connectivity infrastructure is often difficult and inefficient, so the effort calls for new technologies.

AMOS-6, which is under construction now, “will launch in 2016 into a geostationary orbit that will cover large parts of West, East and Southern Africa,” according to Zuckerberg. Facebook plans to work with local partners across these regions to help communities access the Internet.

“This is just one of the innovations we’re working on to achieve our mission with,” according to Facebook. “Connectivity changes lives and communities. We’re going to keep working to connect the entire world — even if that means looking beyond our planet.”

Photos: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook, Brian Solis

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Report: Apple Israel Could Be Behind Company’s Smart Home Breakthrough]]> 2015-10-04T18:54:27Z 2015-10-04T18:54:27Z

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If reports made by Israeli economic news source “Calcalist” are true, Apple’s next technological breakthrough could come from Israel.

According to reports, Apple’s Israel R&D center, located in Herzliya Pituach, has filed a patent application with the Israel Patent Office for “flexible room controls,” a 3D sensor that will project virtual buttons on surfaces to allow users to control smart home devices. “Calcalist” reports that, according to the patent filing, the virtual buttons will allow users to control connected aspects of their homes like lighting levels, room temperature, sound systems and more. In addition, the state-of-the-art 3D sensor system will be able to detect where an individual is located in a room, as well as their height, in order to project the sensor at a comfortable distance.

SEE ALSO: Why Did Apple Pay $345 Million For PrimeSense

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook during his visit to the company’s new R&D center in Israel

The technology behind the filing for the 3D sensor is based on Israeli company PrimeSense’s own 3D sensor system. Apple acquired PrimeSense for $350 million back in 2013 with the hopes of integrating the technology into the company’s smart home plans, and the recent patent filing could mean that Apple is finally giving PrimeSense’s technology a run for its money. PrimeSense’s 3D sensor technology has already been applied by a major Apple competitor, Microsoft, which used the technology for its Kinect and Xbox 360 products. Intel has also made use of PrimeSense’s revolutionary 3D sensor tech.


PrimeSense’s 3D sensor

SEE ALSO: Apple CEO Tim Cook In Israel

Apple’s version of the ultimate smart home control will be installed on the living room ceiling so that it can scan the room to assess ultimate viewing comfort, including adjustments that should be made for different projection surfaces. The device will then project, at a comfortable distance, a series of virtual buttons that will allow you to change the channel, dim the lights, and turn down the air conditioning. In addition, as with many of Apple’s products, the aspect of efficiency is taken into account, making it possible for users to swipe and move the controls with the swift hand gesture.

Its safe to say that ardent Apple fans around the world will eagerly await the formal announcement of Apple’s foray into the increasingly competitive smart home market.

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[NBA Players, West Point Cadets Use Israeli Tech To Prevent Injuries]]> 2015-10-04T09:37:44Z 2015-10-04T09:37:44Z

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

For sports organizations, a twisted ankle or sprained wrist in a star player can cost millions. One way to prevent those injuries is to pay strict attention to how a player performs in real time. To accomplish that, sports organizations throughout the US are turning to Israeli start-up PhysiMax, which, using 3D cameras, provides cloud-based analytics of how players are performing – and whether their favorite pivot-shot move or tackling style is likely to get them sidelined.

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


Among the professional organizations that are already using the PhysiMax system – or are strongly considering it – are numerous NBA teams, college basketball teams, the Maccabi Tel Aviv basketball franchise and the West Point Military Academy in the US, among others, said Ram Shalev, PhysiMax CEO and a co-founder of the company.

“Our vision is to take top scientific research in injury prevention and bring it to the field, allowing professional players and, eventually, many others, to benefit from technology that can help them avoid injuries,” Shaleve said.

SEE ALSO: Competitive Athletes More Prone To Gambling Addictions, Research Finds

PhysiMax’s technology has been validated by leading US military and academic experts, who themselves developed the original protocols used in the athletics world.

physimaxsystem“Until now, these protocols were only available to the athletic elite,” he added. “PhysiMax makes these protocols available to all athletes, in real time, scoring injury potential during games or other intensive efforts.”

While many harbor little sympathy for high-salary professional players – who get paid for sitting on the sidelines if they get injured – industry analysts blame at least part of the sky-high prices sports franchises charge to view games on the money they have to lay out in insurance and in salary payments to injured players.

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

Photos: PhysiMax

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Top Six Global Accelerators Kick-Starting Israeli Startups]]> 2015-10-01T08:39:38Z 2015-10-01T08:39:38Z

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In today’s global economy, everyone dreams of founding their own startup, and for good reasons: you get to be your own boss, you’re surrounded by high-energy creatives, and you have a chance at making the big bucks by selling your technology to companies that are eager to snatch up the next big thing.

For many Israeli startups, this dream is a reality. With one of the highest concentration of startups per capita in the world and almost one thousand new startups launched each year, Israel indeed earns and maintains its ‘Startup Nation’ title. But in order to succeed, Israeli startups need to reach an international market, as the Israeli market is too small to be sustainable.

SEE ALSO: Head Of Microsoft’s Accelerator Picks 5 Hot Israeli Startups To Watch

One of the best ways a startup can reach the anticipated point of exiting, going public, or simply becoming sustainably profitable is with the help of international startup accelerators – fixed-term, cohort-based programs that mentor and fund emerging startups, culminating in demo days where they pitch their product to potential investors. This essentially gives the startups the critical kick-start they need to succeed overseas.

NoCamels catalogs six of the top foreign accelerators that have rocketed Israeli startups into international superstardom.

UpWest Labs


Located in California’s bustling Silicon Valley, this accelerator scouts out strictly Israeli talent twice a year for its four-month programs. The perks for accepted startups include seed funding up to $25,000, access to leading investors, a hip workspace, direct mentorship from leading Silicon Valley entrepreneurs, and a myriad of software, human resources, legal, and banking services so that startups can focus solely on honing their product and pitch. UpWest Labs, which is now nurturing its tenth batch of startups, already has 42 graduates who have raised more than $100 million total in funding, with an average seed round of about $1 million per company. Impressive exits include Slick Login and Qlika, startups acquired by Google and Priceline Group, respectively.

Y Combinator


A giant in the realm of accelerators, Silicon Valley-based Y Combinator is most famous for incubating the likes of Dropbox, Reddit, and Airbnb. To date, it has funded 842 companies, with a collective market cap over $30 billion, and consistently ranks as one of the top startup accelerators in the world. They work with large batches of startups (85 most recently) twice a year, and provide them with $120,000 in funding along with varied mentorship and networking benefits. Three Israeli startups – Parallel Universe, Guesty, and Cleanly – were incubated at Y Combinator recently. Just this May, Cleanly (dealing with on-demand laundry delivery) received $2.3 million in seed funding.

Tech Stars


The teams of Israeli startups AppInside and Platfarm of Tech Stars.

Often compared with Y Combinator, Tech Stars has funded 556 companies (419 of which are active) to date, and was named by Forbes as the third best US Accelerator in 2015. Startups that are lucky enough to get accepted to the exclusive, mentorship-driven program receive $18,000 in seed funding and an optional $100,000 convertible debt note, and spend three months developing their product in one of the nine-city locations, including Berlin, Boston, and London. Platfarm and AppInside are two Israeli startups in the latest batch, which participated at Tech Stars Berlin 2015 Demo Day in September. Both have already raised their first round of seed funding.

500 Startups


Dave McClure, Founder of 500 Startups

A self-described “badass, global family of startup founders, mentors, and investors” founded by PayPal and Google alumni, 500 Startups recruits top startups for four-month accelerator programs in Mountain View, San Francisco, and Mexico City. Forbes named it the eight best startup accelerator in the US in 2015, praising in particular its alumni network and startup survival rate. 500 has already raised over $261 million in funding, and invests up to $125,000 in each of the startups. MyPermissions, WisePricer, and Sky Giraffe are among the notable Israeli startups that have partaken in the accelerator. MyPermissions, an online privacy shield app and the first Israeli startup funded by 500, recently raised $2.6 million in two funding rounds.

SEE ALSO: CEO Of MassChallenge Tells NoCamels What It’s Like To Launch In Israel



IcoNYC offices in New York.

Like UpWest Labs, IcoNYC (pronounced like “iconic”) focuses on growing early-stage, exclusively Israeli tech startups into global companies. New to the scene, IcoNYC chose five companies for its first cohort just this past spring. The startups – DannyLoop, Gaonic, Clickspree, Flux, and Myndlift – each received $20,000 in seed funding and are currently undergoing a six-month program in New York City. The accelerator runs longer than most traditional accelerators and is also more hands-on, with customized plans for each startup that are refined on a weekly basis.

Mass Challenge


The only no-strings-attached accelerator on this list, Mass Challenge does not take any equity or place any restrictions on the startups it works with. Since its founding in 2010, this accelerator’s graduates have raised over $706 million in outside funding, creating nearly 4,800 jobs. Mass Challenge Israel, a local branch of Mass Challenge, focuses on recruiting early-stage Israeli startups for a four-month accelerator program held in Boston. Select startups receive a community of advisers and mentors, a 3,000-square-meter office space, and the training needed to compete for over $1 million in cash prizes. Some notable Israeli startups from MassChallenge 2015 are Flying SpArk, ReThink Pharmaceuticals, eRated, and feelter.

The presence of Israeli startups in international accelerators is growing and will be worth keeping an eye on, as they will likely set up shop in the US and countries outside Israel to make an ever greater impact on the global market.

Photos: Maki Oshiro/ Robyn Twomey/

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Why The World’s Largest Tech Companies All Want A Piece Of The Israeli Pie]]> 2015-10-03T13:26:57Z 2015-09-30T05:27:07Z

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They all want a piece of the Israeli pie: Microsoft, Google, Apple – dozens of large, multinational companies have chosen to establish offices and R&D centers in the Startup Nation. Why did they all pick Israel and what exactly are they doing here?

It’s a little known fact that two thirds of all R&D employees in Israel are employed by foreign companies such as HP and Microsoft, according Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics. Currently, there are 250 R&D centers of foreign high-tech companies in Israel, according to IVC Research Center. The heavy presence of multinationals in Silicon Wadi clearly affects the local economy; consider this: Intel Israel is responsible for almost a tenth of Israel’s overall exports!

SEE ALSO: What Will It Take To Breed More Israeli ‘Unicorns?’


Some of the most active companies locally include international technology giants such as Intel and IBM, which set up shop in Israel in the early 70’s and have grown exponentially to employ thousands of local employees. Some of these companies’ latest technologies are being developed in Israel, for example: several components of IBM’s highly praised Watson (its artificially intelligent computer), or Intel’s super-fast Core 6 processors.

Thanks to multinational R&D centers, Israel is now a patent powerhouse. Over the past year, the number of Israeli patents filed in the US jumped 21 percent, making it the third-largest patent filer per capita, according to a study by Israeli business data firm BdiCoface. Only Japan and Taiwan outranked Israel. According to BdiCoface, between 2009 and 2013, IBM produced the most patents in Israel (674), followed by Intel (435), Marvell (281), SanDisk (261) and HP (197).

SEE ALSO: Intel Tech Puts Backpacks On Bees To Track World Bee Collapse

So, why are the big kids playing in the small Israeli playground? NoCamels rounded up the largest Israeli R&D centers of international high-tech companies to reveal the importance of their local presence to their overall success.


With roughly 10,000 employees in six locations across Israel, Intel is the largest multinational high-tech company in the Holy Land. It has four development centers in Haifa, Yakum, Petach Tikva and Jerusalem, as well as manufacturing facilities in Kiryat Gat and Jerusalem. Recent statistics show that in 2014, Intel exports accounted for 9 percent of total goods exported from Israel.

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

“We’re so much more than a chipmaker today,” Guy Bar-Ner, director of sales and marketing for Intel Israel, tells NoCamels. Indeed, earlier this month Bar-Ner presented some of Intel’s most cutting-edge technologies at the DLD Tel Aviv Conference, including Internet of Things solutions for airports. The company recently opened an IoT lab in Israel, which also serves as an incubator for startups in this field.

Intel processor

Intel’s processor

Maxine Fassberg, president of Intel Israel, said during a DLD panel discussion that Intel is in Israel “because we’re after the talent and the creativity of the Startup Nation.” According to Fassberg, “Israel is crucial to Intel. Intel cannot do without the geniuses here in Israel.”


Roughly 1,000 employees work at IBM’s R&D labs in five centers across Israel. The computer giant launched a startup accelerator program in Israel last year, and has acquired more than a dozen Israeli companies for a total of $2 billion over the 40 years since it set up shop here.

IBM Israel employees work on a large number of projects involving big-data analytics, software, cognitive computing, application security and more.

There’s no doubt IBM is invested in Israel, or as IBM Israel’s passionate CEO Rick Kaplan said at the DLD conference: “We’ve acquired 13 companies here, we invest in them, we grow them.” He explained that IBM puts its offices “where the talent is,” and added that Israel is the company’s No. 2 office in terms of patents.

IBM Israel

IBM Israel

IBM Israel is working on cyber-security as well. “Israel has set a target to create a cyber-center for the world. It’s our goal, too. Our lab will grow only if Israelis bring tremendous value, like they do with IBM Watson.”

What’s so special about Israel in his opinion? “The state is now reaching out to eighth graders. By the time they enlist in the military service at age 18, they have advanced degrees in math. It’s an amazing proposition,” Kaplan said.


Google made waves locally when it acquired Israeli mobile navigation app Waze for $1.3 billion in 2013. The internet giant currently employs more than 500 people in Israel, in two R&D centers established in 2012 – Tel Aviv and Haifa. Google’s engineers generally work on products for Google’s global markets, including the company’s search engine, apps and social products, as well as on core Google infrastructure.

“Israel has become one of the fastest growing centers in all of Google, now reaching the order of some 500 or so engineers alone, and one of the biggest areas we specialize in is search,” Yossi Matias, who heads Google Israel and serves as Google’s VP of Search, recently told NoCamels.

Naturally, Google’s local sales team works with advertisers locally, but it also manages operations in Middle Eastern, African and European markets.


Microsoft’s Israeli R&D Center is one of three strategic global development centers and home to some of the company’s most innovative technologies. The center’s 1,000 employees work on big data, business intelligence, cloud storage and artificial intelligence. Microsoft also operates a local startup accelerator-venture capital combo called Microsoft Ventures.

Over the past years, the software behemoth has acquired several Israeli companies, including security startup Aorato and software companies Equivio and N-trig. Earlier this month, Microsoft finalized its acquisition of Israeli cloud-security startup Adallom for $250 million.

Following the acquisition of Adallom, it is possible that Microsoft will eventually open a cyber-security research center in Israel, according to reports in the Israeli media.

Microsoft Haifa

Microsoft Israel


The renowned social network – which purchased several Israeli startups in recent years – is one of the latest international giants to set up shop in Israel. The newcomer’s presence in Israeli is rather small, with about 40 employees, mostly in marketing.

However, its presence in Israel is important to the company’s leadership, according to Adi Soffer Teeni, CEO of Facebook Israel.

“Facebook looks at Israel as the place to be,” she said at the DLD conference. “There’s so much they can learn from Israelis. Israelis move fast, they don’t wait for an answer, that’s how you get things done. That’s why Facebook likes Israel. They’re amazed every time they come here.”


Apple is the latest company to open offices in Israel. Earlier this year, the consumer electronics giant inaugurated its R&D center in Israel, which employs about 800 people, including employees of Israeli startups Apple has acquired over the years, such as Anobit and PrimeSense.

According to reports in the media, Apple also wants its Israeli team to develop computer chips in-house, instead of relying on third-party suppliers.

In addition to taking part in developing Apple’s computers, mobile devices and online services, some employees take part in regional marketing and sales efforts.

Apple CEO Tim Cook

Apple CEO Tim Cook during his visit to the company’s new R&D center in Israel

From HP and Marvell to Amazon, numerous companies want a piece of the action

Additional multinational companies with a significant presence in Israel include computers giant HP (about 6,000 employees); IT giant Cisco (1,800 employees); semiconductors manufacturer Marvell, with roughly 1,200 employees in Israel; EMC2 (1,000); Broadcom (800); Amazon (180); and Yahoo (about 100), which recently picked Israel as the location for its first startup accelerator.

Clearly, multinational companies look for local talent, creative thinking and perhaps a grain of Israeli chutzpa. In return, they get a team of Israelis eager to prove themselves. Or, as Israeli Yoelle Maarek, who leads Yahoo’s regional office, said earlier this month at DLD: “We want to be critical to the company; we want to be the leaders.”

Photos: Pikiwiki, companies

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Gemsense’s Innovative Tech Turns Objects Into Virtual Reality Experiences]]> 2015-09-29T11:47:23Z 2015-09-29T11:47:23Z

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

A video driving game is nice, but even when fully engaged in the experience, players realize that it’s just a game. For a true all-encompassing experience, you need a true virtual environment.

But that’s only achievable with complicated augmented and virtual reality programming techniques, and expensive AR or VR glasses – making the dream of developing a killer AR/VR app out of reach for most developers.

SEE ALSO: Back To The Future: Researchers Create Virtual Time-Travel To Treat Memory-Based Trauma


Unless developers utilize the “instant AR/VR” system invented by Israeli start-up Gemsense.

“It’s a tiny computer, developed by us, as the first plug and play controller device for AR and VR,” said Jonathan Schipper, a co-founder of the company. “With our system on a chip (SoC), developers can turn any ordinary item into a 3D experience that fully engages all the senses.”

AR and VR have been touted for the past half decade as “the next big thing,” even before IoT (Internet of Things) became the new “next big thing” a couple of years ago. Unlike IoT, which can now claim a slew of Internet-connected items already on the market — such as front doors, refrigerators, cars and washing machines — AR/VR has remained behind, more of a novelty than a game-changer, except at the higher-end of the gaming business.

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


The Oculus Rift (which is still under development, as it has been since 2012) and similar products, expected to cost around $500, will allow gamers with deep pockets to enjoy games on their TV-connected gaming systems, like Xbox One (which, if they don’t already have one, will cost gamers another $500).

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

Photos: Courtesy

Maya Yarowsky and Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Tech Is Gearing Up To Keep The Vehicles Of The Future Safe]]> 2015-09-24T12:00:36Z 2015-09-24T12:00:36Z

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When Chrysler recalled 1.4 million vehicles this summer after a dangerous defect was discovered allowing vehicles’ dashboard computers to be hacked, the consequences of creating the connected vehicles of the future became clear. Not only was the system’s navigation system hacked, but a team of WIRED magazine security researchers were able to gain control over the steering, transmission and yes, even the car’s brakes.

In a world where everything from our bank accounts to our cars are protected by a few lines of code, manufacturers need to get smart about their cyber security measures to keep users, and drivers safe. That’s why a number of major auto manufacturers, Chrysler included, have come to appreciate the value of Israeli technology in fending off hackers from every direction – including those that get in the way of our driving.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Gearing Up For Driverless Cars


Although Israel is a newcomer to the industry, companies like Argus Cyber Security, Mobileye, and Powermat are driving the automobile industry in a safer and smarter direction.

Cyber security – for cars

Chrysler and other auto makers were reeling when WIRED researchers succeeded in wirelessly hacking the Uconnect dashboard computer in a moving Jeep. Immediately, Chrysler sent out a software update to Jeep owners to prevent similar hacks in the future, as well as initiating “network-level security measures” to block similar attacks over the vehicle’s Internet connection.

While the hack made Americans weary for the future of connected vehicles, the founders of Israeli automotive cyber security startup Argus were hardly moved by the news. To prevent the hacking of vehicles’ Electronic Control Units (ECUs), which control the brakes, engine, steering and airbags, Argus’s patent-pending system scans the communications components to see if anything is awry. Argus’s system does this by analyzing the data that comes in and out of a vehicles’ communications system, which is usually very limited and directed at a specific IP address, making it easy to identify foreign threats or attempts to overhaul a vehicle.


Argus is ready to tackle a future of car hacks.

“In a world of connected cars, car-hacking is an unavoidable hazard,” says co-founder and CEO of Argus Ofer Ben-Noon. “Argus helps the automotive industry keep passengers’ safety a top priority and complies with emerging cyber security regulatory requirements.” Of course, like many of the cyber security companies originating in Israel, the idea for Argus’s platform came about while Ben-Noon was serving in the Israeli military’s elite 8200 intelligence unit.

Although Argus isn’t the only Israeli firm trying to protect connected cars- TowerSec and Arilou are two other companies with similar goals in mind- its solution is highly targeted, developed and supported by years of intelligence experience. As Ben-Noon told Forbes, “Our goal is to be the Symantec of automotive security.”

‘Computers on wheels’

When they’re not identifying new ways to keep our cars safe amid imminent online attacks, Israeli companies are hard at work ensuring that the car of the future is way smarter than the one you drive today. Israel’s skilled workforce, strict compliance with international quality standards, and advanced R&D capabilities have helped make the country a leading destination for the outsourcing and development of leading new auto products.

Back in 2010, General Motors (GM) was one of the first companies to recognize the potential in Israel’s development talent, opening an advanced research center in the country that has grown from just 15 engineers to now more than 70. GM also invested $5 million in Israeli startup Powermat that makes wireless charging mats for cell phones and other electronic devices, a much welcomed luxury when on the road.

Mishor 3D may be the best example of innovative Israeli tech in the automotive space. Last year, Ford tapped the Tel Aviv-based company’s augmented reality navigation technology to be installed in their future models. Mishor’s state-of-the-art tech uses Heads-Up-Display (HUD) to project navigation routes on the dashboard. Ford paid an undisclosed amount to install Mishor’s tech in its vehicles, with the hope that this HUD system will beat out similar systems installed by other major competitors.

According to Uri Pachter, the Director of International Projects, Tenders, and Automotive in Israel, “If you were to ask BMW to name the 10 biggest nations in the automotive industry, Israel wouldn’t likely be included. However, when you talk about adopting and implementing innovative technologies into motor vehicles, it would be almost impossible to take Israel out of the mix,” he tells NoCamels.

Safety first

Although Israel has never had its own successful auto industry (Susita vehicles haven’t been manufactured since the 1980s), engineers in the country know a thing or two about testing the limits of car safety. Seatbelts, airbags and reverse cameras fair pale in comparison to accident alert systems like Mobileye and Brightway Vision, which are working to power a safer future of driverless cars.

Tesla is installing Mobileye’s technology in the latest models of its first partially autonomous electric car, the Model S, which is set to hit the roads by the end of the year, as are Audi and BMW. Mobileye also recently made headlines for powering the longest journey made by an autonomous vehicle, a 3000 mile trip made by the Delphi Roadrunner from San Francisco to New York. And in June, the Taxi and Limousine Commission in New York announced that it will begin installing Mobileye’s alert systems in taxicabs to ensure safer driving. So what’s all the buzz about?

SEE ALSO: Israeli Tech Powers Longest-Ever Driverless Car Journey From San Francisco To Manhattan


Delphi Roadrunner

Mobileye’s machine vision technology uses a magnifying camera together with software that calculates just how much time a driver needs to brake to prevent collision. The technology, developed by Prof. Amnon Shashua of the Hebrew University, also alerts drivers when they are too close to pedestrians, veering out of their lane, and even hits the brakes for the driver in some vehicles.

Due to the wild success of its technology, as well as the attention Mobileye gained from raising $890 million on the NYSE, a number of major auto manufacturers have already signed agreements to have Mobileye’s Advanced Driver Assistance System preinstalled in their vehicles. BMW, Ford, General Motors, Nissan, Peugot, Volvo, Tesla and even Chrysler are convinced that Mobileye’s tech is the best to keep drivers safe.

Another Israeli tech firm, BrightWay Vision, is building on Mobileye’s momentum by releasing an advanced vision-enhancing technology for night-time driving. BrightWay’s technology makes it possible for drivers to see at night as if they have their high-beams on, without actually turning them on. Synchronized cameras and illuminators make in-coming headlights look like small dots and non-lit areas are illuminated using the technology, called BrightEye’s. Currently, the company is in the process of getting its BrightEye product out on the market, which means appealing to major car manufacturers and dealerships to install the device.

A car battery that charges in five minutes 

As the world gears up for autonomous vehicles, electric engines and an overhaul of transportation technology as we know it, Israeli companies are at the forefront of innovation. Just this month, Israeli nano-technology company StoreDot, famous for creating a smartphone battery that can be charged in 30 seconds, received a $18 million investment to develop a car battery that fully charges in five minutes. Once the invention is on the market, it could mean that Israeli tech companies will not only be the brains behind vehicles’ security, safety and smart features, but that may also power the green transportation revolution hopefully lurking around the corner.

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Control All Your Locks From Your Phone With This Cool Israeli Gadget]]> 2015-09-24T08:00:22Z 2015-09-24T07:55:13Z

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

After smart TVs and smart refrigerators, the next battleground for Internet of Things technology is – the front door.

Israeli door and lock manufacturer Mul-T-Lock is marketing a new Bluetooth-based lock, which lets users create virtual “keys” on the spot to allow or deny access to homes or offices. Now owned by Swedish lock manufacturer Assa Abloy, the Yavne-based company’s ENTR system lets users control entry from a smartphone, tablet, or other Bluetooth-enabled device.

SEE ALSO: Perfecting The Art Of Smart Gardening Is The Name Of GreenIQ’s Game


Designed to be retrofitted into existing doors, the ENTR system lets users lock or unlock doors from their device – or to create or disable “virtual keys” using the ENTR app. The virtual key consists of a series of letters, numbers, and signals – a key code, essentially – that is registered with the lock, enabling access to users who punch in the numbers correctly. The keys can be permanent, or created on the fly, to allow entry for one-time visitors or “latchkey kids” who come home when their parents are out.

The app can also bar anyone – even if they have a valid code – from entering during specific scheduled times. And, it can schedule the door to unlock itself at a specific time – perfect, for example, for Sabbath-observant Jews who won’t use the app on Shabbat (the system also allows use of a physical key for those users).

SEE ALSO: Internet Of Bees: Intel Tech Puts Backpacks On Bees To Track World Bee Collapse

The guts of the system are based on algorithms developed by Freescale, a US chip maker that has a large R&D facility in Israel. IoT, according to Shmuel Barkan, director of Freescale Israel, is where chip development is going in the future, and the ENTR lock system is a good example of how the company’s technology can help build that IoT future.

“We compete against a large number of companies, but there are few as well positioned as Freescale to take advantage of the IoT future,” said Barkan. “Our chips come in all sorts of configurations, with strong versatility for IoT applications.”

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

Photos: ENTR

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[These Israeli Companies Fight World Hunger With Innovative Technologies]]> 2015-09-21T18:19:24Z 2015-09-21T18:19:24Z

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The escalating global food crisis might soon mean that increasing yields and sowing more crops may simply no longer meet the demand for nourishment. By 2050, it is estimated that the world will need to produce at least 50 percent more food to feed its 9 billion people. However, due to global warming, crop yields could drop by 25 percent, according to the World Bank.

SEE ALSO: ‘The Waze of Agriculture’ Aids Farmers With Crowdsourced Data

In the face of world hunger, some Israeli companies are working hard to put a halt to world hunger and agflation – the rising food prices caused by increased demand for agricultural commodities. Since the 1950s, Israelis have found innovative ways to feed the world and grow crops in their very own desert. NoCamels highlights five major Israeli technologies that could end world hunger.

Agriculture - Environment News - Israel


While water scarcity has plagued desert countries for decades, it is no longer an inevitable concern for Israel’s desert thanks to technologies like Tal-Ya Agriculture Solutions. The Israeli firm has developed technologies designed to grow more food with less water.

Among the company’s technologies are: Reusable plastic trays that 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.

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

Since its inception 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.



In poor countries where agricultural resources are scarce, mold and insects can easily destroy harvests, especially amid extreme heat and humidity. The GrainPro Cocoon, created by Hebrew University alum Professor Shlomo Navarro, solves that problem. The Cocoon is a giant storage bag that safeguards crops by keeping out hungry bugs.

The material used to protect crops is specifically designed for open desert conditions, in areas with harsh weather conditions such as Africa and South America, where there is a shortage of storage facilities to protect harvests.

Nowadays, the storage bags are not only used in the Middle East but all over the world. Since the Cocoon’s inception in 2011, Navarro’s creation is now owned and sold by American company GrainPro.


Can you imagine growing limitless amounts of wheat amid extreme climates such as drought or heat? The Israeli firm NR Gene, based in Ness Ziona, has already checked that off its list. The genomic data startup recently mapped the complete emmer wheat genome in one month, which is now expected to allow scientists to breed seeds with higher yields and stronger disease resistance.

Now, “we can get higher yields, better grain quality and nutritional value, and plants that are resistant to diseases and better adapted to their growing environments,” NRGene‘s lead researcher Dr. Assaf Distelfeld said in a statement. “Sequencing the wild wheat genome will advance wheat research and facilitate the genetic identification necessary for continuing wheat improvement.”

The emmer wheat genome map was a collaborative project led by researchers from various universities in Israel and abroad.

black emmer

Black emmer

Bio Bee

A pioneer in organic agriculture, Kibbutz Sde Eliyahu has successfully left its mark on chemical-free farming with its very own company Bio Bee. 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. Bio Fly is a collaborative effort by Israeli, Jordanian and Palestinian agricultural experts.



Israeli software house Agricultural Knowledge On-Line (AKOL), founded in 1978, specializes in helping producers grow fruits and vegetables, raise poultry and dairy cows, manage vineyards, and even make olive oil. The AKOL online forum, which is owned by Kibbutz Bror Hayil in Southern Israel, advises farmers on what time of year is best to plant and harvest, how to cope with drought, how to track growth of livestock, among many other questions and concerns when running a modern farm.

In 2011, the firm signed a development agreement with computer giant IBM to be hosted on its “cloud.” Most recently, AKOL announced it would lunch an “agricultural cloud” in China, after signing an agreement with its government earlier this year.

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel Inks Deal To Provide Water Technologies To Drought-Ridden Southern California]]> 2015-09-20T12:00:42Z 2015-09-20T12:00:42Z

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

The rains may have finally come to Southern California in recent weeks, but officials know they can no longer rely on the vagaries of nature to ensure a proper water supply and are looking to Israel for help.

SEE ALSO: How Israeli Desalination Technology Is Helping The US

In an agreement signed earlier in September, LA County will work with Israel to study Israeli water technology, seeking the most appropriate systems to be used in the county to conserve water resources.

Carlsbad desalination project

“The technology Israel has developed and employed to stretch its meager water resources is truly impressive,” said LA County Supervisor Sheila Kuehl. “I look forward to working together on ways that Los Angeles County can benefit from their work on technology and research concerning point of reuse, recycling and groundwater recharge. ”

SEE ALSO: Genetically Modified Plants To Resist Intense Drought

LA County, which encompasses the City of Los Angeles and dozens of other cities and towns, has nearly 10 million residents; nearly a quarter of all California residents. About half the county’s population gets its water from a network of municipal reservoirs and sources, but the other half gets it water from private water systems – many of them drawing from groundwater. These systems are, according to a recent UCLA study, vulnerable to contamination, limited supply, or inability to supply current and projected demand.

Israeli expertise to solve California’s ongoing water problems

The agreement with LA County is the latest in a series of deals in which California has drawn on Israeli know-how and experience to solve the state’s ongoing water problems.

In March 2014, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu signed a deal with California Governor Jerry Brown to export Israeli desalination, water recovery and recycling, water filtration, and water security technology to the state.

“Through this agreement, California and Israel will build on their respective strengths in research and technology to confront critical problems we both face, such as water scarcity, cybersecurity and climate change,” said Brown.

San Diego area

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

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Supersonic’s $1.2B Merger With ironSource To Create Israel’s First Internet Behemoth]]> 2015-09-17T15:16:35Z 2015-09-17T13:04:29Z

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

A merger between Israel-based digital delivery giant ironSource and Israeli-owned mobile ad firm Supersonic is set to form what may be Israel’s first Internet conglomerate.

The hookup, announced in July, will create a mobile ad and app behemoth that will reach over a billion users, based on the current reach of both companies — and not even accounting for the expansion the new entity is likely to experience as a result of the new products and services the companies plan to develop together.

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Israeli Mergers Of All Time

ironSource, a company that is not quite five years old, is estimated to be worth hundreds of millions of dollars, with revenues said by analysts to be in excess of $300 million a year (the company does not issue financial data, as it is privately held). It partners with just about every tech and web giant there is, from Microsoft to Google to Yandex, the giant Russian search engine.

Over 100 million people per month use ironSource’s tech services, the company says, and industry experts believe that if it decided to go public, the valuation of ironSource would be pegged at over 1 billion dollars. The company employs over 600 people, most of them in Israel, with offices in the US, Europe, and China.

SEE ALSO: Startups Sell For Quarter Billion Dollars Each

The company’s most important brand, InstallCore, is a platform used by companies large and small to deliver software downloads to PC and mobile users, and is “an end-to-end platform solution for software installation delivery and monetization,” said Arnon Harish, general manager of InstallCore; the platform reaches over 450 million unique mobile users each month, and hosts more than 6 million downloads a day.

Supersonic, founded in 2008 in Tel Aviv by Israeli tech veterans Gil Shoham and Arik Czerniak, isn’t quite as big, but it is a world leader in mobile video advertising. It works with companies such as Adidas, Intel, Coca Cola, and many others.

Supersonic teams up with companies like ironSource to deliver ads that are displayed during the install process, as well as running video ad campaigns, opt-in promotions, and other programs for companies that make mobile apps and distribute them on mobile installation platforms like InstallCore.

Google Play app store

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

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Following Israel’s Most Devastating Sandstorm, Eyes Are On Air Pollution App BreezoMeter]]> 2015-09-17T11:50:34Z 2015-09-17T10:25:51Z

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The worst dust storm in Israel’s history struck last week, causing widespread health problems and pollution, and leaving behind it a beige layer of dirt covering the entire country. While most found the storm unbearable, there are some exceptions, notably the team behind the already popular Israeli app BreezoMeter, which tracks pollutants and can determine air quality in nearly every corner of the world.

The massive sandstorm, which broke air pollution records, led many to seek pollution data through BreezoMeter, which CNBC recently called one of the “world’s hottest apps.”

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


“Air pollution is a global problem that killed 8 million people around the world and 2,500 in Israel alone last year,” BreezoMeter’s co-founder and CMO Ziv Lautman recently told NoCamels. According to the World Health Organization, air pollution is a leading environmental cause of cancer deaths and in most countries, the mortality rate from heart and lung diseases caused by air pollution is much higher than that from traffic accidents.

SEE ALSO: Exposure To Pollution In Womb Raises Risk Of Autism

Last week, the Israeli Ministry of Environmental Protection issued a pollution warning urging the public to remain indoors. Some areas, including the capital Jerusalem, saw pollution skyrocket to up to 140 times the usual levels.

This happened during the same week that Tel Aviv hosted Israel’s largest technological conference, DLD, which forced its 10,000 attendees to face extreme conditions of heat and humidity. But Breezometer reaped the rewards, as its booth at the conference was one of the most sought-after.

Real-time pollution data at your fingertips

BreezoMeter‘s 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.

The company, founded just last year by Emil Fisher, Ran Korber and Ziv Lautman, has so far raised $1.8 million in private financing rounds. Its app is available for Android and iPhone users.


Still, pollutants are a fact of life in our modern world – and that’s something BreezoMeter can’t change. However, 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,” Lautman said in a statement. “Imagine how useful it would be if on your next visit to the doctor, they’d be able to check the quality of the air you have breathed over the past two weeks – maybe that could be the cause of your cough?”

Photos and video: Amos Meron, BreezoMeter

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Is Israeli Flavoring Co. Frutarom On Its Way To Becoming Israel’s Next ‘Unicorn’?]]> 2015-09-16T10:59:26Z 2015-09-16T10:57:41Z

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

Flavoring and ingredient firm Frutarom took a giant step toward becoming Israel’s next “unicorn” – a world giant with a billion dollars in sales – with its tenth acquisition so far this year. Frutarom ties the record for number of companies acquired by a single corporation in one year this century (Massachusetts-based Alere Global bought ten companies in 2007). Last weekend, Frutarom announced it was acquiring 79% of the shares of the Spanish company Nutrafur, a company that develops and markets specialty natural plant extracts bearing antioxidant properties.

The Spanish company was valued at $14.5 million, with Herzliya-based Frutarom’s share worth about $11.4 million. The specific terms of the deal were not announced.

SEE ALSO: What Will It Take To Breed More Billion Dollar Israeli ‘Unicorn’ Companies


Frutarom’s acquisitions

With this year’s acquisitions, including one in Australia, Frutarom has a presence on every continent (except for Antarctica, so far), and is now the seventh-largest flavoring and ingredient company in the world.

Established in 1933, Frutarom offers a total of some 31,000 products, which are sold to more than 15,500 customers in 145 countries around the world – including Algeria, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, via its Flachsmann A/S subsidiary. Now part of an international holding group, ICC Industries, the company is still headquartered in Haifa, and made a profit $63.6 million on revenues of $684 million in 2013.

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


All that acquisition activity has helped sell a record of $413 million of products in the second quarter, the company said. Thus, if, as many tech experts claim, one of the qualities of a “unicorn” – a uniquely successful company that is a world leader in its field – is achieving a major milestone in sales or other financial metrics, Frutarom is on its way to unicorn status.

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

Photos: Phil Ahren, Frutarom

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Researcher Heads Team That Discovers One Of The Oldest Galaxies In The Universe]]> 2015-09-16T10:07:11Z 2015-09-16T10:07:11Z

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When speaking of galaxy EGS8p7, “far out” would be an understatement.

A team of researchers at the California Institute of Technology, led by Israeli Adi Zitrin, reports that they have identified one of the oldest and most distant galaxies known to mankind. According to Zitrin, a NASA Hubble Postdoctoral Scholar in Astronomy, and Richard Ellis, a professor of astrophysics who joined in the research, the galaxy known as “EGS8p7” is about 13.2 billion-years-old. As a point of comparison, the known universe is 13.8 billion-years-old, meaning the EGS8p7 came into existence a mere 600 million years after the Big Bang.

The discovery is now forcing researchers across the world to rethink their understanding of what happened after the Big Bang.

SEE ALSO: Are We Alone In The Universe? Research Says Chances Of Advanced Alien Life Are Slim


Discovering the evolution of the universe

The Big Bang is the theory that posits that the universe continuously expands so out of its original dense, hot state, which was characterized by high amounts of free-roaming electrons, protons and photons. After a cooling period, protons and electrons began to mix together to form hydrogen atoms that allowed light to travel through space. This allowed for galaxies, like our own, to begin to form, as gravity could then begin pulling matter together. In most known galaxies, the clouds of hydrogen atoms absorbed radiation emitted from newly-formed galaxies, a process known as reionization, but as the researchers show, for EGS8p7, this was not the case.

“If you look at galaxies in the early universe, there is a lot of neutral hydrogen that is not transparent to this emission,” Zitrin said in a statement. “We expect that most of the radiation from this galaxy would be absorbed by the hydrogen in the intervening space. Yet still we see Lyman-alpha from this galaxy.” Lyman-alpha is an emission line of hydrogen through space, which, as stated above, usually indicates the formation of new galaxies or stars as the clouds of hydrogen absorb radiation. It is believed that Lyman-alpha emissions should have ended after the reionization process billions of years ago, but now the detection of Lyman-alpha lines may turn accepted astrophysical theories on their heads.

“The surprising aspect about the present discovery is that we detected this Lyman alpha line in an apparently faint galaxy…corresponding to a time when the universe should be full of absorbing hydrogen clouds,” Ellis stated. One possible explanation for this previously unobserved phenomenon is that the absorption of radiation by the hydrogen clouds did not occur in a uniform manner across all galaxies. In addition, it is possible that EGS8p7 is populated by unusually hot stars and that the hydrogen clouds were created, or reionized, much earlier than was previously thought.

SEE ALSO: New Research Maps The Location Of Our Gigantic Galactic Supercluster – Laniakea


Graph of the distance of EGS8p7 from other known redshifts.

The novelty of the finding also has to do with the distance of the EGS8p7 galaxy from our own. Using spectrometer data the team gathered from NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope and the Spitzer Space Telescope, they were able to discover the galaxy’s redshift, or the red light that extends from the galaxy that indicated its distance, similar to the way some sounds cause the Doppler effect. In the case of EGS8p7, its redshift reading is 8.68, while prior to the discovery, the most distant galaxy we were aware of had a redshift of 7.73.

“We are currently calculating more thoroughly the exact chances of finding this galaxy and seeing this emission from it, and to understand whether we need to revise the timeline of the reionization, which is one of the major key questions to answer in our understanding of the evolution of the universe,” Zitrin says.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Firm ‘Check Point’ Discovers ‘Killer’ Breach On WhatsApp]]> 2015-09-10T15:51:02Z 2015-09-10T15:51:02Z

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Handling multiple WhatsApp messages on your phone can be pretty inconvenient, so why not do it on your computer – especially if you spend most of your day in an office, in front of a computer anyway? That’s why 200 million WhatsApp users have turned to WhatsApp Web, an instant messaging platform that brings all your WhatsApp chats into one, large screen.

But now, Israeli cyber-security giant Check Point has identified a security flaw that allows hackers to distribute malware – and even completely paralyze millions of computers – through WhatsApp Web.

SEE ALSO: Why Israel Leads The World In Protecting The Web

Hacker at work

Hacker at work

WhatsApp Web is a web-based version of the WhatsApp app on your smartphone. It mirrors all messages sent and received, and synchronizes your phone and your computer, so that users can see all messages on both devices. WhatsApp Web is available for most WhatsApp supported platforms, including Android phones and iPhones.

WhatsApp, which is owned by Facebook, recently announced it had reached 900 million active users.

Check Point‘s Israeli security researcher Kasif Dekel, who recently discovered this security breach, found “significant vulnerabilities which exploit the WhatsApp Web logic and allow attackers to trick victims into executing arbitrary code on their machines in a new and sophisticated way,” according to Check Point. “All an attacker needed to do to exploit the vulnerability was to send a user a seemingly innocent vCard containing malicious code. Once opened, the alleged contact is revealed to be an executable file, further compromising computers by distributing bots, ransomware, and other malwares.”

SEE ALSO: Hackers Steal Sensitive Information Using Pita Bread-Sized Device

To target an individual, all an attacker needs is a phone number associated with the account. Check Point warns that this security breach lets hackers take control of users’ computers and install ransomware – a type of malware that prevents users from accessing their system. This type of malware forces its victims to pay the ransom through certain online payment methods in order to grant access to their computers, or to get their data back.


Since Check Point discovered the breach, WhatsApp has issued a new Web version of the app. So, to make sure you are protected, update your WhatsApp Web now, by clearing the cache and history on your browser, and then logging into WhatsApp again by scanning the QR code.


Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[From Barren Desert To Top Cyber Center, Beersheba Is Turning Into A High Tech Oasis]]> 2015-09-09T10:17:16Z 2015-09-09T10:17:16Z

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Just four decades ago, a visit to the southern desert city of Beersheba in Israel would have shown a barren landscape, with mostly sand and camels in sight. In recent years, however, the city has been undergoing a near-miraculous transformation and is now gaining a new reputation for itself.

Those looking for an explanation need look no further than the $1 billion Gav-Yam Negev Advanced Technologies Park (ATP) – a massive joint project to revitalize the Negev Desert by making it an major hot spot in the rise of the Startup Nation. The project is a joint effort by the State of Israel, the Beersheba municipality, Ben-Gurion University and KUD International, a consortium of US and Japanese investors.

SEE ALSO: The 10 Hottest Israeli Startups

Beersheba Tech Park

This unique office park, currently occupied by top-tier cyber-security and communication companies, will include some 20 buildings upon completion, making it one of the largest startup ecosystems in the country.

It’s no wonder foreign investors are looking to Beersheba for exciting new opportunities. Earlier this year, T3 Advisors and Brandeis’ International School singled out Beersheba as one of the seven “cities of tomorrow” that global companies should consider when planning their global expansion.

Beersheba Tech Park

“Traditionally, the Negev has been considered the periphery of Israel, off the beaten track, but Israel’s first prime minister David Ben-Gurion always talked about the importance of the Negev and how it holds the key to Israel’s great future,” Faye Bittker, a spokeswoman for Ben-Gurion University, the top university located in Beersheba, tells NoCamels. “And with this project, we’re seeing that vision come to life.”

SEE ALSO: Cyber Security Nation

The new park is also home to Jerusalem Venture Partners’ Cyber Labs incubator, which has identified and supported several cyber-security startups since it launched in Beersheba last year, with already one successful exit: The acquisition of its portfolio startup CyActive by online payment giant PayPal for $60 million earlier this year.

Beersheba Tech Park

A bridge above the railroad and train station adjacent to Beersheba’s Tech Park

1,300 employees – and growing

Roughly 1,300 people currently work at the 35 companies operating out of the park’s two buildings, and construction for the third high-rise building is well underway. Gav-Yam’s Roy Zwebner, the park’s general director, estimates that the construction of the park (15-20 buildings in total) will be completed in the next decade, opening up space for additional firms and labs, as well as Ben-Gurion University’s centers of excellence. Among the companies that recently opened offices in the park are such giants as Oracle, Deutsche Telekom and Mellanox.

Gilad Peleg, the CEO of SecBI – a JVP-funded startup that is creating a platform to investigate and mitigate security incidents for clients – shares what it’s like to work at the ATP. “When my father-in-law moved to Beersheba some 50 years ago, there was no infrastructure, nothing here,” he tells NoCamels. “Today, it’s like a different country. Now I can say that Beersheba is the cyber capital of Israel and soon the world. If you look outside, you see these huge names like Lockheed Martin and EMC here. This is becoming a high-tech hub where market leaders want to be.”

A new cyber ecosystem is born

It would be a stretch to claim that one high-tech park on its own could transform an entire city. And indeed, the tech park is just one piece, albeit a crucial one, in a larger cyber-conducive ecosystem.

Another huge player in the building of Israel’s “cyber capital” is the Israeli Defense Forces, which is moving its technology units out of the Tel Aviv area and into Beersheba. An estimated 20,000 soldiers will be relocated to the south by 2021, and technology and communications infrastructure as well as data and information centers will be built right next to Ben-Gurion University to accommodate the huge move.

The move is a cause for celebration for the firms and startups at the ATP that are interested in hiring the talented, tech-savvy, intelligence-unit soldiers upon discharge, and is grabbing the attention of other multinational investors who also want first dibs on the best cyber talent pool.

Beersheba Tech Park

The third vital player in the ecosystem is Ben-Gurion University, which was established in 1969 as part of a national initiative to develop the Negev Desert region and is today leading the innovative research on software and cyber security.

BGU was on board from the start when talks for the ATP were first initiated, and is one of the main investors, holding a 22 percent stake in the project. “We’re hoping to repeat the success of Silicon Valley – where a university [Stanford] was the major facilitator of the valley’s revolution, generating industry and bringing in jobs –and we’re definitely on the right track with this partnership,” Bittker says. “The opportunities that the ATP has to offer will be a huge incentive for our graduates to stay in Southern Israel.”

Put together, all of these pieces make for an unprecedented ecosystem that is putting Beersheba at the forefront of the cyber field. “The ATP is offering high-profile jobs that pay just as well as those in the more central cities,” Zwebner says. “Beersheba is really becoming the place to be.”

“There is something special about the fact that this park is a growing entity, and that we are still shaping it together,” says Guy Moskowitz, the CEO and founder of CoroNet, a JVP-funded startup that develops software to detect if a mobile device is connecting to fake or malicious cellular/Wi-Fi networks.

Beersheba’s transformation from a barren land of sand and camels into a cyber-security powerhouse is a source of pride for ATP’s partners. “This project is a confluence of completely different organizations and interests trying to make something happen,” Bittker says. “We feel like we’re making a positive difference, and the economic impact of this park is already visible.”

Beersheba Tech Park

Photos and video: Eunice Lim, Gav-Yam Negev Tech Park, Ben-Gurion University

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[What Will It Take To Breed More Billion Dollar Israeli ‘Unicorn’ Companies?]]> 2015-09-08T16:32:47Z 2015-09-08T15:35:23Z

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With many Israeli startup founders racing to sell their companies, the question is: Can the Startup Nation breed ‘unicorns’ – large, multinational companies worth $1 billion or more?

SEE ALSO: Top 10 Israeli Exits

While Israeli high tech unicorns such as cybersecurity giant Check Point and collision-detection company Mobileye are a source of Israeli pride, they’re scarce. More often, startups are sold way before reaching the $1 billion valuation mark.

In 2014, Israeli startup exits and IPOs topped $15 billion, according to accounting firm PwC, with dozens of companies sold for much less than $1 billion.

Tel Aviv: Skyline (night)

In a panel discussion during the DLD Tel Aviv conference today, high tech entrepreneurs attempted to address the following question: What does it take to become a unicorn?

Titled “the prospects of becoming an Israeli unicorn,” panel participants included some of the most prominent Israeli entrepreneurs.

“Becoming a unicorn should be a milestone – not the goal”

According to Uri Levine, who sold his mobile navigation app Waze to Google for $1.3 billion two years ago, “becoming a unicorn shouldn’t be the objective; the goal should be to solve a problem, to create as much value for as many people,” he said. “Becoming a unicorn should be a milestone – not the goal.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startups Sell For $860M In First Four Weeks Of 2015

Serial entrepreneur Dov Moran, the inventor of the popular USB flash drive, who sold his company M-Systems to SanDisk for $1.6 billion in 2006, said “serial entrepreneurs – who founded several companies – are more likely to create an Israeli unicorn,” because many young startup founders are too eager to sell early.

He went on to say that “an entrepreneur needs to have the ability to find a way to succeed despite failures and be able to withstand struggles. It’s not obvious.”

Shahar Waiser, CEO of mobile taxicab service Gett, valued at $ 2 billion, said “the appetite for creating a unicorn is there. The talent and venture capital are also there. We just need more talent in the consumer space.”

Ilan Levin, a director at 3D printing company Stratasys, said that in order to become a unicorn, a startup needs “a long-term vision, and the right infrastructure built from the start,” one that can sustain a growing organization.

Technology News - Report: Facebook To Buy Israeli GPS App Waze For $1 Billion

Meanwhile, Saul Singer, co-author of the seminal book ‘Startup Nation: The Story of Israel’s Economic Miracle’, said he believed that the next Israeli unicorn will be one that can address a major need in a market outside the US. According to him, Israeli startups are better positioned to succeed in non-US markets than their Silicon Valley peers.

“It’s not just about the American market anymore,” he said. “This is a new world. The next unicorns will be built on problems not necessarily occurring in the US. We’re moving into a less US-centric world. Major opportunities are now outside the US.”

Evidently, the ways to create a large, multinational high-tech company are diverse, yet panel participants agreed on one thing: Israel can and will breed more unicorn companies in the near future.


Photos: Pikiwiki, Gett, Waze

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Evogene’s Gene-Based Insecticide Is Protecting Plants The Natural Way]]> 2015-09-08T13:24:24Z 2015-09-08T13:22:50Z

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

In the latest innovation in the growing industry of genetic modification, Israeli research firm Evogene last week announced a breakthrough in insecticide development.

Its big data gene analysis platform has enabled scientists to successfully recruit genetic material from microorganisms that show promise as insecticides, the company said. With more research, the company hopes to further modify the genes and enhance their insecticidal properties, and insert or breed them into crops as a built-in insecticide to battle pests.

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


It sounds futuristic, but Evogene didn’t invent this process. In fact, the company is simply expanding technology that has been around for over two decades in an effort to develop a replacement for a popular gene-based insecticide that is showing its age.

Some organisms have natural defenses against predators and pests, and with the advent of big data computing and advanced genetic analysis technology, it’s now possible to isolate the genes that are responsible for providing these defenses. The analysis provides insight the function of genes, with an eye toward exploiting their functionality. With enhancements, genes could be developed for insertion into species to provide a plethora of benefits, such as resistance to pests and a greater ability to thrive in dry climates.

SEE ALSO: Proof Of Earliest Agriculture Found In Israel


Based on its latest research, Rehovot-based Evogene announced that it had isolated specific genes in microbes that appear to have “insecticidal properties” capable of fighting off several major-league pests. Using its proprietary microbial-based database and dedicated analysis platform, BiomeMine, the company said it had isolated several microbial-based genes that will be effective against Coleoptera (members of the beetle family) and Lepidoptera (moths and butterflies).

Those bug families include insects that are among farmers’ biggest nightmares – corn rootworm and corn earworm, responsible for huge losses each year.

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

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[DLD Tel Aviv 2015: 10 Startups To Visit During Tel Aviv’s ‘Open Startup’ Event]]> 2015-09-08T09:43:00Z 2015-09-06T17:44:32Z

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As part of the annual DLD Innovation Week, Tel Aviv’s most high-profile tech conference, startups throughout the city are once again opening their doors to the public. For the Open Startup event, anyone is invited  to tour the offices of some of the coolest startups and work spaces. 112 startups are participating in this year’s Open Startup event, which is why the event’s organizers have organized a number of different “tracks” to help guide visitors’ experiences, like “The Socializing” track for those interested in social media startups and “The Lifestyle Lovers” for those who want to hear about the growing lifestyle tech sector in Israel.

To help you sift through this maze, NoCamels has compiled a list of the top 10 startups, venture capital firms and co-working spaces to visit:

The Open Startup Event will take place on Tuesday September 8 from 18:00-23:00 at various locations around Tel Aviv. To get the full list of startups participating and their locations, go here:

Company: MyHeritage | Where: WeWork, Dubnov St. 7

giladjaphetOne of the largest sites in the world for discovering, sharing and preserving family history, MyHeritage’s awesome office in the co-working space WeWork is not to be missed. A platform with over 85 million users globally, MyHeritage has transformed the online genealogy market with one of the largest collections of historical documents on the web and predictive genealogy tools that help people locate their family members. MyHeritage has raised a total of $49 million since the company was founded in 2005 and has acquired eight companies, including MyHeritage has offices in Or Yehuda and established an additional office in Tel Aviv in 2012, moving to the WeWork space in December 2014.

Company: WeWork | Where: Dubnov St. 7

WeWork israelUnbeknownst to many, WeWork, the global co-working craze, was actually co-founded by Israeli Adam Neumann. Though it’s headquartered in the United States, the highly-successful co-working space has three co-working spaces in Israel and has outdone itself in the design of its Tel Aviv office spaces. Complete with beautifully designed kitchens, large windows, high-ceilings and see-through cubicles, touring WeWork’s three-story structure is not only an experience for the senses – the diversity of startups that it houses will get your wheels turning. The building also has a huge rooftop where you can take in some warm Tel Aviv air and drink a cold beer. Visiting WeWork Israel is like going to the ultimate startup party, so why not stop by!

Company: Samurai House Israel | Where: Nahalat Binyamin St. 52, 2nd Floor

samuraihouseisraelSamurai House is the largest startup incubator in Japan and its branch in Israel was established with the goal of connecting the startup ecosystems of the two countries. Just like an embassy, Samurai House sees its goal as promoting cooperation, innovation and entrepreneurship between Japanese and Israeli companies, but the organization also invests in Israeli startups and holds meetups. Samurai House is a great example of the increasing interest from Asia in Israeli startup companies, and it is one of the first Asian accelerators to establish a permanent branch in Israel. A number of up-and-coming Israeli companies like Actifile, CouponRoller and CyberTiger are part of the Samurai House incubation program.

Company: ZenCity | Where: The Library, Achad Haam 9 (Shalom Tower)

Tel Aviv, IsraelThe smart city sector is on the rise, which is good news for all of us. One of the Israeli companies leading innovative smart city trends is ZenCity, a company that gathers information about cities and their residents in order to provide insights on how municipal services can be made more accessible and in tune with the times. This includes providing digital services, like municipal applications and payment platforms, data collection to better understand urban life, and business intelligence tools that help mayors and other municipal figures make important policy decisions. Smart cities is a cutting-edge sector, and Israeli companies like ZenCity are doing their part to innovative it.

Company: zerobillbank | Where: Samurai House, Nahalat Binyamin St. 52, 2nd Floor

Another fast-growing technology sector is financial technologies, or fin-tech. Zerobillbank is an online platform that helps small companies and social initiatives keep track of their loyal customers and contributors, as well as standing coupons, rewards and vouchers. Zerobillbank’s platform allows any company or community to exchange multiple “tokens” – money towards a service or a discount – with other community members and to manage all of their tokens in a single digital wallet. A “social” Bitcoin, Zerobillbank hopes to encourage small and large businesses alike to engage their customers to interact with each other by issuing “token” deals and coupons. The startup was founded by Japanese entrepreneur Junichi Horiguchi and is based in Tel Aviv.

Company: Blenders Music | Where: Mazeh 9

blenderappCreated by students at the Media Innovation Lab (miLab) at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya, Blenders is a novel music app that allows a number of different users to contribute their music to a shared playlist. Perfect for road trips, sitting on the beach, or parties, Blenders allows anyone to make their phone a juke box where everyone can list to the songs and artists that they love without having to connect and disconnect their device. The application is location-based, which means that in is able to locate friends near your location who may also want to join in on the playlist. Blenders makes digital music a vivid social experience, which is why it’s a winner in our book.

Company: Blitz Motors | Where: Hagdud Haivri St. 12

blitzmotorsWalking the streets of Tel Aviv, one of the first things that you’ll notice is that the electric bicycle craze has hit its peak. Israeli company Blitz Motors is building on this momentum, building 100 percent electric two-wheel vehicles. Creating a line of four fully electric products, Blitz offers a large electric scooter paired with a 6000W motor, a smaller scooter with a 3000W motor, an electric bicycle and a bike for kids. Blitz Motors is innovating the electric vehicle sector with its mean, clean and green machines.

Company: City Transformer | Where: Mazeh 9

Designed for inner-city travel

Designed for inner-city travel

Another thing you will notice in Tel Aviv is that it is impossibly difficult to find a parking spot. This time-consuming predicament is what inspired the founders of City Transformer to create a two-seat electric vehicle that can be folded to fit into a motorcycle parking space. This buggy of the future only occupies about 25 percent of a standard parking space, and is easily chargeable due to its small size. The concept was invented by City Transformer CEO Asaf Formoza, who claims that his is the first technically viable foldable car model.

Company: Hachiko | Where: Mindspace, Ahad Haam 54, 1st Floor

doggoogleglassWearables are the next frontier in technological innovation, from smart watches to portable health monitors, but what about our furry friends – don’t they need wearable technology too? Hachiko is an Israeli company that’s designing an affordable and easy to use smart sensor to track the health of dogs. Hachiko, which is the name of a Japanese dog breed, has a corresponding application where dog owners can track how much food and water their dog has ingested to how many miles its walked or still needs to be walked. The sensor fits easily on dog collars and only needs to be charged once every year.

Company: Nettelo | Where: WeWork, Dubnov St. 7

netteloNettelo is a mobile application that makes any mobile device a 3D body scanner. The technology takes a full-body image captured on your device and transforms it into a 3D model for health scanning, fashion fitting and fitness tracking. It allows athletes, dieters and pregnant women to track their body’s progress over time by analyzing the 3D model Nettelo’s technology creates. Users can also share their 3D rendering with coaches, doctors and tailors to get feedback.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[DLD Tel Aviv 2015: 10 Innovation Week Events Not To Miss]]> 2015-09-07T08:40:26Z 2015-09-06T09:59:49Z

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The largest annual startup conference held in Tel Aviv is once again opening its doors this week. The DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival 2015, now in its fifth consecutive year, will see an expected 10,000 startup and high-tech industry insiders, including 2,000 foreign players, mingling at hundreds of exciting events.

Like every year, this DLD is attracting some of the biggest power players from the world’s leading tech and finance firms, all eager to get a piece of the Startup Nation’s pie. And it’s no wonder, as Tel Aviv was just voted the world’s best startup ecosystem outside the US by the Startup Ecosystem Report.

Aside from the main DLD conference, the week, known as “Innovation Week,” is packed with other private- and city-sponsored events scattered across some of the coolest locations around town. To help you figure out which events and parties not to miss, NoCamels has prepared a comprehensive roundup of the best and most noteworthy events happening in the ‘city that never stops':

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Is World’s Smartest City


1. DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Conference 2015

DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival 2015, part of the world DLD organization, is holding its famously unorthodox annual conference in Tel Aviv this week. Unlike traditional conferences, DLD features a plethora of events happening simultaneously. Lectures, panel discussions, technical sessions, meetups, cocktail parties and even ice cream socials will offer attendants access to high-tech and investment gurus, up-and-coming startups, high-tech giants, cool gadgets and even a beach run on the stunning coastline of Tel Aviv!

Admission is 1,500-2,000 shekels.

When: Sept. 6-12

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

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

The Old Jaffa Railway Station

2. The Sixth Innovation Cities Summit

Held by the City of Tel Aviv, this summit, titled “Cracking the Innovation Code” is held in association with the DLD Tel Aviv Innovation Festival 2015.

During the summit, which will showcase initiatives and digital solutions that meet urban challenges, city leaders from around the world, as well as business entrepreneurs will gather to discuss ways in which global cities can encourage, facilitate and foster innovation within the urban space.

SEE ALSO: Revolutionary Rooftop Farm In The Heart of Tel Aviv

Some of the prominent speakers include Eberhard van der Laan, mayor of Amsterdam and David Shing, AOL’s digital prophet. Admission is free; advance registration is required.

When: Sept. 7, 9 am through 4 pm.

Where: Suzanne Dellal Centre, 5 Yechieli street, Tel Aviv

Suzanne Dellal Centre

Suzanne Dellal Centre

3. Meetups

Dozens of technology, art and social meetups will be held at business establishments and public spaces along Rothschild Blvd. The meetups will be held simultaneously, featuring a wide range of topics: cyber-security, FinTech, animation, and even a dinner with VoIP pioneer Jeff Pulver. And that’s not all: Futuristic talks will attempt to answer such existential questions as “are we alone in the universe?”

Admission is free; advance registration is required.

When: Sept. 8, 7-11 pm.

Where: Multiple locations along Rothschild Blvd., Tel Aviv

4. Creative City Boulevard

This urban happening of culture and technology is perhaps the best embodiment of Tel Aviv, which is known for its vibrant nightlife. Creative City Boulevard will feature augmented reality games, works of digital art, a wearable tech display, musical performances, and more.

Admission is free.

When: Sept. 8, 7-11 pm.

Where: Along Rothschild Blvd. and its main square (@ Herzl)

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

Rothschild Boulevard, Tel Aviv

5. Open Startups

During Innovation Week, dozens of high-profile local startups will open their doors to the public, offering a unique opportunity to see where the magic happens. This annual municipal event that showcases Tel Aviv’s unique startup ecosystem provides a glimpse of the hard work that goes on behind the scenes.

Admission is free.

When: Sept. 8, 6-11 pm.

Where: Companies’ offices

6. Accelerator Blitz

Taking place inside the beautiful new building of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, this event showcases presentations from the most promising startups chosen by top accelerators. Six local accelerators have picked several exciting startups to pitch before the audience. Each startup will have five minutes to pitch using a presentation that will be screened on a huge, 300-inch screen.

Admission is free; registration is required.

When: Sept. 8, 7-9 pm.

Where: The Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, 2 Ahuzat Bayit St., Tel Aviv

7. GameIS Festival

The Israeli gaming industry will hold its annual conference GameIS in conjunction with DLD. During the event, local companies and independent developers will take part in workshops, hear lectures by international guests and display their latest projects. Join if you want to check out the hottest new virtual games and their developers.

Admission in 300 shekels.

When: Sept. 9, 9 am – 7 pm (with party at 9 pm)


8. Chief Scientist’s event

This unique event will provide budding startups and entrepreneurs with individual meetings to become acquainted with the tools, possibilities and avenues of support offered by the Office of the Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy.

Admission is free; registration is required.

When: Sept. 9, 9:30 pm – 12:30 pm

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

9. Utopia Festival

This cultural event will address current social issues from a technological perspective – with a futurist twist. Topics include: technology and inequality, cyber wars, robotics and artificial intelligence. The festival, supported by the Goethe Institute, will be held at Google Israel’s campus, giving attendants a glimpse into its magnificent design.

When: Sept. 7, 9 am. – 5 p.m.

Where: Google Campus, Electra Tower, 98 Yigal Alon St., Tel Aviv

Google Tel Aviv offices

Google Tel Aviv offices

10. Exclusive events held by IBM, Amazon, Intel, Microsoft and Google

DLD also offers an opportunity to get to know some of the world’s largest tech companies, including Microsoft, IBMGoogleAmazon and Intel, which all have offices in Israel. Some sessions are by-invitation only, others simply require registration. From a seminar on cloud platforms hosted by Google, through Amazon Web Service’s technical sessions, all the way to Intel’s innovative booth (which will include a demo of a smart airport) – the world’s most cutting-edge technologies will be presented by leaders of giant tech corporations.

Registration required; some events are by invitation only.

When: Sept. 8-9, throughout the day

Where: “HaTachana,” 2 Yehezkel Kaufmann street, Tel Aviv, and additional locations

Photos: PikiwikiOrenvo5, Itay Sikolski/Google Israel, Random

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Internet of Bees: Intel Tech Puts Backpacks On Bees To Track World Bee Collapse]]> 2015-09-03T12:42:11Z 2015-09-03T12:23:43Z

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Since the 1990s, beekeepers around the world have witnessed the strange and inexplicable disappearance of honeybees from their hives. Not only does this natural tragedy affect the supply of succulent honey; honeybees are also the pollinators of flowers and plants that play a central role in the earth’s ecosystem, and are a source of a third of our food. Many melittologists (bee scientists), horticulturalists and beekeepers alike blame this decline on the increasing use of pesticides on plants and crops, as well as the effects of climate change.

In order to better understand how honeybees act and why their populations are on the decline, engineers at Intel are partnering with CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, to create tiny “backpacks” that will be fitted on bees to track their movements.

Bee pollinating with "backpack"

Using Intel’s Edison Breakout Board kit, a customizable computing platform only slightly larger than a postage stamp, beekeepers around the world will be able to keep track of honeybee behavior and collect potentially crucial bee-saving data.

In turn, the information collected will be made part of the Global Initiative for Honey Bee Health (GIHH), an international alliance of researchers, beekeepers, farmers and technology companies that aims to better understand why healthy bee colonies are on the decline.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Pesticide Company That Fights Pest With Bumble Bees Now Launches In India

Bee backpacks

Intel’s micro-sensor kits, which were largely developed by engineers in Israel, will track bees’ behavior and activity through tiny Radio Frequency Identification (RFID) tags that will be placed on select bees’ backs. The tags will report back to the Intel Edison board when the bees pass by, letting it know how many come back to the hive, as well as other environmental information including humidity levels surrounding the hive, temperature and solar radiation.

“Bee colonies are collapsing around the world and we don’t know why,” said Professor Paulo de Souza of CSIRO in a statement. “Due to the urgent and global nature of this issue, we saw the need to develop a methodology that any scientist could easily deploy. This way we can share and compare data from around the world to collaboratively investigate bee health. This united effort is a fantastic example of the Internet of Things.”


Intel’s Edison Breakout Board

Internet of Things does good

The information collected by Intel’s Edison platform is expected to be even more detailed than standard mechanisms to measure bee behavior. The captured data will then be sent onto CSIRO’s Data Access Portal. Researchers will then go about composing a comprehensive 3D model to visualize how the bees may be moving through the landscape. This will give researchers insights into bee movement, behaviors and responses to levels of stress that can affect their health and pollination patterns.

SEE ALSO: The Truth About Bees And Their Love For Sweets


Inside the beehive

This methodology is being applied by the CSIRO in Hobart, Tasmania, where more than 10,000 sensors are now fitted to the backs of bees. Following on from the success of that project, the CSIRO is now seeking collaboration from across the world to make this a global research effort.

beekeepersPhoto: Spectrum Communications

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Soon Enough, This Robot Could Be Delivering Your Packages]]> 2015-09-02T12:18:54Z 2015-09-02T12:18:54Z

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With companies like Amazon, Uber and more entering into the “instant delivery” space, standard mail and delivery services no longer make the cut. From ordering flowers for your anniversary five minutes before your significant other walks through the door to getting an instant refill on your Tide laundry detergent, people want to get what they need, now. Deliveries by drones are one option often brought up, but not a very pleasing one as they can be considered an infringement on privacy, or interfere with airways. Another option is Israel industrial designer Kobi Shikar’s Transwheel, an autonomous, self-balancing unicycle that delivers parcels directly to their destination.

SEE ALSO: Israel Ushers In Revolutionary CleanTech Transportation With NASA’s skyTran

An engineering and design student at Shenkar School of Engineering and Design, Shikar came up with the concept for the Transwheel device by combining the mechanical features of the Segway with the technological features of a drone. The Transwheel would use the self-balancing system installed in Segways together with GPS and facial recognition software that will make sure that the package reaches its destination.


According to Shikar, “The Transwheel concept reimagines package distribution as a round-the-clock autonomous service carried out by robotic single-wheel drones that work independently and together to ensure timely, efficient delivery,” Shikar told the Daily Mail.

In addition, “Each wheel features a self-balancing gyroscopic system, electric arms, and GPS-driven communication capability,” said Shikar. Transwheel is still in its beta modeling phase and Shikar is in the process of developing a feature that would configure the device to take on large or oddly-shaped packages. “Smaller parcels can be handled by a single robot while larger packages will be tag-teamed by an appropriate number of robots that self-configure to the package’s unique dimensions.”

SEE ALSO: MUVe Over Segway: The Next Great Urban Vehicle May Be This Foldable Bike


At the moment, Shikar is seeing out industry partners that can help him complete the project and fulfill his vision of automated, exact robot-delivery.

transwheelroad transwheeltruckPhotos: Kobi Shikar


NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Researchers Could End Animal Testing With Bionic Organs-On-Chip]]> 2015-09-01T12:21:39Z 2015-09-01T12:16:58Z

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Safety evaluation is a critical part of drug and cosmetic development. But in recent years there is a growing understanding that animal experiments fail to predict the human response, necessitating the development of alternative models to predict drug toxicity and reactions.

In addition, the recent tightening of European regulations preventing the cosmetic industry from using animals in research and development, blocks companies like L’Oréal and Estée Lauder from developing new products, bringing massive investment into this field.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Scientists Develop The Future Of Flexible Screen Displays Using Nanotechnology


The liver-on-chip

The main challenge in replacing animal experiments is that human cells seldom survive more than a few days outside the body. To address this challenge, scientists at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology in Germany partnered to create a liver-on-chip device mimicking human physiology.

“The liver organs we created were less than a millimeter in diameter and survive for more than a month,” said Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, the study’s lead author and Director of the Alexander Grass Center for Bioengineering at the Hebrew University.

The secret is in the nanotechnology

While other groups showed similar results, the breakthrough came when the groups added nanotechnology-based sensors to the mix. “We realized that because we are building the organs ourselves, we are not limited to biology, and could introduce electronic and optical sensors to the tissue itself. Essentially we are building bionic organs on a chip,” said Nahmias.

The addition of nanotechnology-based optoelectronic sensors to the living tissues has already enabled the group to identify a toxic effect of Tylenol acetaminophen (Tylenol).


An older spleen-on-chip model.

“Because we placed sensors inside the tissue, we could detect small and fast changes in cellular respiration that nobody else could,” said Nahmias. The authors discovered that acetaminophen, commonly known as Tylenol, blocked respiration much faster and at a much lower dose than previously believed. Previously, damage was thought to occur only at high doses and in cases of diseased or compromised liver function.

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

The current study turns 50 years of research on its head. The authors found that acetaminophen itself can stop cellular respiration in minutes, explaining much of the off-target effects of the drugs.

“This is a fascinating study,” said Prof. Oren Shibolet, Head of the Liver Unit at the Tel-Aviv Sourasky Medical Center, and one of the leading experts on drug-induced liver injury, who was not involved in the original study. “We knew that acetaminophen can cause nephrotoxicity, or a poisonous effect on the kidneys, as well as rare but serious skin reactions, but up until now, we didn’t really understand the mechanism of such an effect. This new technology provides exceptional insight into drug toxicity, and could in fact transform current practice.”


An alternative to animal testing?

The results mark the first discovery of a new toxicity mechanism using the newly emerging human-on-a-chip technology, suggesting that the development of alternative models for animal testing is just around the corner. The global market of this technology is estimated to grow to $17 billion by 2018, showing a double-digit annual growth rate in the last three years.

In addition, it could but an end to the often cruel and inefficient practice of testing on animals – a practice that has born important fruit for the medical community, but comes with a heavy cost.

Yissum, the Research and Development Company of the Hebrew University, together with the Fraunhofer Institute for Cell Therapy and Immunology (IZI-BB) in Germany submitted a joint provisional patent application earlier this year and are actively seeking industrial partners.

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[Stop Wasting Time Looking For Your Stuff – Pixie’s Got You Covered]]> 2015-08-31T12:52:41Z 2015-08-31T12:52:41Z

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How often do you misplace your phone? Your keys? Your wallet? Your passport, right before you need to leave for the airport?

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

SEE ALSO: Can’t Find Your Glasses? LOOK Is The Smart Tracking Device That Will


Case in “point”

So how exactly does it work? All you need is a pack of Pixie Points – smart tags that you can affix to just about everything (even your pet!) – and the free mobile Pixie app. Made of the same polymer as Lego blocks, the teardrop-shaped Pixie Point is durable, lightweight, thin, waterproof, and even machine-washable.

Once you stick a Pixie Point onto an item of your choice, the item becomes “pixified,” meaning that it joins a closed, private network of all of the pixified items your smartphone keeps track of via Bluetooth. So, let’s say you lose your pixified remote control. All you have to do is open your Pixie app, which displays an augmented reality view using your smartphone’s camera marking the location of the missing remote control with a bold ‘X’.

Each Pixie Point has a 50-foot range indoors and a 150-foot range outdoors, within the accuracy of a foot.


Pixie Point.

Additional features that make Pixie’s object location tech even cooler is the option to geo-fence your pixified valuables so that you’ll be alerted if you leave the range of whatever zone you’ve set up. Another is that you can create customized checklists for different situations, like travel kits and business kits. So before you leave for the office, all you would have to do is flash your smartphone in your bag to make sure all of the items in your business kit – computer, charger, phone, etc. – are there.

Back story

Pixie is the brainchild of CEO Amir Bassan-Eskenazi, who in an interview with Times of Israel explained how his mischievous cat bolting out the front door on the morning of a critical business meeting, ultimately making him a half hour late, inspired the idea for Pixie. “It struck me how odd it was that technology had moved with such incredible velocity in the digital world, but had lagged so remarkably in the physical world,” Bassan-Eskenazi told Times of Israel. “That seemed like a disconnect that was simply unacceptable.” So, Bassan-Eskenazi got to work. Pixie technology was developed over a span of two years, and has raised $6 million in two funding rounds.

SEE ALSO: Location-Based Tags App ‘Meetey’ Joins Slew Of New Check-In Apps


Market advantage

Given the rising popularity of Internet-of-Things gadgets, it is no surprise that Pixie faces considerable competition in the market. TrackR and Tile, for instance, are also small, attachable Bluetooth devices that serve the same location-tracking function. As opposed to Pixie, both devices emit a loud signal at the press of a button on their corresponding phone apps, making it easier to find a missing item. Also, the devices utilize crowdsourced GPS, meaning that even if you leave an item somewhere far out of your personal tracking range, the item’s location can be picked up by another nearby user on TrackR or Tile, notifying you of where you can pick it up.

Pixie, however, still manages to stand out from its competitors in two distinct ways: higher accuracy and object-to-object communication. While TrackR uses wireless signal strength to show how close or far away you might be to your missing item, and Tile gives you text clues to help in your search (“It’s about an arm’s length away”), Pixie has the edge with its augmented reality feature that marks exactly in the space where your missing item is located.


To add, pixified objects not only communicate with the app, but also with each other to create a more accurate map of the location of all of your pixified objects. So, accuracy improves with each added Pixie Point on the network.

Pixie is now available for purchase via the presale at $69.95 for a pack of four Pixie Points, and is set to ship out to customers by the end of the summer.

Photos: Pixie

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Chameleons’ Eyes Can’t Look In Two Directions At Once, Research Shows]]> 2015-08-30T11:27:50Z 2015-08-30T11:09:45Z

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Well known among nature’s best tricksters for their ability to change color to fit their background, chameleons have yet another talent up their lizardly sleeves – eyes that swivel around and appear to be looking in two directions at once.

In contrast to humans, who have to turn their heads to have a wider but still relatively narrow field of vision, chameleons enjoy a wider field of vision with the ability to swivel each of their eyes in a different direction.  Called ‘voluntary strabismus,” this ability enables the chameleon to minimize its body movements to reduce the likelihood of revealing its presence to those it hunts as well as to those that might hunt them.

SEE ALSO: No Bat About It: Bats Eavesdrop To Help Friends Find Food

Is this crazy adaptation really an example of this reptile’s eyes each being independent of the other, thus enabling them to simultaneously see two different views of their world?


Chameleon computer games

To Professors Ehud Rivlin of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, and Prof. Gadi Katzir of the University of Haifa, this seemed like an intriguing research question. They went about answering that question by getting chameleons to play a computer game especially designed to potentially frustrate the creatures, yet possibly solve the riddle of whether chameleons really enjoy ‘eye independence.’

When the researchers showed chameleons a double image of a tiny insect moving opposite directions across a computer screen, the reptiles focused first on one image with one eye while the other eye “wandered.” Suddenly, both eyes locked on one image a nanosecond before the reptile cocked its dart-like, sticky tongue and fired at-will.

“There were a few seconds of indecision when the chameleons were deciding which target to shoot at,” said Prof. Rivlin. “If the eyes were truly independent, one would not expect one eye to stay put and then have the other eye converge.  But we found that once the chameleon made its decision about which target to fire on, it swiveled the second eye around to focus on the same simulated fly the first eye was locked on.”


This behavior pattern, said the researchers, suggests that the second eye has knowledge of where the first eye is directed.  That the chameleons are able to track objects moving in opposite directions before deciding which one to target suggests that their eyes are not really independent, as many have believed.

SEE ALSO: Knot So Fast: Israeli Researchers Discover Incredible Self-Defense Mechanism

“Their eyes possibly engage in some kind of ‘cross talk,’” suggested Prof. Rivlin.

When chameleon eye cross talk occurs and the second eye locks onto the same target as the first, the expert predator of tiny insects gets the necessary stereoscopic depth perception at just the right moment for accurate striking.

What we share with chameleons

Chameleons, of which there are over 200 species, are denizens of tropical climates and deserts, but widely kept as pets the world over. They have intrigued scientists and non-scientists alike with their ability to change color and skin textures and their seemingly roaming, independent-looking eyes.


According to the researchers, many animals – especially fish and birds, but not mammals – have wandering, independent eyes, with each eye connected to the opposite side of the brain so that the left part of the brain knows what the right eye is doing, and vice-versa. That’s more common than we realize, they said.

But, no surprise, chameleons are different.

“We demonstrated that when chameleons are presented with two small targets moving in opposite directions, they can perform simultaneous, smooth, monocular visual tracking,” said Prof.  Rivlin. “To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of this capacity. We suggest that in chameleons, eye movements are not simply ‘independent,’ but are disconjugate (not paired in acting) during scanning, conjugate (paired in action) during binocular (two-eye) tracking, and disconjuate but coordinated during monocular (one-eyed) tracking. Each eye is aware of its own location and the orientation of the other eye. It is just a different kind of cooperation that takes place in human binocular vision.”

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Fashion Design Student 3D Prints Brilliant Collection At Home]]> 2015-08-27T11:33:58Z 2015-08-27T11:33:58Z

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A fashion design graduate from Israel has got the 3D printing and fashion worlds buzzing. Danit Peleg, who recently graduated from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design in Holon, created the world’s first entirely 3D printed fashion collection for her final project.

“My goal was to create a ready-to-wear collection printed entirely at home using printers that anyone can get,” says Peleg of her project that took some 2,000 hours to print. The collection is made up of five 3D printed outfits and shoes printed on Witbox home 3D printers.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed Fashion


Freedom to print your own clothes

Inspired by Eugène Delacroix’s painting, “Liberty Leading the People”, Peleg wanted to challenge herself in creating a collection that could be manufactured entirely on home-scale 3D printers. The triangular shapes in Delacroix’s painting got her thinking about materials that would be comfortable to wear and easy to print.danitpelegtopskirt

Using a 3D rendering software called ‘Blender’, as well as advice from leading 3D printing experts at TechFactoryPlus and XLN in Israel, Peleg started imagining how the world’s first home 3D printed fashion collection would look. She started off using PLA, a breakable and hard material, only to discover that FilaFlex, a new kind of 3D printing filament, would give her the flexibility and precision she needed.


Peleg’s inspiration board

A tedious process that needs tweaking

The first piece that she printed was the red ‘Liberté’ jacket, a stylish ode to the painting that inspired her triangular, interwoven fabrics. In creating the textiles, Peleg was inspired by Andreas Bastian’s bendable 3D printed mesostructured material that would allow the fabric to breathe and move as if it was woven. This tedious printing method made it so that each piece Peleg wanted to print took about 400 hours (or 17 days) to complete, a challenge that Peleg hopes 3D printing innovation will solve in the future.

SEE ALSO: These Awesome Shoes Were Printed Using The World’s First Color 3D-Printer


“I think that this is just the beginning,” says Peleg of her collection, “As technologies evolve, we all soon be printing our clothes at home.” Though the proposition seems far off, especially with the expense of domestic-sized 3D printers running high, it’s pretty cool to think that one day we may be able to print our wardrobe at the press of a button.

“Just imagine the potential…If you’re cold, print your own jacket. Traveling with no luggage? Just print your clothes in the hotel room. Will we soon be able to design, share and print our own clothes directly from home?” Peleg leaves us all wondering.


Peleg’s 3D printed fabric


Photos: Daria Ratiner

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[EIMindA Voted Among ‘Most Innovative Startups’ Globally]]> 2015-08-26T13:29:27Z 2015-08-26T13:29:27Z

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

Israeli biotechnology firm ElMindA – developers of the world’s first FDA-approved neural functional assessment tool to visualize serious brain trauma and illnesses – has been named one of the 49 most innovative start-ups in the world by the World Economic Forum. The annual award is granted to companies “poised to have a significant impact on business and society,” and past recipients have included companies like Google (2001), Twitter (2010), AirBnB (2014), Dropbox (2011) and Kickstarter (2011).

Notable members of the committee choosing the companies include Arianna Huffington (founder, Huffington Post) and Henry Blodget (editor-in-chief, Business Insider). As a result, the WEF said, ElMindA and the other selected firms “will have access to the most influential and sought-after business and political network in the world, and be invited to the World Economic Forum’s ‘Summer Davos’ in Dalian, China, this September, or the Annual Meeting in Davos in January.”

SEE ALSO: Futuristic EIMindA ‘Helmet’ Monitors Brain Health Like Never Before


While most brain monitoring systems require the 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 to 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, etc.

The data is analyzed by specially developed algorithms based on patented signal processing and pattern recognition techniques that can connect between signals, revealing three-dimensional images of Brain Network Activation patterns (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.

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


How EIMindA maps the brain

The system can thus detect the early stages of degenerative brain diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, and assist physicians in coming up with more effective treatment plans for brain disorders, like ADHD/ADD.

ElMindA has established a growing database of brain activity from both healthy subjects and patients with brain-related disorders. The database currently includes more than 7,000 of the BNA 3D datasets, covering almost every known brain disorder. The system is already being used in dozens of institutions, and ElMindA has collaborated with major medical institutions and universities on a number of important studies.

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

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Farm Seakura Produces New Superfood: Organic Seaweed Grown Outside The Sea!]]> 2015-08-26T11:27:39Z 2015-08-26T11:27:39Z

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It’s fresh, nutritious, organic, and has officially been labeled as the up-and-coming superfood. And no, we’re not talking about kale. Seaweed is finally making its mark on the world, and one Israeli company is helping this natural treasure make its way to the top of the food pyramid.

Seakura, an Israeli seaweed company established in 2006, is considered a world leader in developing, harvesting, and manufacturing the leafy algae. Unlike seaweed that’s grown in salty seawater and is later dried, Seakura is one of a few companies in the world that grows seaweed outside the ocean and sells it fresh and ready to eat.

SEE ALSO: Fueling The Future With Algae?


While most of the world’s seaweed is collected in the ocean, Seakura organically grows the vegetable in controlled pools using purified Mediterranean seawater. On Seakura’s farm just north of Tel Aviv, the company produces seaweed with greater nutritional values than seaweed grown in the ocean – year-round. The firm, which also operates an on-site research institute, is composed of a small yet highly skilled team of 15 field professionals, including an aquamarine biologist and two marine biologists.

Thanks to Seakura’s meticulous aquaculture technology (the farming of aquatic organisms), one serving of this superfood is said to boast double the amount of protein, iron, and fiber found in dried seaweed harvested from ocean water. For every 100 grams, Seakura’s “sea lettuce” contains 28 grams of protein, 53.8 mg of Iron, 2.73 mg of Vitamin B12, 21.9 mg of Vitamin C, and 238 mg of magnesium. In comparison, generic dried seaweed contains approximately two grams of protein and only one gram of dietary fiber, according to “There are also three times the carotenoids in our seaweed,” Seakura CEO Moshe Rivosh tells NoCamels.

Seakura sea lettuce

Avoiding contamination by purifying seawater 

For nearly a millennium, coastal people consumed algae, but in recent years, oil spills, sewage, industrial and radioactive wastes have contaminated it. Seakura avoids such concerns by growing its product in purified water, with complete control over elements such as water temperature and acidity levels.

“Seaweed has the ability to absorb water, so if the water is dirty, the seaweed is dirty, too,” Rivosh explains. “But our water is purified. It’s pure water without any dirt or heavy metals.”

SEE ALSO: Designer Uses Seaweed To Create Lamps

The standard seaweed-harvesting protocol entails growing the algae in small pools, equipped with filters and sensors that monitor water quality. Over time, Seakura’s team transfers the plants to larger pools. Thanks to its cultivating procedure, the company says it is able to naturally manipulate and raise the levels of proteins, fiber and vitamins found in the kelp.

Rivosh hopes seaweed will be added to our diets and become a food staple – not just wrapped around sushi rolls. Thanks to the overwhelming amount of nutrients found in seaweed, it’s also an ideal alternative for vegans and vegetarians.

Seakura's seaweed farm

Seakura’s seaweed farm

Affordable and nutritious, fresh seaweed can be added to any recipe 

Known for its versatility, fresh seaweed can be added to salads, sandwiches, and even pasta. “Seaweed is also considered a fresh herb – you can add it to anything you create in your kitchen,” Rivosh says. “It’s also very good in quiche!”

Seakura’s products are also affordable. The firm’s staple sea lettuce is priced around $2.5 per 100 grams, as opposed to $10-$12 – the cost of 100 grams of dried seaweed sheets.

Seakura seaweed salad

Seakura has already made its grand debut in the European market, where the kelp can be found in several health and organic food stores. In the UK, for example, it can be found at Planet Organic; and high-fashion department store Harrods serves Seakura seaweed in its salads.

The leafy algae are also sold across Italy, Belgium, the Netherlands and Israel. The company is now increasing production and working on new recipes. And, its seaweed experts are about to bring a taste of Israel to the UK, with a new product – hummus with seaweed!

Seakura seaweed with tofu

Seakura seaweed with tofu

Photos: Seakura, Ryan McDonald

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Hossam Haick’s Revolutionary Device Detects Deadly Diseases, Cancer, On The Breath]]> 2015-08-25T11:14:13Z 2015-08-25T11:08:58Z

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Back in 400 B.C., before the invention of modern medicine, the Greek physician Hippocrates observed that a number of diseases could be detected on the breath. He noted that “fish-smelling” breath could usually be associated with liver disease and “urine smells” could be tied to kidney failure. Though Hippocrates was keen to observe a close connection between the breath and the inner-workings of the body, his assertions on our body’s subtle signs of disease have historically been overlooked by the medical community.

At least that was until Prof. Hossam Haick of Israel’s Technion came onto the scene. Building on Hippocrates’ vision, Haick has developed 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, like certain kinds of cancer, pulmonary and even the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases.

SEE ALSO: NaNose: The Breathalyzer Test That Sniffs Out Lung Cancer Before It Spreads

“There have been several works throughout history that have suggested that there is a connection between disease and the breath,” Haick tells NoCamels. “However, until this point, there was a lack of scientific evidence to prove that this is true,” he says of the novelty of his impressive body of research, which won him a $6.8 million grant from the European Commission, among other awards.



Haick is going beyond Hippocrates’ theories by inventing groundbreaking diagnostic technologies that promise to detect disease without ever drawing a drop of blood; a bold endeavor that has earned him a good deal of international attention and praise.

Sniffing out disease, one phone at a time

After Hippocrates’ theory on bad breath, or halitosis, as an indication of disease, there were a number of notable scientists before Haick came along who tried to prove what seems like a logical connection. One of them was Antoine Lavoisier, who in the 18th century conducted breath experiments on humans and animals to better understand how our respiratory systems work. Then, in 1971, the “father of molecular biology” Linus Pauling demonstrated for the first time that the human breath is a complex gas that contains more than 200 different volatile organic compounds that can be detected. Today, scientists know that there are about 1,000 different volatile chemicals on the human breath, a good deal of which have become the basis for Haick’s device.

Haick explains of the SNIFFPHONE, a mobile device containing his NaNose breathalyzer test that can sniff out cancer cells and other forms of disease, “We look for what are called volatile organic compounds, or biomarkers, on the breath. These biomarkers are chemical compounds that are imitated from the source of the disease and, as a result, are diffused within the blood stream. Of course, the blood stream is in contact with the skin and the lungs, which is why our test is able to detect them.”


Cancer cells, at a nano-level.

Haick asserts that the NaNose method works with up to 90 percent accuracy, detecting both malignant and benign cancer tumors, as well as their source. This has been the bulk of Haick and his team’s research in the last few years, namely the exact and meticulous craft of identifying where the volatile biomarkers originate from in the body for a more precise diagnosis.

“After collecting about 3,000 samples from 16 different centers worldwide, one of our major findings was that, for every disease, there is a unique signature or ‘fingerprint’ that is expressed on the breath, and in some cases through the skin,” Haick notes, adding the impressive fact that, “one disease does not disrupt another.” This means that Haick’s NaNose technology, as applied in the mobile SNIFFPHONE, could be used by doctors or really anyone to detect not one, but multiple diseases they may have contracted or could be at risk for.

Currently, over twenty diseases can be detected using the NaNose system, working “just as I dreamed it would,” according to Haick. A number of deadly cancers including lung, colorectal, gastric, kidney, breast, prostate and liver cancer can be effectively diagnosed on the breath, as well as the early stages of neurodegenerative diseases like Parkinson’s, Multiple Sclerosis and Alzheimer’s. Haick notes that the team has also successfully explored using the device to detect pulmonary diseases such as hypertension and asthma, and internal diseases like irritable bowel syndrome.


Hossam Haick

A game-changing TB test

As with any man on a mission, SNIFFPHONE’s impressive capabilities were not sufficient for Haick. Recently his Technion lab revealed that they are in the advanced stages of developing a skin patch that can detect one of the world’s deadliest killers – tuberculosis (TB). According to Haick, the patch is able to identify certain “markers” on the skin, such as elasticity and collagen quality that can be associated with TB and its early symptoms. Haick notably received a $ 1 million Grand Challenges Explorations grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to continue developing the patch into its final stages.

SEE ALSO: 10 Israeli Companies At The Cutting Edge Of Life-Saving Tech

According to the World Health Organization, one third of the world’s population is infected with TB and about one and a half million people die from the disease each year. So when Haick set out to create an accessible, simple and inexpensive diagnostic method that can control the spread of TB, the Gates Foundation paid note.


TB Incidence, 2012

“The major issue is that the current tools available in developing countries are quite expensive and require training and previous knowledge to be used. Some people need to wait two weeks and up to a year to be diagnosed with the disease, while the same process happens in a matter of minutes in the developed world. This is because many of them are impoverished, and they cannot afford the $70 diagnostic tool,” says Haick.

Haick hopes that his “Self-Administered Adhesive Plaster for Detection of Tuberculosis” will cost no more than $1 and will become available to anyone in need of diagnosis. The patch will be applied to the patient’s chest, and following a waiting period of two to five minutes, the patch will either turn green to indicate the patient is healthy or red to show that TB is detected. The simplicity of the method makes it possible for patients to “self-diagnose” at home, and for the consistent monitoring of at-risk individuals, such as TB-carriers, smokers and HIV-carriers, without the need to travel and pay for the test at a clinic. In the second phase of the grant, and as Haick and his team finalize the prototype, they hope to begin field-testing the patch in South Africa, India and China.

Humbly Haick

Haick’s prodigal background is no less impressive than the promise of his research. At only forty years-old, the native of Nazareth, Israel, has received his bachelors in Chemical Engineering from Ben Gurion University, PhD from the Technion in a fast-track program, worked as a research assistant at the Weizmann Institute, received Post Doctorate from CalTech and is the fasted promoted professor in the history of the Technion, where his lab is located today. In addition, he is a Knight of the Order of Academic Palms in France, was listed as one of the “World’s Top 35 Young Scientists” and is the recipient of the “Innovation and Entrepreneurship” prize in chemical engineering, among many other recognitions. Still, despite his impressive resume and slew of grants and accreditations, Haick remains humbly tied to his goal of making healthcare accessible and affordable for people all over the world.

“Ultimately, we hope these advances could contribute to the democratization of health globally,” Haick said.

Photos: Technion/ CNN

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Surgical Adhesive Makes Sure All Stays Sealed Inside]]> 2015-08-23T12:52:58Z 2015-08-24T09:00:40Z

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

For patients who have undergone an operation, it’s hard to imagine a greater post-surgical shock than a leak around their supposedly secure staple or other closure. Yet it happens 15- 19 percent of the time in bariatric and colorectal procedures, according to Israeli life sciences start-up LifeBond. To prevent that leakage, the company has developed a unique gelatin-based surgical sealant, guaranteed not to leak.

Already in advanced stages of development, Caesarea-based LifeBond announced this week that it had secured $27 million in a Series D investment. Among the investors: Pitango Venture Capital, Adams Street Partners, and Sino Biopharmaceutical Ltd.

SEE ALSO: After Thousands Of Years Of Stitching, Israelis Invent New Wound Closure Method

gloveandplasterThe financing, the company said, will provide funds to get final approval for the product in Europe and enable it to commercialize and market it there, as well as run required tests in order to get LifeBond approved by the FDA. Required tests for European Union approval have already been successfully concluded, the company said.


Generally, patients who have undergone gastrointestinal (GI) surgery have their incisions stapled or glued, neither of which is an ideal solution. Staples have been known to leak, while glues can break down over time; in both cases, the risk of infection rises considerably as the patient’s insides are exposed to air. In addition, the closures, which must remain in place for months, are difficult for patients to live with, and they often break, even if they have been secured well, because of scratching or the like.

SEE ALSO: Israeli 3D Printing Makes Life-Saving Blood Recycling Machine 96 Percent Cheaper

To solve this, several companies have been working on sealants that will allow patients to move around but still ensure a safe, secure closure. LifeBond’s advantage, the company says, is that the ingredients it uses are all natural and easily handled by the body. Based on gelatin, LifeBond uses a proprietary adhesive platform technology that quickly turns into a polymer (in the form of a hydrogel matrix – a clear, flexible and strong seal) that adheres strongly to physiological tissue surfaces. The properties of the polymerization process and the hydrogel matrix can be controlled to fit a variety of applications.

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

Photo: Lifebond

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Forbes Names Two Israelis In Hollywood’s ‘Most Powerful Powerbrokers’]]> 2015-08-23T10:55:37Z 2015-08-23T10:55:37Z

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In a major feat for the Israeli entertainment industry, two Israeli billionaires made Forbes list of the fifteen richest Hollywood powerbrokers. Well-known Israeli billionaire and entertainment mogul Haim Saban was ranked sixth on the list of Hollywood’s string-pullers, only to be topped in fourth place by the Israeli-American businessman and CEO of Marvel Entertainment, Isaac “Ike” Perlmutter. International media influencer Rupert Murdoch led the list, including other big movie business names like Sumner Redstone and the creator of the legendary Star Wars epic, George Lucas.


Haim Saban

From power rangers to power producer

The ranking of two Israelis on the list makes it clear that a country the size of New Jersey has more influence on what you see on the big screen than you may think. With a net worth of $3.5 billion, Haim Saban, the 143rd richest man in the world, made his money as a television producer, creating the wildly popular children’s TV show “Mighty Morphin Power Rangers”. An Egyptian immigrant to Israel, Saban started off as a music producer, only to move into the movie and television business. In fact, Saban composed the infamous musical theme to “Power Rangers” movie himself, under the pseudonym ‘Kussa Mahchi’. After moving to the United States, Saban and Israeli Shuki Levi composed some of the top children’s tunes on television, including the theme to “Inspector Gadget” and “MASH”, among others.

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


“Go, go Power Rangers”

Saban’s biggest payday came when he sold Fox Family Worldwide to The Walt Disney Company for $5.3 billion. Soon, the network was renamed ABC Family, now a popular television station in the United States, a deal from which Saban reportedly profited a whopping $1.6 billion. In addition, Saban is the former owner of a controlling stake in Germany’s largest telecommunications company ProSiebenSat.1, and is the current owner of the largest Spanish-language media company, Univision Communications. He also owns an Indonesian media company, as well as the successful marketing firm, Saban Brands.

Saban has spent a large portion of his money on philanthropic causes, many to do with Israel. He established the Saban Center for Middle East Policy in 2002, a think tank that is part of the Brookings Institute, and he sponsors a training seminar on Middle East affairs.


Isaac Perlmutter

An Israeli marvel

If you think that Saban’s Hollywood miracle story is impressive, wait until you hear Isaac Perlmutter’s. With a net worth higher than Saban’s, valued at $4 billion, Perlmutter is a lesser-known, but highly important figure behind the scenes in Hollywood. The CEO of Marvel Entertainment and the owner of Marvel Toys, Perlmutter is responsible for releasing superhero movies like “The Avengers” that the box offices go crazy over.

His own story of success is truly remarkable. Perlmutter moved to the United States after completing his military service with just $250 in his pocket. He soon began to make a living in New York by standing outside of Jewish cemeteries, asking if bereaved families would like him to lead funeral services in Hebrew for a small fee. Eventually, he got into the toy and beauty product business, making his fortune as a wholesaler of toys and other goods.

SEE ALSO: 6 TV Shows You Probably Didn’t Know Were Made In Israel

His involvement in a number of toy and special goods companies like Revco and Remington helped him build his name and in 1993, Perlmutter was appointed to Marvel Comics’ Board of Directors. When Marvel entered into financial difficulties, Perlmutter and his Israeli business partner Avi Arad fought for control of the company from Carl Icahn and Ron Perelman. By 2005, Perlmutter was already the CEO of Marvel Entertainment, and remains so today, though the company has been a subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company since 2009.


Marvel’s highly popular series, “The Avengers”.

Beacons for Israeli entertainment

Israelis Saban and Perlmutter are a source of national pride for their determination and success in entering the cut-throat American entertainment industry, but as exemplified in the Forbes list, their influence is far grander. It is highly possible that their can-do attitude has helped Israel’s imports to Hollywood soar into third place, with Israeli television directors, writers, producers and even actors gaining increasing international attention, and praise.

Photos: Jackie SabzevarHaim Saban

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[This Personal Rescue Backpack SkySaver Lets You Rappel Down Buildings]]> 2015-08-20T13:04:55Z 2015-08-20T12:56:42Z

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With thousands of skyscrapers around the world, and many more under construction, the new generation of mega-buildings calls for effective firefighting and rescue methods to keep tenants safe and away from danger.

One innovative evacuation solution is now provided by Israeli startup SkySaver, whose brand new emergency backpack is designed to help residents escape from high-rises. This lifesaving kit comes equipped with a cable cord that, in case of an emergency, is attached to a pre-installed anchor located near a window. When fire breaks out, the emergency device is strapped on with buckles that wrap around the waist and between the legs. Then, the individual starts rappelling down the side of the building. Yep, just like Spiderman.

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


Since infernos pose great challenges to fire departments, requiring a high degree of organization to be successfully contained and extinguished, it’s important to rescue as many people as possible before and while the fire is put out. And that’s exactly when the SkySaver says it can come in.

Lessons learned from 9/11

The idea for the rescue device was conceived after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center in New York. The main purpose of the backpack was to create a device that is wearable and user-friendly, a so that people don’t have to depend on others to be saved; they can rescue themselves, according to the company.SkySaver

“Our backpack is very compact, and a person could actually travel with it,” CEO Avner Farkash tells NoCamels.

Founded in 2012, the startup has already created three different models of the emergency pack, depending on the height of the building; cable lengths range from 25 meters to 80 meters, which means that at this point, SkySaver can serve residents of buildings of up to 20 floors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli-Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure

The varying models weigh between 8 kilograms to 12 kilograms and can carry up to 136 kilograms. Depending on the length of the cord, the SkySaver is priced between $750 and $850.


And while the device is only intended for one-time use, Farkash notes the SkySaver is worth the investment. Alternative devices, such as the Rescue Reel and the Evacuator, are reportedly more expensive.

Save life, save a whole world 

SkySaver’s R&D center in Jerusalem is now developing additional solutions with even longer cables in order to escape skyscraper fires. The three new products are expected to hit the market later this year, and will be priced similarly to the original SkySaver device. Additionally, the startup is in the process of creating a kit designed to help carry down toddlers, older children, and even pets to safety.

Photos and videos: SkySaver, Avalon Abseiling

Jacob Ryan, NoCamels <![CDATA[Meet Valiber, The Smart Spoon That Tells You Exactly How Sweet Your Beverage Is]]> 2015-08-19T13:20:54Z 2015-08-19T13:20:54Z

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Sugar consumption rates are at an all-time high, threatening quality of life and health around the globe. According to the Surgeon General, in the US alone, two-thirds of adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. The average American consumes 150-170 pounds of sugar annually, according to the USDA, and that’s why one in three Americans is expected to have diabetes by 2050.

To reduce obesity and sugar levels, one possible answer is to increase people’s awareness of what is on their plates and in their beverages. Israeli startup Valiber has developed a spoon-like tool that measures the exact levels of sweetness found in drinks and foods. Valiber’s Val meter is called “the swizzle,” which includes a spoon and a corresponding mobile app that shows sweetness levels.

SEE ALSO: Whey Protein Shakes Can Control Diabetic Blood Sugar Spikes


Valiber founder and CEO Yuval Klein took issue with the way we currently measure and describe sweetness: “One cup of coffee with two spoons of sugar might be good for one person, but is too sweet for another,” he tells NoCamels. And so, in 2013 Valiber began to develop the “Val” scale to quantify sweetness.

The Val scale is a method of measurement based on the sensitivity threshold of individuals, starting at zero, which means no sweetness. 1 Val (3.4 grams of white sugar) has been identified by Valiber’s team as the point at which people truly taste sweetness. A can of Coke, for example has a whopping 34 Vals, and a glass of orange juice contains 27 Vals.

How sweet is too sweet? 

With Valiber, consumers can easily learn exactly how much sugar is too much sugar, or the point at which adding more sugar really makes no difference. In other words, why add two teaspoons of sugar when one is enough for you? Pinpointing the desired level of sweetness can significantly lower the amount of sugar we consume, according to Valiber.


Valiber CSO Dr. Moshe Tshuva, along with Prof. Eli Flaxer, head of R&D, have already created the prototype; but the final product will only launch by the end of the year. The “swizzle” uses Bluetooth technology to transfer information from the device to the app, allowing for accurate and easy-to-digest information at the touch of a finger. Valiber also offers a feedback feature, which provides advice on how to change the sweetness according to personal preferences.

The company’s first round of production will include two kinds of swizzle tools: One for individual use, selling for about $29, and another for pros, such as baristas, for $99.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Can Tell Your Susceptibility To Diabetes

Valiber has so far raised seed funds of $100,000 and hopes to raise an additional $400,000 by the end of the year.


The new, universal language for sweetness

“We believe that in the future we will be able to make people all around the world express and share the taste using the Val scale”, Klein tells NoCamels.

However, getting the world to accept a new, universal language for taste is no easy task. “The same drinks often have different levels of sweetness depending on the country”, Klein explains. Currently, Valiber is looking to partner with corporate moguls such as Google and Starbucks in order to expedite this learning curve and acceptance of the scale by the international community.


Photos courtesy of Valiber

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Tech Preserves More Crops With Fewer Chemicals]]> 2015-08-18T06:17:41Z 2015-08-18T06:17:41Z

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

More than one out of every ten tomatoes, cucumbers, melons, okra plants, potatoes, and many more species never make it out of the field – completely destroyed by nematodes, also known as ringworms. And much of the rest of an infected crop is too damaged to sell.

These bugs have been the bane of farmers around the world, but a new solution from Adama Agricultural Solutions (formerly Makhteshim-Agan Industries Ltd) could end their reign of agri-terror. Nimitz, Adama’s brand name for a nematicide (nematode killer) based on a newly-discovered molecule called fluensulfone, will get rid of the most common nematodes without the use of heavy chemicals that have been the mainstay of nematicides, the company says.

SEE ALSO: Open Sesame: Israeli Researcher Gives Favorite Middle Eastern Grain A Boost


Damage typically caused by nematodes.

Adama said Nimitz has the potential to be a game changer for farmers, as well as for the company. Nimitz, it said, is “expected to be a significant growth driver for the company in the future.”

Adama said that studies conducted over the past six years in 21 countries prove its product, the first new nematicide introduced anywhere in the past 20 years, is less hazardous to the environment than other solution. Israel, Australia, Europe, and many US states have approved Nimitz for use in commercial growing settings.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Breeds Protein-Rich Edible Insects To End World Hunger


The US Environmental Protection Agency approved Nimitz last September, saying that while you wouldn’t want to expose children and the elderly to the product for an extended period of time, there were no carcinogenic or other negative effects from Nimitz.

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

Photos: Oregon State University/ Nematode CS

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Study Shows Know-It-Alls Are More Likely To Accept Falsehoods As Fact]]> 2015-08-17T13:29:31Z 2015-08-17T13:03:40Z

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You know those people who claim to know everything, commonly known as “know-it-alls”? Well next time you encounter one you can rest assured that most of what they claim to know is actually false. A new study from Cornell University finds that those who “overclaim”, or think they know everything about a particular topic, are more likely to pretent knowledge of completely false information.

According to the Israeli psychological scientist Stav Atir, who conducted the study, “Our work suggests that the seemingly straightforward task of judging one’s knowledge may not be so simple, particularly for individuals who believe they have a relatively high level of knowledge to begin with,” he said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Study Decodes Viral Content, Finds ‘Memes’ Act Just Like Genes


For know-it-alls, false facts are hard to spot

The claim seems to be a logical one, but how do you go about testing one’s purported knowledge against their actual knowledge and expertise?

To find out why people make these spurious claims, Atir and colleagues from Cornell and Tulane Universities designed a series of experiments to test out people’s self-perceived knowledge, compared to their actual expertise.

One hundred participants were asked to rate their general knowledge of personal finance, as well as their knowledge of 15 specific financial terms. Most of the terms on the list were real (for example, Roth IRA, inflation, home equity), but the researchers also included three made-up terms (pre-rated stocks, fixed-rate deduction, annualized credit).

As expected, people who saw themselves as financial wizards were most likely to claim expertise of the bogus financial terms that were added into the mix.

“The more people believed they knew about finances in general, the more likely they were to overclaim knowledge of the fictitious financial terms,” Atir said. “The same pattern emerged for other domains, including biology, literature, philosophy, and geography.”

“For instance,” Atir explains “people’s assessment of how much they know about a particular biological term will depend in part on how much they think they know about biology in general.”

Catching overclaimers off guard

In another experiment, the researchers warned one set of 49 participants ahead of time that some of the terms on a list would be made up. However, even after receiving the warning, the self-proclaimed experts were more likely to confidently claim familiarity with fake biological terms, such as “meta toxins” and “bio-sexual.”

To confirm that people’s self-perceived expertise was driving their overclaiming, the research team manipulated participants’ sense of knowledge mastery through a geography quiz. Participants were randomly assigned to complete either an easy quiz on iconic US cities, a difficult quiz on very obscure places, or no quiz. Those participants who had completed the easy quiz felt like experts, and reported that they were more knowledgeable about geography in general than those individuals in the other two groups.

SEE ALSO: Children Feel Pleasure At Friends’ Misfortune As Early As Age Two

The participants then rated their familiarity with a list of real—and a few completely fake—US cities.


In all three conditions people recognized the real locations, such as Philadelphia and the National Mall. Ironically, those people who had taken the easy quiz, and concluded they were more knowledgeable about US geography, were more likely than the other two groups to claim they were knowledgeable about non-existent locations, such as Cashmere, Oregon.

Know-it-alls risk the danger of knowing less

The research team warns that a tendency to overclaim, especially in self-perceived experts, may actually discourage individuals from educating themselves in precisely those areas in which they consider themselves knowledgeable—leading to potentially disastrous outcomes.

For example, failure to recognize or admit one’s knowledge gaps in the realm of finance or medicine could easily lead to uninformed decisions with devastating consequences for individuals.

“Continuing to explore when and why individuals overclaim may prove important in battling that great menace—not ignorance, but the illusion of knowledge,” the research team concludes.

The research, conducted by lead researcher Stav Atir of Cornell University, together with David Dunning and Emily Rosenzweig of Tulane University, was published in the Association for Psychological Science’s journal “Psychological Science”.


Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[Revolutionary Rooftop Farm Grows Organic Veggies Sans Soil In The Heart of Tel Aviv]]> 2015-08-16T12:00:40Z 2015-08-16T12:00:40Z

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Buying organic and locally grown produce is a raging trend that is here to stay. And a new project in Israel called “Green in the City” is taking the trend to a whole new level, literally.

‘Green in the City’ grows mostly organic vegetables in floating beds of water (without soil) on the rooftop of Dizengoff Center, Tel Aviv’s central mall complex. Started by Mendi Falk, the project aims to bring the farm to the city, and fresh produce onto urban dwellers’ plates.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Create Enhanced Strains Of Fruits And Veggies 

urban agriculture

Urban agriculture on Dizengoff Center’s roof

Lettuce, basil, bok choy, onions, tomatoes, and cucumbers are among the vegetables grown on Falk’s compact, 100-square-meter rooftop farm. And while just about anything can be grown on the farm, Falk concentrates mainly on leafy vegetables because they have the shortest life cycles.

Urban agriculture requires less water, no soil

The science behind this intriguing project is hydroponics, a type of gardening that grows plants using very little nutrient-rich water solutions and without any soil. There are different types of hydroponic systems, but they all essentially work by pumping just the right amount of nutrients and water directly to the plants’ roots. Unlike traditional agriculture, hydroponic gardening gives the grower control over the plants’ watering and feeding cycles, as well as over the strength and acidity of the nutrient solution that is given to the plants.

SEE ALSO: Buy Your Food Straight From The Local Farmers With Farmigo

Falk’s farm also utilizes an aquaponics system: fish are grown in a tank that is connected to the plant growing beds, with water circulating between each other. The plants take in nutrients from the fish tank’s waste and clean the water that is pumped back into it.

Urban agriculture on Dizengoff Center's roof

The advantages are numerous: First and foremost, the plants grow faster and produce greater yields. These systems also take up less space, rule out the need for pesticides (since plant diseases and parasites are mostly soil-borne), and require less weeding. In addition, the rooftop garden needs less water as hydroponics uses 70 to 90 percent less water than conventional gardening.

“Harvested just 15 minutes before being served on the customer’s plate”

According to Falk, customers can taste the difference. “The taste is different not because the produce is growing in hydroponic systems, but because people are not used to eating fresh vegetables,” he tells NoCamels. “They’re used to eating vegetables that have been sitting in their refrigerator for days. Our vegetables are organic, pesticide-free, and truly fresh, because oftentimes they are harvested just 15 minutes before being served on the customer’s plate.”

Urban agriculture on Dizengoff Center's roof

Green in the City is a joint venture between Dizengoff Center and Falk’s company Living Green – which sells hydroponic and aquaponics systems to private consumers. “We believe that urban agriculture should be more spread throughout the city,” Falk says. “Since the farm is located on top of a popular space, people can easily come and see that the hydroponic method is not that complicated and they will be inspired to grow their own vegetables in their homes with hydroponic systems.”

A solution for world hunger? 

The farm’s produce is currently sold to two restaurants in Dizengoff Center – Café Greg and Garden Restaurant – as well as to Dizengoff Center’s farmers market for about $1 per unit, as opposed to organic vegetables sold at local supermarkets, which on average cost $2.5 per kilo. Falk says that 100 square meters are not enough to run a financially sustainable farm, and plans to expand to a 500-square-meter space on the Center’s roof in the coming months.

His vision for hydroponic systems extends way beyond his own business interests. “I think this is a part of a bigger solution for world hunger,” Falk explains. “Of course, hydroponics will not replace traditional agriculture as the major source of food, but in countries where there is not enough fertile ground or enough water, hydroponics can provide a much needed solution.”


Dizengoff Center

Photos: Eunice Lim, Living GreenBeny Shlevich, Purdue University

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[International Nobel Prize Winners Travel To Israel To Mentor Students]]> 2015-08-13T12:49:41Z 2015-08-14T12:40:56Z

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As part of the World Science Conference Israel (WSCI) to be held at the Hebrew University next week, fifteen Nobel Prize winners and dozens of international scientists will make their way to Israel. The program, geared towards over 400 promising science students from 70 countries, hopes to encourage youth to engage in science and technology by providing them with the unique opportunity to meet with Nobel Prize winners and leaders in science.

The conference was initiated by Nobel Laureate and Hebrew University Prof. Roger Kornberg together with the Israeli Ministry of Science and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. The organizers promise a “once-in-a-lifetime experience” for the 400 students aged 17-21 who are slated to fly to Israel to attend.

SEE ALSO: Dan Shechtman Talks To NoCamels About Winning The Nobel Prize


Delegations from over 70 countries and regions have already confirmed their participation

On the program are lectures on hot topics in physics, chemistry, economics and medicine along with more focused talks on the ‘Israeli entrepreneurial spirit’. WSCI’s organizers also hope that the conference “will help to develop international friendships and cooperation, transcending barriers of nationality and geographical distance.” The underlying goal of the conference is to help budding scientific minds make important connections between basic science and more advanced applications that could one day procure them their own Nobel Prize.

Some of the notable Nobel Prize winners at the conference include Prof. Robert Aumann, who won the prize in Economic Sciences in 2005 for his work on conflict and cooperation in game theory; Prof. Steven Chu, the former United States Secretary of Energy who won the prize in Physics in 1997 for his research in cooling and trapping atoms with lasers; and Prof. Robert Kornberg, who won the prize in Chemistry in 2006 for his studies into the process whereby DNA is copied to RNA.

Other Nobel Laureates slated to attend include: Prof. Zhores I. Alferov (Physics, 2000), Prof. Sidney Altman (Chemistry, 1989), Prof. Aaron Chiechanover (Chemistry, 2004), Prof. Claude Cohen-Tannoudji (Physics, 1997), Prof. David J. Gross (Physics, 2004), Sir Prof. Harold W. Kroto (Chemistry, 1996), Prof. Elon Lindenstrauss (Fields Medal, 2010), Prof. Richard J. Roberts (Physiology or Medicine, 1993), Prof. Dan Shechtman (Chemistry, 2011), Prof. Harold E. Varmus (Physiology or Medicine, 1989), Prof. Arieh Warshel (Chemistry, 2013), and Prof. Ada Yonath (Chemistry, 2009).

SEE ALSO: Visualize Einstein’s Genius With Incredible Collection Of Digital Papers


Israeli Nobel Laureates

The WSCI was modeled after the Lindau Science Meeting, which has provided the opportunity for students of all ages to meet with Nobel Laureates for the past six decades, as well as the Asian Science Camp, a similar program for students in Asia and Australia. In fact, the Asian Science Camp held in Israel in 2012 is what inspired the organizers to build their own conference showcasing Israeli scientific contributions.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[WIRED Magazine Picks The 10 Hottest Israeli Startups: “Tel Aviv Is Where The Money Is”]]> 2015-08-13T12:05:07Z 2015-08-13T11:51:07Z

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Every year, the UK edition of the renowned WIRED Magazine publishes its famous list of 100 European startups, which are carefully selected and featured in the magazine’s September edition. Now we can reveal that 10 of these selected startups are from Israel (which is technically in Asia).

In an article devoted to the Startup Nation, which will be published in the magazine, WIRED assistant editor Oliver Franklin-Wallis, asserts that “Tel Aviv is where the money is,” after mentioning Israeli companies’ extraordinary “exits” and IPOs, which topped $15 billion in 2014.

SEE ALSO: Two Startups Sell For Quarter Billion Dollars Each In One Day


To pick its rising stars, WIRED explains, “We define ‘hot’ as being talked about locally by people who matter: It’s about buzz, not valuation or market size.” WIRED’s selection of the 10 promising Israeli startups includes companies from a large variety of high-tech fields, including mobile technologies, analytics and healthcare.

Mobile technologies 

One of the most intriguing companies on WIRED’s list is Consumer Physics. Last year, the company shattered all expectations with the launch of its cutting-edge pocket spectrometer named SCiO, a USB-sized device that can read and analyze the molecular composition of any physical object, like the freshness of your apple, or the water levels of your plant. SCiO raised $2.8 million in a few weeks on crowdfunding platform Kickstarter, well surpassing its initial goal of $200,000.


Another WIRED favorite is Moovit, a mobile app that has changed the way people use public transportation. Using crowd-sourcing data and real-time information from passengers, the app recommends the fastest public transport routes at any given time.

WIRED also heaped praise on startup Adallom, which provides a layer of protection for organizational information transferred over mobile applications. Adallom’s cloud application security platform buffers between users’ devices and their applications in a non-intrusive way. The startup was recently acquired by American software giant Microsoft for a whopping $320 million.

StoreDot, another mobile technology startup, has also captured the attention of WIRED editors, who probably sympathize (like most of us) with the notion that charging your smartphone shouldn’t take a few hours. StoreDot‘s FlashBattery can charge smartphones in a record-breaking 30 seconds, freeing millions of people from the constant worry of low battery life! Recently, StoreDot announced the development of a new, super-fast charger for electric cars, which according to the company will one day charge vehicles in five minutes.

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


In addition to mobile technologies, WIRED has also selected a couple of young analytics firmsAppsFlyer, used by 5,000 advertisers, provides analytics to measure the effectiveness of campaigns on smartphone apps. For example, it can track the impact of a television ad on mobile downloads in real time. In addition, WIRED picked Israeli startup SimilarWeb, which analyzes the performance of websites and apps, providing traffic rankings and insights using data from different sources.

The technological magazine also picked Israeli startup FeeX, which analyzes financial statements to discover how much money we’re losing in hidden fees we’re unaware of. Grey charges, says Feex, are everywhere, especially in your bank accounts and pension plans and that’s why the self-proclaimed ‘Robin Hood of Fees’ is helping consumers get their money back.

SEE ALSO: FeeX Eliminates Your Hidden Charges

Tel Aviv

Other startups on the WIRED list include the hugely popular quiz and entertainment platform PlayBuzz; Windward, which analyzes satellite feeds and maritime data to track the location and contents of ships across oceans; and Zebra Medical Vision, which trains computers to diagnose diseases and is currently building a worldwide database of images.

Photos: Pikiwiki

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[5 Israeli Apps That Make Eating Healthier A Piece Of Cake]]> 2015-08-12T14:14:10Z 2015-08-12T14:14:10Z

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Eating healthier is perhaps one of the most popular New Year’s resolutions. Yet, many of us know from experience that it is easier said than done. Well, it’s never too late to recommit to a healthier eating regiment (especially in the summer!), whether it is to finally reach that ideal weight, to get fitter, to stick to a more restrictive dietary lifestyle like veganism, or to simply eat more balanced, nutritious meals.

NoCamels profiles five of the hottest Israeli apps that make eating healthier a piece of cake.

Fooducate: Know what you eat

Eating better starts with knowing better. Fooducate, a free app created by Israeli entrepreneur Hemi Weingarten, is informing consumers on the contents of the food they buy, so they can make healthier purchases. The app’s main feature is the “food finder,” which lets people scan the barcode of a food item in any US chain supermarket to see its nutrition grade, a brief explanation on why it got the score it did, and healthier alternatives.

SEE ALSO: Israeli ‘Fooducate’ Wins App Competition

Vegetables - Health News - Israel

Using the app, you can instantly scan and see that a certain brand of breakfast cereals has a nutrition rating of A minus, for example, because it is made of 100 percent whole grain and has more than 12 percent of the daily recommended dose of fiber. The app also has information about food products from fast food chains like McDonald’s and Taco Bell, among others. And for an additional fee (starting at $2.99 a month), you can buy premium features like the gluten and allergies food scanner and even a pet food scanner. Fooducate’s impressive database has information on over 200,000 foods, and is growing. With millions of downloads to date, Fooducate plans to expand into Western European markets in the future.

Nutrino: The nutritionist that fits in your pocket

How often do you find yourself thinking, “What should I eat today”? Nutrino, a free data-driven, personalized food recommendation app, can answer that question for you. Founded by Jonathan Lipnik and Yaron Hadad in Israel, the app first gathers information on your health status, health goals, and food taste preferences, and then suggests tailored dishes for all of your meals and snacks. The suggestions come with recipes and nutritional information, and the ingredients for the recipes can be instantly added onto your Nutrino grocery list. You log what you eat as you go, and the app helps you monitor your progress and gives tips on how to stay on track.

A novel aspect of Nutrino is that it can connect to fitness apps and wearable devices such as Fitbit and Runkeeper to take into account physical activity, sleep and biomarkers, all of which contribute to creating the optimal food plan for each user. Whatever your health goal is – be it losing weight, gaining muscle, or simply eating better – Nutrino says it can help.

MakeMyPlate: The not-so-secret ingredient for a successful diet

You shouldn’t have to skip meals or subscribe to expensive diet programs to lose weight. With the MakeMyPlate app, you can get on a balanced, healthy diet plan for free. Founded by Israeli psychologist Alin Cooperman, the app presents a visual list of suggested plates you are to eat every day. The meals are balanced, based on expert nutritional guidelines, and come out to 1,200 calories in total. The visual interface gives you a sense of how large the portions should be. But if you’re not in the mood for the egg sandwich, or tuna salad the app suggests for lunch, you can easily select another plate with a similar calorie count and nutritional breakdown – say, a whole wheat pita stuffed with hummus and veggies.

SEE ALSO: The Online Visual Nutrition Guide

While the main weight loss plan is free, there are premium plans like The Ultimate New York Diet and the Paleo Plan, among others, which are designed by celebrity nutritionists and cost $4.99. For a more interactive experience, check out the MakeMyPlate website, where you can keep an online food diary by dragging and dropping photos of foods to create virtual plates that mirror what you eat.


My Diet Coach: Easy diet tracking

It’s time to keep track of your diet more quickly and efficiently than ever before with the My Diet Coach app for Apple Watch. With a simple tap on the Apple Watch screen or by voice activation, users can log their food and water intake in a matter of seconds, distinguishing it from smartphone apps that require a little more time to input information. Anat Levy, the CEO and founder of My Diet Coach, argues that this small saving will make a big difference.

Luckily for those who are not ready to invest in an Apple Watch just yet, the app is available on smartphones and comes with even more features. The smartphone version, which has been downloaded by 8 million users, offers personalized motivation – flashing animated reminders of your health goals, providing specific tips for maintaining your diet in situations like “eating out” and “emotional eating,” and even helping you fight off cravings with the “panic button,” which counts down the 20 minutes needed to resist before the craving goes away.

Go Vegan: Finding vegan dishes near you

Eating out no longer has to be a hassle for those leading a vegan lifestyle with the location-based Go Vegan app. Launched in January 2013 by Israeli tech developer Yehuda Goldner, the app displays a large selection of vegan dishes and the restaurants that serve them – including restaurants that are not entirely vegan and are not usually on vegans’ radars. Using the app is simple: Type in your address, pick what you want to eat from a visual list of dishes, and the app will give you directions to a restaurant that serves the dish (and its price!). Users can help improve the app by leaving reviews, sharing new dishes and restaurants, and reporting any mistakes.

Currently, the app is only available for use in Israel and San Francisco, but plans to expand to Las Vegas and Los Angeles are under way. Goldner tells NoCamels that he became a full vegan four years ago for personal, health and ethical reasons. “I wanted to put my past experience as a tech developer to good use and make the vegan lifestyle more accessible.”


Photos and videos: Courtesy

Daniel Asper, NoCamels <![CDATA[David Vs. Goliath? Inside The Gett-Uber Battle Over Mobile Taxicab Services]]> 2015-08-11T12:40:31Z 2015-08-11T12:40:31Z

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It looks about as close to David vs. Goliath as you can get in the business world: Israeli company Gett is battling it out against the world champ Uber for the title of Israel’s transportation king.

Currently, Israel’s Gett is the go-to mobile application for ordering rides from your smartphone in Israel. Uber, meanwhile, a San Francisco-based company, is the global incumbent for these services. Dominating the industry since 2009 and valued at a staggering $50 billion, Uber makes Gett, a $2 billion company founded in 2010, look paltry by comparison. And while Uber is available in 300 cities, in 55 countries, Gett operates in roughly 50 cities across four countries at the moment.

There’s no doubt that Uber is the giant, so does Gett stand a chance at keeping the lead on its home turf?

SEE ALSO: Nat Rothschild To Launch London Ride Sharing App


Both Uber and Gett (formerly known as GetTaxi) classify themselves as technology companies that use their mobile applications to connect people who need a ride with drivers who can pick them up. At the touch of a button, you order a ride, which is then automatically charged to your phone. So, what separates these services from traditional taxi companies? Many believe it’s a combination of a few things: simple ordering from an app, real-time GPS tracking of your ride, focus on customer service through a driver rating system, and cashless payments through syncing your credit card to the app.

Moreover, many investors see business potential in new, modern methods of transportation, which has contributed to the sky-high valuation of Uber. Its game-changing service Uber X gives anyone with a car and a clean background check the ability to pick up and drop off anyone who orders a ride. Uber calls this “ride sharing” and it has taken the industry by storm, allowing individuals to make money while they run errands, giving customers 24/7 access to a “green” carpooling service that’s cheaper than the regular cab fares, typically by 20 percent.

Uber X reduces costs to consumers because it eliminates the fees that taxi drivers must pay to lease a medallion (the rare permit that gives drivers the right to operate a taxi and pick up street hails) and a vehicle. With Uber X, Uber and its drivers simply split revenues on a per-ride basis, effectively cutting out the middleman – taxi unions.

Head of Uber Israel: Our service is better for consumers, taxi drivers 

NoCamels recently sat down with Uber Israel’s General Manager Yoni Greifman to discuss Uber’s recent entry into Israel and the opportunities and challenges of introducing a new service like Uber X. “Many taxi drivers have significant additional costs that don’t have to be there”, Greifman told NoCamels. “For example, they pay roughly $380 per month to lease their medallion and that doesn’t even account for the vehicle. Then, they may need to lease a taxi-licensed vehicle which will cost an additional $1,150 per month. With Uber, those costs are basically eliminated because drivers use their own vehicles. Even if they end up charging less per trip, overall revenues increase.”

Since Uber X cuts costs for drivers and therefore increases their revenues, more and more drivers are embracing Uber’s new model. “In New York, for example, many taxi drivers are switching to Uber X because they can earn more using their own vehicles,” he says.

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

Unfortunately for Uber, Israeli authorities have yet to approve its Uber X model for regulatory reasons. The Israeli transportation code requires all drivers operating a taxi service to have a taxi license, and Uber is technically considered by law to be a taxi service, but not Uber X. That’s why individuals can’t legally be paid for carpooling in Israel. However, this has been the case in almost every market Uber has entered, and the company has managed to get these regulations changed in some countries. Now, they want to take on the Israeli Ministry of Transportation.

“Uber’s goal is to make transportation as reliable as running water,” Greifman says. “If we can use the current transportation assets in a more efficient manner, you won’t need to own your own car. You’ll feel comfortable that if you go to our app you’ll have a cheap, reliable, safe transportation option. This is Uber’s vision around the world.”

Conversely, Gett’s traditional business model in Israel is based on signing up drivers who are already accredited taxi drivers and giving them access to customer orders directly through the Gett mobile application, which is in compliance with Israeli transportation law. However, Israeli taxicab stands (dispatchers) have been hit hard over the past couple of years, with hundreds of drivers leaving them for Gett – in order to cut out the middleman. NoCamels reached out to Gett, which didn’t comment.


Duking it out in the desert

These companies aren’t only competing for dominance in the land of milk and honey; the battle for Israel appears vital for Uber’s expansion into the Middle East, and critical to Gett’s survival. Recently, Gett upped the ante, making arguably the most game-changing move in the company’s history. Over the coming months, Gett plans to roll out a new suite of on-demand services, which would allow customers to order products and services in addition to rides: For example, a plumber, a pizza, or even an in-office haircut. In addition, it will reportedly battle Uber for business accounts by offering fixed-price rides in New York City.

One strategy Uber is famous for is its “pop-up services,” which are based on local events and are meant to create brand awareness. Late last year, on Rosh Hashanah (which celebrates the beginning of the Jewish new year), Uber took orders and delivered fresh challah bread in Tel Aviv. Most recently, on Israel’s Independence Day, the company delivered hummus and pita bread at a flat rate of 10 shekels.

Uber is now in the process of gaining brand recognition in a country that has traditionally used Gett. Greifman admits that “there is definitely strong patriotism built into every Israeli,” but says “we’re trying to make Uber an Israeli company.”

Both Uber and Gett, however, may soon be experiencing steep competition from another ride-sharing app, RideWith. Employing the superior travel-tech knowledge of its acquired Israeli company Waze, Google recently announced it will launch a pilot of its ride-sharing service in central Israel. The service will synchronize between Waze users and eager carpoolers who live and work in the same location.

There are many ways to look at Uber vs. Gett and the future of Israeli transportation. The truth is, both companies are more like David than they are Goliath, slowly changing the vast, complex world of transportation. Their local challenge (as well as their global one) is to liberate Israelis – whose major cities are as congested as any other big metropolis – from their transportation and parking woes.

Photos and videos: Tripp, Gett, Uber

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Discovery Of Melanoma Trigger Could Stop Skin Cancer In Its Tracks]]> 2015-08-09T13:25:35Z 2015-08-10T11:25:19Z

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Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and melanoma – which accounts for 2 percent of skin cancer cases – is responsible for nearly all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma rates in the US have risen rapidly over the last 30 years, and although scientists have identified key risk factors, melanoma’s modus operandi continues to elude the world of medical research.

Now, a new Tel Aviv University study sheds light on the precise trigger that enables melanoma cells to become invasive killers, providing a future method to block cancer by pinpointing the precise place in the process where “traveling” cancer turns lethal.

SEE ALSO: Cure For Terminal Cancer


If melanoma is caught in time, it can be removed and the patient’s life can be saved. But once melanoma invades the bloodstream, turning metastatic, an aggressive treatment must be applied. When and how melanoma transforms into aggressive invader remained a mystery – until now.

SEE ALSO: New Vaccine Triggers Response In 90 Percent Of Cancer Types

The study, recently published in the academic journal Molecular Cell, was led by TAU’s Dr. Carmit Levy, along with researchers from the Technion, Sheba Medical Center, and the Hebrew University.

“It occurred to me that there had to be a trigger in the micro-environment of the skin that made the melanoma cells invasive,” Levy said in a statement. “Using the evolutionary logic of the tumor, why spend the energy going up when you can just use your energy to go down and become malignant?”

“We could stop the progression of cancer”

After collecting samples of normal skin cells and melanoma cells from Israeli patients, the researchers mixed normal and cancerous cells and performed gene analysis expression to study the traveling cancer’s behavior. They found that, completely independent of any mutations, the biological micro-environment of the cell alone drove melanoma metastasis.

“Normal skin cells are not supposed to travel,” says Levy. “We found that when melanoma is situated at the top layer, a trigger sends it down to the dermis and then further down to invade blood vessels. If we could stop it at the top layer, block it from invading the bloodstream, we could stop the progression of the cancer.”

red blood cells

The researchers found that the direct contact of melanoma cells with a layer of the skin turned on a set of genes that promotes changes in melanoma cells, rendering them invasive.

“Now that we know the triggers of melanoma transformation and the kind of signaling that leads to that transformation, we know what to block,” Levy says. “Maybe, in the future, people will be able to rub some substance on their skin as a prevention measure.”

Dr. Levy is continuing to explore the research with the end goal of providing medical professionals with another tool of analysis of different stages of melanoma. “Melanoma is a cancer with a very long gestation period,” said Dr. Levy. “If you can provide a simple kit with precise answers, you can catch it at the beginning stage and hopefully save lives.”

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Stem Cell Treatments Could Alleviate Asthma, Study Shows]]> 2015-08-09T06:37:48Z 2015-08-09T06:37:48Z

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Collectively, diseases of the airways such as emphysema, bronchitis, asthma and cystic fibrosis are the second leading cause of death worldwide. More than 35 million Americans suffer from a chronic and debilitating respiratory disease.

Weizmann Institute scientists in Israel have now proposed a new direction that could, in the future, lead to the development of a method for alleviating some of their suffering. The study’s findings show how it might be possible to use embryonic stem cells to repair damaged lung tissue.

SEE ALSO: Alvio Treats Asthma The Natural Way


Stem cell treatments may prove effective in treating asthma and other respiratory conditions.

An existing method, new applications

The research began with an insight: Certain stem cells that normally reside in the lungs are highly similar to those in the bone marrow. In addition, in each organ, the stem cells, rather than being distributed throughout the tissue, are concentrated in special compartments that contain all the provisions that stem cells need to flourish.

“That understanding suggested to us that we might be able to apply our knowledge of techniques for transplanting bone marrow stem cells to repairing lung tissue,” Prof. Yair Reisner of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Biotech Companies Use Stem Cells To Change Medicine

Bone marrow transplant is based on two main principles: the ability of stem cells to navigate through the blood to the appropriate compartment and the prior clearing out of the compartment to make room for the transplanted stem cells. Reisner and his team thought it might possible to apply these principles to introducing new stem cells into the lungs. But before they could do this, they needed to find a source of lung stem cells suitable for transplanting – a problem, as they are quite rare.

Six weeks to normal lung tissue

The research group overcame this obstacle by using embryonic stem cells from the 20th -22nd week.

Their research showed that this is the ideal time frame in which to harvest the cells: Younger cells have not completed the process of differentiation; older cells are less capable of lung regeneration.stemcellslungs

The team then conducted a series of experiments in which they cleared the lung’s stem cell compartments with a method they had developed, then injected the new stem cells into mouse models of lung damage. The embryonic lung stem cells managed to find their way through the blood to the lungs and settle into the proper compartment.

By six weeks, these cells were differentiating and creating normal lung tissue. The damaged lungs healed in the mice, and their breathing improved significantly.

The next obstacle Reisner faces is determining the correct dosage of drugs that are needed to prevent rejection of the transplanted cells, which are required following such procedures. “But our real vision, bolstered by this success,” says Reisner, “is to create a bank of lung tissue that will be a resource for embryonic lung stem cells.” This bank could mean that there is a ready source of cells for repairing the damage in those suffering from severe respiratory disease.

Photos: Simon Seljeflot

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Proof Of Earliest Agriculture Found In Israel, Dating Back 23,000 Years Ago]]> 2015-08-05T09:06:13Z 2015-08-07T11:15:17Z

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Open any history book and you’re likely to find that the practice of agriculture was invented 12,000 years ago in the Levant, an area in the Middle East that was home to some of the first human civilizations. But a new discovery recently made in Northern Israel seems to have shattered the myth on the advent of agriculture, offering up exciting evidence that trial plant cultivation, what we call agriculture, began far earlier – some 23,000-years-ago.

SEE ALSO: Why Thriving Civilizations Perished In The Levant

Researchers from Israel’s Tel Aviv, Bar-Ilan and Haifa Universities, with participation from Harvard, recently uncovered the first weed species at the site of a sedentary human camp on the shore of Israel’s Sea of Galilee, the location where prehistoric communities cultivated the first plants for human consumption.

“While full-scale agriculture did not develop until much later, our study shows that trial cultivation began far earlier than previously believed, and gives us reason to rethink our ancestors’ capabilities,” TAU’s Prof. Marcelo Sternberg said in a statement. “Those early ancestors were more clever and skilled than we thought.”

Sea of Galilee , Israel

Sea of Galilee, Israel

‘Our ancestors were more clever and skilled than we thought’

Though weeds are typically considered a threat or nuisance in contemporary farming, their presence at the site of the findings revealed the earliest signs of trial plant cultivation — some 11 millennia earlier than conventional historical thought regarding the onset of agriculture.

SEE ALSO: 5,000-Year-Old Egyptian Brewery Discovered In Israel

The site, which was built by fisher-hunter-gatherers, was found to be unusually well-preserved, having been charred, covered by lake sediment, and sealed in low-oxygen conditions — ideal for the preservation of plant material. Hence, weed species and harvesting tools found at the site provide clear evidence of early farming.

“This uniquely preserved site is one of the best archaeological examples worldwide of the hunter-gatherers’ way of life,” Sternberg says.

Prehistoric plant cultivation

The site bears the remains of six shelters and a particularly rich assemblage of plants. Upon retrieving and examining 150,000 plant specimens, the researchers determined that early humans there had gathered over 140 species of plants. These included 13 known weeds mixed with edible cereals, such as wild emmer (wheat), wild barley, and wild oats.



The researchers found a grinding slab — a stone tool with which cereal starch granules were extracted — as well as a distribution of seeds around this tool, reflecting that the cereal grains were processed for consumption. The large number of cereals showing specific kinds of scars on their seeds indicate the likelihood of those cereals growing in fields, and the presence of sickle blades indicates that these humans deliberately planned the harvest of cereal.

This groundbreaking study offers evidence that early humans clearly functioned with a basic knowledge of agriculture and, perhaps more importantly, exhibited foresight and extensive agricultural planning far earlier than was previously believed.

Emmer wheat

Emmer wheat

The study was recently published in PLOS ONE and led by Prof. Ehud Weiss of Bar-Ilan University, in collaboration with Prof. Marcelo Sternberg of the Department of Molecular Biology and Ecology of Plants at TAU’s Faculty of Life Sciences and Prof. Ofer Bar-Yosef of Harvard University, among other colleagues.

Photos: H20Zachi Evenor

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[One Israeli Researcher Is Outsmarting HIV To Cure AIDS]]> 2015-08-06T11:00:38Z 2015-08-06T10:00:52Z

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Thirty-four years and counting since the first reported case of AIDS in the US, and there is still no cure for the approximate 35 million people worldwide whose immune systems are infected.

While an assortment of antiretroviral drugs that attack the HIV-1 virus have appeared on the market, many working to slow down the disease’s replication in the body and protect the patient’s immune system, the virus manages to survive, reproduce, and even grow increased resistance to medication over time.

SEE ALSO: Breakthrough Israeli Device Will Circumcise 700,000 Rwandans To Prevent HIV/AIDS

Given the limitations of existing drugs, an Israeli researcher at the Technion’s Faculty of Biology proposes a new strategy to tackle the virus that will focus on the interactions between the virus’ and the host cell’s proteins, instead of solely focusing on targeting the proteins of the virus. This strategy is set to be significantly more effective in attacking the disease as the HIV-1 virus cannot survive without relying on the cellular mechanisms of the host cell.


A map of HIV/AIDs deaths by country.

A random, but deadly, relationship of interdependence

A key issue concerning the interaction between the HIV-1 virus and the host cell is the virus’ ability to circumvent natural and drug-induced barriers. Assistant Prof. Akram Alian, who leads the research, hypothesizes that when a favored pathway is blocked, the virus looks for alternative, yet functionally equivalent protein-to-protein interactions within that pathway. In this way, the virus is able to manipulate the host cell and successfully replicate – essentially taking advantage of the redundancy of host cells, making a potentially dangerous ‘detour’.

Alian believes that understanding exactly how the HIV-1 virus pursues alternative routes, or ‘rerouting mechanisms’, to hijack the host cell will be crucial in finding an eventual cure.

SEE ALSO: Treating Cancer With AIDS

“Right now, we are trying to map the HIV-1 rerouting landscape and capture different host virus complexes to see if we can target inescapable pathway nodes,” Alian tells NoCamels. “If we can do this, then we can predict the hidden, alternative routes that the virus takes and from there develop a drug that targets the critical nodes of the host cell’s proteins so there is no way for the virus to reroute and take a different pathway,” he said of what he hopes will prove a revolutionary breakthrough in HIV/AIDS treatment.


A ‘Trojan Horse’ to the immune system

In earlier articles published by Alian’s laboratory, the researchers compared an important viral protein called integrase that is present both in HIV-1 in humans and FIV, feline immunodeficiency virus, in cats. Through the comparison, Alian and his team were able to discover new differences that could aid in better understanding and predicting the development of antiretroviral drug resistance. The team found that with both viruses, the integrase inserts the viral DNA into the DNA of the infected cell, then replicating itself in a manner that spreads throughout the body.

“The virus is a kind of Trojan horse, which uses the host’s genome in order to replicate,” explains Alian. “Now we are studying this issue in depth and trying to develop this idea of ‘multiple route reproduction of the HIV virus,’ as a new strategy in the treatment of AIDS.”

Alian, while hopeful about the potential of his research, says that there is no definite timeline for finding a cure. “If we can identify a node, then we can start thinking about a drug, but there’s still a long way to go in the research,” Alian says. “I hope, however, that we can call the attention of other scientists to invest their efforts to capture such nodes, because it’s not enough for one scientist to investigate this.”

Photos: Celisa B.M. Serra/ Thiagarajan Vardharaju/ Millennium Promise/ National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Startup StemRad To Protect Astronauts From Radiation In Space]]> 2015-08-05T10:03:50Z 2015-08-05T10:20:25Z

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

Israeli technology that can protect first responders from deadly gamma radiation – the kind of radiation emitted by nuclear bombs – may one day protect astronauts who explore deep space from the high levels of radiation they are likely to encounter.

SEE ALSO: What If Nuclear Disaster Strikes

Israel’s StemRad is working with US defense giant Lockheed-Martin to develop a version of its gamma-ray shielding vest for use in deep-space missions, the companies announced this week.

“We’re going to take our extensive knowledge of human spaceflight, apply our nano-materials engineering expertise, and working closely with StemRad, evaluate the viability for this type of radiation shielding in deep-space,” said Randy Sweet, Lockheed Martin business development director for the civil space line of business. “The Lockheed Martin team believes this could result in an innovative solution to enhance crew safety on the journey to Mars.”


Lockheed Martin is the prime contractor building Orion, NASA’s next-generation spacecraft designed to transport humans to destinations beyond low Earth orbit and bring them safely home. Designed for the space missions of tomorrow, Orion will, among other things, provide technology against the effects of deep-space radiation, considered one of the biggest threats and roadblocks to human exploration of the solar system beyond the moon.

SEE ALSO: Startup Launches Cellular Radiation Detection App

Key to the effort to protect against such radiation is the solution by StemRad, which has a product that protects first responders against gamma radiation generated by, among other things, nuclear explosions. Cleverly designed to allow freedom of movement, the StemRad 360 Gamma belt is not a full-body suit that makes it difficult to maneuver and freely explore – a key requirement for rescue workers.

Exposure to gamma radiation results in radiation sickness, the accelerated destruction of the blood cells and the inability of the body to replenish them, due to the damage sustained to bone marrow, which needed to generate new cells. Fifty percent of the body’s bone marrow is located in the groin and midsection areas of the body – and that is exactly the part of the body the StemRad belt protects, ensuring that rescue workers are protected against the effects of radiation sickness, but are able to maintain freedom of movement needed to assist others.

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

Photos: HubertRoberts, StemRad

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[Novel Eye-Tracking Device EyeControl Enables ALS Patients To Communicate]]> 2015-08-05T11:55:29Z 2015-08-05T09:53:00Z

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The viral “Ice Bucket Challenge” that catapulted ALS into our lives last year, encouraging people to film themselves pouring ice water over their heads, became a social media sensation within weeks. While the philanthropic blockbuster sparked millions of donations to ALS research, still nearly 6,000 Americans are diagnosed with the neuron motor disease every year, losing almost all of their communication skills as the disease progresses.

SEE ALSO: Beyond The Ice Bucket Challenge: Real Treatment For ALS

Now, a new Israeli-made device called EyeControl is striving to give a voice to those who are unable to verbally communicate, using the movement of their eyes.

A man taking the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness to ALS

A man taking the ice bucket challenge to raise awareness to ALS

An invention inspired by personal connections

Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), often referred to as Lou Gehrig’s Disease, is a progressive neurodegenerative disease that affects nerve cells in the brain and the spinal cord. On average, most patients are diagnosed with the disease when they’re 55-years-old, and eventually suffer from a complete loss of speech. That’s where the EyeControl device steps in.

The screen-free, affordable mobile communication device was developed by a group of Israeli entrepreneurs who were personally touched by the disease. Both EyeControl co-founder Or Retzkin and head of product Tal Kelner lost their grandparents to ALS, and have been committed to helping individuals who are “locked-in” or are unable to speak due to muscle deterioration ever since. In addition, CTO Itai Kornberg introduced the technology when he embarked on the mission to help an ALS patient communicate with his eyes using a computer to translate the movements.



The EyeControl system is a combination of computerized glasses and a mobile app that captures eye movements and translates them into audio or text commands using an eye-tracking algorithm. The glasses are integrated with a camera that detects eye movement, which is then analyzed by a micro-sized computer installed in the glasses. Using a Bluetooth connection, the commands are then relayed through the system’s headphones or speaker into the patient’s ear.

The system is based on a three-step model: Patients are able to call for assistance, put together pre-determined sentences such as “I am cold,” and compose sentences simply by swiping their eyes in certain directions.

To get the device to market, the company has launched an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign in hopes to raise $30,000. Since the start of the campaign on July 7, the startup has exceeded its $30,000 goal, reaching $42,000 in less than a month. Today, the company decided to extend the campaign in order to raise up to $50,000 in the course of another two weeks. Despite the company’s time-crunched Indiegogo campaign, Retzkin could not confirm a product release date.

A screen-free and affordable device 

EyeControl has set its sights on making a difference in the lives of ALS patients by teaming up with the non-profit organization Prize4Life, headed by CEO Shay Rishoni, an ALS patient. This long-term partnership is aimed at raising awareness to ALS and advocating EyeControl’s solution.

SEE ALSO: First Touch-Screen ‘Sesame’ Smartphone Allows Disabled To Control Phones With A Nod

However, EyeControl is not alone in the realm of eye-gaze systems for the disabled. Systems like Tobii DynaVox, LC Technologies, and even the Israeli-invented technology behind the Sesame Phone, all compete to open up access to touch-screen dependent technologies. EyeControl, which unlike many of its competitors doesn’t require a screen, stands out from the competition mainly thanks its portability.

“Most patients need to be at home or in front of a computer screen to use a device,” Retzkin tells NoCamels. “So, if you go inside a car or lie down in bed and the screen is not in front of you, you cannot communicate.”

The portable device uses an external battery as a source of electricity, allowing the patient to travel and communicate through the glasses, regardless of location.

“We use vocal feedback, so there is an ear set, not a screen,” Retzkin explains. “It’s very intuitive, so you can swipe with your eye according to what you hear.”

And unlike similar devices, which range in cost from $3,000 to $10,000, EyeControl is expected to be priced at the affordable price of $100, with the goal of ensuring accessibility to all patients, regardless of their financial standing. According to Retzkin, his team orders the materials in bulk and is building the device in-house, which makes the system significantly cheaper.

Photos, infographics and video: The ALS Association, EyeControl, Ice Bucket Challenge

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[3D Print Artistic Designs On Your Cappuccino With The Ripple Maker!]]> 2015-08-02T11:29:08Z 2015-08-04T11:28:41Z

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In the past, only the most skillful of baristas held the power to transform an everyday latte into an artistic masterpiece. But now, an Israeli device called The Ripple Maker is bringing latte art to a whole new level, even for the simplest of coffee drinkers. Soon, your cappuccino could be covered with 3D-printed froth featuring hundreds of stunning designs and cartoons.

SEE ALSO: Israel Museum’s Restaurant Offers Art-Inspired Dishes

The innovative coffee technology called “coffee ripples”, made by Israeli startup Steam CC, allows users to print complex designs atop their drinks, such as photographs taken from their cellphone cameras or even personal phrases like “Happy Birthday” – within seconds!

The Ripple Maker

The device works by combining 3D printing mechanics with an ink jet-like system that prints out a natural coffee extract, known as ripple pods. The machine then injects the printed material into the foam that tops a cup of coffee. Simply put, the coffee extract functions as the paint and the milk froth is the canvas.

The startup behind the foam printer, Steam CC, was founded by CEO Yossi Meshulam almost two years ago. Since then, his team has been developing and testing out the machine in both Tel Aviv and New York. The company received an undisclosed amount in seed funding from Landa Ventures, a venture capital firm run by Israeli 3D printing pioneer Benny Landa.

SEE ALSOMagazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

The Ripple Maker

The Ripple Maker

Customized latte at your fingertip 

To create the caffeinated artwork, the barista selects a design among the hundreds available on the Ripple Maker’s content library. If the customer wants a more customized topping, such as a phrase or a personal photograph, then they can even submit their own image from their camera through a Wi-Fi network. Once the image is selected, it can then be edited, scaled, and filtered – no pun intended.

In the coming months, the company will launch a mobile app, thorough which users will be able to upload images to its printing library.

The Ripple Maker

One the highlights of the machine, in addition to its artistic capabilities, is its speed. “The entire operation takes about ten seconds. To make a proper cup of coffee takes at least one to two minutes, so the extra few seconds the Ripple Maker requires is negligible,” Meshulam told The Times of Israel.


While the device has yet to officially hit the market for household use, the startup has already managed to capture mass international attention. In July, the firm entered an agreement with the major German airline Lufthansa, which will use the machine to prepare coffee for travelers in first-class and business lounges. And, according to Meshulam, the company expects to sign similar agreements in the coming months.

The Ripple Maker

“Making a ripple on the world”

“Latte art is one the most shared images on social media,” Meshulam said in a statement. “When you put something beautiful in someone’s hands, they want to share it. That’s how we’re making a ripple on the world.”

Starting this September, the Ripple Maker will be shipped to customers in the US for $999 with a monthly service fee of $75, intended to cover maintenance costs, subscription to the design library, and pods.

So, enjoy your artsy cup of coffee! Well, at least until you stir in the froth…

The Ripple Maker

Photos and video courtesy of Steam CC

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[Study: Bonobos Use Sophisticated Tools To Get Food, Just Like Humans Did 2 Million Years Ago]]> 2015-08-04T07:00:51Z 2015-08-03T11:31:10Z

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Bonobos and humans may have more in common than we think.

A new Israeli study has found that the endangered bonobo (a type of chimpanzee) is capable of making and using tools to solve problems. And while individual apes in captivity have been known to use basic tools, this study shows that they can also make more advanced tools and that this capacity is more prevalent than previously believed.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Bring Archaeological Landmarks Back To Life

In an effort to better understand how ancient humans (also called hominins) came to be the earliest tool users in the Paleolithic era, about 2 million years ago, the research team studied a group of male and female bonobos. The results were surprising.


For the study, led by University of Haifa researcher Itai Roffman, the team observed how two populations of captive and semi-captive bonobos in Germany and the US responded to a series of food extraction challenges that were set up. For one challenge, the researchers would show the bonobos that food was buried under rocks at an open field site, and then place natural materials like deer antlers, sticks, and stone tools nearby for potential use. “These were effectively used as mattocks, daggers, levers and shovels,” according to the study, which was recently published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology.

SEE ALSO: Domesticated Camels Didn’t Exist During Biblical Times

In a different challenge, the researchers hid food in the cavities of dry long bones to see how the bonobos would extract it. One bonobo was seen bisecting a bone by striking it successively with an angular hammer stone.

“She jabbed at me with her spear”

Especially remarkable was how a few bonobos modified short and long branches to serve specific purposes. One bonobo fashioned spears from long branches with her teeth. “She jabbed at me with her spear to prevent me from writing my notes and to bar me from going to different sites. If I didn’t dodge, I could have gotten hurt,” Roffman tells NoCamels. “But it’s remarkable, because this kind of behavior has been regarded as a uniquely early human trait until now.”

Of the 15 bonobos studied, seven made use of tools. “My main excitement was not about the fact that they were using tools, but rather about the complexity of the tool use,” Roffman says. “It surprised me that the bonobos were using the same strategies and same sequences of action with the tools that early hominins did in similar contexts to achieve the mission of extracting food.”

bonobo in captivity

A handful of scientists, however, have criticized the study, pointing out that the behavior of animals in captivity differs from that of their counterparts in the wild; mainly, that captive bonobos have more time to experiment with tools in a secure environment. Roffman plans to respond to this criticism with new data that he has accumulated from his field study on wild chimpanzees in West Africa. He declined to further comment until the new data is published.

Rebuilding the cultural traditions of apes 

Will apes take over the world in a few years? Probably not. Yet, Roffman believes his study carries important ethical implications. “Hopefully, this study will show that zoos are not suitable for chimpanzees and bonobos – our sister species,” Roffman says. “At least they should be kept in semi-captivity, open spaces with natural raw materials where they can rebuild their cultural traditions and express their potential, which resembles that of early hominins.”

In the future, Roffman hopes to establish cultural rehabilitation sanctuaries in Israel and in Africa to rethink the way apes are kept in captivity.

Photos: Jeroen KransenRob Bixby