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. 2016-08-29T09:05:37Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/ Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Reporty App Live-Streams Emergency Situations From Your Smartphone To First Responders]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47422 2016-08-29T08:26:50Z 2016-08-29T09:05:37Z

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Chaired by former Israeli prime minister Ehud Barak

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

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

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

“The world is facing new challenges” 

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

reporty app

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Smart Plant Drugs Birds Into Forgetting Their Bitter Taste]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47111 2016-08-28T08:00:35Z 2016-08-28T07:59:40Z

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What can a plant whose nectar is bitter do to make pollinators return to visit its flowers and ensure its continued propagation? It can make them forget the taste of its nectar, according to a new Israeli study.

The nectar of nicotiana glauca – a species of wild tobacco known as ‘tree tobacco’ – is composed of a particularly bitter combination of nicotine and other substances, and yet sunbirds never stop visiting the plant. A study conducted at the University of Haifa points to the reason why: The mixture of chemicals in the nectar impairs the sunbird’s memory!

SEE ALSO: Wildlife Photographer Ofer Levy Wins International Acclaim With Awe-Inspiring Images Of Birds

tree tobaco

Nicotiana glauca, also known as tree tobacco

Conducted by Dr. Shai Markman, the study reveals that even though its nectar’s bitter taste is likely to repel rather than attract pollinators, “in practice, the sunbird – the main pollinator of tree tobacco – never stops visiting the plant,” Markman said.

Does survival depend on sweetness?

The survival of some plants depends on their ability to attract pollinators drawn to the sweet nectar of their flowers. But some plants also need protection from grazing animals, which is achieved by the presence of bitter and toxic substances, like nicotine or caffeine, in their leaves. This mechanism is a double-edged sword, because the same substance that protects the plant’s leaves is also found in the nectar of its flowers, giving it a bitter taste – which may repel some of its pollinators.

sunbird

Sunbird

Tree tobacco suffers from the same problem: its leaves are protected not only by nicotine but by anabasine, a substance more bitter and toxic than nicotine, and the two substances also trickle into the nectar of its flowers.

“An incentive to sample more and more flowers”

Despite the fact that consumption of low concentrations of nicotine for short periods of time is known to help focus attention and improve learning, this study shows that when it’s combined with anabasine, learning ability actually decreases, meaning the sunbirds forget they didn’t like the nectar.

Even better, the researchers estimate that it takes about half an hour for the mixture of nicotine and anabasine to influence the sunbirds. In other words, during the first half hour the birds can still learn that the nectar is bitter and avoid it, which means that they won’t consume enough of the mixture to impair their memory long-term.

“The sunbird is curious by nature, and it samples a large number of flowers in its vicinity,” Markman said. “The tree tobacco plant produces mixtures containing different proportions of anabasine and nicotine in each of the flowers in its clusters, so that in some of them the bitterness is much less pronounced, so much so that in some flowers the nectar may even be very sweet. In this way, the sunbird has an incentive to sample more and more flowers. It is also a mechanism that promotes pollination, not only increased consumption of the nectar mixture.”

red flowers poppies field

According to Markman, the plant might not have undergone “a distinct process of evolutionary selection to produce bitter nectar, but because this ‘mistake’ may be advantageous to its reproduction – it results in the nectar remaining bitter, at least for now.”

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

His research could have implications for future studies of crops, whose nectar contains substances which may affect the performance of pollinators and thereby affect crop yields.

yellow tulips

Photos: Miwasatoshi, MDFMelissa Askewcorina ardeleanu

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Mini-Amphitheaters Clean Up Noise Pollution, Give Street Bands A Stage]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47319 2016-08-25T14:15:04Z 2016-08-25T08:00:15Z

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Life in the city can be wonderfully exciting – unless you happen to have an aversion to noise. Construction, honking cars stuck in traffic and airplanes flying overhead are just some of the contributors to the noise pollution which significantly harms the quality of life in otherwise beautiful urban landscapes.

SEE ALSO: Street Philharmonic Puts Street Musicians On Stage

Added to the mix are the sounds of street performers—musicians, actors, artists—all trying to ply their trade in the midst of the hustle and bustle of major cities worldwide.

To combat this problem, Aviv Even, a student at Israel’s Shenkar School of Engineering and Design , came up with an innovative solution called a “mini-amphitheater”. The structures are aesthetically pleasing, sidewalk-size-appropriate amphitheaters, which can be used not only to block out unpleasant street noises, but also to provide a venue for street musicians to perform, thereby enhancing the cultural landscape of a city.

NoisePollution3

Mini-amphitheater

A Tel Aviv native, Even had enough of the irritating sounds which accompany life in a big city. Seeking to make a positive impact by both reducing noise pollution and improving the quality of life for the city’s residents, she came up with the idea of mini-amphitheaters.

SEE ALSO: Stunning Hanging Garden Will Cover Israel’s Busiest Highway

NoisePollution

Sound map of Ben Gurion Blvd. in Tel Aviv. The blue represents sources of noise pollution.

“I sought to determine which sounds were more pleasant for people and which were more grating—what caused people to want to be in an area, and what caused them to want to leave. Something that I discovered is that noise pollution is just as effective at deterring people from being in an area as is physical pollution,” she told Ynet News.

Mapping city sounds

Aviv stood on the corner of a major downtown intersection in Tel Aviv and used a decibel reader to determine where the loudest sounds on the street were coming from and what was causing them. She mapped those areas out and used her maps to determine the best way to reduce the sounds.

The mini-amphitheater is able to direct the sounds of the people who are performing in it—whether they be street musicians performing musical instruments or street actors giving a performance—to an audience without disturbing the other people living or walking in the surrounding area.

“Sound naturally goes up, so by performing inside of these mini-amphitheaters, the sound is able to be directed towards an audience more fully. This also eliminates the need for speakers, as the sound is naturally amplified,” she explained.

To design the structure, Even spoke to street performers to determine their needs, thereby creating the ideal size and depth of the shell so that it would be not only comfortable for the street musicians to perform in, but also disrupt the surrounding foot traffic as little as possible.

Even has already sold one of her portable mini-amphitheaters, but she hopes that in the near future the city of Tel Aviv and other cities around the world will use her design not only to beautify their cities visually, but also provide a way to mitigate noise pollution and increase their good vibrations.

Tel Aviv: Skyline (night)

Tel Aviv night skyline

Photos: Aviv Even

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Lisa Shmulyan, NoCamels <![CDATA[Battery Drained? Disposable Charger Instantly Gives Smartphones 5 Extra Battery Hours]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46390 2016-08-25T14:15:48Z 2016-08-24T08:00:56Z

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

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

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

ResQBattery

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Magic battery”

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

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

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

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

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

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

ResQBattery

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Skin Cancer Breakthrough: Melanoma Cure Within Reach]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47506 2016-08-25T13:56:33Z 2016-08-23T08:15:29Z

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Skin cancer is the most common of all cancers, and melanoma – the most aggressive of all skin cancers, which accounts for 2 percent of skin cancer cases – is responsible for nearly all skin cancer deaths. Melanoma rates have risen rapidly in the US over the last 30 years. In 2013, Israel’s Health Ministry recorded 1,634 new cases of melanoma, nearly twice the number diagnosed in 1980. Although scientists have identified key risk factors, they have struggled to find a way to halt its spread.

Now, Israeli and German scientists have potentially discovered how the cells of melanoma invade the rest of the body and ways to stop that spread.

SEE ALSO: ‘Cure For Terminal Cancer’ Discovered With Breakthrough Immunotherapy

In a breakthrough study published Monday in the journal Nature Cell Biology, the team details how melanoma evolves from pigment producing cells called melanocytes into tumors, and then spreads, or metastasizes, in the rest of the body.

Tumors initially form on the dermis, the outer layers of skin often in the form of dark colored moles. If caught early, doctors can easily remove the moles and prevent the cancer from spreading. If the mole is allowed to expand into dermis, the cells can be absorbed into the body’s circulatory system and travel to major organs and lymph nodes, where the disease becomes deadly and more aggressive treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation are needed.

Melanoma Cells

Melanoma cells

“The threat of melanoma is not in the initial tumor that appears on the skin, but rather in its metastasis – cancer cells sent off to colonize in vital organs like the brain, lungs, liver and bones,” team leader Dr. Carmit Levy, of Tel Aviv University explains.

SEE ALSO: Vanity Best Tool In Fight Against Skin Cancer

According to the study, the way that the tumor spreads is through releasing microscopic bubbles called vesicles which contain microRNA genetic material. This genetic material triggers changes with skin cells which are the equipped to receive and then carry the cancer to the rest of the body, in what the study calls “trafficking before invasion.”

Two chemicals hold the key

The researchers say that they have also discovered two chemicals that could stop the process of metastasizing in its tracks.

The first chemical, dubbed only with an alpha-numerical designation of SB202190, prohibits vesicles from travelling from tumors into healthy skin cells. U0126, the second chemical, prohibits the cells from morphing after being exposed to vesicles so that they will be unable to accept cancer cells.

Both chemicals could be good contenders for drug treatments, according to the report.

Levy’s team from Tel Aviv University worked with Dr. Shoshi Greenberger from the Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, Dr. Ronen Brenner with Wolfson Medical Center in Holon and Prof. Jorg Hoheisel and Laureen Sander from the German Cancer Research Center in Heidelberg.

“Our study is an important step on the road to a full remedy for the deadliest skin cancer,” Levy says. “We hope that our findings will help turn melanoma into a nonthreatening, easily curable disease.”

carmitLevy

 

Photos: Tel Aviv University

 

 

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Drinks On The House?! Israeli Smart Cup Earns You Free Beers]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47469 2016-08-25T14:21:10Z 2016-08-22T07:30:21Z

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

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

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

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

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

Better memory than a bartender

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

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

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

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Self-Driving Truck Offers Relief For Tired Truckers & Safer Travel For Motorists]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47486 2016-08-25T14:08:14Z 2016-08-21T08:59:12Z

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

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

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

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

A replacement for truckers?

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pilot program in Pittsburgh

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

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

$680 million: A truckload of cash

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

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

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

Eye on safety

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

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

Until we do, ‘the truck stops here’.

Uber

Photos & Video: Otto, Uber

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[These Five Female Tech Leaders Inspire Innovation In Israel – And Beyond]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47203 2016-08-21T10:10:01Z 2016-08-18T09:10:41Z

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

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

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

SEE ALSO: Are Women Equal In The Startup Nation?

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

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

Dr. Kira Radinsky: Predicting the future

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

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

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

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

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

Maxine Fassberg: Leading 10,000 tech employees

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

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

maxine fassberg, intel israel

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

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

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

Dr. Orna Berry: The first female chief scientist

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

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

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

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

Dr. Orna Berry, EMC

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Nava Swersky Sofer: Commecilazing technology to better lives

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

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

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

Nava Swersky Sofer

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

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

Rebeca Maia contributed to this report 

Photos: Sivan FaragAdi Cohen Zedek, Technion, Intel Israel

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Refund Relief: Earny App Rebates The Difference If Price Drops]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46136 2016-08-16T11:13:52Z 2016-08-17T13:00:52Z

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

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

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

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

Earny: automatic refunds

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

EarnyApp

No more hoop jumping

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

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Redefines Online Shopping

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

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

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

earny-team

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

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Startup BioCatch Tracks Online Behavior, Human Memory To Catch Cybercrooks]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47358 2016-08-16T11:15:09Z 2016-08-17T08:00:40Z

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cybersecurity israel

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Serving Up A Balanced Meal: Could Israeli Startup ‘Plate My Meal’ Teach Iranian Kids Healthy Eating Habits?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47033 2016-08-16T08:44:26Z 2016-08-16T08:44:26Z

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“Globesity,” the term used by the World Health Organization to describe the global epidemic of obesity, is spreading fast. According to the WHO, more than 1.9 billion adults in the world are overweight, of whom 600 million are obese.

Now, Israeli startup Plate My Meal is offering a simple yet effective way to instill healthy eating habits and prevent obesity from a young age, with a five-piece plastic plate set for toddlers. The plates, which are divided into different compartments, indicate the recommended portions of different kinds of foods, including dairy products, vegetables and grains.

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

In addition, the set suggests the appropriate time for each meal: Breakfast (7-8 a.m.), mid-morning snack (10-11 a.m.), lunch (12-1 p.m.), mid-afternoon snack (3-4 p.m.), and dinner (5-7 p.m.).

“I envisioned a product that would help parents encourage their children to eat healthy, so I developed a very simple, three-step system: when, what and how much to eat,” Plate My Meal CEO Dror Tamir (also the co-founder of startup Steak TzarTzar, which grows crickets for human consumption) tells NoCamels. The plate set costs $30 and is currently available on the company’s website, with additional online retailers coming soon.

SEE ALSO: Study: Mediterranean And Low-Carb Diets Have Long-Lasting Health Benefits

plate my meal - set

The company, which dubs its three-step system “the 3D healthy eating concept,” based it on US Department of Agriculture (USDA) dietary guidelines for Americans. The system not only teaches toddlers proper serving sizes, but also the different food groups and how to mix them up to make a healthy meal.

“The government spends billions of dollars every year trying to educate the public,” says Tamir, who questions its success, in light of the growing obesity epidemic. “Instead of talking about losing weight or dieting, we have to talk about our habits.”

According to the company, the Israeli health ministry has endorsed Plate My Meal. Even the ministry of health in Iran – which has no diplomatic relations with Israel – contacted Tamir about the plate set, since Iran is also combating a national obesity problem. In a recent crowdfunding campaign on Indiegogo, Plate My Meal raised $10,030, further proving the interest in its product.

Some of the advantages Plate My Meal claims to have over its competitors – MyPlate, Diet Plate, and Create Your Plate, to name a few – is that it recommends portion sizes and foods from different groups, while simultaneously tailoring each plate for a specific meal and therefore a specific time of the day. Plate My Meal also contains one plate for each recommended meal of the day, whereas some of its competitors offer one plate for all meals, according to Tamir.

Peanut butter or tahini? 

Evidently, Plate My Meal caters to some cultural dietary differences. For instance, the American set contains one dairy portion for lunch and one protein for dinner, whereas the Israeli set contains the opposite (protein for lunch and dairy for dinner), in accordance with local customs. The food suggestions also take these cultural differences into account: The portion of fat in the middle compartment of one of the plates contains drawings of both tahini (Mediterranean) and peanut butter (American) as options.

Vegetables - Health News - Israel

Plate My Meal plans to create sets for the whole family, not just for children, and also cater to other dietary restrictions, such as vegetarianism and veganism. Most importantly, encouraging healthy eating habits from a young age are fundamental for the prevention of obesity, and that’s what Plate My Meal is trying to achieve.

Now, all that’s left to do is to actually fill your plate!

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Delivering The Goods: Israel Leads The Way In Drone Innovation]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46346 2016-08-15T08:04:25Z 2016-08-15T08:04:25Z

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Delivery by drone

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

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

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

Israel: Drone home

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

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

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

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

Monitoring by drone can be life-saving

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

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

A drone in every home?

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

Nothing to fear

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

drone in sky, in flight

Photos and videos: Courtesy

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Lindsay Shagrin, NoCamels <![CDATA[Bug Grub: Israeli Startup Flying Spark Breeds Protein-Rich Edible Insects To End World Hunger]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47320 2016-08-14T06:23:11Z 2016-08-14T06:20:25Z

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It’s hard enough to get your kids to eat their vegetables, try convincing them to eat insects. Although it may sound a bit nauseating, fruit fly larvae is about to be consumed by humans.

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

As the world’s population grows far beyond the 7 billion mark, food is becoming scarce in several parts of the world: 795 million people around the globe do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, according to the World Food Programme. And that’s why Flying Spark is developing new sources of protein for human consumption.

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

FlyingSpArk products

Flying Spark products

Founded in 2014 by serial entrepreneur Eran Gronich and insect specialist Dr. Yoram Yerushalmi, the company has so far raised 1$ million, and is on track to mass producing its insect-based powder in about a year.

Gronich decided to produce protein from insects after attending a TED talk, which focused on the upcoming food crisis and the challenges of feeding nine billion people by 2040. The speaker suggested that the world needs to invest in insect consumption, and Gronich was fascinated. “The population of the world is growing, oceans are being over-fished and the prices of meat and chicken are soaring,” he tells NoCamels. “Still, the demand for protein is rising.”

SEE ALSO: Essential Protein May Be Key In Slowing Down Biological Clock

There are many advantages to making the switch from meat to insect protein: The fruit fly larvae are rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and protein. In addition, the company doesn’t use hormones or antibiotics, as opposed to many cattle ranches. The benefits to the environment are that these insects don’t consume as much food, water and land as cows, thus minimizing greenhouse gas pollution.

Overcoming the yuck factor

The process of creating the powder is relatively simple, and is done by a machine with two units – one to farm the larvae and the other to process the larvae into powder. “We take the larvae through a process that includes boiling, grounding and separating the fat and the protein, and then we dry the protein and turn it into powder,” Gronich explains.

Naturally, the company is facing a huge challenge trying to educate people to consume larvae. There’s a huge psychological barrier “because it is not natural for people to eat insects,” he says. However, “our idea is to take the insect and change its form into powder, put the powder in another food that people like, and that way, it will be much easier to overcome the yuck factor.”

The company plans to sell its protein powder directly to manufacturers in order for them to incorporate it in their products, ranging from breads and cereals to tofu. In cereals, for example, the powder can replace up to 40 percent of the flour, and enrich it with potassium, magnesium, and calcium.

Hamburger or larvae-burger?

The most shocking product the startup is about to offer is a burger made out of pure fruit fly larvae, achieved by grinding the larvae. “It’s 100 percent meat without killing any cow and without polluting the environment,” Gronich says. “We can control the taste by adding flavor.”

cows

Flying Spark is competing against other companies racing to develop the protein of the future, including Israeli startup Steak TzarTzar, which also grows insects such as grasshoppers for human consumption.

Currently, Flying Spark is still in its research and development phase and plans to go to market sometime in the next eight months. In the future, the company will not only sell the powder to food manufacturers and athletes, but will also produce its own line of powder-enriched food products.

Looking further into the future, Gronich sees an opportunity to work with the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and other NGOs in order to help “areas in the world that are suffering from hunger and provide them with high-quality protein.”

fruit flies

Photos: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Coming Soon To A Theater Near You: Israelis Develop Glasses-Free 3D Movie Screen]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47251 2016-08-10T11:33:24Z 2016-08-10T11:27:40Z

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

Fortunately, 3D movie glasses may soon become obsolete.

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

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

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

3DMovie

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

Not quite ready for cinemas

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

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

Other glasses-free 3D options

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

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

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

3d without glasses cinema

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

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

Hopefully optimistic

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

Video: MIT, Weizmann Institute

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Startup Kaltura Raises $50 Million To ‘Videofy’ The World]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47286 2016-08-10T09:16:13Z 2016-08-10T07:27:27Z

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

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

Founded in 2006 , Kaltura’s open-source video platform enhances websites with customized video, and additional functionalities. Considered a mature startup, it has 1,000 paying corporate and educational customers – including Viacom, Vodafone, HBO, ABC, Turner, Warner Brothers and Paramount – whose Kaltura-powered video content is seen by 700 million people every month.

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

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

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

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

“Video is booming,” Ron Yekutiel, chairman and CEO, said in a statement. “It is the favorite data type for communication, collaboration, teaching and learning, marketing and entertainment.”

He added that Kaltura “is in a unique position to capitalize on this huge market opportunity since it provides the broadest set of video products and capabilities to customers across all industries.”

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

Engaging audiences across devices

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

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

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

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

video conference room

“Excellence, agility, and leadership”

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

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

Tourism technologies iPad

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Researchers Find Way To Spot Tumor Cells Invading The Brain At An Early Stage]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47078 2016-08-09T09:13:48Z 2016-08-09T09:11:31Z

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

Metastatic melanoma is the deadliest of the skin cancers; when malignant melanoma metastasizes to the brain, it is a death sentence for most patients. The mechanisms that govern early metastatic growth and interactions of metastatic cells with the brain’s microenvironment are still shrouded in mystery.

Now, a Tel Aviv University study shows a new way of detecting brain micrometastases months before they transform into malignant and inoperable growths. According to the research, micro-tumor cells hijack astrogliosis, the brain’s natural response to damage or injury, to support metastatic growth. This knowledge may lead to the detection of brain cancer in its first stages and permit early intervention, the university said in a statement.

SEE ALSO: How Elephants’ Genes Are Fighting Cancer In Humans

Cancer Cell

The study was led by Dr. Neta Erez of the Department of Pathology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and published in Cancer Research.

SEE ALSO: To Stop Cancer From Spreading: Shoot The Messenger

Erez and her team used mouse models to study and follow the spontaneous metastasis of melanoma in the brain. She and her partners went over all the stages of metastasis: the initial discovery of melanoma in the skin, the removal of the primary tumor, the micrometastatic dissemination of cancer cells across the body, the discovery of a tumor and eventual death.

Imaging techniques used today cannot detect micrometastases. Melanoma patients whose initial melanoma was removed may believe that everything is fine for months, or years, following the initial procedure.

Yet after the removal of the primary tumor, micrometastatic cells travel across the body to the brain or other organs, and are undetectable at the micro level. These cells learn to communicate with cells in their new microenvironment in the brain — cells which are, at first, hostile to them. But eventually a tumor appears. And then it generally is too late for treatment.

Erez calls the period of the initial growth of disseminated micrometastatic cells in distant organs the “black box” of metastasis. “We believe that we have found the tools to characterize this black box,” said Erez. “And this is key to developing therapeutic approaches that may prevent brain metastatic relapse.”

Students and researchers at Dr. Neta Erez's lab

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[It All Adds Up: Matific Raises $45M To Make Math Fun For Kids]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47187 2016-08-08T13:09:07Z 2016-08-08T12:02:37Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Israeli Entrepreneurs Use Facebook To Teach Kids History

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

Matific6

Can you count to 45 – million?

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

SEE ALSO: Scratch Teaches Kids How To Program Online Games

Bite-sized learning

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

Focus on fun – for all

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

Matific2

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

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

Hands-on learning

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

Photos and video: Matific

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Lindsay Shagrin, NoCamels <![CDATA[Baby Keeping You Up? Nanit’s Innovative Monitor Helps Parents Get A Good Night’s Sleep]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47161 2016-08-08T12:18:31Z 2016-08-07T13:24:19Z

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

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

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

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

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

nanit baby monitor

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

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

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

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

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

Baby sleep guru 

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

baby crying

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

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

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Ready For Rio: Israeli Technology Takes Center Stage At Olympic Games]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47077 2016-08-03T12:49:11Z 2016-08-03T12:06:52Z

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

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

ISDS: Safety first

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

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

rio olympics

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

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

ImageSat International: Security via satellite

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

ImageSat

Artist’s view of the deployed EROS-B spacecraft

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

Moovit: Getting around Rio

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

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


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

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

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

LiveU: Broadcast from anywhere

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

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

RideOn: Bringing augmented reality to the Olympics

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

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

Motionize: Counting every stroke

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

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

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

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

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

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

2010olympicmedals

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

Photos and videos: Courtesy

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli, Indian Entrepreneurs Join Forces To Tackle India’s Healthcare Challenges]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=47011 2016-08-03T11:40:44Z 2016-08-03T11:40:44Z

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

Amid Bollywood music and dancing, mouthwatering curries and masalas, more than 600 innovators, entrepreneurs and healthcare professionals in four cities, in Israel and India, took part in a hackathon aimed at resolving health challenges for India’s poor.

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

Some 100 teams in Tel Aviv, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore spent 36 hours together, face-to-face and online, and came up with ideas including a toothbrush that detects anemia, mobile phone applications to monitor the food intake of infants, and a smart pillbox to remind patients to take their tuberculosis medication.

The India Israel Affordable Healthcare Hackathon, which ran for three days in the four cities and ended recently, was organized by the Pears Program for Global Innovation, which is run by the Tel Aviv University. The program is a partner of OLAM, an organization promoting global Jewish service and international development.

The aim of the hackathon was to expose Israeli technology to the challenges of developing markets and turn the attention of Israeli entrepreneurs to the potential that Africa and India hold for their products. There are over 1,000 startups in the healthcare sector in Israel but most of them target the US and European markets.

“The best teams of the hackathon will be invited to join the Pears Challenge year-long fellowship program for outstanding Israeli innovators who want to develop technologies to address the health care needs of poor people in India,” Aliza Belman Inbal, director of the Pears Program, said by phone. “The hackathon was an amazing first step in this journey. We hope to create a pipeline of commercial ventures that deal with these problems.” The Indian winning teams will get placed at a parallel program in India.

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

The teams had to tackle pressing health problems by finding, among other challenges: an anemia diagnostic test for young girls; a technological solution to monitor food and milk intake among infants; screening and diagnosis solutions for hearing impairment; real-time monitoring devices for pregnant women in remote areas; a way to manage the side effects of chemotherapy in remote areas; improved access to funding for cancer treatments and a technology driven-solution to give psychological counseling for cancer patients by connecting them to doctors and counselors.

taj mahal

To read the full article, click here

Photos and video: Pears Program

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Motionize’s Virtual Kayaking Coach Helps US Olympic Team Train For Rio Games]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46618 2016-08-02T07:53:28Z 2016-08-02T07:10:08Z

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

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

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

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

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

Motionize virtual coach for canoeing

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

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

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

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

Remotely coaching water sports

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

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

Expanding to additional sports 

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

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

Motionize's kit

Motionize’s kit

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

Photos and video: Motionize

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Baby On Board? Waze Reminds Parents Not To Leave Kids In Cars]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46995 2016-08-01T11:12:34Z 2016-08-01T08:34:48Z

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

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

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

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

Waze-Forget

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

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

Numbers of incidents of kids left in cars rises

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

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

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

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

Gathering user feedback

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

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

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

waze community

Photos: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[China’s Giant Buys Israel’s Playtika For $4.4 Billion, One Of Largest Deals In Country’s History]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46968 2016-07-31T10:32:53Z 2016-07-31T09:58:04Z

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

SEE ALSO: Six Israeli Companies Changing The Gaming World

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

playtika https://www.facebook.com/Playtika/app/280407808750240/

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Sky Is The Limit: Buzz Aldrin Wows Israel With His Vision Of Mars Landing]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46888 2016-07-29T05:00:14Z 2016-07-28T08:41:52Z

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

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

buzz9

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

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

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

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

Planet Mars

140 million miles away from home 

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

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

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

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

From astronaut to author

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

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

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

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

A historic moonwalk

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

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

Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission

Aldrin on the moon during the Apollo 11 mission

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

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

Buzz Aldrin

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

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Lindsay Shagrin, NoCamels <![CDATA[Meet NUA, The Smart Carry-On Suitcase That Follows You Around, Just Like A Pet]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46848 2016-07-27T11:55:50Z 2016-07-27T11:13:32Z

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

SEE ALSO: FUGU Luggage Expands, Turns Into A Table

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

NUA

“By combining central networks and computer vision, the robot inside the luggage recognizes the user,” Alex Libman, CEO of NUA Robotics, tells NoCamels. Simply put, the carry-on has a built-in camera that detects the location of its owner. The case connects to a smartphone app via Bluetooth, so you knows where your luggage is at all times.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

NUA

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

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

NUA

nua smart luggage

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[The World’s Longest And Highest Glass Bridge, Designed By Israeli, Set To Open In China]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46550 2016-07-26T13:03:57Z 2016-07-26T12:01:33Z

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The world’s highest and longest glass bridge, the Zhangjiajie Grand Canyon Bridge, is set to open in Hunan, China this month.

Touted as the next ‘Wonder of the World’ by Chinese officials, the bridge was designed by Israeli architect Haim Dotan. It stretches more than 1,400 feet (426m) across two cliffs, is 20 feet (6m) wide, and can hold 800 people at once.

zhangjiajie-glass-bridge-01-exlarge-169

When he was first asked to build the bridge, Dotan, who was also behind Expo 2010 Shanghai’s Israel Pavilion, said no. According to him, the area was to beautiful to tamper with. When pressed, Dotan agreed to build it, under one condition: “‘We can build a bridge” he said, but “I want the bridge to disappear.”

SEE ALSO: Israeli Architect Eran Chen Is Transforming The Face Of New York: “Architecture Is Not A Privilege”

The bridge, which already holds 10 world records, has a bungee platform at 853 feet high (260m) which will start running next year. Once completed, the jump will be higher than the record-breaking Macau Tower at 764ft. In addition, a 558-foot-long swing is expected to be dangled down from the structure towards the valley.

In comparison, the Grand Canyon Skywalk in the United States is 69 feet in length and stands 718 (218m) feet above the canyon floor. Canada’s Glacier Skywalk in Alberta, which opened last year, extends 115 feet (35m)  from the cliff.

Zhangjiajie is a 56 square-kilometer designated tourist park inside the bigger Wulingyuan Scenic Area. It’s been open to the public since 2009 and is said to have been the inspiration behind the beautiful planet of Pandora in James Cameron’s 2009 film “Avatar”.

To allay the fears of any tourists considering walking across the bridge, the operators invited reporters to test the strength of its transparent glass panels.

BBC reporter Dan Simmons carried out the safety test by hitting a glass panel of the bridge more than a dozen times with a sledgehammer. While the top level of glass shattered, the panel itself remained intact, even holding 25 people in a single pane, while they jumped on it.

This is not the first glass skywalk in China. In Longgang National Geological Park in Chongqing there is a glass-bottomed bridge.

Bridge-5

Photos: HaimDotan.com

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Vegeterian Meat Eaters: Israeli Startup SuperMeat Grows Chicken Meat In A Lab]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46788 2016-08-08T07:52:38Z 2016-07-25T11:06:13Z

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Every day at NoCamels we write about Israeli innovations that can have global impact. But if startup SuperMeat has its way, it could resolve some of the world’s biggest problems; including hunger, pollution and animal cruelty.

SuperMeat is working on a machine that can grow a full chicken breast, using the stem cells of a real chicken. Yes, you got it right: This would be actual chicken meat, but not from an actual chicken.

SEE ALSO: Eating A Steak Could Cost Us Our Planet, Researchers Find

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

Co-founded by Koby Barak, a longtime vegan and animal rights activist, SuperMeat recently launched a crowdfunding campaign and already raised $117,000 for the building of its meat-making machine. Its technology is based on research by Hebrew University Prof. Yaakov Nahmias, who is an expert in chemical engineering, stem cell biology and regenerative medicine.

According to Nahmias, SuperMeat is made by isolating cells obtained from a small biopsy that does not hurt the chicken. These cells are then organized and placed in an environment that imitates the animal’s physiology, making them organically develop and grow into muscles just like they normally would inside a chicken’s body tissues.

fried chicken

The company stresses that SuperMeat is “real meat,” and shouldn’t be compared with substitutes such as tempeh (tofu) and other so-called “fake meats.” Not only is it real meat, it’s also enhanced with nutrients and vitamins, making it a superfood, according to the company.

In addition, Koby Barak says his chicken would be Kosher and be much cheaper, as it wouldn’t require pricey antibiotics that are usually given to chickens.

Fighting world hunger

Global food security is an ongoing concern: 795 million people around the world do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, according to the World Food Programme. With various Israeli startups trying to produce more food with less resources – such as Israeli startup Steak TzarTzar, which grows crickets for human consumption – SuperMeat is trying to provide more food while saving up on land and water, as well as reducing the use of antibiotics.

SEE ALSO: ‘3D Print’ Your Own Personalized Foods With ‘The Genie’!

Another segment of the population that SuperMeat might please are vegans and vegetarians. While the public has become more aware in recent years of the often disastrous treatment of animals grown for slaughter, giving up meat can prove to be quite challenging for those who rely on it as a source of protein. With SuperMeat, people could enjoy the best of both worlds: eating meat without hurting animals.

Two weeks ago, the SuperMeat team launched a campaign on Indiegogo, which has already raised $117,000, surpassing its initial $100,000 goal. With $500,000, SuperMeat says it would be able to fully fund its cultured-meat machine prototype.

roasted chicken

Rebeca Maia contributed to this report

Photos and video: SuperMeat, Brian Chan

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[New Peres Center To Showcase Israeli Technology, Inspire Dreams]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46764 2016-07-24T12:04:12Z 2016-07-24T11:53:41Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Record Quarter For The Startup Nation

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

Peres Center for Peace

The Peres Center for Peace

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

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

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

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

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

futuristicgirl

To read the full article, click here

Photos courtesy of the Peres Center for Peace

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Space Ace: Israeli Scientist To Uncover Jupiter Mysteries With Juno Probe]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46738 2016-07-24T10:29:14Z 2016-07-24T10:27:42Z

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

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

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

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

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

Clues to the origins of the solar system

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

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

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

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

New images of Jupiter

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

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

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

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Prof. Ravit Helled

Photos & Videos: NASA, Tel Aviv University

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Meet The Israeli Startups Digitizing The Art World]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46290 2016-07-24T06:11:12Z 2016-07-21T07:31:29Z

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

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

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

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

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

Artbit: The Shazam of artwork

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

artbit

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

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

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

ArtSetters: Create and share digital showrooms  

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

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

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

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

Niio: Displaying and monetizing digital art

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

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

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

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

Dreame: Painting your dreams

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

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

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

"The Dream" by Henri Rousseau

“The Dream” by Henri Rousseau

ArtRunners: Fine art logistics managed online

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

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

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

European_paintings_at_Metropolitan_Museum_of_Art_(NYC,_USA)

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

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Lindsay Shagrin, NoCamels <![CDATA[New Liquid Salt Blend ‘Umamix’ Cuts Sodium Intake In Half Without Sacrificing Flavor]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46679 2016-07-27T11:50:54Z 2016-07-20T12:12:19Z

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These days, any nutrition aficionado will advise you to reduce sugar and carbs and warn you of their dreary tag-alongs, obesity and diabetes. But buried deep in health columns is something doctors have been saying for decades: high salt intake is just as bad.

SEE ALSO: Study: Mediterranean And Low-Carb Diets Have Long-Lasting Health Benefits

According to the Centers for Disease Control, “high sodium consumption raises blood pressure, and high blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke, which are among the leading causes of death.”

Low-sodium salt is one option, but if you’ve ever tasted it, chances are you won’t have liked it. Trying its luck, Israeli company Salt of the Earth has come up with a new “salt” called Umamix, which is made of natural extracts, vegetable concentrates, and a little bit of Red Sea salt.

umamix new salt less sodium

Cutting sodium intake in half, the product comes in liquid form, and its brown color is reminiscent of soy sauce. But like soy sauce, the blend is more expensive than regular sea salt: it is expected to cost $5-$9 per kilogram. Umamix is named after umami, the fifth taste (along with sweet, salty, sour, and bitter). 

SEE ALSO: Ari Fruchter’s New Dead Sea Project: ‘The World’s Healthiest Gourmet Sea Salt That Will Also Promote Peace

According to Salt of the Earth, a can of tuna contains 350-450 mg of sodium; with Umamix, you can reduce it by 29 percent, without sacrificing the flavor. In other foods, the reduction is even greater: the company’s tests on hamburgers showed a 45 percent reduction – which means almost cutting sodium intake in half; and mayonnaise spiced with Umamix has 31 percent less sodium.

“Salt is necessary for life, of course, but most of us consume twice the recommended maximum level and that is a big problem,” Revital Ben Shachar, marketing manager for Salt of the Earth, tells NoCamels.

Adding a savory flavor

Salt of the Earth, established in 1922 with headquarters in Atlit, Israel, produces salt from the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea. The company is Israel’s main salt manufacturer, and exports to 30 countries worldwide. With Umamix, the company seeks to capitalize on the demand for healthy alternatives.

Salt of the Earth says it is collaborating with several organizations to introduce its new product to the market: Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management; the Chopping Block Culinary School in Chicago; Israeli hospitals and bakeries; and giant food manufacturer General Mills. For now, the condiment is not available to consumers.

Social Awareness: Israeli Entrepreneur Hopes Dead Sea Salt Will Promote Peace In The Middle East

The Dead Sea

“We want to build a strong foothold [in the food service industry]  in order to be able to show the validation of the product and its different applications,” Dror Levy, the company’s retail export manager, tells NoCamels.

“In several taste panels we have conducted, many people actually preferred Umamix to the regular salt,” Levy says.

Whether you like the taste of Umamix or not, one thing is certain: Reducing sodium intake will benefit your health!

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Photos: Salt of the Earth

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Skin Deep: Temporary Electronic Tattoo Can Read Your Emotions]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=45989 2016-07-19T13:47:02Z 2016-07-19T13:09:24Z

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

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

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

Stick-on monitoring

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

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

Mapping of emotions

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

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

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

Nanotechnology temporary tattoos

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

TAU-Arm

Additional applications

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

Photos: Tel Aviv University

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Pokemon Go Fever Sweeps Israel, With IDF And President Hooked]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46610 2016-07-20T07:59:06Z 2016-07-18T10:30:29Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Scratch Teaches Kids How To Program Online Games

85 million players, 5 million new users a day

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

Game finds shelters too

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

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

PokemonShelter

Pokemon monsters in bomb shelters

Pokemon a ‘no go’ on army bases

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

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

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

‘Startup nation’ goes Pokeman crazy

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

PokemonIsrael

Pokemon perched atop a major Israeli army base

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

PokemonKotel

Pokemon monster hovering in Jerusalem

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

Pictures and videos: Courtesy

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Lindsay Shagrin, NoCamels <![CDATA[Your Personal TV Channel: TVibes Lets You Store, Share Unlimited Videos]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46497 2016-07-18T05:17:46Z 2016-07-17T08:55:34Z

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

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

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

TVibes

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

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

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

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

Personal, social or experimental 

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

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

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

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

Up against serious competitors 

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

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

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Feeding The World: Could Israeli AgTech Startups End World Hunger?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46453 2016-07-14T08:13:58Z 2016-07-14T08:00:40Z

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As the world’s population grows far beyond the 7 billion mark, food and potable water are becoming scarce in several parts of the world. 795 million people around the globe do not have enough food to lead a healthy life, according to the World Food Programme, and 1.1 billion people do not have access to clean drinking water, according to the World Health Organization.

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

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

vineyards,

Sensilize: Making the most out of soil

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

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

BioBee: Turning mites into natural pesticides

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

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

spider by alex keda

miRobot: Robots can milk your cows!

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

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

cows

ROOTS Sustainable Agricultural Technologies: Temperature control that enhances crops

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

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

Tal-Ya: Capturing dew for agricultural irrigation

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

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

Morflora: A “vaccine” for plants

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

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

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

Netafim: Implementing drip irrigation to save water

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

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

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

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

drip irrigation

GreenWall: Vertical gardens save water and soil

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

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

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

GreenWall

EdenShield: Non-toxic bug repellent

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

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

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Record Quarter For The Startup Nation: Israeli High-Tech Companies Raise $1.7B In Three Months]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46528 2016-07-13T12:44:23Z 2016-07-13T12:00:03Z

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

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

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

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

via suv

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

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

Average financing round peaks 

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

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

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

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

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

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

hand money cash fundraising vc benjamins

Photos: VIA, Pikiwiki; infographics: IVC Research Center

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Fan-tastic Hacking: Israeli Researchers Hack Into Computers By Listening To Their Fans]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46460 2016-07-12T13:31:18Z 2016-07-12T12:06:09Z

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

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

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

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

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

computerfan

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

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

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

Pictures and videos: Ben-Gurion University, Pixabay

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[This App Turns Your iPhone Into An Intelligent Dash Cam To Avoid Car Accidents]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=45846 2016-07-11T11:39:03Z 2016-07-11T11:39:03Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Curbing Distracted Driving: Cellepathy Keeps Drivers Focused

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

Blacklisting problematic drivers 

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

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

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

Nexar’s natural partners: Insurance companies 

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

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

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

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

nexar Photos and video: Courtesy

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Prostate Cancer Test Reduces Need For Biopsies]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46432 2016-07-11T10:47:09Z 2016-07-11T10:47:09Z

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

Prostate cancer is the second most common cancer in American men after skin cancer, with almost 190,000 new cases in the US expected for 2016 and about 26,000 deaths, according to the American Cancer Society. It is also the second leading cause of cancer death in American men, behind only lung cancer.

SEE ALSO: To Stop Cancer From Spreading: Shoot The Messenger

Prostate cancer can often be detected before symptoms arise by testing the amount of prostate-specific antigen (PSA) — a substance made by cells in the prostate gland — in the blood. A high level of PSA could be indicative of cancer and if a blood test finds this, the patient will most often be sent for a biopsy.

Lung cancer cell dividing

But here lies the problem. Because PSA is secreted both by normal cells and cancer cells, its levels could be high for other reasons and not necessarily cancer: age, an inflammation of the prostate gland, or even a bicycle ride. But most often when doctors receive a high reading, they send their patients to do a biopsy, just to be on the safe side.

“There are roughly 1.5 million primary biopsies done in the US a year,” says Israel-born Arnon Chait, the CEO of Cleveland Diagnostics, based in Cleveland, Ohio. “On average 70 percent come back negative.” That is good news for the patient, but at a cost of about $4,000 per biopsy, health providers are not happy.

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

Thus Cleveland Diagnostics (CDX), founded by Chait and his partner Boris Zaslavsky in 2013, is developing a technology and test kit that can identify the PSA that specifically comes from cancer cells. “We don’t look at the level of PSA in the blood – which is not specific to cancer,” Chait said. “Our test asks: where did this PSA come from, normal cells or cancer cells? This will help health providers save billions of dollars and patients won’t have to undergo unnecessary procedures.”

Potentially, said Chait, the new IsoPSA test, expected to enter the market in the last quarter of the year, could replace the current PSA test in the screening process in health centers. This same technology could also be used in other applications, to detect breast cancer and ovarian cancer, Chait said, as well as for early diagnosis of Alzheimer’s disease.

To read the full article, click here

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Afterlife Messaging: SafeBeyond Allows You To Communicate With Loved Ones After You’re Gone]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46239 2016-07-10T19:30:51Z 2016-07-10T12:42:11Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Vidoco: Turn Your Life Into A Documentary

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

A digital inheritance

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

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

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

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

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

To be prepared

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

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

Unsettling or comforting?

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

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

Photos and videos: SafeBeyond, Leah Tardivel

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Flower Power: This Tiny Lapel Vase Will Keep Your Boutonnière Garden-Fresh]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46349 2016-07-07T09:37:13Z 2016-07-07T09:06:55Z

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In the blazing hot summer days, most flowers can’t survive out of water, which makes it almost impossible for grooms to wear a boutonnière – that single flower pushed through the lapel buttonhole.

But this wedding season, Israeli designer Omer Polak offers a small lapel vase that helps the bud last for hours. Just pour some water into the tiny vase, pin it to your tuxedo, put a red rose in it, and voilà: your carry-on vase is ready to go!

Omer Polak's boutonnière,

Starting at $35 for a single lapel vase (a box of three costs $90), Polak’s Boutonnière (the French word for buttonhole) is made out of glass and brass, and can contain enough water to keep the flower fresh all day long.

After you put water and a freshly cut flower in this glass vase, use the affixed brass stickpin to easily fasten your miniature bouquet of choice to your tuxedo. The water in the vase is just enough to help the flower spread its fragrance throughout the day.

boutonnière, lapel vase, flower, bride and groom

Polak’s boutonnière is a pleasant addition to any blouse or shirt, and women can also attach it to their dresses or jackets when they attend cocktail parties and other events.

Suitable for weddings, proms, homecomings or any other special occasion, Polak’s unique vase can apparently hold more than just a bud. “By choosing the flowers, fragrances and colors, you can give it your own interpretation; it’s also nice to use some herbs for decoration,” he said in a statement.

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

A 2013 graduate of the department of industrial design at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem, Israel, Polak defines himself as both an artist and a designer, or simply, a “designtist.”

“My recent projects focus on our sensory experience of the world,” he said in a statement. “I use multidisciplinary and collaborative approaches to create new experiences and objects that could change our wellbeing and hopefully, one day, our life.”

SEE ALSO: AllSeated: Online Wedding Planning Made Easy

So, whether you’re the groom or just a guest, next time you’re heading to a wedding, be sure to bring your tuxedo into blossom!

boutonnière, lapel vase, flower, bride and groom

Photos: Omer Polak Studio, gilad&mazal, Mor Elnekav

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Meital Goldberg, NoCamels <![CDATA[Life-Saving Wearable Tech: This T-Shirt Monitors Your Heart And Vital Signs]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46149 2016-07-06T10:46:44Z 2016-07-06T10:46:14Z

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

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

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

hWear by HealthWatch

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

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

healthwatchcover

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

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

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

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

Washable and FDA-approved 

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

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

Making health awareness as simple as getting dressed in the morning

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

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

healthwatch

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Startups Sell For $3.3B In The First Half Of 2016]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46299 2016-07-05T13:46:32Z 2016-07-05T13:46:32Z

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

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

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

hand money cash fundraising vc benjamins

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

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

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

h1 ivc report

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

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

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

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

Capital raising expected to grow

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

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

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

money

Infographics: IVC Research Center

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Shoshanna Solomon, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel’s ‘Arbe Robotics’ Uses Radar To Avoid Drone Crashes]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46222 2016-07-05T07:37:07Z 2016-07-05T07:37:07Z

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

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

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

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

drone in sky, in flight

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

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

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

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

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

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

Arbe Robotics' drone

Arbe Robotics’ drone

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Courtesy

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Wearable Device Livia Promises To ‘Turn Off’ Menstrual Cramps, Alleviate Period Pain]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46080 2016-07-04T14:14:31Z 2016-07-04T13:35:15Z

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

livia

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

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

Raising $775,000 in just one month 

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

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

Taking care of back pain  

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

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

Pending FDA approval 

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

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

livia

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel’s Mobileye Teams Up With BMW, Intel To Manufacture A Driverless Car By 2021]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46243 2016-07-03T13:56:39Z 2016-07-03T13:30:28Z

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

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

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Mobileye Gearing Up For Driverless Cars

mobileye bmw intel

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

cars on highway

Photos: Intel, BMW

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Rebeca Maia, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Company Ayala Purifies Greywater Using Plants]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46194 2016-06-30T07:47:55Z 2016-06-30T07:47:55Z

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Israel is known for pioneering and perfecting water technologies – from drip irrigation to water recycling and desalination. But using plants to cleanse wastewater? Well, that might top it all.

Israeli company Ayala Water & Ecology provides a solution to water purification which lies within nature itself. Its flagship product, called Natural Biological System (NBS), provides efficient and sustainable purification of water, in what CEO Eli Cohen calls “active landscaping.”

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

water lilies

After inserting containers full of plants with remediation powers, sediments and purifying properties into an existing landscape, the plants degrade, accumulate and extract the contaminant particles from the water by way of natural processes, such as runoff and rainfall, acting as a biological filter.

“Modular treatment compartments are sewn into the natural topography to minimize energy requirements,” according to the company. “Inside the treatment compartments is a combination of biotic and abiotic components, plants and aggregates selected for their physical and chemical properties and varying internal hydraulic layouts.”

SEE ALSO: Indian Minister Praises Israeli Water Technologies: “Israel Is My Guru”

One of Ayala's qater purification sites

One of Ayala’s water purification sites

The system is also designed to function with minimal human and mechanical intervention, reducing maintenance costs. According to Cohen, construction costs of one NBS system are 20 percent less than those of a conventional wastewater treatment plant. This sustainable solution to water purification also uses minimal amounts of fossil-based fuels in order to operate.

However, the system requires twice as much land as mechanical systems in order to function. Still, “Ayala is trying to give a holistic solution to a paradox the world is facing,” Cohen tells NoCamels. “On the one hand, there’s great demand for better water; but recycling sewage water often comes with high energy use.”

And that’s why the company is using mostly plants found in nature to purify greywater. After the water is cleansed, it can be reused by factories and farms, as well as by parks and households. The company’s systems are already installed at hundreds of sites in Israel, Europe, and the US.

Some of Ayala’s clients include large manufacturers such as L’Oreal, and municipalities like Hyderabad, India. Cohen declined to discuss the company’s financial standing.

Founded by an engineer-turned-farmer

Ayala Water & Ecology was officially founded in 2002 by engineer-turned-farmer Cohen, who started developing the unique system some 26 years ago, when he moved to the Galilee, a rural area in northern Israel. “I pledged to live in the Galilee and fell in love with agriculture,” he says. “I was looking to create something new, and set my eyes on water plants.”

As for the future of Ayala, Cohen hopes it will help “change the world for the next generation.”

ayala infographic

Photos: Pamela Nhlengethwa, Ayala

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Brexit Strategy: British-Israeli Financial Expert Breaks Down UK/EU Vote Aftermath]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46170 2016-06-29T11:22:22Z 2016-06-29T10:44:44Z

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Daniel Abrahams, the British CEO of a Tel Aviv-based Fintech startup, has been riding an emotional roller coaster ever since the UK voted to exit the European Union (EU) last week.

As the UK’s tumultuous decision to ‘Brexit’ the EU wiped out trillions of dollars in global markets and sent the British pound spiraling downwards amid uncertainty about the future of the UK, EU and the wider world economies; Abrahams and his currency company found themselves in the eye of the storm.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Invents Complex Physics Model To Predict Global Economy

“I was a very vocal supporter of the UK remaining in the European Union,” Abrahams, an Anglo-Israeli entrepreneur, who was born and raised in North London and immigrated to Israel this year, tells NoCamels. “I personally voted for ‘bremain’ (to stay in), but unfortunately the majority (52%) voted to leave (‘brexit’).”

Brexit leaving the EU

Doom & gloom

The CEO of CurrencyTransfer.com, an award winning currency management platform with offices in London & Tel Aviv, Abrahams related that ‘doom and gloom’ is the prevailing sentiment among most of the business associates he’s spoken to and the fintech scene in general is feeling down.

“The general mood is subdued and I strongly believe that for the whole country to be in a state of limbo for an extended period of time isn’t healthy,” Abrahams laments. “I mean gosh, in the last week we’ve lost our prime minister, the opposition leader is about to go and, even our football manager is now gone! Many of my friends feel hurt and angry that the freedom of movement in the EU, once taken for granted, is now gone. I just hope the talent pool does not dry up.”

SEE ALSO: From Creative Spirit To Innovative Startups: What Makes Tel Aviv One Of The World’s ‘Techiest’ Cities

While Abrahams believes that his countrymen will respect the results of the vote and move on from it, there is a sense of worry as the UK enters what he refers to as ‘the high seas’.

“In times of huge uncertainty, less deals are done,” Abrahams added. “Mergers and acquisitions dry up. This cannot be good for the economy. The UK is a resilient nation and we can only hope now to do the best trade deals possible.”

At the same time, however, his currency management platform, which helps individuals and companies to transfer money internationally at a fraction of the cost of banks, recently hit a milestone of $100 million traded on its marketplace.

“With the sterling (pound) retreating big time, many of our clients who buy products from Europe and the US are suddenly facing a much more expensive cost of doing business,” Abrahams expalins. “Margins will suffer, profits will be squeezed and have an adverse effect on UK purchasing power. It’s a huge adjustment for the tens of thousands of small businesses who do business abroad.”

Hesitation can be costly

“Clients who held off making transfers and expected ‘bremain’ are now licking their wounds,” Abrahams said. “The strongest trend observed was that of clients with foreign currencies piling back into the pound to profit from the momentum of the drop. For example, Brits who owned houses on the continent and repatriating their Euros back home or the UK exporters earning revenues outside of the UK and bringing funds back home. These clients definitely benefited from the vote going in favor of brexit.”

On the other hand, Abrahams says that panic definitely set in for clients who don’t have the luxury of taking a ‘wait and see’ approach to their international transfers. As a result of brexit, his company has extended its office hours to deal with the much higher than normal volume of registration, activations, and first transfers, all in a very short period of time.

In fact, Abrahams reported that from the end of last week and the early part of this week, his platform has seen a 500 percent increase in transfers, helping clients move millions of dollars a day.

A cautionary tale

“We work a lot in the charity sector,” Abrahams said. “Prior to the vote, a CFO of a major UK charity spoke to us about booking a long-dated forward contact on CurrencyTransfer.com for his shekel exposure. He was generally getting nervous regarding the uncertainty and 5.72 seemed a strong rate [Now 1 pounds equals only 5.18 shekels]. Over the weekend, he was caught ill and was hospitalized for several days. He never had a chance to book his trade and he has now lost potentially a significant amount of resources for a particular project. The moral of the story? Companies, new immigrants and property buying clients now need to take a proactive approach and think carefully about currency planning. It can massively help to protect profit margins and help budgeting.”

Looking outside the UK

Turning to Israel, where Abrahams is now based, he says Israeli companies who previously looked at the UK for their European headquarters may now consider other cities, like Berlin. Although he says it’s extremely hard to call how this will play out, “Israel is definitely losing a good friend in the EU and on this level, we could be affected in Brussels.”

“Harmonization of financial regulation is now at risk for firms setting up in the UK. Right now, we all benefit from that one FCA regulation being passported across Europe. Sadly, unless some type of deal is done, entrepreneurs may now need to do a European tour getting regulated country by country.”

The biggest fear, in Abraham’s opinion, may be a domino effect, with other nations and their politicians now calling for similar referendums to the one in the UK.

A new low for the pound

“When the British pound hit a near 31 year low on Friday morning, it was violent and unexpected. One school of thought is that the market has fully priced the Brexit event, and its direct consequences. However, the worst could yet come. The economic loss caused by the referendum could trigger interest rate decreases, and further political instability could in turn devalue the pound against other major currencies. We need to understand better the length and breadth of economic uncertainty caused by Brexit.”

Still optimistic

Regarding the future of his own company, Abrahams puts an optimistic spin on things. “Whilst our roots are in the UK, we are building a global company in a multi trillion dollar a year market. We cover hundreds of different currency routes and are still very early stage in our journey. Our marketplace model allows us to scale fast, and allows us to evaluate different market entry projects.

If only I could shake my crystal currency ball, I’d be able to tell you which way we’re headed.”

Photo and videos: Courtesy

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Lisa Shmulyan <![CDATA[The Heat Is On: These Foldable Hotplates Make Outdoor Cooking A Breeze]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46069 2016-06-28T11:55:48Z 2016-06-28T11:42:43Z

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Hotplates are not exactly sexy to begin with, and often they’re just downright dirty. So if you’re an outdoorsy type, you might want to check out HotMat, a slick, lightweight, foldable alternative to those heavy, old-school hotplates.

SEE ALSO: Triangular Foldable Barbecue To Revolutionize Campers’ Eating Habits

Contrary to traditional hotplates, HotMat has four round surfaces, and is split into two warm and two hot surfaces to warm up different plates and dishes.

hotmat

HotMat uses a third of the storage space of standard warming trays, thanks to its innovative design, which is easily foldable, and can be stored in RVs and cars.

And, unlike other warming trays, HotMat is made out of mica – a soft substance able to withstand very high temperatures – and is specifically designed to give concentrated and even heating throughout its surface. But buyers do have to take into account that all these perks come with a higher price tag: While HotMat costs $125, traditional hotplates usually range from $10 to $100.

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

HotMat was developed by Israeli company Rolla RWT (founded in 2009), whose founders are industrial designer Rafi Gabbay and high-tech entrepreneur Yossi Tsuria. Gabbay came up with the idea to create a foldable hotplate when he was still a student and was sketching some ideas for a final project. His idea became reality when he founded Rolla RWT and enlisted additional help from advisers and engineers.

In recent years, thousands of HotMats have been sold in Israel, the US, UK, France, Italy, and Germany. The company is currently testing different ways to power the HotMat using batteries and car chargers. The company is also seeking funding to market to campers around the globe; it didn’t comment on how much it has raised so far.

Safe for 24-hour use 

HotMat is also ideal for the religious Jewish community that observes the Sabbath, when religious laws forbid turning on appliances. The company states it’s safe to leave it on for the day of Sabbath, since it has received a safety certification by Germany’s TUV labs.

So, next time you’re taking a road trip, don’t forget to pack up HotMat.

Photos and video: Courtesy

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Tel Aviv’s Brown Beach House Voted World’s Best Designed Hotel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=46111 2016-06-27T13:02:02Z 2016-06-27T12:44:29Z

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Luxury American tourism magazine Jetsetter has named the world’s best designed hotel, and it’s none other than the stunning Brown Beach House in Tel Aviv, Israel.

Last week, the magazine announced the winners of its 2016 Best of the Best Hotel Awards in 20 categories ranging from over-the-top luxury and best-looking guests, to all-inclusive and nightlife.

Brown Beach House - hotel in Tel Aviv

According to Jetsetter’s senior editor Clara Sedlak, “narrowing down this year’s list wasn’t easy; we evaluated hundreds of hotel submissions from our 200 global correspondents, and after hours of deliberation, we selected 20 outstanding properties.”

In the best design category, the Brown Beach House, which “caused a major splash when it opened in July 2015,” was chosen thanks to its tropical-themed design, according to Jetsetter.

Brown Beach House - hotel in Tel Aviv

Designed by Israeli architects David Azouz and Guy Velikson of Vstudio, along with Israeli interior designer Aline Langlieb, with creative direction by Israel’s Leopard Hospitality Group, the hotel features playful, colorful common areas with a beach club vibe.

SEE ALSO: From Lego-Style Buildings To Mega Hotels, Legendary Israeli Architect Moshe Safdie Still Stuns The World

Located on Hayarkon Street, just on the coastline of Tel Aviv, the hotel is within walking distance of the beach, and many entertainment and nightlife venues.

Reminiscent of 1950s retro summer resorts

According to Brown Beach House, the hotel is a “reimagining of 1950s retro summer resorts, mixed with Tel Aviv’s unique urbanism.”

However, the beautiful design comes with a price tag: a night at the Brown Beach House starts at $214, but goes all the way to $572 for a stylish suite, according to the hotel’s website.

SEE ALSO: Acclaimed Israeli Architect Omer Arbel Sheds Light On His Multifaceted Approach To Design

The magazine’s panel of judges took note of the hotel lobby, where there are “canary-yellow sofas, potted palms and lamps fashioned as golden pineapples, plus edgy design wares like gilt mirrors, a crosshatch bookcase and black-and-white geometric carpeting.”

Brown Beach House - hotel in Tel Aviv

Tropical-kitsch aesthetic 

The same tropical-kitsch aesthetic extends to the guestrooms, all 40 of which have balconies with cocoon chairs and sea or city views. “But the most eye-catching scenery can be found at the indoor beach-themed lounge, where beautiful people sip mojitos on striped yellow loungers, a sensual bossa nova mix plays and a floor-to-ceiling mural of a racy Playboy cover is splashed against one wall,” Jetstter editors write.

So, if you’re looking for tropical ambiance and breathtaking sea views this summer, the Brown Beach House could very well be the hotel for you.

Brown Beach House - hotel in Tel Aviv.

Photos: Brown Beach HouseAline Langlieb

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