NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. 2017-08-17T08:15:20Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/ Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Researcher Proposes To End World Hunger With Bigger Fish]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57777 2017-08-10T09:15:43Z 2017-08-17T08:15:20Z

Could this be the solution to world hunger? An Israeli researcher has found a new way to grow larger fish and feed the ever-expanding world population.

As the world faces a projected population increase from today’s 7.5 billion people to 9 billion people by 2050, the demand for sustainable food sources is on the rise. The answer to this looming dilemma may well reside within the booming field of aquaculture.

While wild fisheries have been on the decline for the last 20 years, aquaculture, or fish farming, is the fastest growing food-producing sector in the world, and will play an increasingly vital role in our planet’s food resources in the years to come.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Technology Allows Growing Fish In The Desert

Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan (courtesy of the Hebrew University)

Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan

One of the challenges to aquaculture is that reproduction, as an energy-intensive endeavor, makes fish grow more slowly. To solve this problem, Prof. Berta Levavi-Sivan of Israel’s Hebrew University identified tiny molecules named “Neurokinin B” (NKB) and “Neurokinin F” (NKF) that are secreted by the brains of fish and play a crucial role in their reproduction. Levavi-Sivan, a specialist in aquaculture, then developed molecules that neutralize the effect of NKB and NKF (which inhibit fish reproduction) to increase growth rates.

Gaining 25 percent more weight 

These inhibitors can now be included in fish feed to ensure better growth rates. For example, young tilapia fed the inhibitors in their food supply for two months gained 25 percent more weight versus fish that did not receive the supplement. So far, NKB has been found in 20 different species of fish, indicating that this discovery could be effective in a wide variety of species.

The technology developed by Levavi-Sivan and her team was licensed by Yissum, the technology transfer company of the Hebrew University, to start up AquiNovo, established and operated within the framework of Israeli startup incubator The Trendlines Group. Currently, AquiNovo is further developing the technology to generate growth enhancers for farmed fish.

SEE ALSO: Something Fishy: Research Discovers Why Fish May Be Nearing Extinction

The field of aquaculture is flourishing around the world. In Europe, for example, aquaculture accounts for about 20 percent of fish production and directly employs 85,000 people. The sector mainly benefits those living in coastal and rural areas, where jobs are most needed.

Innovation award 

Thanks to her discovery, Levavi-Sivan was recently awarded the Kaye Innovation Award for 2017, which has been given to innovative researchers since 1994. The awards encourage faculty, staff and students of the Hebrew University to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential, which will benefit the university and society.

Levavi-Sivan’s work focuses on fish reproduction and growth. She has published over 100 articles in refereed journals and has won several prizes for her findings. As a specialist in aquaculture, she has worked extensively in Uganda to combat depleted fish supplies in Lake Victoria.

pink coral fish

Photos: Courtesy

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Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mobileye Founders Develop Wearable Device To Give The Blind Near-Complete Independence]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57631 2017-08-16T06:40:51Z 2017-08-16T06:45:24Z Many in the Startup Nation associate the names of Prof. Amon Shashua and Ziv Aviram with Mobileye, the insanely successful Israeli startup acquired by Intel for $15.3 billion. But what most don’t know, is that the same winning team is also behind a seemingly modest wearable device that aims to revolutionize the lives of the blind and visually impaired.

With their startup OrCam, they have developed a finger-sized, battery-powered device called MyEye that attaches to the side of a user’s glasses. Using optical character reading technology and artificial vision software, MyEye reads printed text from newspapers, restaurant menus, books, product labels, money notes, and mobile text to its user. The user only has to point to a piece of text to activate the device. MyEye immediately takes a picture and reads out the information.

OrCam is developing “revolutionary wearable devices in order to empower people,” Dr. Yonatan Wexler, OrCam’s executive vice president of research and development, tells NoCamels.

MyEye can also recognize faces, allowing its users to know who they are addressing. For this, the user has to “look” in the direction of a person, state their name while holding a base unit and MyEye then “saves” the person in its contacts. From that point forward, when the OrCam user looks at that person, the device will state his or her name.

“We offer the visually impaired the ability to do things that they couldn’t do without MyEye, and in a way that is as natural as can be,” Wexler says.

SEE ALSO: Israel’s Project RAY Creates Advanced Smartphone And Apps For The Blind

The $4,226 device consists of a head unit, a base unit, and a charger. The head unit has a smart camera and a speaker which attaches to the glasses. The volume of the speaker can be adjusted so only the user can hear it. The base unit contains the battery. OrCam has thousands of users in 15 countries and it can read ten languages. However, the reliability of the device is limited when the text is either handwritten or printed in an unusual font.

According to OrCam, Israelis who are registered as legally blind can receive a government subsidy of $1,400. Despite its steep price, MyEye’s updates are automatic and free, and users also receive a personalized training session by an OrCam trainer who instructs how to best incorporate the device in daily life. Additionally, the company offers phone and email support, along with online tools to assist their customers.

SEE ALSO: Behind Israel’s Largest Exit: Why Intel Acquired Mobileye For $15.3 Billion

According to Wexler, there are competing assisted devices, where one must “strap on this whole apparatus to your face that gets hot and makes you dizzy. With OrCam, it’s so unobtrusive and so versatile and convenient.”

He adds: “People tell us that ‘if it’s going to look ridiculous, I’m not going to wear it. I’m already disadvantaged. I’m not going to also look like a fool.'”

The future is in sight

In the coming months, OrCam will be releasing version 8 of MyEye in a software update. This update will feature numerous new functions, including: scanning barcodes to help users perform tasks like grocery shopping; automatic page detection, so users will almost instantly receive information; physical descriptions of people such as age and gender to improve socialization; and color identification.

OrCam clasps onto glasses of visually impaired and blind (courtesy)

OrCam clasps onto the glasses of the visually impaired.

Additionally, a device tentatively named MyMe will be commercialized later this year. MyMe is a thumb drive-sized device that clips onto the user’s shirt and only performs facial recognition. With this device, users will no longer have to worry about being bad with names or forgetting faces; the device will take care of that. As such, the market for MyMe will be broader than MyEye because even those with perfect vision can suffer from poor memory.

The successful Mobileye duo behind OrCam

OrCam was founded by Shashua of the Hebrew University and Aviram in 2010, and has since raised $56 million from Intel Capital. Despite their remarkable success at autonomous car tech company Mobileye and its sale to Intel, the two do not rest on their laurels. They are continuing to change the world and transform lives with OrCam. Their proven track record undoubtedly bodes well for OrCam’s future.

OrCam clasps onto glasses of visually impaired and blind (courtesy)

Photos and video: Courtesy
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Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[Can’t Make A Call? Broken Screen? CellSavers’ Smartphone ‘Doctors’ Are On Their Way]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57837 2017-08-15T12:51:32Z 2017-08-15T04:04:56Z Smartphones may seem like an extension of our hands, but our newest companions are also quite vulnerable, as even cell phones that are well cared for inevitably degrade.

Now, Israeli startup CellSavers is offering on-demand tech “doctors” who make house calls and repair your damaged cell phone at your home or office.

SEE ALSO: Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech

A CellSavers technician at work - courtesy https://twitter.com/MyCellSavers/media

A CellSavers technician at work

Founded in 2015 by CEO Eyal Ronen and president Itai Hirsch, CellSavers revolutionizes the prevalent repair model by eliminating the infamously long repair windows, the tiresome haggling, the long wait times at repair labs, and the trip back and forth.

Instead, the company – with services available in the US and research and development in Israel – promises quick and easy technology repairs. CellSavers provides qualified technicians, called “Savers,” seven days a week, for on-demand repairs: from ailing speakers to water damage.

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

After putting in a request for a Saver, the customer receives a price quote, and upon approval, the Saver will travel to their preferred location and repair the device within 60 minutes, according to the company. Currently, CellSavers is available in 35 locations across the US, with new markets launching every month. By the end of the year, Ronen expects to reach about 70 percent of the US population. He also anticipates international expansion next year.

A $4 billion industry 

According to research firm IBISWorld, the cell phone repair market is estimated at $4 billion annually, which presents great potential for CellSavers, which has received $43 million from venture capital firms such as Sequoia Capital and Carmel Ventures since its inception two years ago. “Our service has unlimited demand,” Ronen tells NoCamels.

CellSavers, which announced today it is rebranding as Puls, is distinct from other companies that offer on-demand repair services. According to Ronen, the company acquires the necessary parts, schedules and supplies the services, and generates the invoices such that “there is no communication needed between the technician and the consumer.” On the service side, the company sources its own replacement parts in bulk to control quality and keep costs low.

The price of the repairs depends on the type of device. For example, an iPhone 6s with a broken screen will cost $119 to repair, while a Samsung S6 with a broken screen will cost $109 – certainly cheaper than purchasing a new, $549 iPhone 6s or a $600 Samsung S6 if the phone warranty has expired.

The prices are also comparable to CellSavers’ competitors, such as iCracked, as well as to repair kiosks, and consumer electronic stores like Apple stores. While some CellSavers repairs might cost more than they do elsewhere, CellSavers justifies the cost by providing a flexible, at-home service.mobile-phone smartphone with broken screen

A CellSavers technician earns $30-$40 per repair; however, Ronen stresses that becoming a Saver is difficult. CellSavers’ 1,000 technicians represent 8 percent of the applicants. Savers must have repaired at least 100 devices, pass a background check and two interviews, one personal and the other technical.

CellSavers strives to provide an increasingly necessary service in this modern day. So, if you damage your mobile device, you know who to call.

Photos: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Scientists Discover A Rare Children’s Disease That Has Puzzled Doctors For Years]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57859 2017-08-14T06:14:49Z 2017-08-14T06:10:59Z A previously unrecognized genetic mutation causing a rare and devastating pediatric neurological disease – which has puzzled doctors around the world for years – was recently identified by Hadassah Medical Organization researchers in Israel.

The disease, which is characterized by a sudden onset of neurological deterioration in children, has now been identified as a new genetic disease caused by a single mutation. A previously healthy child, between the ages of three and seven, begins to experience a small motor problem. Suddenly, the child experiences rapid motor and cognitive decline. By the time the child is a teenager, he or she usually needs a caregiver around-the-clock.

Discovered by Israeli scientist Dr. Orly Elpeleg, the disease is still unnamed. According to Hadassah, it is the result of a mutation in a single gene in the ribosomal RNA, which is essential for protein synthesis in all living organisms. Its malfunction results in an excess of ribosomal RNA, so that the child’s cells are flooded with and poisoned by it.

“This is a very sad disease,” Elpeleg said in a statement. “Out of the blue, previously healthy children develop a slight limp, then forget a few words. They go from being children who are acting normally, developing at age level, to children who are severely challenged.”

http://www.eloxxpharma.com/indications/

Five years ago, there was a case of a three-year-old girl who had been healthy until she suddenly developed a slight limp. She soon lost her ability to speak, along with her cognitive abilities. She was seen at several medical centers in Israel, but they were stumped. At the same time, Hadassah‘s Elpeleg developed a cutting-edge, deep-sequencing technology that essentially amassed the largest genetic mapping database in Israel, with about 2’400 patients.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Surgeons Perform Rare In-Utero Heart Operation To Save Fetus’ Life

Using the new sequencing technology, Hadassah’s geneticists searched the database for defects that were similar to the one found in the girl’s genetic mapping. Hers matched with a nine-year-old boy who had been treated at Hadassah, but now lives in Russia. Hadassah’s pediatric neurologist Dr. Simon Edvardson flew to Russia, examined the boy, and took genetic samples, confirming that the illness was identical to the one suffered by this Israeli girl. “At this point, we realized that we had identified a new disease that didn’t appear in any medical texts or articles,” Elpeleg said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Doctor Turns To Crowdfunding To Treat Three Year-Old Girl’s Rare Disease

Comparing their data, the researchers found several more children around the world who shared an identical genetic defect and the same course of disease. To understand the mechanism of the newly identified disease, the researchers collaborated with Dr. George-Lucian Moldovan at Pennsylvania State University, who confirmed the disease mechanism: the production of excess RNA, which probably causes brain cells to be flooded and poisoned.

An altered gene causes the disorder 

Then, Elpeleg collaborated with Hebrew University researchers to identify and study children from Canada, France, Israel, Russia, and the US who suffer from the disorder. The researchers found an identical, spontaneously occurring error in the same gene in all the patients tested, representing a difference of one letter among the roughly three billion letters that make up human DNA.

By finding the identical change in children who suffer from the identical clinical disease, the researchers determined that the altered gene is indeed the cause of the disease. “It’s the first time that an excess of ribosomal RNA has been linked to a disease in humans,” Elpeleg says.

Science may not be able to repair the gene yet, she says, but “it may be possible to identify the mutation early and, with future research, find ways to prevent the terrible deterioration.”

Hadassah researcher Dr. Orly Elpeleg (courtesy)

Hadassah researcher Dr. Orly Elpeleg

Elpeleg is the chief investigator and author of the study and head of Hadassah’s Department of Genetics and Metabolic Diseases. Her discovery is highlighted in the August 3, 2017, issue of The American Journal of Human Genetics.

Photos: Hadassah, Eloxx

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Startup NRGene Maps Genome Of Cotton, Sweet Potato For Better Crops]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57883 2017-08-13T06:14:00Z 2017-08-13T06:13:39Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

NRGene, the Israeli startup that has mapped the genome for bread, pasta and wild emmer wheat, said that it has now mapped the genome for the most common cotton breed and the sweet potato, giving researchers critical insights for developing healthier plants with higher yields.

NRGene said it partnered with Genosys Inc. (TGS Singapore), a distributor of genomics technologies in China, to assemble the genome makeup of Upland Cotton, the most common cotton used for clothing, in less than seven weeks. A similar effort used to take years and cost many millions of dollars, the company said.

SEE ALSO: Quest For The Perfect Veggie: Israelis Create Enhanced Strains Of Fruits, Vegetables 

Cotton - Environment News - Israel

Upland Cotton makes up 90 percent of the global cotton grown around the world and is used to produce most of the world’s clothing, the company said.

The genomic makeup of Gossypium barbadense, also known as extra-long staple cotton, which is used in luxury cotton fabric, was also mapped, the company said in a statement.

“Cotton is one of the world’s most important non-food agricultural crops,” said NRGene CEO Gil Ronen in a statement. “By delivering critical insights into its makeup, we’re helping researchers develop healthier plants with higher yields that require fewer resources.”

SEE ALSO: These Israeli Companies Fight World Hunger With Innovative Technologies

Seed developers worldwide spend billions of dollars and years to develop new, more nutritious and resilient varieties of seeds. These in turn enable farmers to grow bigger quantities of more nutritious and more resilient crops. This is crucial for a world that will have to feed and dress an expected 9.7 billion people by 2050. Demand for food globally is expected to rise at least 20 percent over the next 15 years, according to a May 2017 World Bank report.

Genomes contain all the genetic makeup of organisms, be they humans, plants, animals or bacteria. By studying the genomes of the plants to determine which seeds will better suit climatic conditions and which will have high resiliency, developers can save a lot of time and money and engage in more efficient agriculture.

sweet potato

For the full story, click here.

Photos: Mike Beauregard

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Exit Nation: Israeli Gaming Company Plarium Sold To Australia’s Aristocrat For $500M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57962 2017-08-10T10:01:10Z 2017-08-10T08:34:35Z Australian gaming giant Aristocrat has acquired Israeli social gaming company Plarium for a whopping $500 million, in one of the largest Israeli “exits” in recent months. The transaction is expected to close in December.

Plarium is a developer of popular mobile and social games played daily by millions worldwide. The company has nine key titles and a game pipeline across multiple genres. Its most popular game to date, “Vikings: War of Clans,” has repeatedly been ranked in the top 10 grossing strategy games since its launch two years ago.

SEE ALSO: Six Israeli Companies Changing The Gaming World

“Plarium has proven content, ability to monetize social games and global game development talent across multiple studios,” Aristocrat said in a statement today.

Founded in 2009 by Ron Rofe, Michael Morgovsky and Avi Shalel, Plarium offers free mobile, social and web-based games (with certain features available for players to buy). Headquartered in Herzliya, it employs some 1,200 people across five genre-specific studios. It operates several offices throughout Europe, Israel and the US. CEO Shalel will continue to lead Plarium post-acquisition.

“The hard work and efforts of Plarium’s employees have positioned Plarium as a world class mobile game publisher,” Shalel said in a statement. “Aristocrat is an ideal partner for us given our common aspiration to be a global leader in social gaming.”

SEE ALSO: Chinese Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika

In Plarium’s hugely popular game “Vikings: War of Clans,” multiple players must cooperate with each other to create their own clan. The goal is to capture the place of power – a unique location placed at the center of every kingdom. Other popular Plarium games include: “Terminator Genisys: Future War,” “Soldiers, Inc.,” “Sparta: War of Empires,” “Stormfall, Total Domination” and “Throne: Kingdom at War.” The company’s social games are available on Facebook, and on Russian social networks such as Odnoklassniki; its mobile games are available on iOS and Android devices.

In 2012, Plarium released “Stormfall: Age of War,” one of the fastest-growing social games on Facebook. In 2013, Facebook recognized “Soldiers, Inc.” as one of the top social games of the year.

plarium - social and mobile gaming, online games (courtesy) https://www.facebook.com/PlariumGames/photos/a.299345926821375.67752.107517689337534/637624216326876/?type=3&theater

“Plarium’s success has been driven by its ability to attract top game development talent in the global technology hubs in which it operates,” according to Aristocrat. Plarium’s management team has “successfully scaled the business through a portfolio strategy that targets growth opportunities in multiple segments through robust market and competitor analysis.”

Aristocrat CEO and Managing Director Trevor Croker said in a statement that “Plarium’s business is strongly aligned with Aristocrat’s, with similar operational approaches to game development and segment and market entry.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Oryx Vision Raises $50M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57956 2017-08-09T12:58:53Z 2017-08-09T12:57:58Z oryx vision logoAugust 9, 2017 | Israeli company Oryx Vision, a developer of depth-sensing solutions for autonomous vehicles, has raised $50 million in Series B funding. Third Point Ventures and WRV led the round, with participation from Union Tech Ventures, Bessemer Venture Partners, Maniv Mobility and Trucks VC. Founded in 2009 by David Ben-Bassat and Rani Wellingstein, the company provides driverless vehicles a detailed 3D view of their environment. To date, Oryx has raised $67 million.

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Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Karamba Protects Connected Cars In The EU From Hackers]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57596 2017-08-09T07:26:22Z 2017-08-09T08:30:23Z When any hacker with a laptop and coding skills could potentially hack into a car and control the steering wheel, brakes, and acceleration – it’s cause for alarm.

All systems in a car that are connected to an external network – such as GPS or infotainment – represent a security risk. With 90 percent of cars predicted to become connected by 2020, according to a report by Ernst & Young, the need for advanced protection is more pressing than ever.

Karamba Security, an Israeli startup, says it has the solution. The company prevents hackers from accessing a car’s control system using a software that seals off the most critical Electronic Control Units (ECUs) in the car. Any attempt to access the ECUs that does not align with the car’s original factory settings is blocked.

Earlier this year, the company announced a partnership with VEDECOM, which will make Karamba Security one of the first cyber-security companies to integrate technology into commercially available autonomous cars. The cars are due to be released in 2017 and 2018 in France, Germany, Italy, Portugal, and the Netherlands. In the meantime, Karamba’s patent-pending technology is being tested by 17 automotive companies.

Vedecom'a autonomous car, driverless vehicle, courtesy https://vimeo.com/224297482

Vedecom’s autonomous car with Karamba’s cyber-security technologies

A connected car is essentially a network of electronic control units – one car can have anywhere between 50 to 150 ECUs. They manage elements such as the infotainment system, the engine, windows and doors, and are connected to each other as part of the Controller Area Network (CAN). While it’s convenient to have everything managed by computers, it leaves the cars open to threats: a hacker only needs to breach one attack surface, like the infotainment system, and they can access the entire network.

Most cyber-security companies, such as Palo Alto Networks and Check Point, specialize in network security. They monitor the internal network, sending security patches through the cloud when they detect a breach, and they learn from previous hacks to make the network more secure. Karamba Security, however, focuses on endpoint security: it protects the ECUs, which serve as access points to the internal network.

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

Karamba Security’s founders were motivated to enter the industry when they discovered the flaws of using network security in the automotive industry. If the car loses connection briefly – when it drives through a tunnel, for example – it cannot send data or receive security patches. More importantly, trying to patch up each attack and learn from what hackers have done in the past leaves room for false positives. In cars, false positives are dangerous; you can’t afford to stop the brakes from functioning if the legitimate brake command is interpreted as a threat.

“Direct risk to people’s lives”

“In the enterprise, you can lose the whole database, but you still go home at 6 pm,” Karamba’s CEO Ami Dotan tells NoCamels. “Not so in the car. One mistake, one false positive – when an airbag needs to be operated or brakes need to be activated and it doesn’t happen – that’s a direct risk to people’s lives,” reveals Dotan.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Technologies Lead The Way In Protecting Billions Of IoT Devices

By preventing anything that deviates from factory settings from accessing the ECUs, Karamba Security doesn’t require connectivity and claims to produce zero false positives.

The risk of connectivity  

The risk related to connected cars is significant, and often underestimated. Cars have about 100 million lines of code powering the ECUs, according to a report by McKinsey & Co. In every 1,600-1,800 lines, there is an embedded bug, 8 percent of which are security vulnerabilities, Dotan explains. Even one of these security vulnerabilities would be cause for a recall.

The case of the recent Jeep Cherokee hack is an apt example. By exploiting a vulnerability in the car model, two hackers were able to control the accelerator, brakes, and steering; the discovery led to the recall of 1.4 million cars.

Other companies, such as the Israeli cyber-security company Argus, are now beginning to focus on securing ECUs. Karamba Security, however, claims to have the advantage of a head start.

cars on highway

Securing the future

Founded in 2015, the company has so far raised $17 million in three investment rounds, from Fontinalis Partners, GlenRock Israel, Liberty Mutual Strategic Ventures, Paladin Capital Group, Presidio Ventures, and YL Ventures. The budding startups employs 25 people in Israel, the US, and Europe. The founding team – consisting of Dotan, Tal Ben David, Assaf Harel, and David Barzilai – has decades of experience in cyber-security, venture capital, and business development.

Fortunately, the scenario of fleets of cars being attacked and controlled by hackers has not yet become a reality; with Karamba Security’s solution, we might manage to avoid this dystopian risk.

Photos: Vedecom

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Intel Completes Mobileye’s Acquisition]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57921 2017-08-09T07:22:43Z 2017-08-09T07:22:43Z mobileye-logoAugust 9, 2017 | Technology giant Intel has completed the acquisition of Israeli company Mobileye for $15.3 billion, the largest deal in Israel’s history. The two companies entered the acquisition agreement earlier this year. Mobileye was founded in Jerusalem, Israel, by Prof. Amnon Shashua and Ziv Aviram in 1999 and went public in 2014. It has developed a warning system that alerts drivers of road hazards using software, cameras, and sensors. It’s also a major player in the autonomous car industry.

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Qwilt Signs $25M Deal With Verizon]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57909 2017-08-08T11:34:13Z 2017-08-08T11:34:13Z qwilt logoAugust 8, 2017 | Israeli startup Qwilt has signed a $25 million, three-year deal with mobile giant Verizon to enhance and speed up video content. Founded in 2010 by Alon Maor and Dan Sahar, Qwilt develops 4k video delivery technology primarily for the online entertainment industry.

 

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Researchers Gaze Into The Eyes To Detect Alzheimer’s Disease Early]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57628 2017-08-08T06:34:38Z 2017-08-08T06:25:46Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

It is often said that the eyes are the windows to the soul. But now, researchers at a hospital in Israel say the eyes could be a window to the brain. They are using advanced imaging techniques and a new medical device to track changes in pupil size that they hope could lead to the early detection of Alzheimer’s disease.

Israeli eye expert Dr. Yigal Rotenstreich, a retinal researcher, says his team at Ramat Gan’s Sheba Medical Center may have found a way to determine if people will develop Alzheimer’s disease by scanning their retinas for warning signs of the dreaded illness. The retina, with direct access to the brain, is easily accessible for noninvasive imaging and could potentially enable early detection of the disease where clinical symptoms are not yet apparent, the researchers believe.

Alzheimer’s is a type of dementia that causes memory, thought and behavior problems. Symptoms usually develop gradually over a number of years. According to an Alzheimer’s Association 2017 report, more than 5 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s and this number could rise as high as 16 million by 2050, with US medical costs ballooning to $1.1 trillion from $259 billion this year.

SEE ALSO: Breakthrough Blood Test For Alzheimer’s Disease To Undergo Clinical Trials

The Sheba team includes Prof. Michal Beeri and Dr. Ramit Ravona-Springer from the Joseph Sagol Neuroscience Center. They use advanced noninvasive imaging techniques to determine the relationship between abnormalities in the retina, such as the volume and the size of its blood vessels and traces of beta-amyloid deposits, and changes in cognitive function and brain structure that are common in people known to be at risk for Alzheimer’s. Beta-amyloid plaques are commonly found in the brains of Alzheimer patients.

SEE ALSO: Orthodox Woman Who Pioneered Breakthrough Alzheimer’s Drug Wins Israel Prize

A combination of technologies — such as magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and optical coherence tomography (OCT) — takes 3D images of the eye to measure the parameters of the blood vessels, and a special camera-device, developed by the team, measures the amount of pupil constriction in reaction to various visual stimulations.

“We have developed a unique multi-focal device that measures the amount of pupil constriction when it is exposed to red or blue light. This allows us to test the adequate or inadequate functionality of the visual pathways in different locations of the retina,” Rotenstreich said in an interview with The Times of Israel.

Elderly couple

For the full story, click here.

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Minna Fingerhood, NoCamels <![CDATA[ALYN Hospital’s Innovation Lab To Create Cutting-Edge Devices For Special-Needs Kids]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57745 2017-08-07T14:53:33Z 2017-08-07T14:53:33Z Israel’s ALYN Hospital has opened an innovation center for entrepreneurs and researchers to develop devices and technologies for children with special needs. The Jerusalem hospital, founded in 1932, is considered a world leader in pediatric rehabilitation for physical disabilities.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 1 billion people around the world live with a physical disability, and of those 90 million are children. Now, ALYN – with its broad range of expertise and innovative approach – is tapping into Israel’s technological ecosystem to open an innovation lab called ALYNnovation, which will ultimately extend the reach of the hospital’s care.

ALYN Hospital’s lab provides the physical space, technical equipment, experts, and target market to develop products. Director of ALYNnovation, Danna Hochstein Mann, calls it a unique “one-stop-shop” for assistive technology development.

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

“Incredibly empowering”

The lab has two arms: PELE (which in Hebrew means “wonder,” and is also a Hebrew acronym for Solutions for Children of ALYN), and ALYNnovation.

PELE seeks to help individual children solve a particular problem that does not have an off-the-shelf solution. For example, PELE recently helped a 13-year old boy without the full range ability to use his arms lay tefillin (Hebrew script worn by observant Jews for prayer) on his head for his Bar Mitzvah. “There aren’t that many kids around the world that want to lay tefillin and can’t reach their head,” Mann tells NoCamels. “There is no off-the-shelf solution for this.”

PELE constructed a contraption that enabled the boy to pull a string, bend his head down, and put the tefillin up on his head. “For a child like this, every inch of independence that is given to him is incredibly empowering,” Mann says. “It gives you the chills to see the expression on this kid’s face when he realizes that he just did this by himself.”

SEE ALSO: Safe & Sound: AngelSense’s GPS Tracker Gives Parents Of Autistic Kids Peace Of Mind

After children and parents present their challenge, ALYN’s PELE team will try to solve it for $55 or less. “These solutions are customized, personalized solutions at affordable prices,” Mann tells NoCamels.

ALYNnovation works as a startup incubator

While PELE provides solutions to specific problems, ALYNnovation works as a startup incubator, identifying innovations that can benefit a broader audience of children with special needs, and then commercializing the product to bring it to a global market.

For example, Wheelchairs of Hope, an Israeli nonprofit organization committed to providing children in developing countries with wheelchairs, has partnered with ALYN to mass produce wheelchairs that sell for less than $100. The organizations distribute hundreds of wheelchairs across Africa, Europe, the Far East, and the Middle East.

ALYNnovation  enables the hospital to reach a wider audience, but it will also help ALYN to become self sustainable. “We are designing a new model of philanthropy where the donations that we receive now are helping us to establish activity that will generate its own revenue,” Mann says. “This is the model we came up with, I think it gives donors the assurance that our motivations are aligned.”

ALYN Hospital's new innovation cener will be a one-stop shop for assistive technology entrepreneurship.

ALYN Hospital’s new innovation center will be a one-stop shop for assistive technology entrepreneurship.

Aside from generating its own revenue, ALYN has also garnered support from Israel’s National Insurance Fund and the Jerusalem Development Authority. The hospital’s foundation is hoping to raise an additional $2 million to fund the first few years of activity.

“Gaining access to education, information and communication”

Most importantly, ALYN will continue to help children. “When we see kids with disabilities outside of ALYN, often we are seeing them through the lens of what they can’t do,” Mann says. “How is that child in a wheelchair going to get down from the sidewalk to cross the street? How is the child going to get down the slide at the playground? But here, it is a place of ability.”

She concludes that, “through technology, children are gaining access to education, information and communication, that they haven’t been able to before.”

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli VC Vintage Raises $215M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57862 2017-08-07T11:47:02Z 2017-08-07T11:47:02Z vintage investment partners vc logoAugust 7, 2017 | Israeli venture capital firm Vintage Investment Partners has raised $215 million for its tenth fund, bringing its total equity to $1.5 billion. Founded by Alan Feld, Shlomo Dovrat, and Aharon Dovrat in 2003, the VC has invested in some 25 startups.

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Mexichem To Buy 80% Of Israel’s Netafim for $1.5B]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57809 2017-08-07T07:13:36Z 2017-08-07T07:11:53Z netafim logoAugust 7, 2017| Mexican chemicals company Mexichem is acquiring 80 percent of Israel’s Netafim for $1.5 billion, which puts Netafim’s valuation at $1.9 billion. Netafim is a world leader in drip irrigation technologies for agriculture. Its technique – which saves 30-70 percent of the water used with overhead sprays, oscillating sprinklers and rotors – was developed in Israel in the 1960s.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Scientists Develop First Haploid Human Stem Cells]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57566 2017-08-06T17:54:26Z 2017-08-06T12:28:08Z Israeli scientists have developed the first ‘haploid’ human stem cells, a discovery that will change our understanding of human genetics and medical research.

Already being used to predict whether people are resistant to chemotherapy drugs, the finding earned Igo Sagi, a PhD student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the 2017 Kaye Innovation Award.

The long-sought haploid

Most of the cells in our body are ‘diploid’, which means they carry two sets of chromosomes (the structure in which DNA is contained) – one chromosome from each parent. Haploid cells, in contrast, contain only a single set of chromosomes.

Scientists have long been trying to develop haploid stem cells. It is an important area of research, as embryonic stem cells are able to grow into any cell in the human body; this makes them extremely useful for treatment of diseases.

Haploid cells in particular are a powerful discovery, as they allow for a much better understanding of the human genetic makeup. For example, in diploid cells, it is difficult to identify the effects of mutations in one chromosome because the other copy is normal and provides a ‘backup.’ Haploid cells don’t have this limitation.

SEE ALSO: Five Israeli Biotech Companies Using Stem Cells To Change The Face Of Medicine

Up until now, scientists have only succeeded in creating haploid embryonic stem cells in animals such as mice, rats, and monkeys. The research conducted by Igo Sagi was the first time anyone was able to successfully isolate and maintain human haploid embryonic stem cells. These haploid stem cells were able to turn into many other cell types, such as brain, heart, and pancreas, while still retaining a single set of chromosomes.

The benefits are immense. Professor Nissim Benvenisty, who worked with Sagi on the research, explained: “It will aid our understanding of human development – for example, why we reproduce sexually instead of from a single parent. It will make genetic screening easier and more precise, by allowing the examination of single sets of chromosomes. And it is already enabling the study of resistance to chemotherapy drugs, with implications for cancer therapy.”

SEE ALSO: Biological Breakthrough: Researchers Succeed In Creating Human Egg and Sperm Cells In Lab

Haploid Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Diagnosis of Chemotherapy Resistance

Based on this research, Yissum, the Technology Transfer arm of the Hebrew University, launched the company NewStem. The company is currently developing a diagnostic kit that can predict resistance to chemotherapy drugs. The large library of human haploid stem cells they are amassing will allow them to provide therapeutic and reproductive products, as well as personalized medication.

“The haploid stem cells we’re developing have the potential to change the face of medical research as they hold a pivotal role in regenerative medicine, disease therapy and cancer research,” revealed CEO of NewStem, Ayelet Dilion-Mashiah.

The research was conducted by Igo Sagi, a doctoral student at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, along with Professor Nissim Benvenisty, Director of the Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research at the Hebrew University. The Kaye Innovation Awards at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem have been awarded annually since 1994 with the goal of encouraging academics to develop innovative methods and inventions with good commercial potential.  

Photo: Azrieli Center for Stem Cells and Genetic Research at Hebrew University

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Pharmaceutical Co Eloxx Raises $8M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57723 2017-08-03T16:21:56Z 2017-08-03T12:37:35Z August 3, 2017 | Israeli bio-pharmaceutical company Eloxx has raised $8 million in a Series C funding round led by LPS, a leading healthcare investor. Other investors such as Pontifax VC, Catalyst, KIP, DSC Funds, Dr. Phil Frost, OPKO Health Inc., and private investors also participated. This brings the company’s total equity to $38 million. The Herzliya company develops treatments for patients with rare genetic diseases triggered by mutations like Cystic Fibrosis and Cystinosis. Founded in 2013 by Dr. Silvia Noiman, Eloxx recently merged with Sevion Therapeutics and became a Sevion subsidiary. Sevion will use the name Eloxx and attempt to list its shares on Nasdaq.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[LogMeIn Acquires Nanorep For $45M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57717 2017-08-03T16:17:58Z 2017-08-03T12:37:00Z Nanorep LogoAugust 3, 2017 | Multinational company LogMeIn has acquired Israeli chatbot and virtual assistant startup Nanorep for approximately $45 million. LogMeIn is also expected to pay up to $5 million to Nanorep employees, conditional on performance over two years. Founded in 2009 by Amit Ben Shahar, Aviv Dror, Doron Herzlich and Ofer David, Nanorep uses artificial intelligence and patented natural language processing technologies to make self-service more engaging. It is currently used by over 200 companies worldwide, and has raised $11 million to date.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Scientists Discover Precise Method To Make Fruit Look And Taste Better]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57556 2017-08-03T16:06:19Z 2017-08-03T12:20:40Z Researchers at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science have discovered a way to alter specific traits of fruits and vegetables to make them look and taste better.

By cutting DNA in a specific way, the researchers are able to edit specific traits without modifying the entire plant. This represents a higher level of precision than is currently possible, and could be a game changer for plant breeders.

Supermarket Fruits

The discovery has significant potential for breeders of fruit and vegetables. While scientists know a lot about the DNA of major crops such as tomato, wheat, and banana, their attempts to alter the DNA of these plants has previously been random and unpredictable.

This new mechanism allows scientists to change specific traits without affecting thousands of other traits within the plant.

Harnessing the natural repair mechanism

DNA is contained within chromosomes, which come in identical pairs inside nucleus (the center of the cell). When a DNA strand in a chromosome breaks, one of the ways that the body fixes it is by copying an undamaged section from the second chromosome. The traits in the undamaged, copied section then become the traits that are passed down every time the plant reproduces. This process is known as homologous recombination.

SEE ALSO: Quest For The Perfect Veggie: Israelis Create Enhanced Strains Of Fruit And Veg

The Weizmann scientists discovered that this process happens much more frequently than was previously believed, and that it can be manipulated to change traits. The scientists just need to choose the trait that they want copied, cut the DNA in the right way, and they can then let the natural repair process do the rest.

In an experiment, they were able to make tomato plants yellow by precisely cutting the DNA of the plant. Because they focused on color, they were able to visually trace DNA repair; this helped them to discover that homologous recombination (the copying of traits that they were able to manipulate) occurred in 14% of repair cases.

SEE ALSO: High Tech Helps Grow Fruit And Veg In Israeli Desert

“Now that we’ve shown that intentionally induced homologous recombination occurs with such a high frequency, plant breeders can start taking advantage of this mechanism,” said Professor Avraham Levy, who conducted the study.

Potential for plant breeders

“This method makes it possible not just to edit, but to rewrite a plant’s genome so as to mix and match, on demand, various properties from its two parents, including taste, size, yield and resistance to disease,” said Levy.

Whether it’s yellow tomatoes, sweeter strawberries, or bigger apples, we might begin to see a new generation of fruits and vegetables enter our lives.

The research was conducted by Professor Avraham Levy of Weizmann’s Plant and Environmental Sciences Department, along with Ph.D. student Shdema Filler Hayut and senior staff scientist Dr. Cathy Melamed Bessudo. It was published by the Weizmann Institute of Science on July 4, 2017.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cyber Startup GuardiCore Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57706 2017-08-03T12:17:05Z 2017-08-03T12:15:57Z Guardicore logoAugust 3, 2017 | GuardiCore, an Israeli cyber-security firm, has raised $15 million in funding from TPG Growth, a private equity firm. Founded in 2013 by Pavel Gurvich, Dror Sal’ee, and Ariel Zeitlin, GuardiCore specializes in protecting data centers from cyber threats with real-time breach detection and response. The latest investment brings the company’s total equity funding to $46 million, and its investors include 83North and Battery Ventures.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Startup ProoV Raises $14M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57690 2017-08-03T12:03:45Z 2017-08-03T12:03:45Z ProoV LogoAugust 3, 2017 | ProoV, an Israeli startup that streamlines the Proof-of-Concept (PoC) process for startups and enterprises, has raised $14 million in a Series B funding round led by Helios Capital and Mangrove Capital Partners. Founded in 2016 by Toby Olshanetsky and Alexey Sapozhnikov, ProoV makes it easier for startups to test product ideas by providing an automated, cloud-based testing environment. ProoV currently has 1,000 companies signed up to their platform. The startup will use to funding to enhance its platform offering, establish an office in New York City, and expand its North American client portfolio.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Virtual Reality Startup Inception Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57687 2017-08-03T11:57:29Z 2017-08-03T11:55:46Z Inception logoAugust 3, 2017 | Inception, an Israeli startup that specializes in virtual reality entertainment content, has raised $15 million. Founded in 2016 by Dana Porter, Effi Wizen, Benny Arbel, Nitzan Shenhar, and Gigi Levy-Weiss, the company created an app to deliver premium 360 and VR content including musical, artistic, and cultural experiences to its international users. The Series A funding round was led by RTL Group. The funds will be used to expand the company’s content, enhance their technology platform, and accelerate growth. [Photo: Courtesy].

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NoCamels team <![CDATA[Israeli Researchers Discover New Brain Cell That Could Help Treat Alzheimer’s]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57469 2017-08-02T14:25:19Z 2017-08-02T14:25:19Z Scientists at Israel’s Weizmann Institute have discovered a new type of brain cell that could lead to the future treatment for Alzheimer’s disease.

5.5 million people in America are estimated to have Alzheimer’s disease, according to a report released by the Alzheimer’s Association. It’s the most common form of dementia; its symptoms include memory loss, confusion, behavior changes, and eventually, difficulty performing basic tasks such as speaking and walking. The disease is ultimately fatal.

SEE ALSO: Breakthrough Blood Test For Alzheimer’s Disease To Undergo Clinical Trials

The research group has discovered a new subset of microglial cells, which are the brain’s immune cells. The new cells, which they called disease-associated microglia (DAM), are not found in the brains of healthy mice, and are correlated with the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Not only this, the scientists were also able to identify the specific proteins that cause the development of DAM cells.

neurons brain cells

Brain cells

The group used a “genetic microscope” – which was recently developed in the lab of co-head researcher Prof. Ido Amit – to analyze the immune cells in the brains of a mouse model that was engineered to have human genes with Alzheimer’s disease.

How DAM cells lead to Alzheimer’s disease

Alzheimer’s disease is a neurodegenerative disease, which means it occurs as a result of damage associated with neurons in the brain. In a brain with Alzheimer’s, buildup of a protein known as ‘plaques’ in and around brain cells causes structural changes and death of neurons. In a healthy brain, the microglial immune cells clear out the built-up proteins to prevent the damage from occurring.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Scientists Discover The Brain Mechanism Behind Successful Multitasking

Importantly, the scientists were able to identify several proteins that caused disease-associated microglia cells to develop. Normally, microglial cells have a specific composition of proteins that allows them to function properly. This includes regulatory proteins that restrain microglia activity in the brain, and proteins such as TREM2, which recognizes the accumulation of fat-like molecules and dead cells. When the protein composition changes (due to mutations, or changes in quantity), the microglia cells transition into DAM cells.

In other words, mutations or changes in certain proteins, which usually occur due to genetic or environmental failures, cause early and dramatic onsets of Alzheimer’s disease.

The potential for therapy

“This is a completely new concept in comprehending Alzheimer’s disease…, the insight that microglial checkpoints, which are imperative for normal function, become an obstacle in the diseased brain,” Amit said in a statement.

If scientists can figure out how to prevent the proteins from mutating, or identify proteins that stop DAM cells from developing, it will have significant potential for Alzheimer therapy.

Schwartz stated that “by identifying key proteins that restrain the microglia’s transition to DAM, we will search for molecular ways to selectively reduce their expression and/or activity, thereby enhancing the repair pathways.”

The scientists are currently working on identifying the best molecules to target to curb the symptoms of Alzheimer’s.

Elderly couple

The research was published by the Weizmann Institute on 8 June, 2017. It was led by Prof. Michal Schwartz of the Weizmann Institute of Science’s Neurobiology Department, and Prof. Ido Amit of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department. The research group included postdoctoral researchers Drs. Hadas Keren-Shaul and Assaf Weiner, and research students Amit Spinrad, Orit Matcovitch-Natan and Raz Dvir-Szternfeld.

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Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli App Mishlohof Delivers Food, Drinks Straight To Your Beach Chair]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57488 2017-08-01T12:30:33Z 2017-08-01T12:30:33Z It’s a beautiful day in Tel Aviv, you’re on the beach soaking up the sun, and everything is perfect – except, you’re a little hungry, and the restaurants and cafes in the area are crowded and expensive.

Israeli startup Mishlohof wants to make sure your beach paradise isn’t disrupted: the company has developed a mobile app through which you can order food and drink deliveries, as well as other beach supplies – without ever leaving the comfort of your beach blanket.

A Tel Aviv beach - By Ron Shoshani: https://www.flickr.com/photos/ronsho/6088396842

A Tel Aviv beach

Founded in 2016 by CEO Bar Reuven, along with CTO Dan Goldberg and COO Eli Fishel, Mishlohof – which fuses the Hebrew words for delivery and beach – says it delivers ice-cream, fruits and beer within 30 minutes of the order on the app, which uses GPS detection to identify your exact location on the beach. Then, a delivery person riding an electric sand bike, will bring your food straight to your spot on the beach.

The idea for Mishlohof came up when Reuven was touring Brazil, where he saw vendors bringing food to people on the beach.

mishlohof - food delivery to the beach

Snack attack? Food is only a few clicks away

The app is intuitive to use and speaks English, French and Hebrew. It can be downloaded from the Google Play and Apple App stores for free. Welcoming you with an animation of rippling water, the app lets you type in the item you want (or select from a list of suggested snacks), choose your desired quantity, input a payment method, and simply click the order button. You can pay with a credit card, PayPal, or cash, making it a viable option for tourists visiting Israel.

A container of watermelon on the app costs 25 shekels, in comparison to a price of around 36 shekels at beachfront vendors. Mishlohof’s beer costs 16 shekels, while other vendors sell it for 23-38 shekels. Of course, bringing your own beer (or food) is always the cheapest option, as a six-pack costs 30-40 shekels (roughly 6 shekels per bottle) in the supermarket.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Opens Its First Public Library With A Sea-View

After the app displays a map to confirm your exact location on the beach, the delivery comes in a cooler to keep the produce cold, and even includes a garbage bag to make sure you leave the beach pristine when you leave! While the variety of items on the app is currently limited, the diversity of offerings is likely to increase as the startup continues to grow.

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

Since the startup was founded a year ago, the app has been launched in Tel Aviv, Rishon LeZion and Eilat – all beach towns in Israel. The app has been downloaded by 20,000 users, and thousands of people use the app every month, Reuven tells NoCamels. “We need to teach people a different way to buy things at the beach, to hang out at the beach,” he says.

Mishlohof is currently working with big brands such as Coca Cola and Unilever to provide products at beaches. The startup is also running a promotional campaign in partnership with eBay.

mishlohof - food delivery to the beach

“It’s always summertime somewhere on the other side of the globe”

Mishlohof is looking to expand to beaches outside of Israel under the international name TaPlaya by next summer. Reuven is eyeing Cannes and Nice in the French Riviera, São Paulo in Brazil, and Cyprus.

Successfully establishing a global reach will help the startup avoid seasonal drop-offs. “It is always summertime somewhere on the other side of the globe,” Reuven says. While he has a plan for winter in Tel Aviv (delivering products like beer to parks, for example), being able to work at beaches year-round will make the startup much more sustainable.

So, next time you’re on the beach, kick back, relax, and let Mishlohof do the rest.

Maldives

Photos and video: MishlohofRon Shoshani

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Biomed Firm Silenseed Raises $10M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57584 2017-08-01T08:33:39Z 2017-08-01T08:30:03Z Silenseed logoAugust 1, 2017 | Silenseed, an Israeli, clinical-stage bio-pharmaceutical company that develops cancer therapies, is raising $10 million. Founded in 1999 by Amotz Shemi, the company is planning to use the money to fund the second phase of a trial, which was recently approved by the FDA, to develop a pancreatic cancer treatment. Silenseed uses a targeted RNA interference (RNAi) to develop the cancer drugs and delivery systems for treatment.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Drone Startup Atlas Dynamics Raises $8M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57580 2017-08-06T07:02:15Z 2017-08-01T08:15:40Z Atlas Dynamics logoAugust 1, 2017 | Atlas Dynamics, an Israeli-founded startup that provides fully autonomous drone-based solutions, has raised $8 million from investment groups in Israel and in Asia. Founded in 2015 by Ivan Tolchinsky (CEO) and Igor Zhydanov (CTO), this is the first round of funding obtained by the company. It will use the funds to further develop its technical drone-based data solutions and to build its presence in North American markets. The drones provide users with valuable data in a timely manner, which can benefit markets such as infrastructure inspection, construction, security, first response, delivery, and insurance.

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Anna Kuritzkes, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli App Bitemojo Gives Travelers Best Tips To Grab A Bite]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57357 2017-07-31T17:26:08Z 2017-07-31T17:26:08Z This article was first published by The Times of Israel and was re-posted with permission.

Israeli  startup Bitemojo has developed an app for cellphones that provides travelers with guided food tours in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Berlin, Rome and Barcelona, with the aim of exposing them to the crème-de-la-crème of local cuisine.

Bitemojo offers customers guided tours of neighborhoods with stops at pre-selected restaurants. Eight tours are offered in Jerusalem, each highlighting a different aspect of the city’s culture and cuisine. The Jerusalem “Food Tour Between East and West” showcases the diversity of cuisine in the city, while the “Food, Artists and Craftsmen in the Old City” tour immerses Bitemojo travelers in an aesthetic as well as culinary experience.

Other cities have fewer options; Berlin has six tours, Tel Aviv has four, including the yuppie Florentin neighborhood, and the newer locations, Barcelona and Rome, each have two.

The app, which is free for download in iPhone and Android app stores, allows users to purchase a food tour from a variety of options in the cities it covers.

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

Each Bitemojo tour includes six stops at local restaurants and bars where travelers sample small plates, or “bites.” The Bitemojo team preselects the eateries and the food, and it is up to users to inquire about the restaurants’ ingredients if they have specific dietary or allergy requirements, like kosher, vegetarian, or anything else. There are some vegetarian/vegan tours offered in Jerusalem and Tel Aviv. Users of the app follow a virtual route on a map, stopping at each restaurant to redeem bites through e-vouchers.

This reporter tested the app’s “Mahane Yehuda Market” tour last Wednesday afternoon. It was peak shopping hour, and the market was packed. Personal space is an unknown concept there: it takes a certain kind of skill to weave through the crowds and it is easy to become lost in in the sound of vendors calling out deals, the scent of mingled Middle Eastern spices, and the tempting sight of Israeli delicacies: fresh fruit, sugar-glazed pastries, steaming shakshuka — a spicy dish of eggs poached in tomato sauce.

SEE ALSO: Top Chef: Israeli Michael Solomonov Awarded America’s Culinary ‘Oscar’

Tourists travel to foreign countries to experience local cultures but often find upon their arrival that an authentic culinary experience is harder to achieve than they anticipated. Mahane Yehuda, for example, presents so many options that one could be overwhelmed by an abundance of choices, ending up eventually eating at the first falafel stand available.

Using the Bitemojo app eliminates this paradox of choice. The first stop on the Mahane Yehuda tour was Hachapuria, a hole-in-the-wall Georgian restaurant located on an alleyway behind the market that can easily be overlooked if not for Bitemojo. There, this reporter was offered a traditional Georgian pastry called an emroli, which is made out of oven-baked yeast dough and offered with a variety of toppings. The one with melted cheese was a mouthwatering twist on a classic grilled cheese sandwich.

bitemojo app - culinary trips

To read the full story, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[PE Funds Invest $807M In Israeli Firms]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57552 2017-07-31T16:13:16Z 2017-07-31T16:11:25Z July 31, 2017 | Private equity funds invested $807 million in Israeli companies in the first half of 2017, according to a report by IVC Research Center and Israeli law firm Shibolet. Of the $807 million, $470 million were invested by Israeli PE funds, which reflects an improvement from the first half of 2016. Although the second quarter of 2017 was slow (with only $164 million invested in eight deals by Israeli PE funds), the strong first quarter meant that, in total, over the first half of 2017, Israeli PE funds performed above their average investment level of the past three years.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[VC ‘i3 Equity’ Partners With Singapore’s Temasek]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57497 2017-07-31T09:24:37Z 2017-07-31T08:16:16Z i3 Equity Partners LogoJuly 31, 2017 | i3 Equity Partners, an Israeli VC fund, has announced the addition of Singaporean investment company Temasek as its eighth global partner. Founded in 2016, i3 is a venture capital fund that invests in early-stage startups in the Internet of Things (IoT) sector, spanning areas such as Smart Home, Robotics, and Transportation. In addition to financial resources, the partnership will give i3 access to networks and services in the Singaporean and Asian markets. The fund is led by Managing Partners Noga Kap and Eran Wagner; its existing global partners include Microsoft Ventures, GE Ventures, and Israeli VC firm Pitango Ventures. Temasek, which was incorporated in 1974, owns a $197 billion portfolio across a broad spectrum of industries.

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Kathryn Dura, NoCamels <![CDATA[Waze For ‘Android Auto’ Will Be Built Into Millions Of Cars For Navigation On Dashboard]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57435 2017-07-30T13:17:23Z 2017-07-30T12:19:24Z Driving just got easier, with the launch of Waze for Android Auto. The Israeli mobile navigation app, which provides real-time traffic updates and live maps, is now built into Google’s smart, in-car Android-based infotainment systems.

As a result of this integration, the Waze app has been modified to optimize ease-of-use in a vehicle setting. To maximize simplicity and minimize distraction, the user interface features large fonts for icons and menus, along with minimal steps and options, so as to not create a distraction for the driver.

SEE ALSO: Waze Lets You Follow The Sound Of Your Own Voice

Waze built into a car, navigation - courtesy https://blog.waze.com/2017/07/Waze-for-Android-Auto.html

Jens Baron, director of Waze‘s product development, says the platform provides real-time navigation, accident and hazard alerts, but instead of getting those on your small-screen smartphone, the platform is now tweaked for the larger in-car screen.

Android-based cars with Waze built in are already available for purchase. According to Baron, there are more than 100 car brands that have Waze in their systems. “Some of these car brands will put it in every vehicle, like General Motors,” he tells NoCamels. For example, every Chevy has Android Auto.

In order to have Waze (and other apps) built into your car, you might have to pay extra. Many companies automatically offer a smart entertainment system, whereas in other vehicles, you have to buy the upgraded entertainment system. In the extreme case, “if you buy a Ferrari, you have to pay some $11,000 extra,” Baron says.

50 million users 

Founded in 2007 by Ehud Shabtai, Amir Shinar and Uri Levine, Waze uses real-time GPS data sourced from its nearly 50 million users to provide accurate traffic and navigational information. Users also pitch in to edit maps by adding details like speed traps and road construction, as well as gas prices and traffic accidents. The application is currently free and available for both Android and iPhone devices.

Recognizing Waze’s potential, Google acquired it in 2013 for over $1 billion, though the company is still an independent entity.

In 2014, Google launched Android Auto, an app that users can operate using either their smartphone or car display. The app provides the driver with useful information like appointment reminders, weather conditions, and navigation courtesy of Google maps. To be able to use this technology, users need an Android Auto-compatible vehicle.

Now, the Waze app will be integrated into Android Auto, though users will have to change the settings from the default Google Maps option.

waze built into a car - courtesy

A woman setting up Waze on her car’s screen

Waze is not the only Israeli company providing technologies for the cars of the future; Israel is bursting with smart car innovation. Aside from navigation apps such as Moovit and Waze, the realm of safety and autonomous cars is rapidly developing thanks to Israeli companies like Mobileye (which was recently bought for $15 billion by Intel) and Nexar, an app that turns your smartphone into an intelligent dashboard camera to avoid car accidents.

SEE ALSO: Nexar’s New App Connects Drivers To Prevent Crashes

As for the future of car navigation, Baron stresses that “Waze is a social network for cars. It was one of the first to really connect the cars to each other, or drivers to each other. In a few years, you’re going to see fully connected cars that communicate with each other.”

Photos: Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Outbrain Acquires Slovenia’s Zemanta]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57395 2017-07-30T11:51:34Z 2017-07-30T11:51:25Z OutbrainJuly 30, 2017 | Israel’s Outbrain, a content discovery platform, has acquired Slovenia’s Zemanta, a cross-channel media-buying platform designed for the promotion and distribution of marketing content. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Outbrain intends to use Zemanta’s technology to enable new budgets from programmatic partners, brands and agencies to flow into their network. Since its founding in 2006 by CEO Yaron Galai and CTO Ori Lahav, Outbrain has raised $194 million and acquired five companies (including Zemanta).

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Japan’s ORIX Buys Stake In Israeli Firm Ormat]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57427 2017-07-30T11:42:04Z 2017-07-30T11:42:04Z July 30, 2017 | Japanese company ORIX has purchased 22.1 percent of Israeli geothermal energy company Ormat Technologies for $630 million. The deal, which is expected to close in the third quarter of 2017, will give Ormat exclusive rights to develop, own, operate and provide equipment for ORIX geothermal energy projects in all markets outside of Japan. Ormat was founded in 1965 and went public in 2004. It is currently led by CEO Yehudit Bronicki.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Digital Health Platform Somatix Raises $6M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57392 2017-07-27T10:38:19Z 2017-07-30T06:37:55Z July 30, 2017 | Somatix, a body motion data (BMD) management platform used for digital health, has raised $6 million in a series A funding round led by Digitalis. The company’s technology uses various sensors built into wearable devices to remotely maintain continuous, bi-directional contact with those under their care. Somatix was founded in 2015 by CEO Eran Ofir and CTO Uri Schatzberg. To date, the company has raised $7.5 million. [Photo: courtesy]

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israel To Launch First Environmental Research Satellite]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57411 2017-08-01T08:35:13Z 2017-07-30T06:30:57Z July 30, 2017 | Israel’s first environmental research satellite, VENµS, will be launched into space August 2 on the “Vega” launcher from French Guiana. This is the second satellite project in which Israel’s Ben-Gurion University has been involved, following the successful launch of the nano-satellite BGUSAT earlier this year. VENµS is Israel’s first scientific observation satellite to conduct agricultural and ecological research, and Prof. Arnon Karnieli, head of the Remote Sensing Laboratory at the Jacob Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research, is its  principal investigator. [Photo courtesy of Ben-Gurion University].

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Budding Startup PerimeterX Raises $23M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57384 2017-07-27T09:21:03Z 2017-07-27T09:21:03Z July 27, 2017 | Israel’s PerimeterX, a provider of behavior-based threat protection technology for cloud, web and mobile, has secured $23 million in a Series B funding round led by Canaan Partners. The new funding will allow PerimeterX to expand in the U.S. and internationally, and broaden its platform into new areas. PerimeterX was founded in 2014 by CEO Omri Iluz and CFO Ophir Ashkenazi and has raised $34.5 million in total.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Cyber Firm Votiro Raises $9M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57378 2017-07-27T09:16:13Z 2017-07-27T09:16:13Z July 27, 2017 | Israeli cyber-security startup Votiro has raised $9 million in a funding round led by Australian investor Divergent Group. Votiro intends to use the funds for global expansion, building a broader presence in Asia Pacific and the US, and establishing headquarters in Australia. Votiro was founded in 2009 by CEO Itay Glick and CTO Aviv Grafi. The company has more than 1.5 million users and has raised $12 million in total.

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Amanda Ngo, NoCamels <![CDATA[NSO, The Shadowy Israeli Company Helping Governments Hack Phones, Now Worth $1B]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57272 2017-07-27T09:57:28Z 2017-07-27T07:53:31Z In the high-stakes, cloak-and-dagger intelligence industry, you need secrecy to survive. Criminals have always been good at using advanced technology to hide their identity from governments. Israeli startup NSO Group claims to be using the same strategy to help governments stay one step ahead of perceived threats.

The problem? ‘Threat’ has a different meaning for everyone: With the governments of the UAE and Mexico allegedly using the NSO Group’s software to target citizens expressing dissent, including human rights activists, the Israeli startup has found itself embroiled in controversy.

The mobile surveillance company sells advanced hacking tools to governments, intelligence agencies, and military entities. It has a reputation for being one of the most secretive spyware companies: Reuters recently reported that the startup has changed its name several times to maintain a low profile.

Despite these attempts at flying under the radar, the company has recently made headlines with a report that private equity company Blackstone, along with the Clear Sky fund, will acquire 40 percent of NSO for $400 million, bringing its valuation to a whopping $1 billion. A spokesman for the company told NoCamels he could not confirm the report. Blackstone will purchase the shares from the current owner, Francisco Partners, which acquired NSO in 2014 for $130 million.

smartphones

Founded in 2009 by CEO Shilo Julio, VP Omri Lavi, and Niv Carmi, the NSO Group currently employs 500 people. It claims its mission is to make the world a safer place “by providing authorized governments with technology that helps them combat terror and crime.” Their strategy is to sell governments cutting-edge spyware that can be used to gain intelligence. The most well-known of these is the ‘Pegasus’ spy software, a “lawful intercept spyware product,” according to the University of Toronto cyber security research group, the Citizen Lab.

Cyber security experts have identified Pegasus as the tool used in several high-profile hacks. The software is capable of recording phone calls, monitoring phones’ cameras and microphones, and accessing text messages, photos, and web history. Not only does it breach privacy, it does so in a way that is hard to trace: it provides no alerts that it is present, and has a self-destruct mechanism that covers its trail.

It received global attention in 2016 when it was discovered to have been used to hack into the phone of Ahmed Mansoor, a United Arab Emirates human rights activist.

SEE ALSO: Meet The Israeli Phone Hackers That Governments Have On Speed Dial

Social media on smartphone, iPhone apps

Mansoor received a text message offering to provide information about tortured detainees in the UAE if he clicked on a link in the message. Suspicious, he alerted the Citizen Lab, who traced the technology back to the NSO Group. Had Mansoor clicked on the link, the organization using the Pegasus software (suspected to be the UAE government) would have had full access to the activist’s phone.

“A new era of mobile hacking”

According to cyber security firm Lookout, the attack on Mansoor was “the most sophisticated mobile attack we’ve seen yet, and marks a new era of mobile hacking.”

A report from Citizen Lab released earlier this year revealed that the software had also been deployed in Mexico. 76 text messages were sent to targets within Mexico, including lawyers investigating the disappearance of 43 students, influential journalists, an anti-corruption academic, and a minor child of a journalist. Many of the text messages impersonated legitimate organizations. While experts cannot confirm that the Mexican government was responsible, circumstantial evidence suggests that this is the case.

SEE ALSO: Cyber Week: Netanyahu Says Israel A ‘World Leader’, But Needs More International Cooperation

Earlier this year, an Android version of the Pegasus malware (termed ‘Chrysaor’) was discovered. Google’s Vice President of Security Intelligence Mike Murray commented that Chrysaor was “one of the most sophisticated and targeted mobile attacks we’ve seen in the wild.” Google identified targets of the software located in Israel, Georgia, Mexico, Turkey, and the UAE.

The ethics of the industry are becoming increasingly unclear

Organizations such as Lookout and Citizen Lab are continuing to chase NSO’s trails and expose the company’s activities. It’s no longer a simple case of good guys versus bad guys: With governments misusing software sold by a legal company, the ethics of the industry are becoming increasingly murky.

It is not uncommon for governments to use spyware and hacking software to gain intelligence. Allied Market Research predicts that the global lawful interception market (which includes data gathering from government organizations and law enforcement agencies) will reach $3.3 billion by 2022. Companies such as Israel’s Cellebrite, which provides mobile forensic extraction, decoding, and analysis software, are also seeing success in the government sector.

Cybersecurity israel

NSO claims to work only with legitimate law enforcement agencies and governments; still, many are dissatisfied with the cooperation between spyware companies and governments with poor human rights records.

Whether or not the closely held NSO reveals more about its operation in the future, there is no doubt it can use its cutting-edge software to hack devices for the purpose of preventing crime and terrorism.

Photos: iLuvTrading

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Startup WalkMe Raises $75M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57348 2017-07-27T07:35:34Z 2017-07-27T07:33:28Z July 27, 2017 | Israel’s WalkMe, a cloud-based digital adoption platform for businesses, has raised $75 million in a funding round led by Insight Venture Partners. The company will use the funding to evaluate strategic acquisition opportunities, strengthen its global reach, and invest in talent. WalkMe was founded in 2012 by CEO Dan Adika, president Rafi Sweary, CPO Eyal Cohen, and Yuval Shalom and has raised $167.5 million to date.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Mobility Tech VC Maniv Raises $40M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57323 2017-07-27T08:27:47Z 2017-07-27T06:54:44Z Maniv Mobility LogoJuly 27, 2017 | Maniv Mobility, an Israeli venture capital firm dedicated exclusively to mobility tech, has raised $40 million. This was twice the target value, and is indicative of the increasing interest in Israeli automotive companies since the acquisition of Mobileye for more than $15 billion this year. An affiliate of Maniv Investments, which was founded in 1997 by Michael Granoff, Maniv Mobility invests in early-stage companies in the new mobility sector. Its portfolio consists of 15 mobility technology startups, mostly in Israel, with some in the US.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israel To Invest $3M In Coding Bootcamp]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57312 2017-07-26T11:58:37Z 2017-07-26T11:58:37Z Israeli Innovation AuthorityJuly 26, 2017 | The Israel Innovation Authority has tapped $2.8 million for a new coding bootcamp program to rapidly train high-tech employees. The goal is to create an alternative route to joining the hi-tech workforce, focused on market needs, in a maximum 12-month training track, aimed at college graduates in the sciences who are interested in a career shift to computer programming. As of April 2017, market demand for programmers exceeded those available by 2.5 times. Therefore, the program aims to prepare 250 ready-to-work employees at the end of the first year, and 450 new employees by the end of the third year.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cybersecurity Startup Nyotron Raises $33M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57300 2017-07-26T11:34:51Z 2017-07-26T11:34:51Z Nyotron LogoJuly 26, 2017 | Nyotron, an Israeli cybersecurity startup, has completed a $21 million financing round led by DGB Investments. Founded in 2008 by Nir and Ofer Gaist, the company has developed innovative technology that protects against known and unknown cyber attacks by securing endpoints. The technology offers protection regardless of the type of threat or the attack vector, making it one of the most advanced solutions available. Nyotron is being used by organizations such as El Al Airlines and the Israeli military, and has raised a total of $33 million to date.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Alarm As Israeli Study Finds Sperm Count Has Plunged By 50% In Western Men]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57274 2017-07-26T11:41:40Z 2017-07-26T09:21:56Z Among men from North America, Europe and Australia, sperm concentration has declined more than 50 percent in less than 40 years, according to an alarming new international study led by Israeli researchers.

Led by Hebrew University scientists, the study shows a significant ongoing decline in sperm counts of Western men, pointing to impaired male health and decreasing fertility.

These findings have serious implications beyond fertility and reproduction, given recent evidence linking poor semen quality with higher risk of hospitalization and death. “Research on causes of this ongoing decline and their prevention is urgently needed,” the researchers warn.

Other experts have gone as far as saying that humanity might face extinction if sperm count rates continue to drop.

sperm

“An urgent wake-up call”

“Given the importance of sperm counts for male fertility and human health, this study is an urgent wake-up call for researchers and health authorities around the world to investigate the causes of the sharp ongoing drop in sperm count, with the goal of prevention,” Dr. Hagai Levine, leader of the study, said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: Combining Traditional And Chinese Medicine Boosts Fertility

By screening 7,500 studies and conducting analysis on 185 studies between 1973 and 2011, the researchers found a 52.4 percent decline in sperm concentration, and a 59.3 percent decline in total sperm count, among men from North America, Europe, Australia and New Zealand who were not selected based on their fertility status. In contrast, no significant decline was seen in South America, Asia and Africa, where far fewer studies have been conducted.

SEE ALSO: It’s Official: Prolonged Cell Phone Use Leads To Lower Sperm Count

While declines in sperm count have been reported since 1992, the question has remained controversial because of limitations in past studies. However, the current study uses a broader scope and more rigorous methods, according to the Hebrew University, and controls for factors that might help explain the decline, such as age and abstinence time.

Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University (courtesy)

Dr. Hagai Levine, the study’s lead author: “Sperm count may reflect the impact of the modern environment on male health and serve as a ‘canary in the coal mine,’ signaling broader risks to male health.”

While the current study did not examine causes of the observed declines, sperm count has previously been associated with environmental and lifestyle influences, including prenatal chemical exposure, adult pesticide exposure, smoking, stress and obesity. Therefore, sperm count may reflect the impact of the modern environment on male health across the lifespan and serve as a “canary in the coal mine” signaling broader risks to male health.

The study was published yesterday in the scientific journal Human Reproduction Update, which is considered a leader in the field of reproductive biology. The research was led by Dr. Hagai Levine of the Hebrew University, with Dr. Shanna Swan of the School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, New York, and an international team of researchers from Israel, Brazil, Denmark, Spain and the US.

Photos: The Hebrew University of JerusalemRocky Mountain Fertility Clinic

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[SimilarWeb Raises $47M, Now Worth $753M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57276 2017-07-26T07:49:07Z 2017-07-26T07:46:54Z SimilarWeb logoJuly 26, 2017 | SimilarWeb, an Israeli digital market intelligence company, has raised $47 million in a Series F financing round. Founded in 2007 by Or Offer and Nir Cohen, the company monitors web and mobile app traffic like competitor Nielson. Companies use the analytics from SimilarWeb to increase their business growth. Viola Growth led the round with participation from CE Ventures, Saban Ventures, and other unnamed investors. To date, SimilarWeb has raised $112.2 million, performed three acquisitions, and is now valued at $753 million, bringing it closer to the $1 billion “unicorn” status.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[AgTech Startup Prospera Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57232 2017-07-25T08:27:28Z 2017-07-25T13:05:45Z Prospera logoJuly 25, 2017 | Prospera, an Israeli AgTech startup, has raised $15 million in a Series B funding round, which brought the company’s total investment to $22 million. Using advanced data analytics, computer vision, and artificial intelligence, Prospera analyzes vast amounts of farm data and optimizes all aspects of production. Qualcomm Ventures led the investment round, which was joined by Cisco Investments, ICV, and Bessemer Venture Partners. Prospera was founded in 2014 by Daniel Koppel, Raviv Itzhaky, andShimon Shpiz.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Using Devices With Blue Light Before Bed Lowers The Quality Of Our Sleep]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57096 2017-07-25T10:59:30Z 2017-07-25T10:49:41Z The habit of falling asleep watching Netflix on your iPad or laptop, and even browsing on your smartphone right before bedtime, can negatively affect the quality of your sleep, leaving you tired and cranky in the morning.

Israeli researchers have found that blue wavelengths – which are beneficial during daylight hours because they boost attention and mood – negatively impact the duration, and even the quality of our sleep.

cellphone_JordanDumba courtesy of Penn State

Falling asleep with your smartphone is not such a great idea.

The blue light is harmful, the red light isn’t

Conducted by Israel’s University of Haifa and the Assuta Sleep Clinic, the study also found that watching screens that emit red light does not cause damage, and sleep after exposure to it was similar to normal sleep.

“The light emitted by most screens – computers, smartphones, and tablets – is blue light that damages the body’s cycles and our sleep,” Prof. Abraham Haim of the University of Haifa, one of the authors of the study, said in a statement. “The solution must be the use of the existing filters that prevent the emission of this light.”

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

This new research is yet another proof that watching screens before going to sleep damages our sleep, after previous studies reached similar conclusions. It’s been found that exposure to blue light with wavelengths of 450-500 nanometers suppresses the production of melatonin, a hormone secreted at night that is connected with normal body cycles and sleep.

The researchers of the new study, however, sought to examine whether there is any difference in sleep patterns following exposure to blue screen light as compared to red light prior to sleep, and furthermore, to find which is more disruptive: wavelength or intensity?

SEE ALSO: Bedroom Light Can Lead To Breast Cancer, Report Says

Nineteen healthy people aged 20-29 participated in the experiment. They were not aware of the purpose of the study. In the first part of the trial, the participants wore an actigraph for one week (a device that provides an objective measurement of the time when an individual falls asleep and wakes up). They also completed a sleep diary and a questionnaire about their sleeping habits and quality of sleep.

In the second part of the trial, which took place at Assuta’s sleep laboratory, the participants were exposed to computer screens from 9 p.m. to 11 p.m. – the hours when the pineal gland (in the brain) begins to produce and excrete melatonin.

The participants were exposed to four types of light: high-intensity blue light, low-intensity blue light, high-intensity red light, and low-intensity red light. Following exposure to light, they were connected to instruments that measure brain waves and determine the stages of sleep a person undergoes during the night, including awakenings not noticed by the participants themselves. In the morning, the participants completed various questionnaires relating to their feelings.

Substantial disruption of the body’s biological clock

On average, exposure to blue light reduced the duration of sleep by approximately 16 minutes. In addition, exposure to blue light significantly reduced the production of melatonin, whereas exposure to red light showed a very similar level of melatonin production to the normal situation.

The researchers explain that the impaired production of melatonin reflects substantial disruption of the natural mechanisms and the body’s biological clock. Thus, for example, it was found that exposure to blue light prevents the body from activating the natural mechanism that reduces body temperature.

“Naturally, when the body moves into sleep, it begins to reduce its temperature, reaching the lowest point at around 4:00 a.m. When the body returns to its normal temperature, we wake up,” Prof. Haim explains. “After exposure to red light, the body continued to behave naturally, but exposure to blue light led the body to maintain its normal temperature throughout the night – further evidence of damage to our natural biological clock.”

Disrupting the continuity of sleep

The most significant finding in terms of the disruption of sleep was that exposure to blue light drastically disrupts the continuity of sleep. Whereas after exposure to red light (at both intensities) people woke up an average of 4.5 times (unnoticed awakenings), following exposure to weak blue light 6.7 awakenings were recorded, rising to as many as 7.6 awakenings following exposure to strong blue light. Accordingly, it is hardly surprising that the participants reported in the questionnaires that they felt more tired and in a worse mood after exposure to blue light.

“Exposure to screens during the day in general, and at night in particular, is an integral part of our technologically advanced world and will only become more intense in the future,” Haim say. “However, our study shows that it is not the screens themselves that damage our biological clock, and therefore our sleep, but the short-wave blue light that they emit. Fortunately, various applications are available that filter the problematic blue light on the spectrum and replace it with weak red light, thereby reducing the damage to the suppression of melatonin.”

Sleeping woman

The new study, recently published in the scientific journal Chronobiology International, was undertaken by researchers Prof. Abraham Haim of the University of Haifa; Amit Shai Green of the Sleep and Fatigue Center at Assuta Medical Center; Dr. Merav Cohen-Zion of the Academic College of Tel Aviv-Yafo; and Prof. Yaron Dagan of Tel Hai Academic College.

Photos: JBSA, Penn State, The Brunette Diaries

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NoCamels <![CDATA[Booking.com To Open R&D Center In Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=57229 2017-07-25T08:16:44Z 2017-07-25T08:16:44Z booking,com logoJuly 25, 2017 | Booking.com, the world’s largest hotel booking site, is opening a research and development center in Tel Aviv. It is projected that the company will recruit dozens of local employees by year’s end. Founded in 1996 by Geert-Jan Bruisma in Holland, Booking.com was sold to Priceline in 2005 for $135 million. Today, the corporation employs more than 15,000 people and books approximately 1.2 million room nights per day.

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