NoCamels - Israeli Innovation News is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle.2015-11-30T07:24:07Z Alice Menichelli, NoCamels <![CDATA[From Art To Light Fixtures, Designer Ayala Serfaty Illuminates The World With Stunning Installations]]> 2015-11-30T07:24:07Z 2015-11-30T06:51:26Z

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At the beginning of her career, Israeli designer Ayala Serfaty had to work hard to find her voice. “I was not trained to be a designer,” she says. “I was trained to be an artist.”

But instead of choosing art over design – or vice versa – Serfaty decided to combine the two. During the course of her 30-year career, Serfaty has not only exhibited her art installations in prestigious museums and galleries around the world, but she has also sold stunning pieces of furniture and light fixtures – for a six-digit figure per piece, in some cases.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Noam Kortler Wins Prestigious Photography Award

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Serfaty’s work is characterized by her constant search for new materials and innovative techniques. Besides glass installations and light fixtures, she also produces pieces of furniture such as couches and armchairs made of felt, which consists of layers of wool, silk, linen, and other fibers pressed together by hand.

“Soma,” her most famous collection, includes a series of luminescent sculptures, assembled in a lengthy process that sometimes lasts months. By heating thin glass rods with a blow torch, she bends the glass to create a web-like internal structure, which she then sprays with polymer. As the sculpture dries, the glass and synthetic material solidify and form a reflective outer film, which Serfaty illuminates with light bulbs lying underneath the piece.

Serfaty claims she was the first to invent this sculpting method, and this is probably one of the reasons for her international success. Her work can be found in the permanent collections of the Museum of Arts and Design in New York, the Mint Museum in Charlotte, N.C., the Museum of Fine Arts in Boston, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston. She also held solo exhibitions in Tel Aviv and in the Netherlands, and she took part in group shows at the London Design Museum, the Cooper Hewitt/Smithsonian Design Museum in New York, and at the Centre Pompidou in Paris.


The height of Serfaty’s career? Exhibiting in her hometown 

Yet, she considers the highest moment in her career to be the installation she put together for the Tel Aviv Museum of Art in 2008: “I was fortunate enough to be given an entire space to manipulate,” she tells NoCamels. “The walls, the ceiling, the floor… I created the whole thing.”

She was also proud – and a little relieved – when two of her works were inducted into the permanent collection of the esteemed Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. “When this happened, I thought to myself, ‘okay, this is settled. I don’t have to prove anything anymore,’” she recalls.

Serfaty’s talent proves that art has no borders: “Being Israeli has never been a problem in my career,” she says. “In fact, I’ve sold pieces to several Arab League countries, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia.”

Born in Tel Aviv, Serfaty studied fine arts at the prestigious Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem. After completing her art studies at the Middlesex Polytechnic in London, she moved back to Israel and settled in Tel Aviv, where she now works and lives.


With so many commissions from Europe and the US, one might wonder why Serfaty still lives in Tel Aviv. “I almost moved to Milan about 20 years ago,” she reveals. “I was working on a show there, and I had many friends there. It was right after Israeli prime minister Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated, which made me consider leaving Israel. But this is my home. I’ve lived in the same neighborhood most of my life, and I don’t feel at home anywhere else.”

SEE ALSO: From Art To Extraordinary Architecture, Legendary Israeli Designer Ron Arad Keeps Stunning The World


The artist is currently working on artwork commissioned by the Corning Museum of Glass in Corning, N.Y., and by the Indianapolis Museum of Art. Her pieces are also regularly commissioned by many private individuals; most of her clients come through Maison Gerard, an art gallery in Manhattan. In addition to museum pieces, Serfaty is currently working on two pieces for residential properties in New York. Soon, she will start working on a new commission for a beach house in Hawaii, due in mid-2016.

When asked if she sees herself more as an artist or as a designer, Serfaty replies, “I am somewhere in between. I work according to my inspiration, but I enjoy building useful pieces.”


Israeli artist Ayala Serfaty

Photos: Ayala Serfaty, Albi Serfaty

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Melanie Lidman, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Reducing Global Warming: Israel Presenting Solar Energy Solutions At UN Climate Change Conference]]> 2015-11-29T10:41:29Z 2015-11-29T10:28:12Z

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

Israel hopes to highlight its green technology expertise, with an emphasis on solar energy, as a major solution to global warming at the United Nations Climate Change talks in Paris on November 30, according to a member of the delegation.

The purpose of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (COP21) is to get all 166 UN member countries to sign a binding agreement that will keep global warming below an increase of two degrees Celsius over the next century. A global increase of two degrees is considered a tipping point that will lead to widespread environmental disasters. Hundreds of leaders will gather in Paris for the 11-day summit to try to hammer out a deal capping emissions for all countries and looking for creative solutions to halt the warming of the planet.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Utilight Significantly Cuts Renewable Energy Cost

Environment News: 30 Year Old Dream Comes True With Israel's Biggest Solar Power Plant

“The main focus for the Israeli delegation is that Israeli innovation can help all countries achieve their development and reduction goals,” Josef Abramowitz, the president of solar company Gigawatt Global and part of the Israeli delegation, told The Times of Israel ahead of his trip.

Abramowitz is a pioneer in the Israeli solar energy industry with the Arava Power Company, which is responsible for many of the solar fields in the region. His company, Gigawatt Global, completed a solar field in Rwanda in February, the largest in eastern Africa.

SEE ALSO: World Leaders Praise Israel’s Water Technologies

The Israeli delegation must also explain why, despite their emphasis on technological expertise, Israel has only committed to 17 percent of energy coming from renewable sources by 2030. That figure is on par with other developed countries, but low for a country that claims to have such advanced technology. The government has claimed this is due to high security costs, the geopolitical situation, or lack of geothermal energy. The US is aiming for 28 percent of energy from renewable sources by 2030.

solar panels

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons/ US Air ForceBarefoot Photographers of Tilonia

Meital Goldberg, NoCamels <![CDATA[‘Flytrex Sky’ Personal Delivery Drone Will Ship Goods To Your Location Within Minutes]]> 2015-11-26T14:05:33Z 2015-11-26T08:54:28Z

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Have you ever gone to the food store and realized, as you were standing in line, that you had forgotten your wallet? Or been on your way to a party and realized that you had forgotten the gift on your kitchen table and the invitation on your nightstand?

Wouldn’t you love to reduce your stress level and save your time by using a new technology that could help streamline your errands – and your life?

With the Flytrex Sky, a new Israeli drone hitting the market this December, you can better manage these day-to-day tasks for $549 – less than the price of the latest iPhone.

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


This new delivery drone, available for pre-order through Flytrex Sky’s website, will be able to deliver packages weighing up to one kilogram to destinations within an 11-mile radius, aided by an embedded GPS system with tracking capabilities. With a 32-minute flight range, the drone can be controlled by both the sender and the receiver through the drone’s mobile app; the sender chooses the desired location and launches the drone, and the recipient becomes the “pilot” when the drone nears its destination to ensure the safest possible landing.

Further developing computer vision 

It’s perhaps no surprise that Yariv Bash, who founded Flytrex in 2013, is also the founder of SpaceIL, the only Israeli participant in Google’s space competition, Lunar XPRIZE, in which engineers from around the world are developing affordable spacecraft for future Moon landings.

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

Naturally, as with any new technology, there are still kinks in the Flytrex Sky system. The biggest concern is ensuring that the drones are compliant with aviation regulations. Many countries, including Israel, have very strict guidelines regarding where and how drones can be operated, and these rules may make it difficult for potential Flytrex Sky users to operate them.

Another concern is that, at this point, the drone is not yet “smart” enough to identify solid obstacles such as trees, buildings and people in its path. The company is further developing the drone’s computer vision, so that it will ultimately avoid collisions.

Delivery drone market heats up 

Civilian drones have become increasingly popular in the past few years, but what makes the Flytrex Sky unique is that it can carry packages, whereas most drones today are used for photography and surveying purposes. Large tech companies such as Amazon are racing to put out their own delivery drones, but have delayed due to regulatory concerns. Meanwhile, Silicon Valley-based startup Matternet is also developing its own commercial delivery drone, priced at $5,000, which has yet to make it to market.

Flytrex claims it’s the only complete drone delivery system available at a fraction of the price of its competitors. It may be too early to predict, but Flytrex Sky may make shipping, as we know it, a thing of the past.

drone in sky, in flight

Photos: Flytrex, David Rodriguez Martin

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[ElMindA’s Revolutionary Assessment Device For Parkinson’s Attracts World’s Top Investors]]> 2015-11-25T14:58:44Z 2015-11-25T11:28:35Z

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

Fresh from its recent award as one of the 49 most innovative startups in the world by the World Economic Forum, Israeli biotechnology firm ElMindA, developers of the world’s first FDA-approved neural functional assessment tool to visualize serious brain trauma and illnesses, announced last week that it had received $28 million in a Series C financing round.

ElMindA had to turn away investors anxious to put their money into what could be the next big Israeli med tech exit, according to investment experts familiar with the firm.

SEE ALSO: Mind-Blowing: Brainsway’s Magnetic Pulses Helmet Relieves Depression


ElMindA technology presented to US President Barack Obama during his visit to Israel in 2013

The list of investors who did get into the funding round reads like a who’s who of the global investment world. Among the investors: Chinese global investors Shanda Group, Wexford Capital, which has some $6 billion of assets under management in hedge funds and private equity funds companies, investment bank WR Hambrecht & Co, asset manager Palisade Capital Management, crowdfunding pioneers OurCrowd (among the first to invest in ElMinda), the Kraft Group (owner of the New England Patriots, but also a heavy investor in health-tech), and Swiss investment house Healthcrest AG.

The money will go toward enhancing ElMindA’s proprietary Brain Network Activation system, and preparing the system for commercial and clinical adoption, following BNA’s 2014 FDA clearance in the US and European CE Mark approval for brain function assessment.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Who Made It Their Life Goal To Beat Parkinson’s Disease

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

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

To read the full article, click here

Photos courtesy of ElMindA

Natalia Kushnir, NoCamels <![CDATA[Airport Kiosk TravelersBox Converts Leftover Foreign Change Into Gift Cards, PayPal Funds]]> 2015-11-24T08:07:08Z 2015-11-24T08:00:46Z

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On average, 8 million people fly around the world every day, and during the holiday peak season which starts on Thanksgiving, the daily number is even higher. When traveling internationally, business travelers and tourists alike are often left with coins of euros, dollars and other currencies they don’t need anymore. But the small change they’re left with after every trip adds up – so, why not put it to work?

Israeli startup TravelersBox has come up with a practical new solution for spare change, which comes in handy for frequent flyers who often hoard an incredible amount of foreign coins. TravelersBox is an ATM-like machine that allows you to transfer your small foreign change and bills to a PayPal account, or to convert it into a retailer’s gift card, including those of Gap and Domino’s Pizza. TravelersBox can even donate your change to charity.

SEE ALSOMeet The Top Israeli Startups That Make Travel So Much Easier

TravelersBox designated kiosks are located throughout airports around the world. After passengers deposit their coins and bills, a series of prompts are displayed on the screen. The customer is asked to choose their preferred language, select where they want their money to go, and type either their mobile number or email. Further details on the transaction are then sent via email or SMS.

A solution for frequent flyers 

Founded in 2013 by Tomer Zussman, Idan Deshe and Dror Blumenthal, the 15-employee startup has so far raised $4.5 million. The company is based on the idea that travelers should be able to unload their foreign coins before they return home.

“Tomer had been flying back and forth from Tel Aviv to New York; he was loaded with small money and coins, and we thought about coming up with a machine that would enable users to deposit the rest of their change,” Blumenthal tells NoCamels.

SEE ALSO: From Couch Surfing To Food Surfing

When Blumenthal bought a Beatles record on iTunes for $2.99, “it got me thinking what people can buy with only a few dollars,” he recalls. Currently, there are 70 partnering companies that customers can choose from. The most popular choices are: PayPal, iTunes, Skype, Google Play, and Starbucks.

There is no minimum amount needed in order to deposit money; depending on the deposited amount, a fee of 3-10 percent applies. However, there is no fee for those who wish to make a donation.

Expanding around the globe with 200 new locations 

After fine-tuning their business model in 2013, the three partners spent $50,000 to develop a prototype. In addition, they received funding from private investors, and a few months later they landed their first contract with Turkey’s Istanbul Atatürk Airport.

coinsThe company has grown exponentially since then: TravelersBox can now be found in Manila (Philippines), Milan, Manchester and Tel Aviv. Additional Kiosks will soon be available in Toronto and Tokyo. In 2016, the company plans to have kiosks in New York as well as in 200 additional locations in Asia and the US. Currently, some 3,000 people use TravelersBox around the world every day.

So, next time you’re on your way home, unload that annoying small change at the airport, and put it to work for your charity of choice!

TravelersBoxPhotos: Courtesy

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Japan Hosts Israeli High-Tech Delegation To Foster Innovation Across Its Industries]]> 2015-11-23T10:09:13Z 2015-11-23T09:57:49Z

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

After running a successful hackathon in Israel in October, Toyota has decided that it wants more Israeli innovation – and this time it’s bringing that innovation to its home base.

This month, the company is holding an event during which members of an Israeli delegation are meeting some 50 representatives from the purchasing and R&D departments of the company.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Tech Is Gearing Up To Keep The Vehicles Of The Future Safe

toyota electric car

Toyota’s electric city car

The event is just one of several that the newly established Israel trade office in Osaka is setting up. The new branch, in one of the world’s leading financial centers, will open up new economic opportunities for Israeli companies, including Japan’s large automakers, said Amit Lang, director general of the Israeli Economy Ministry, who is in Osaka to inaugurate the new center as well as lead a delegation of Israeli automotive supply companies as part of his working visit to the country.

The goal of the Israeli delegation, organized with the Israel Export Institute, is to create business ties between Israeli companies and potential business partners in the field of auto services in an effort to increase exports to Japan, said Lang. It also aims at presenting Japanese companies with possibilities of investing in Israel.

“Over the past year, there has been a noted increase in the interest of Japanese companies in Israel in a variety of fields, evidenced by the arrival of Japanese companies to Israel and their willingness to host Israeli companies in Japan,” Lang said.

Israel isn’t the first place you’d think of when looking for companies that develop technology for the auto industry, but there are a number of local firms that do just that – providing manufacturers with ways to build quality cars for less money, helping salespeople to sell parts and services over the Internet, and even helping drivers drive more safely, using sensors that alert them when they get too close to the car ahead of them.

Nissan self driving car Geneva_Motor_Show_1186

Nissan’s self-driving, zero-emissions car

Among the Israeli firms active in the auto business is Israeli startup Geomatrix, which developed in cooperation with the Israeli R&D center of Mckit Software Autoflat a system that is designed to help companies in the sheet metal industry save money.

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Takadanobaba Kurazawa

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Is Sushi Healthier Than Ice Cream? Not Necessarily, Diabetes Researchers Say]]> 2015-11-22T19:49:25Z 2015-11-22T17:08:49Z

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Which is more likely to raise blood sugar levels: Sushi or ice cream? According to a new Israeli study, the answer varies from one person to another. The study, which continuously monitored blood sugar levels in 800 people for a week, revealed that the bodily response to similar foods was highly individual.

SEE ALSO: Could Personalized Diets Prevent Diabetes And Heart Disease?

The study, called the Personalized Nutrition Project, was led by Prof. Eran Segal and Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute. It was published in the November 19 issue of the scientific journal Cell, and has since stirred up the medical community, which might have to rethink dietary recommendations.

“We chose to focus on blood sugar because elevated levels are a major risk factor for diabetes, obesity and metabolic syndrome,” Segal said in a statement. “The huge differences that we found in the rise of blood sugar levels among different people who consumed identical meals highlights why personalized eating choices are more likely to help people stay healthy than universal dietary advice.”


Indeed, the scientists found that different people responded very differently to both simple and complex meals. For example, a large number of participants’ blood sugar levels rose sharply after they consumed a standardized glucose meal, but in many others, blood glucose levels rose sharply after they ate white bread, but not after glucose.

New dietary recommendations? 

According to Elinav, “our aim in this study was to find factors that underlie personalized blood glucose responses to food. We used that information to develop personal dietary recommendations that can help prevent and treat obesity and diabetes, which are among the most severe epidemics in human history.”

The study was unique in its scale and in the inclusion of the analysis of gut microbes, collectively known as the microbiome, which had recently been shown to play an important role in human health. Study participants were outfitted with small monitors that continuously measured their blood sugar levels. They were asked to record everything they ate, as well as such lifestyle factors as sleep and physical activity. Overall, the researchers assessed the response of different people to 46,000 meals.

Taking these multiple factors into account, the scientists generated an algorithm for predicting individualized response to food based on the person’s lifestyle, medical background, and the composition and function of his or her microbiome. In a follow-up study of another 100 volunteers, the algorithm successfully predicted the rise in blood sugar in response to different foods, demonstrating that it could be applied to new participants.

gut bacteria, small intestine,

Gut bacteria

The scientists were able to show that lifestyle also mattered. The same food affected blood sugar levels differently in the same person, depending, for example, on whether its consumption had been preceded by exercise or sleep.

SEE ALSO: It’s Official: One Glass Of Wine A Day Improves Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes

In the final stage of the study, the scientists designed a dietary intervention based on their algorithm; this was a test of their ability to prescribe personal dietary recommendations for lowering blood glucose level responses to food. Volunteers were assigned a personalized “good” diet for one week, and a “bad” diet – also personalized – for another. Both good and bad diets were designed to have the same number of calories, but they differed between participants. Thus, certain foods in one person’s “good” diet were part of another’s “bad” diet.

The “good” diets indeed helped to keep blood sugar at steadily healthy levels, whereas the “bad” diets often induced spikes in glucose levels —all within just one week of intervention. Moreover, as a result of the “good” diets, the volunteers experienced consistent changes in the composition of their gut microbes, suggesting that the microbiome may be influenced by the personalized diets while also playing a role in participants’ blood sugar responses.

Video: Courtesy

Alice Menichelli, NoCamels <![CDATA[Rent Your Favorite Legos Online With ‘Pley’ – Or Design Your Own Set]]> 2015-11-19T15:58:07Z 2015-11-19T15:58:07Z

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Legos may seem like a great gift to get your kids, but unfortunately they can also rob you of a small fortune.  Best-seller kits on Amazon range from $100-200. And it’s not a one-off cost; once children complete one set, they quickly want another.

That’s why two Israelis, Lanan Ranchman and Elina Furman, came up with a very simple idea – why not rent Lego kits? They looked for rental services online, but did not find any. So, they decided to implement their own.

Pley, also known as the Netflix for Legos, is an online platform that allows parents to rent Lego sets. For $19.99 a month, users can choose among a variety of Lego toys that can be delivered to their doorstep at no extra cost. All toys are sanitized and the company says it doesn’t even charge for missing pieces. Pley aims to save parents money, but the founders also believe that their rental service will teach kids to take care of the toys that they use.

pley kids

SEE ALSO: Stop Wasting Time Looking For Your Stuff – Pixie’s Got You Covered

In 2015, Pley took a step forward and launched Pleyworld, a free crowdsourcing platform that gives Pley’s subscribers the chance to design their own Lego sets. Pley’s users can upload pictures of their creations on Pley’s website, and if a project reaches 5,000 votes, the company will turn it into a set and make it available for rent or purchase to all users – in only two weeks’ time.

“With the launch of Pleyworld, we are democratizing creativity and empowering builders across the world to use their imagination toward becoming master builders,” said co-founder and CEO Ranan Lachman in a press release. “Anyone can upload a creation, be it their hero, fantasy vehicle or architectural construction and see it built by thousands of fans within weeks. This is a true testament to how technology and awesome design can change an industry.”

The first design to be made into a real set was a colorful “Hippie Dirigible” uploaded by Dimitry and Anna Selivanov in April. “The launch of the first design from PleyWorld demonstrates that if you empower the people, amazing innovations can come to life,” said Lachman.

pley toy

Pley’s Hippie Dirigible Lego set

SEE ALSO: Bestselling Author Dan Ariely Launches Cool Card Game To Make Us Less Irrational

Launched in 2013 in Santa Clara, California, Pley has over 75,000 users. The company currently ships to the US but is eager to expand to Asia and Europe. So far, the company has received $16.75 million in funding in two rounds from seven investors, including Allegro Ventures Partners, Correlation Ventures and Floodgate.

Photos: Pixabay; Pley

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Study Busts The Myth: iPhone Apps Are Just As Risky As Android Apps]]> 2015-11-18T09:53:14Z 2015-11-18T09:53:14Z

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

The next smartphone app you download could be riddled with bugs that would allow a hacker to take control of your device or steal data from it – and if not your next downloaded app, then maybe the one after that.

Sixty percent of all smartphone apps, according to a study by Israeli cyber-security start-up Checkmarx, have “high” or “critical” security problems in several of seven security protocols studied. Overall, four out of every 10 apps have some major flaw that could allow a hacker to get control of a device’s data, or the device itself.

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

iPhone apps

The study examined reported security breaches on iOS, the operating system used in Apple’s iPhone and iPad, and the Android system used by most other smartphone manufacturers.

The poor security performances come despite the claims by the vast majority of developers of apps for both platforms that there is no way they would release an app unless it were fully secure.

And iPhone owners needn’t be smug about the results, the study showed. While iOS users believe that they are safer because of Apple’s “walled garden” approach to apps, where an Apple team supposedly vets every piece of software offered in the App Store for, among other things, cyber-safety, App Store apps are no safer than those designed for Android systems.

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

In fact, apps written for the free-wheeling, anything-goes Android development environment, where any app can be loaded on to a device without being checked by a committee, are somewhat less security challenged than iOS apps. According to Checkmarx, “40 percent of the detected vulnerabilities on iOS tested applications were found to be critical or high severity,” while 38 percent of Android apps had the same problem.

Android smartphone apps

To read the full article, click here

Photos: Highway Agency

Penina Graubart, NoCamels <![CDATA[What Has Your Dog Been Up To All Day? New App Hachiko Can Monitor Its Activity, Meals]]> 2015-11-17T14:53:15Z 2015-11-17T14:15:30Z

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You sprint home from work to make sure he’s fine. You consider him your best friend. Yet, you don’t have the slightest idea what he’s been up to while you were away.

That is, until now. Israeli startup company Hachiko Technologies recently launched a smart sensor for dogs, allowing ‘dog parents’ to spy on their pets. The smart sensor, attached to the collar, along with a free mobile app called HachikoApp, allows dog caregivers to easily monitor the daily life and behavior of their dog.

SEE ALSO: The High-Tech Dog-Walking Service That’s Taking Manhattan By Storm

dog with hachiko sensor

A dog wearing the Hachiko sensor

Based in Tel Aviv, Hachiko is now available in several countries around the world, including the US and the UK. The seven-employee company was founded in 2014, and has so far raised $2 million from AOL and seed-stage venture capital firm BetaWork.

The Hachiko namesake comes from the true story of the famous Japanese dog that waited for his owner every day at the train station to come home from work, and continued to do so for nine years after the owner passed away.

A stylish, waterproof sensor for your canine companion 

Founded by Hod Fleishman, Effie Arditi and Zohar Fox, Hachiko has developed a stylish sensor that effortlessly attaches to all collars and harnesses. The sensor is waterproof and comes in six different colors. It monitors and records information and transmits it to the app for the owner and other caregivers to easily see on the go.

The app includes features that let caregivers know the actions of their dog. Information includes how many steps they have taken, where they have walked, what they have eaten, how much they have drunk, and which caregiver have watched over them.

SEE ALSO: ‘Wooof’ Could Become The Waze Of Dog Owners

hachiko app

Hachiko app and dog sensor

Fleishman identified three main types of dog parents that would greatly benefit from Hachiko’s product. The first type of customers is people whose dogs suffer from obesity. They love their dog so much that they feed them an excess amount and their dog becomes overweight. These owners could use the sensor and app to monitor their dog for better feeding and exercise.

The second group of customers consists of people who are highly active with their dogs. They are constantly taking them on walks and hikes and want to be able to measure the activity of their dogs, similar to how they measure their own diet and exercise with apps like Fitbit.

The final group can be defined as ‘helicopter parents of dogs.’ These are dog parents who have a burning need to know every little bit of information about their dog’s day.

“Hachiko complements the relationship between a dog and its parent” 

According to Hachiko Technologies, what sets them apart from their competition – apps such as PetPace and WÜF – is the mission to create a mass-scale product to better the relationship between dogs and their owners.

This is implemented in three main ways: The price, the sensor’s battery life, and the tailored application. It took the Hachiko team quite a bit of time to develop a device that they could sell for under $50 and yet still be profitable. The team succeeded in this goal, as their sensor costs $40.

According to Fleishman, most wearable technologies lose battery fairly quickly; however, Hachiko’s battery was developed with technology that allows it to be charged for 12 months.

In addition, the Hachiko team spends much time analyzing and collecting data to understand the dog’s and parent’s behavior in order to provide app users with relevant information. The app, therefore, is not generic; the more one uses the application, the more it adjusts to how the parent and dog live their life.

“It’s not about technology or business; it is about gaining a deep understanding of the users,” Fleishman tells NoCamels. “We love dogs and people, and we appreciate the relationship between them. Our technology complements this relationship.”

hachiko dog sensor

Photos: Hachiko

David Shamah, Times of Israel <![CDATA[MIT Honors 3 Israelis Among Its Top 35 Under 35 Scientists]]> 2015-11-17T09:59:36Z 2015-11-16T13:47:48Z

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

Three Israelis are among 35 honored this year by MIT with its annual list of young researchers who have had a huge impact on the world – and are expected to go on to do much more.

The three – Drs. Gilad Evrony, Cigall Kadoch, and Rikky Muller – all satisfy the main criteria of the prestigious Boston-based university, as “people who are driving the next generation of technological breakthroughs.”

mit robot

Humanoid robots roaming around MIT campus

MIT’s 35 Innovators Under 35 list has since 1999 selected young innovators whose work, the university believes, has great potential to transform the world. The awards, which cover fields such as biotechnology, materials, computer hardware, energy, transportation, communications and the web, were presented last week at EmTech, the annual conference of the MIT Technology Review.

SEE ALSO: Why The World’s Largest Accelerator, MassChallenge, Chose To Open In Jerusalem

Evrony was recognized for his work developing a new way to look at brain cells – analyzing the DNA of single neurons, in order to understand how they mutate, and how the brain grows and develops. The technology has shown that every person’s brain is sprinkled with countless genetic mutations invisible to prior research, “which may help explain some of the many neurologic and psychiatric diseases whose causes are not known,” Evrony told The Times of Israel.

mit alchemist

The Alchemist, sculpted by Jaume Plensa, greats MIT students at the campus entrance.

A graduate of MIT, Evrony completed Harvard Medical School’s MD-PhD program where he worked in the laboratory of Christopher Walsh, chief of genetics and genomics at Boston Children’s Hospital. There he developed a way to read the tiny amount of DNA inside single brain cells, which led to a surprising discovery– that every neuron in a person’s brain contains many genetic mutations that occur as the brain develops in the womb and throughout life.

SEE ALSO: Passion Is More Important For Professional Success Than Talent, Study Shows

Early during his studies, Evrony managed to take off three years to serve in the IDF’s Intelligence Division, in the Israeli army’s elite communications and technology group whose graduates have made a huge impact on the Israeli start-up scene. “It was there I realized I could do this kind of work, where I was encouraged to think outside the box and learned the power of technology innovation,” Evrony said.

To read the full article, click here.

Photo: Wikicommons/ Thermos; Tom AndersNathan Rupert


NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Scientists Claim Alzheimer’s Is A Set Of Different Diseases That Should Be Treated Separately]]> 2015-11-15T13:29:45Z 2015-11-15T13:29:45Z

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Roughly 5.3 million Americans are suffering from Alzheimer’s disease, and every 67 seconds someone in the US develops the disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. It is among the 10 leading causes of death but at this time, the medical community has found no way to prevent, cure, or even slow it.

That’s why some scientists say it might be time to look at Alzheimer’s differently. Deciphering the mechanism that underlies the development of Alzheimer’s disease in certain families but not in others, researchers at the Hebrew University have proposed that the malady is actually a collection of several diseases that should be classified and treated separately – with a variety of different approaches.

SEE ALSO: People Who Treat Alzheimer’s Patients Should Have Creative Hobbies


Neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s are debilitating conditions that result in degeneration or death of cells in the nervous system. Cases are typically diagnosed during the patient’s fifth through seventh decade of life. The late onset of the disease raises the following question: Why do individuals who carry disease-linked mutations show no clinical signs until they reach their fifties or sixties? One possible explanation is that as people age, the efficiency of the mechanisms that protect younger people from the toxic aggregation of proteins declines, thus exposing them to the disease. Indeed, previous studies clearly indicate that the aging process and this aggregation of proteins plays a key role in enabling neurodegenerative disorders to onset late in life.

The secret protein that’s responsible for the manifestation of Alzheimer’s

Since neurodegenerative disorders stem from abnormal protein folding (the process by which a protein assumes its functional shape), the researchers believe that an aging-associated decline in the activity of proteins that assist other proteins to fold properly may be one mechanism that exposes the elderly to neurodegeneration. Such abnormality can also occur due to an infectious misfolded protein or a genetic mutation. The study suggests that Alzheimer’s symptoms should be distinguished according to these underlying mechanisms, hence should be regarded as different diseases.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Stop Brain From Aging To Prevent Alzheimer’s

The international research team, led by Prof. Ehud Cohen and Dr. Tziona Ben-Gedalya of the Hebrew University, also discovered that the malfunction of a protein called “cyclophilin B,” which helps nascent proteins to attain their proper structures, can also be responsible for the manifestation of Alzheimer’s.

Health News: Researchers Identify Protein That May Be Key In Alzheimer's Treatment

According to Cohen, “this study indicates that Alzheimer’s disease can emanate from more than one mechanism, suggesting that it is actually a collection of diseases that should be classified.”

The new insights derived from his study may reinforce the efforts to develop novel therapies to the different subtypes of Alzheimer’s disease, providing new hope for those who suffer from this incurable disorder.

Cohen stresses that “it is essential to carefully characterize and classify the mechanisms that underlie Alzheimer’s disease, in order to allow for the development of novel therapies that can be prescribed to the individual patient according to their relevant disease subtype.”

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cakes And Shoes: Israeli Instragram Star Photographs Both In Paris]]> 2015-11-12T16:06:11Z 2015-11-12T15:45:32Z

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Paris-based pastry chef Tal Spiegel has two passions: cakes and shoes. And to the delight of his 35,000 Instagram followers, he photographs them together.

Nearly every day, Spiegel publishes a new photo to his feed, “Desserted in Paris,” one of Instagram’s many “food porn” channels. “I’m exploring all the best desserts Paris has to offer along with my huge shoe collection,” Spiegel wrote about his project.

One word: Ananas! At @hugovictor_paris

A photo posted by Tal Spiegel (@desserted_in_paris) on

“There is a natural connection between the colorfulness of desserts and shoes, and this is a project I just can’t stop!”

This one was starring at me at @lagrandeepicerie vitrine and I had to have it, plus it's half savory half sweet!

A photo posted by Tal Spiegel (@desserted_in_paris) on

A graduate of the Shenkar School for Design in Israel, Spiegel is now a recently qualified Pastry Chef from Parisian culinary arts school Ferrandi. And one follower made it clear why  Spiegel is gaining such traction on Instragram, commenting on his latest post, “Dessert and fashion are like a ray of sunshine!”

While touring for new patisseries. thank you @shaylevy1

A photo posted by Tal Spiegel (@desserted_in_paris) on


Photos: Ayack/ Wikipedia Commons; Tal Spiegel

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Diver-Photographer Noam Kortler Wins Prestigious Underwater Picture Award]]> 2015-11-11T15:08:21Z 2015-11-11T15:08:21Z

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Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler received the prestigious Jean-Louis Galy prize at the renowned World Festival of Underwater Pictures, held last week in France. He’s among four photographers to receive prizes in the still photography category for a portfolio of 10 images. Over the past decade, Kortler has won numerous awards for his stunning sea life photographs.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest 

The World Festival of Underwater Pictures (Festival Mondial de l’Image Sous-Marine) has an artistic, cultural and scientific objective to promote the seas and oceans. It takes place every year in late October or early November in Marseille, France, providing a place of exchange among enthusiasts of the underwater world. Considered the most important competition in the world on underwater films and pictures, the festival hosts professionals from 50 countries every year.

“It’s the Oscars of underwater photography,” Kortler tells NoCamels.

Sea life photo by  Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Sea life photo by Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Born and raised by the sea

Kortler was born on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea, and was diving and surfing throughout his childhood. In 1996, he moved to Eilat, a city on the coast of the Red Sea in Southern Israel. After becoming a diving instructor in 2000, he purchased his first underwater camera and has been shooting photos of sea life ever since.

Sea life photo by Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Sea life photo by Kortler

In 2006, he started his own diving center in Eilat, called Nemo Divers, but that didn’t stop him from taking more amazing photos of Red Sea creatures; he actually started winning photo competitions around the world that year.

Sometimes it would take him 90 minutes to capture a perfect photo, having to lie still underwater, following his colorful subjects. This year’s winning photos even include those of sharks and whales, which obviously took some courage and patience!

SEE ALSO: Photographer Spencer Tunick Undresses Israel To Save Dead Sea

His series of 10 photos submitted to this year’s competition was shot in Eilat as well as around the world. “I waited four years on the waiting list for room on a unique boat that led me to capture that perfect image of whales in the Pacific Ocean,” Kortler tells NoCamels.

Photo of whales taken by Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Photo of whales taken by Kortler

Now, Kortler is teaching students how to capture stunning photos of sea life in a program he recently opened in Eilat.

Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Israeli diver-photographer Noam Kortler

Photos: DPGFestival Mondial de l’Image Sous-MarineNoam Kortler

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[London Mayor Boris Johnson Praises Startup Nation During Visit, Talks Of ‘Fantastic Partnership’]]> 2015-11-10T12:54:10Z 2015-11-10T11:58:55Z

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Mayor of London Boris Johnson arrived in Israel this week on a three-day tour of the country intended to strengthen ties between the UK capital and the Startup Nation. The Mayor, who 30 years ago came to Israel to work on a kibbutz, admitted that he “made a less than spectacular contribution to the Israeli economy, and in order to rectify that, I’ve now brought a very, very serious trade delegation to build on what I think you would agree is a most fantastic partnership between London and Israel.”

After ringing the opening bell of the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange, then cycling down Rothschild Boulevard – dubbed Silicon Boulevard – with Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai, Johnson made a stop at Google’s Campus in Tel Aviv, where he spoke to a packed house of entrepreneurs, investors, and tech leaders – and tried out a few toys.

boris johnson tel aviv

A Tale of Two Cities: Mayor of London Boris Johnson (right), cycling down Rothschild Boulevard with Mayor of Tel Aviv Ron Huldai.

As part of his mission, Johnson praised and encouraged the tech trade between London and Tel Aviv, and invited Israeli entrepreneurs to make London their home away from home. London has a lower murder rate than New York, he quipped, more Michelin star restaurants than Paris, and less rain than Rome. But jokes aside, the London Mayor was quite serious about London’s startup economy. Under his leadership, the city’s entrepreneurial ecosystem has grown from a couple hundred companies to tens of thousands of startups, ranging from those in fin-tech and cyber security to education publishing and e-commerce.

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

With a dedicated team of Tech Advisors from the likes of Google, Apple, and Yahoo, along with the UK Israel Tech Hub, an initiative led by the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, Johnson is eager to build bridges between the Tel Aviv and London ecosystems so that the startup nation can connect to the scale up nation.

“London is the natural tech partner for Israeli firms looking to expand,” the mayor said at a panel alongside CEO of Google Israel Meir Brand, veteran venture capitalist Saul Klein, and Business Advisor to the British Prime Minister Eileen Burbidge. “With access to a world class talent pool and a booming digital economy it is no surprise that Israeli tech companies are making London their home.”

Google Israel CEO Meir Brand and London Mayor Boris Johnson discussing the "partnership between the two most innovative societies on earth."

Google Israel CEO Meir Brand and London Mayor Boris Johnson discussing “a partnership between the two most innovative societies on earth.”

The strength of the UK digital economy is sometimes overshadowed by the high valuations of US-based technology companies. However, the UK boasts the world’s leading e-commerce market, with a higher percentage of internet users than the US, and is home to Google’s largest market outside the US. Such advantages are leading Israeli startups to consider London over San Francisco and New York when expanding abroad.

Online trading company eToro is one such example. Founded in 2007 and run by Co-Founder and CEO Yoni Assia, eToro has developed a social trading platform on which users can view and replicate strategies of leading traders in the eToro community. Based in Canary Wharf, one of London’s financial districts, eToro is part of the the fintech accelerator Level 39. “You wouldn’t find that in Israel,” said Assia. “We’re sitting in a space with about 50 other fintech companies.” With already 4.5 million users in more than 170 countries and $70 million in funding, including investment from Chinese insurance giant Ping An and the venture capital arm of German investment bank Commerzbank, eToro is making the most of what London has to offer.

SEE ALSO: The New Normal: Israeli Startups Raise Over $1Billion For Third Quarter In A Row

Startups also like that London’s geography and time-zone enables them to cover both Eastern and Western markets, as well as the talent pool from world class universities, including Oxford, Cambridge and Imperial, which makes London not only a trading hub, but also an engineering one. Johnson also touts the progressive regulatory environment, which he says encourages startups to set up shop and publicly list on the London Stock Exchange; and of course there is funding.

“London is now Sandhill Road for the rest of the world,” said Mr Klein, referring to the street in Silicon Valley that is home to some of the largest and most famed VC firms. “There is more early stage capital under management in London than in any city other than San Francisco.” Research by London & Partners found that since the beginning of this year, the total venture capital investment into London startups has exceeded $1.7 billion, eclipsing the $1.3 billion raised in the whole of 2014.

saul klein

Veteran venture capitalist Saul Klein speaking on the imperative to cement the London-Israel relationship.

Yet Assia touched upon another, less quantifiable asset in London. “Our drive as Israelis to do everything, and sort of drive through walls and get injured while doing it, is very Israeli in nature,” he said. “But thinking very structurally about a market and understanding the market, and how a brand thinks and looks like is something that almost doesn’t exist in Israel.”

From the perspective of the UK, Mr Klein explained that it is “imperative for the UK and Israel to cement this partnership because if technology is the energy for the 21st century, and Israel is one of the sources of 21st century energy…it is a fundamental, strategic imperative for the UK economy to be tapped into that.”

SEE ALSO: Facebook To Beam Free Internet Across Africa Using Israeli Satellite

Despite these differences, which most agreed would be an opportunity for further growth, Mayor Johnson was keen to stress the commonalities of the two societies. “There is a reason why both Israel and London have this very vibrant, dynamic innovative culture, and that reason is very simple. They both have young populations who are argumentative, they won’t take what they’re given, they question everything, and at the risk of making an obvious point, they are both democracies,” the Mayor said. “You simply would not have a startup culture anything like the kind we see here in Israel in my view anywhere else in this area at the moment. You can have capitalism without democracy – we’ve seen that I’m afraid. But can you have innovation without democracy? I don’t think you can.”

boris on green ride bike

Mayor Johnson test driving the Israeli designed INU electric bike outside the Google Campus.

Photos: David Iliff/ Wikipedia Commons; Kfir Sivan/ Tel Aviv Global, Mayor’s Office Tel Aviv; Nadav Attias/ Green Ride

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[3D Printing Ready For Its Next Big Sprint – Metal]]> 2015-11-09T18:42:48Z 2015-11-09T18:42:48Z

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

What Israeli 3D pioneer Objet – now integrated with Minnesota-based 3D printing company Stratasys – did for plastic, Israeli start-up Xjet plans to do for metal.

“The layered inkjet printing technology that is used to make medical devices, dental implants, single-run samples for manufacturing, and much more is all based on plastic,” said Xjet CEO Dror Danai. “In the same way that Objet helped create an industry for 3D printing using plastic materials, we intend to create an industry that will allow the same kind of custom printing for metal.”

Nasa 3d printed rocket launch

Launch of NASA’s 3D printed rockets.

The reference to the Israeli 3D printing company that was one of the creators of the 3D printing industry, is not coincidental; Danai and many of the 62 people working at the Rehovot- based company are veterans of Objet. Danai left before the company merged with Stratasys to create the world’s biggest 3D printing firm.

“Objet’s big innovation was inkjet 3D printing, using plastic materials like PLC,” said Danai. “At Xjet, we are developing an inkjet printing tech for liquid metal, the first time this is being done anywhere.”

The technology, said Danai, could revolutionize manufacturing.

SEE ALSO: From Art To Extraordinary Architecture, Legendary Israeli Designer Ron Arad Keeps Stunning The World

“Right now, the only way to manufacture a piece of metal is by using a mold to fit liquid metal, which then solidifies,” said Danai. It’s the way everything metallic – from a pipe to a coin to a gold ring – is made. “To make an odd-sized piece, you first have to make up a new mold and measure it to ensure it has the right specifications for the machines that are going to produce it commercially. Manufacturing a single, one-time item is a very drawn out and expensive proposition that makes many metal parts very expensive.”

Such parts are used in rockets, spaceships, military jets, and other unique items, but for everyday use, such customized manufacturing is far too expensive and involved.

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

Enter Xjet, which, said Denai, uses nanotechnology to create special metal liquids that, using its 3D metal printing technology, can create unique, one of a kind items on the fly.

“We allow manufacturers to skip the mold stage, saving them huge amounts of time and money,” said Denai. “All the specifications are made in the software, and when it’s time to print, our nano-based metals are created according to those specifications.”

To read the full article, click here.

Photos: Jonathan Juursema, Steve Jurvetson

Alice Menichelli, NoCamels <![CDATA[Wish You Could Take Back That Embarrassing Message You Sent? You Can, With New App ‘SessMe’]]> 2015-11-08T11:19:53Z 2015-11-08T06:39:34Z

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Have you ever texted your ex after a couple of drinks and ended up regretting it the next morning? Did you accidentally share an unflattering picture of yourself with a WhatsApp group? Or maybe you meant to gossip about your boss with someone else, but instead sent the message to him?

If any of these situations sound painfully familiar to you, then weep no more –  there’s a smartphone application that will solve your problem.

New app SessMe, developed in Israel, is a social chat application that allows its users to delete messages and pictures they shared from the device of the person who received them. The content is saved on the ‘cloud’ and can be tracked down and deleted anytime and anywhere in the world.

SEE ALSO: The Social App That Allows You To Send 15-Second Photos

The service includes other innovative features, for example: It protects content from being obtained without consent by blocking the option of taking screenshots; instead, the app sends a notification in case someone attempts to take a screenshot of your message. SessMe also allows its users to schedule messages, videos and pictures to be sent out on a specific date, a real blessing for those of us who struggle with remembering important dates and occasions.

SEE ALSO: Technology To Protect Your Children From Dangerous Online Relationships

“Sharing is fun, but it is not supposed to hurt anyone.”

SessMe challenges the idea that what goes online stays there forever; indeed, it promises to let its users delete any of their mistakes. The app, however, has the potential to do much more than protecting us from our social faux pas – it could actually become a powerful tool to prevent online shaming.

Social media on smartphone

Social media apps on a smartphone

“Teenagers nowadays share materials in every situation – everything goes on social media,” SessMe VP Esther Liebersohn Namer tells NoCamels. “My seven-year-old daughter already witnessed a case of a girl whose embarrassing picture was taken during gym class. It went viral on WhatsApp, and the girl was humiliated; there was no way of tracking that photo or preventing further sharing.”

Simply put, once the damage is done and your content falls into the wrong hands, there seems to be no way to make it right again. “At SessMe, we want our users to take care of themselves and of the information they share,” Liebersohn continues. “Sharing is fun, but it is not supposed to hurt anyone.”

Head to head with Snapchat?

SessMe is entering a tough market. It faces the well-established competitor Snapchat, a hugely popular app that can delete messages, videos and photos from all devices right after they’re sent.

While Snapchat claims to have 100 million users, budding startup SessMe has so far recruited hundreds of thousands of users, according to Liebersohn. “SessMe is competing with sharks, but its unique features have the potential for success,” she tells NoCamels.

SessMe claims that its privacy settings – including screenshot warnings, locked and masked messages, as well as private chats whose content cannot be forwarded – are more secure than those of Snapchat, and guarantee against unwanted sharing.

“Our app could be the greatest revolution in the way we communicate online and constitute a strong security tool protecting privacy in the social media society,” she says.

However, it remains to be seen if people will abandon popular social media outlets like Facebook, which has 1.5 billion users, and flock to more private platforms such as SessMe.

Founded last year by Israeli entrepreneurs Ofer Ben-David and Haim Saar, SessMe has so far raised an undisclosed amount from angel investors; the company declined to provide further financial information.

sessme app

Photos and videos courtesy of SessMe

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Study Reveals Secret Brain Cells That Could Cause Depression]]> 2015-11-05T14:45:59Z 2015-11-05T14:45:59Z

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

A paper by Israeli brain researchers suggests a new direction for studying and treating depression.

Prof. Raz Yirmiya, who heads Hebrew University’s psychoneuroimmunology laboratory, is the senior author of a new paper, “Depression as a microglial disease,” published in the October issue of Trends in Neurosciences.

SEE ALSO: Researchers Shed Light On Depression By Curing Mice

Brain - Technology News - Israel

The paper urges a new focus in depression research away from neurons, the cells that make up the brain’s thinking faculties and allow it to control the body, and toward brain cells called microglia.

About 10 percent of brain cells are microglia, which serve as a kind of infrastructure for the brain, holding neurons in place, passing oxygen and other nutrients to them and fighting brain infections.

Microglia play a special role in repairing brain damage and trauma to neurons, the researchers note.

“Our views on microglia have dramatically changed over the last decade,” Yirmiya said in a Thursday statement by Hebrew University.

“We now know that these cells play a role in the formation and fine-tuning of the connections between neurons [known as synapses] during brain development, as well as in changes [to] these connections throughout life. These roles are important for normal brain and behavioral functions, including pain, mood and cognitive abilities.”

SEE ALSO: Brainsway’s Magnetic Pulses Helmet Relieves Depression

According to Yirmiya, who wrote the paper together with fellow Hebrew University researchers Neta Rimmerman and Ronen Reshef, “Studies in humans, using post-mortem brain tissues or special imaging techniques, as well as studies in animal models of depression, demonstrated that when the structure and function of microglia change, these cells can no longer regulate normal brain and behavior processes and this can lead to depression.”

Major depression “afflicts one in six people at some point in their life,” the university’s statement on the new research noted, and is “the leading global cause of disability – surpassing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, cancer and HIV/AIDS combined.”

Melancholy by Edvard Munch

‘Melancholy’ by Edvard Munch

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

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Passion Is More Important For Professional Success Than Talent, Study Shows]]> 2015-11-04T14:39:39Z 2015-11-04T14:39:39Z

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If you think your talent is the key to advancing your career, think again. A new Israeli study finds that talent is actually less important than sheer passion when it comes to professional success.

The study, led by Tel Aviv University’s Dr. Daniel Heller, has found that young people with strong callings are more likely to take risks, persist, and ultimately get jobs in their chosen fields, satisfying both their personal and professional career needs. The researchers also found that those who exhibit a passion for these interests in their teens are more likely to be successful later on, regardless of their inherent talent.

SEE ALSO: Employees Most Honest At The Beginning Of Week

business woman working

The heart vs. the head

“Given the economic reality today, people commonly face trade-offs as they make decisions that pit the two sides of careers — the ‘heart,’ or intrinsic side, and the ‘head,’ or extrinsic side — against one another,” Heller said in a statement. “We wanted to examine people who chose to follow more challenging career paths, such as those in the arts, and assess their chances of ‘making it.'”

The researchers surveyed 450 high-school music students at two elite US summer music programs over the course of 11 years (2001-2012).

“We found that participants with stronger callings toward music in adolescence were likely to assess their musical abilities more favorably and were more likely to pursue music professionally as adults regardless of actual musical ability,” Heller said in a statement.

Even so, difficulties in pursuing their dreams were still evident. According to the study, participants who were involved in music professionally, even at a minimum, earned considerably less (a gap of $12,000 per year on average) than freelancers or amateurs who pursued their musical interests outside of work. But they also reported similar or greater satisfaction with their jobs and lives.

For those with strong callings, personal rewards such as satisfaction may matter more than professional rewards such as income.

musician playing guitar

“If you experience a strong calling, you need to be cognizant of your relative preferences for intrinsic versus extrinsic rewards and potential trade-offs between the two, then decide accordingly,” according to Heller. “However, we found that, in certain fields, one’s drive or passion afforded a competitive advantage over others, even when unrelated to objective ability or talent.”

SEE ALSO: Predicting A Student’s Grade According To Their Social Ties

“In general, society benefits from an excess of talented people competing for a limited number of positions in winner-take-all labor markets,” he continued. “Individuals who ‘win’ in this market are exemplary. Although individuals entering this type of market eventually ‘lose’ in extrinsic terms by definition, they still benefit from intrinsic rewards and garner subjective value and well-being, such as the satisfaction derived from attempting to fulfill their calling, even for a short time.”

The study, conducted in collaboration with Dr. Shoshana Dobrow Riza of the London School of Economics, was recently published in the Journal of Applied Psychology. The researchers are currently examining the implications of career choices on overall well-being.

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Will IBM’s Super Computer ‘Watson’ Treat Cancer?]]> 2015-11-03T15:50:30Z 2015-11-03T15:50:30Z

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Could IBM’s artificially intelligent super computer ‘Watson’ Treat Cancer? Its programmers at IBM’s research lab in Haifa, Israel, say ‘Yes’.

Under development at IBM since 2005, the idea of the super computer Watson was conceived initially as a computer that could compete on the TV contest Jeopardy! – yes, that was actually the project. Such challenges were not foreign to IMB, which designed Deep Blue, a computer that beat reigning chess champion Garry Kasparov in 1997. However, Jeopardy! presented an number of problems that IBM had not solved before. Not only would such a computer have to be able to respond to natural speech, but it had to do so in a matter of seconds. Watson’s predecessor, a system named Piquant, could answer correctly to about 35 percent of the questions it was asked, and often required several minutes to respond.


Watson’s ability to gauge his level of confidence for each answer was especially important for Jeopardy! because contestants are penalized when they answer incorrectly.

Led by researcher David Ferrucci, the Watson team developed Deep QA, the software that enables Watson to understand questions in natural language and search for relevant answers among the millions of sources uploaded onto its hard drive. Specifically for Jeopardy!, dictionaries, taxonomies, scholarly journals, and the full text of Wikipedia were uploaded to Watson. Once he gathers the relevant information (yes, IBM refers to Watson as a ‘he’), his DeepQA software assesses the quality of the sources it searches, and can deliver the hypothesis with the highest degree of confidence, and explain his reasoning.

Since winning the million dollar Jeopardy! championship, Watson has made other celebrity appearances as an inspirational chef for Bon Appetit magazine and as Bob Dylan’s companion in IBM’s latest advert.

A New Wave of Computing?

However more than a PR personality, Watson is spurring a new wave of computing. As IBM CEO Ginni Rometty explained in an interview with Charlie Rose, “the first generation of computers, they counted things. The second generation, you had to program them. Everything you know today is programmed. What Watson represents, we use the word cognitive, it’s a system that learns.” In other words, digitalized information from any field can be uploaded onto Watson and he can understand it, independently.

Some skeptics, including Prof John Searle of UC Berkeley, have claimed that Watson does not in fact think like a human, while ‘singularists’ like Ray Kurzweil, as well as the father of modern computer science, Alan Turing, have forecasted the day when machines surpass human intelligence. However, the team at IBM maintains that Watson will not replace human decision making, but rather assist it. And to prove their point, they are applying Watson’s brain to healthcare, and more specifically, to treating cancer.

Teaching A Computer To See

Two hours north of Tel Aviv, researchers in IBM’s lab in Haifa have been working on Watson’s Health Cloud, a platform of health services powered by Watson’s computing power. In trials at Memorial Sloan Kettering Hospital in New York, Watson is already analyzing medical records of oncology patients and comparing them against cancer case histories, recent medical research, and ongoing training from physicians to provide evidence-based treatment options.

Now a team led by Technion alumnus Flora Gilboa-Solomon, along with partner labs in the US and Australia, is developing Watson’s capacity to read and understand medical imaging. Using computer vision technology, as well as the machine learning algorithms already built into Watson, the team is building what IBM calls their Medical Sieve, a system which will be able to read mammograms, ultrasounds x-rays, and MRI images – and pick out anomalies.

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

Radiologists, unlike clinicians, analyze hundreds of patients’ images a day, without ever seeing the individuals themselves. Yet their heavy workload has led to an alarmingly high error rate. A 1997 study reported a 23 percent error rate when experienced radiologists analyzed a collection of normal and abnormal x-rays with which no clinical information was supplied, and 20 percent error rate when clinical details were available.

A more recent study suggested radiologists’ ability to focus and detect fractures diminished at the end of the work-day. Meanwhile, the Royal College of Radiologists (RCR) in the UK reported that the National Health System’s (NHS) “chronic shortage” of specialists who can interpret CT and MRI scans has led to delays “in diagnosing cancer and other serious illnesses.” The RCR President, Dr Giles Maskell, commented in the report that “although most of these X-rays and scans will not show serious abnormalities, some will show findings which would allow an expert to diagnose cancer or another serious condition at a stage at which it could be cured.”

“This is where Medical Sieve steps in and contributes considerably to reducing diagnosis time and clinician fatigue,” says Gilboa-Solomon. “The need for Big Data analytics to help sift through all this medical data is clear.”


Specifically in the case of melanoma, IBM estimates that manual detection methods are only 75 to 84 percent accurate. Watson, by contrast, is capable of spotting the skin cancer with an accuracy rate closer to 95 percent, according to the team’s latest research.

“With the number of examinations and tests increasing dramatically from year to year and the number of MDs specializing in radiology going down, we need to help radiologists work with greater volumes while maintaining diagnostic quality and accuracy,” said Dr. Sharbell Hashoul, a radiologist and a member of the research team developing Medical Sieve.

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

Though the Medical Sieve will not be commercially available for another few years, Watson has made their API available to developers, enabling them to build apps and services using Watson’s computing power. So far, nearly 800 organizations have signed up with IBM, including the Israeli startup Talkitt, which is designing technology that will help people with speech disabilities to communicate. In addition, IBM has set aside $100 million for a venture fund that will invest in companies developing cognitive applications.

Given all research and development put into Watson, a cognitive computer could be as ubiquitous as a now, old-fashioned PC.

Photos: Wikipedia Commons/ Clockready/ DASHBot

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Why The World’s Largest Accelerator, MassChallenge, Chose To Open In Jerusalem]]> 2015-11-02T17:17:02Z 2015-11-02T17:17:02Z

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Last week, MassChallenge, one of the largest startup accelerators, announced that it will open a branch in Jerusalem in early 2016, its first foreign location apart from London.

Israeli entrepreneurs and companies have previously participated in MassChallenge’s program in Boston, Massachusetts, including the founders of AutoAgronom, MedAware, and JoyTunes, but now the next cohort will have access to the program’s resources without leaving home. The move will enable “entrepreneurs from around the world to experience the global phenomenon of the Israeli startup scene,” said Israel Ganot, Managing Director of MassChallenge Israel.


Masschallenge at work

Founded in 2010 by CEO John Harthorne, Masschallenge, like many accelerators, offers participants office space, education, mentorship, and of course exposure to investors. Yet unlike other accelerators, such as TechStars and Y Combinator, MassChallenge does not take any equity in the companies that participate in its program. Instead it gives away $2 million in grants – an investment that has so far paid off. To date, the 835 MassChallenge alumni have raised over $1.1 billion in funding, generated $520 million in revenue, and created 6,500 jobs.

SEE ALSO: Famed TechStars Accelerator Opens Up Shop In Israel

The organization’s decision to expand beyond Boston not only reflects the success of their model, but also the vision of the accelerator itself. Over the next five years, MassChallenge will open ten programs outside the US, which Harthorne hopes will catalyze a renaissance that will “restore creativity to the soul of global economy.”

“We were born out of the very depths of the recession when rampant greed was rapidly destroying the global economy and society as we know it,” Harthorne said at an event in Israel earlier this year. “Startups by their very nature are focused on creating something new, solving problems, and creating growth.”

SEE ALSO: CEO Of MassChallenge Talks To NoCamels 

London was MassChallenge’s first international location, which launched last year. However, the choice of Jerusalem as their location in Israel surprised some, because most of the startup and investor community works in and around Tel Aviv. The reason has more to do with MassChallenge’s mission than a profit-seeking calculation.

Aiming to fill the gap between entrepreneurs and the resources they need to succeed, MassChallenge not only raises young companies, it builds ecosystems. Through its global network of partner companies, sponsors, and investors, MassChallenge channels openings for startups that do not already exist. In other words, Tel Aviv already has an entrepreneurial ecosystem; Jerusalem’s is still in the works.

Jersualem, old and new

A holy city to more than one religion, Jerusalem is not often thought of as an entrepreneurial city. Yet the 3,000 year-old city has a few key ingredients, including universities and venture capital, that could turn its ancient ruins into a 21st century city.

masschallengeHebrew University in Jerusalem and its medical school at Hadassah Hospital in Ein Karem have been at the forefront of scientific research. Specifically in drug discovery, research from these institutions has led to the development of the Alzheimer’s medication Exelon and the chemotherapy treatment Doxil.

Meanwhile, Jerusalem Venture Partners, one of Israel’s oldest and most prestigious venture capital firms, has participated in some of the largest startup exists and IPOs, including the 2010 IPO of business intelligence software company QlikTech, valued at $2.5 billion at the time. More recently, the crowdsourced investment vehicle OurCrowd set up shop in Jerusalem and within two years have already funded over 70 companies with $130 million in investment.

The special ingredient

Recent developments in research and funding have kickstarted Jerusalem’s transformation into a startup center, garnering the attention of Time, which ranked the city as one of the top emerging tech hubs. But in order for the city to mirror Tel Aviv’s success, it needs another ingredient: an incubator environment, in which people with good ideas can develop them into good companies. The support that Masschallenge offers aims to do just that, and could ultimately turn one of the world’s oldest cities into a city of the future.

Photos: MassChallenge/ Giora Drachsler, Wikipedia Commons

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Bestselling Author Dan Ariely Launches Cool Card Game To Make Us Less Irrational]]> 2015-11-02T07:26:18Z 2015-11-02T07:25:40Z

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Dan Ariely, the professor of Behavioral Economics behind bestselling titles like “Predictably Irrational” has come up with a new way to help us make better, less irrational decisions: a 3.5” x 7.5” card game. Launched on Kickstarter, the game has already flown off the virtual shelves, garnering $114,000 in funds and far surpassing its goal of $15,000.

The card game is played like Trivial Pursuit, but without the board or those silly triangle pieces that mysteriously disappear over time. The 75 individually illustrated cards describe different social experiments and ask the player, in multiple choice format, what was the outcome.

“One of the goals of our game was to seed a discussion about the lessons from different social science experiments,” Ariely said, on the game’s Facebook page. “We hoped that after players predicted different results, there will be a discussion around the table – what does this all say about us, and how can we make better decisions?”


A bit old fashioned, you might say. But wait until you hear the experiments.

One card reads:

People were presented with two female portraits, and asked to say which one they thought was more attractive. [Sounds like a Harvard dorm-room game, doesn’t?] After they selected the photo they liked, they were given the card they selected and asked to look at it and explain why they preferred this woman. However, the cards were switched, and the people received the card of the OTHER woman (the “wrong card”) instead.

What percentage of the participants detected the manipulation, and what percentage didn’t?

Because it’s a Dan Ariely’s experiment, you know that the percentage of people that didn’t spot the switch must be high. But just how high was it?

Dan Ariely

Dan Ariely

The answer is on the back of the card, the whole set of which can be purchased through Ariely’s Kickstarter page for $24. Launched last week, chances are that the total money raised will surpass the stretch goal of $180,000 before November 20th when the campaign ends. The funds will be used for further research at the Center for Advanced Hindsight at Duke University, where Ariely hopes that behavioral economics will become more of an applied social science based on experiments, rather than traditional economics, which deals more with the study of policy.

In other words, Microeconomics 101 could be replaced with a card game.

Photos: Dan Ariely

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Medical Breakthrough: Israeli Researcher Predicts Where Cancer Will Spread]]> 2015-11-01T11:18:19Z 2015-10-31T15:38:32Z

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An innovative technology developed in Israel may soon be able to predict the spread of cancer from one organ to another, potentially saving the lives of millions of people around the world.

The technology, developed at Israel’s Technion – Israel Institute of Technology, has been proven in preliminary laboratory trials, and is now entering into advanced testing using cells from patients undergoing surgery.

SEE ALSO: Cancer Vaccine Triggers Response In 90% Of Cancer Types


Assistant Professor Dr. Daphne Weihs has developed a unique biomechanical method for the early detection of metastatic cancer (a cancer that has already spread). At the metastatic stage, the original, primary tumor expands, invades and takes over more and more nearby tissue. A tumor that has become very aggressive “knows” how to send metastases to more distant tissues through the lymph and circulatory systems.

Metastases (secondary tumors) are usually more dangerous than the primary tumor because it is difficult to identify them at their inception. When they are detected at an advanced stage, treating them medically is more complicated and the medical prognosis is typically not good.

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

Dr. Daphne Weihs

Dr. Daphne Weihs

According to the National Cancer Institute, 1.6 million new cases of cancer were diagnosed in the US over the past year; 590,000 people died from the disease last year.

“Most cancer-related deaths are caused by metastases rather than by the primary tumor, and therefore vast resources are invested in developing methods for early detection of metastases,” Weihs said in a statement.

Attempting to save more lives, the research team led by Weihs has been working on identifying the secondary tumors early on.

“During or immediately after a biopsy or surgery on a malignant tumor, our system will enable the medical team to quantitatively evaluate the likelihood of the presence or development of tumor metastases in other organs, and to propose which organ or organs are involved,” Weihs said in a statement. “Such knowledge will make it possible to act at a very early stage to identify and curb these metastases and, moreover, to prevent the primary tumor from metastasizing further.”

“A vital step toward a more effective treatment”

How will the team successfully predict the location of the secondary cancer? Following a series of studies, Weihs has developed a novel process of three-dimensional biomechanical imaging, using unique gel capsules that simulate the texture of healthy cells.

“With this system, we allow the cells being tested to ‘grip’ the designated gels that simulate the stiffness of healthy tissue,” she explains. “Monitoring the change in the shape of the cells, the internal arrangement inside them, and the forces that they exert on the gel, enables us to reveal the differences between metastatic cells and benign cells and to identify the cells’ process of adaptation to changing environments in the body. This is a vital step toward the prediction of metastases and their identification in the early stages that allow more effective treatment.”

She emphasizes that her prediction is “based on identifying the biomechanics of the primary tumor cells, and does not require us to know the specific genetic makeup of the tumor.”

The clinical trials are currently being carried out in collaboration with Rambam Health Care Campus in Haifa, Israel.

cancer cells

Photos: Courtesy of the Technion

Eunice Lim, NoCamels <![CDATA[From Art To Extraordinary Architecture, Legendary Israeli Designer Ron Arad Keeps Stunning The World]]> 2015-10-29T11:18:28Z 2015-10-29T11:18:28Z

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Many are good and few are great, but hardly anyone can be a legend. Israeli Ron Arad is one of a few people regarded a living legend in the world of design. Known for his daring experimentation with industrial materials and technology that create innovative objects and spaces, Arad’s legacy is far-reaching, and can be seen not only in his iconic chairs, tables, and bookshelves that liven up countless homes around the world, but also on a larger scale in the buildings and public art pieces he has designed.

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

Indeed, it is Arad’s ability to appeal to both the general public and the design world’s elite that has made him a beloved household name around the globe.

The Mediacite building in Liege, Belgium, designed by Ron Arad

The Mediacite building in Liege, Belgium, designed by Ron Arad

The catalyst for Arad’s plunge into the design world was actually a chair, specifically, the Rover Chair, which Arad made in 1981 by combining a red leather seat from a junk Rover 200 car and a steel scaffolding frame. It was the first glimpse into Arad’s innovative mind that has come to define his career. Almost an instant hit, the Rover Chair led Arad to establish his London-based studio Ron Arad Associates in 1989 with business partner Caroline Thorman.

SEE ALSO: Israeli ‘Starchitect’ Moshe Safdie Designs Singapore Airport’s Bio-Dome

According to Arad, this was an unexpected turn of events. After all, he was an architect by trade, not a designer. Trained at Israel’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem and at London’s Architectural Association, Arad had been working at an architect’s office in Hampstead before he stumbled upon a chair (which later became the Rover) in a local scrapyard. “If someone had told me a week before that I was going to be a furniture designer, I would think they were crazy,” Arad told Dezeen magazine in 2014.

Ron Arad's Rover Chair, exhibited at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2010

Arad’s Rover Chair, exhibited at the Barbican Art Gallery, London, 2010

It was at the peak of the Rover Chair’s commercial success, however, that Arad decided to stop producing copies of the chair. He has since created more cult pieces, from the 1986 Well Tempered Chair to the 1994 Bookworm shelf, refusing to let any one hit piece hinder him from making the next one.

34 years after designing the iconic Rover Chair, Arad’s legacy is still indelible in the design realm. He is considered one of the few contemporary designers who has art collector appeal; and his iconic designs are already being reinterpreted – not to mention copied – by other designers.

Ron Arad's Raviolo chairs

Arad’s Raviolo chairs

“Teaching gave me an opportunity to exercise my dislike for convention”

From 1997 to 2009, Arad took yet another unexpected route: Teaching as a professor of furniture and of industrial design at the renowned Royal College of Art in London, which was recently named the best design school in the world by QS World University Rankings.

“I never planned to spend 12 years teaching,” Arad told Blueprint magazine in 2014. “It seems that teaching gave me an opportunity to exercise my dislike for convention. I believe in teaching with no agenda, so we didn’t have one manifesto or a single ideology. In fact, the only rule was ‘one should never say should.’”

Bookshelf by Ron Arad

Bookshelf by Ron Arad

Following his time at the prestigious institution, Arad was awarded the 2011 London Design Week Medal for design excellence and in 2013, and was elected as a Royal Academician of the Royal Academy of Arts.

Fusing modern technology into breathtaking designs

Trying to pin down what exactly about Arad has made him a legend would be a fruitless endeavor. Some would attribute his success to his hands-on experimentation with industrial materials like sheet metal and concrete as well as recycled parts, turning what some would consider ugly and dense into urban chic.

Others would point to the infusion of modern technology into his designs; just take a look at Arad’s “Lolita” chandelier for Swarovski, which was made with 2,100 Swarovski crystals and uses a crystal pixel ribbon and white LEDs to display messages. Another example would be Arad’s “Curtain Call,” a hanging, cylindrical surround-sound/vision cinema screen made of 5,600 silicon rods where visitors could walk in and be immersed in video and sound.

Ron Arad's "Lolita" Chandelier designed for Swarovski

Arad’s “Lolita” Chandelier designed for Swarovski

It would be a grave mistake to say that Arad’s influence has been limited to the world of design. His creativity knows no boundaries, and he has taken his penchant for functional flair into the realms of art, fashion, and again, architecture.

In the realm of art, Arad has held successful retrospectives at the Pompidou Centre in Paris, MoMA in New York, and the Barbican Gallery in London, among other prestigious art institutions around the world.

Ron Arad's Vortext

Arad’s Vortext

His piece “Vortext” is a stunning, 17-meter high spiral sculpture with 24,000 LEDs embedded into its surface in a public space in Seoul, South Korea; Arad’s circular Big Blue sculpture adds spice to another public space in Greater London.

In 2013, Arad branched out into fashion with his 3D-printed optical and sunglasses collection in collaboration with pq eyewear. Recently, it was reported that Arad has been working on a trendy new design for one of Kenzo’s perfumes.

Too early for retirement

Especially noteworthy, though, is Arad’s return to architecture and interior design. Since establishing a separate studio, Ron Arad Architects, in 2008, Arad has taken on a wide range of projects, designing everything from private structures like residences, restaurants, and hotels to larger-scale public projects like the award-winning Design Museum Holon in Israel, which Arad was commissioned to design by the City of Holon.

Design Museum Holon

Design Museum Holon, Israel, designed by Ron Arad

The museum – a $17 million circular structure with giant, ribbon-like bands of weathered steel – is Arad’s biggest completed commercial project to date, and the first museum for contemporary design in Israel. “The creation of the first design museum in the region is the pinnacle of a long-term urban re-generation project,” Holon’s Hana Hertsman said in a statement. “I believe it will be a beacon within Israel and far beyond.”

Even with all of these accomplishments under his belt, 64-year old Arad shows no signs of stopping. Ron Arad Architects is currently working on a $125 million renovation of the historic Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, set to open this upcoming fall. And if we know anything about Arad, the hotel will be nothing short of extraordinary.

Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, redesigned by Ron Arad

Watergate Hotel in Washington DC, redesigned by Arad

Photos: Ron Arad Studio, antgirl, Dr. Avishai Teicher via Wikipiki, Stardust Modern

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Could Personalized Diets Prevent Diabetes And Heart Disease?]]> 2015-10-28T17:07:58Z 2015-10-28T17:07:58Z

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Could personalized nutrition reduce the rising tide of diabetes and heart disease? A team of researchers at the Weizmann Institute in Rehovot, Israel are trying to answer the question.

Led by Prof Eran Segal and Dr Eran Elinav, a group of computational biologists are investigating why some people respond to so-called healthy diets, while others don’t. Their hypothesis is that bacteria, or the microbiome, in our intestinal tract varies between individuals, and therefore people digest food differently. In fact, there are over 100 trillion bacteria–about three pounds worth–that line our intestinal tract, and none of us have the same bacterial composition.

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

Public health bodies recommend eating a diet low in sugar to prevent the onset of diabetes. However, Segal believes that personalized diets could be more effective in controlling blood sugar levels. “We see tremendous variability in people’s responses to foods,” said Segal. “So if you want to prescribe diets, they have to be personally tailored.”

Health News: Researchers Isolate Protein That Can Kill Antibiotic-Resistant Bacteria

There are over 100 trillion bacteria–about three pounds worth–that line our intestinal tract.

Testing Their Hypothesis 

To put their theory to the test, the team analyzed different stomach bacteria and developed computer algorithms based on their data which can accurately predict how different individuals will respond to meals. They then tested their algorithms in a small trial, in which prediabetic patients kept two different diets. In the first week, their diets were designed to minimize spikes in blood sugar levels; the following week, their diets had the same calorie content, but no control on blood sugar levels.

“In all these cases, there was a big difference between the good diet and the bad diet, even though they contained the same calories,” said Segal. “By personalizing these diets, on the good week, in some people, blood glucose fell to healthy levels, whereas in the bad diet week, they had glucose spikes that would be considered as glucose intolerant.

SEE ALSO: 5 Israeli Apps That Make Eating Healthier A Piece Of Cake

Though still in the early stages of their research, the team has made further progress, the results of which were published last month in Science Magazine. Tal Korem and David Zeevi, research students in Segal’s lab, led a study to assess bacteria growth rates. The speed at which bacteria grows, they have found, also correlates to conditions such as type II diabetes and inflammatory bowel disease.

“Now we can finally say something about how the dynamics of our microbiome are associated with a propensity to disease,” said Elinav. “Microbial growth rate reveals things about our health that cannot be seen with any other analysis method.”

The team’s investigations are ongoing, but they are one step closer to personalized diets that could accurately predict digestive responses and ultimately prevent diabetes, heart disease and cancers.

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Scientists Help Create First 3D Map Of The Brain]]> 2015-11-17T07:56:52Z 2015-10-27T14:08:05Z

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An international team of scientists has created a digital representation of a rat’s brain, in a project hailed as a breakthrough in brain research. The 3D model will allow researchers to examine brain phenomena in an entirely digital environment, where in the past such experiments were possible using biological tissue only.

This project is a result of years of experiments and algorithm development by 82 international scientists, aiming to create a supercomputer that details the smallest chemical reactions in the brain. The data collected will help researchers to better understand the brain and develop new treatments for brain illnesses.

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


A rendering of a neuron used in the digital reconstruction of the brain

The Blue Brain Project, which included Prof. Idan Segev of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, recently published their seminal research in the prestigious scientific journal Cell.

The reconstruction: A digital approximation of brain tissue

As part of the study, the electrical behavior of the virtual brain tissue was simulated on supercomputers and found to match the behavior observed in a number of experiments on the physical brain.

The Blue Brain Project was able to create a computer representation of about a third of a cubic millimeter of brain tissue containing about 30,000 neurons connected by nearly 40 million synapses (structures that permit a neuron to pass an electrical or chemical signal to another neuron).

“Simulating the emergent electrical behavior of this virtual tissue on supercomputers reproduced a range of previous observations made in experiments on the brain, validating its biological accuracy and providing new insights into the functioning of the neocortex,” according to Blue Brain Project. The neocortex is part of the cerebral cortex concerned with sight and hearing.

SEE ALSO: Small Quantities Of Marijuana Protect Against Brain Damage

Although this functioning map of thousands of brain cells is phenomenal for many, some critics are already saying that it’s not likely to reveal more about the brain’s workings than simpler simulations. But the fact that the scientists succeeded to digitally reconstruct and simulate brain tissue is a feat in itself.

“The data will be used by future generations”

Segev sees the study as building on the pioneering work of the Spanish neuroscientist Santiago Ramón y Cajal from 100 years ago, who began drawing every type of neuron in the brain by hand. He even drew arrows to describe how he thought the information was flowing from one neuron to the next.

Rat- Health News - Israel

“Today, we are doing what Cajal would be doing with the tools of today – building a digital representation of the neurons and synapses and simulating the flow of information between neurons on supercomputers,” Segev said in a statement. “Furthermore, the digitization of the tissue allows the data to be preserved and reused for future generations”.

To see the digital representation of the brain, check out the full set of experimental data and the digital reconstruction the researchers have put on a public web portal, allowing for future academic and scientific collaborations.


A supercomputer simulating the flow of information between neurons

Photos: Blue Brain Project

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[New Study Shows Sunscreen Destroys Coral Reefs]]> 2015-10-27T07:11:28Z 2015-10-26T15:50:24Z

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The daily use of sunscreen bearing an SPF of 15 or higher is widely acknowledged as essential to skin cancer prevention, not to mention skin damage associated with aging. Although this sunscreen may be very good for us, it may be very bad for the environment, a new Tel Aviv University study finds.

New research published in Archives of Environmental Contamination and Toxicology finds that a common chemical in sunscreen lotions and other cosmetic products poses an existential threat — even in minuscule concentrations — to the planet’s corals and coral reefs. “The chemical, oxybenzone (benzophenone-3), is found in more than 3,500 sunscreen products worldwide. It pollutes coral reefs via swimmers who wear sunscreen or wastewater discharges from municipal sewage outfalls and coastal septic systems,” said Dr. Omri Bronstein of TAU’s Department of Zoology, one of the principal researchers.

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

The study was conducted by a team of marine scientists from TAU, including Prof. Yossi Loya, also of the Department of Zoology, the Haereticus Environmental Laboratory in Virginia, the National Aquarium (U.S.), the U.S. National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration, Ben Gurion University of the Negev, and other labs in the U.S.

coral reef

A deadly day at the beach

A person spending the day at the beach might use between two to four ounces of sunblock if reapplied every two hours after swimming, towelling off, or sweating a significant amount. Multiply this by the number of swimmers in the water, and a serious risk to the environment emerges.

“Oxybenzone pollution predominantly occurs in swimming areas, but it also occurs on reefs 5-20 miles from the coastline as a result of submarine freshwater seeps that can be contaminated with sewage,” said Dr. Bronstein, who conducted exposure experiments on coral embryos at the Inter University Institute in Eilat together with Dr. Craig Downs of the Heretics Environmental Laboratories. “The chemical is highly toxic to juvenile corals. We found four major forms of toxicity associated with exposure of baby corals to this chemical.”

Forms of toxicity include coral bleaching, a phenomenon associated with high sea-surface temperature events like El Niño — and with global mass mortalities of coral reefs. The researchers found oxybenzone made the corals more susceptible to this bleaching at lower temperatures, rendering them less resilient to climate change. They also found that oxybenzone damaged the DNA of the corals, neutering their ability to reproduce and setting off a widespread decline in coral populations.

The study also pointed to oxybenzone as an “endocrine disruptor,” causing young coral to encase itself in its own skeleton, causing death. Lastly, the researchers saw evidence of gross deformities caused by oxybenzone — i.e., coral mouths that expand to five times their healthy, normal size.

It only takes a drop

“We found the lowest concentration to see a toxicity effect was 62 parts per trillion — equivalent to a drop of water in six and a half Olympic-sized swimming pools,” said Dr. Bronstein. The researchers found concentrations of oxybenzone in the US Virgin Islands to be 23 times higher than the minimum considered toxic to corals.


SEE ALSO: Harnessing Energy From Ocean Waves, Eco Wave Power Establishes First Plant In China

“Current concentrations of oxybenzone in these coral reef areas pose a significant ecological threat,” said Dr. Bronstein. “Although the use of sunscreen is recognized as important for protection from the harmful effects of sunlight, there are alternatives — including other chemical sunscreens, as well as wearing sun clothing on the beach and in the water.”

The researchers hope their study will draw awareness of the dangers posed by sunscreen to the marine environment and promote the alternative use of sun-protective swimwear.

Photos: Toby Watson/ Jim E Maragos, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service/ Fascinating Universe/ Wikipedia Commons

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Rihanna’s Awesome New Album Cover Designed By Israeli Artist Roy Nachum]]> 2015-10-25T13:18:27Z 2015-10-25T12:55:56Z

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Rihanna has commissioned Israeli-born artist Roy Nachum to design the cover her new album “Anti” – and the sneak preview makes it clear why the superstar chose the talented Nachum.

Revealed last week at Los Angeles’ Mama Gallery, Nachum’s paintings feature a childhood image of Rihanna, holding a black balloon and wearing a golden crown over her eyes. “Sometimes we’re running in the world of today but we’re running after achievement,” Nachum said at the private viewing of his show. “The crown is oversized and covering what we’re supposed to see… We can’t see the success.”


Rihanna in front of her album art work by Roy Nachum. The left painting will appear on the front cover and the right painting will appear on the back cover.

Rihanna shared his sentiment.”Sometimes the ones who have sight are the blindest,” she said of the work that will be reproduced on the front and back cover, and throughout the album itself.

Born in 1979 in Jerusalem, Nachum studied at Bezalel Academy and then Cooper Union in New York. Since then, he has been based in Soho as mixed-media artist, using painting, sculpture and installation into his work, designed to question the viewer’s perception. The artist often paints subjects whose vision is obscured, such as the recurring image of a child whose eyes are covered by a gold crown.

Paintings part of Roy Nachum's Blind Series

Roy Nachum’s Blind Series.

His most recent works, and that which garnered the attention of Rihanna, incorporate Braille poetry that is sculpted onto the canvas. The artist blindfolded himself for a week to experience blindness. “Since then, I started creating,” he said in an interview with Billboard. To further break the traditional barrier between the art and its observer, Nachman brought blind people into his studio and encouraged them to touch the canvases, some of which had been burned and covered in charcoal. “I was able to have them experience visual art for the first time. Once they touched the art and read the Braille and touched the burnt frames, it stained their fingerprints with charcoal.”

Nachum’s large, monochrome, often red-stained canvases have adorned the walls of celebrity homes including Leonardo DiCaprio, Justin Timberlake, Alicia Keys, and Jay-Z–where Rihanna first saw Nachum’s work. “We see the same things,” he said. “We share the same perspective.”

Anti is Rihanna’s upcoming, eighth studio album, set to be released through Roc Nation (Jay-Z’s record label) and Westbury Road in the coming months. Her last album, Unapologetic, was released in 2012, and fans have anticipated the release of a new album for some time.

Judging by the media attention around Nachum’s work, it seems it was well worth the wait.

Rihanna unveiling the cover of her new album, Anti

Photos: Adarsha Benjamin/ Roy Nachum/ Roc Nation /Westbury Road

David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel’s ‘Peanut’ Social Browser For Smartphones Takes On Google Chrome]]> 2015-10-22T13:31:00Z 2015-10-22T13:03:35Z

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

It takes chutzpah to take on one of the biggest Internet companies in the world – so it’s unsurprising that the Peanut Browser, an Internet browser for Android devices, was developed in Israel. But, according to Yaakov Bergman, a founding partner of Peanut, “I think we can do well in this browser war.”

SEE ALSO: The Next Social Network?

“We offer users something they can’t get anywhere else, so when they want to comment on web pages, make notations, or connect with friends on web pages, they can fire up the Peanut browser – using Chrome, Google’s Android browser, at other times,” said Bergman.

peanut browser

The Peanut browser – the name comes from the term “peanut gallery,” from where kibbitzers in the cheap seats traditionally throw in their two cents – allows users to make their own notations on web pages, for the benefit of other Peanut users.

It’s the most effective way to get the attention of others and point out to them an opinion, idea, or piece of useful information, according to Bergman.

“An online comment on a news story, for example, would require approval and might not show up for hours – or be relegated to a low spot on the list, making it unlikely that anyone would read it. And Facebook and other social media only reach your friends. With Peanut, any user can comment and reach other Peanut users who come across the page,” said Bergman. “Peanut is a second, transparent layer that lives in the browser, providing useful information and opinions to Peanut users.”

SEE ALSO: BizWayz: Reach The Hidden Places Of Your Social Network

Although apps – actually extensions – enable comments on web pages from desktop computers, Peanut is the first one to bring this technology to mobile devices.

“We kept this under the table until last week in order to prevent other, bigger companies from installing this capability into their browsers,” said Bergman. “We believe that the first one to market with this has the best chance of becoming the most popular. Waze, for example, was the first turn by turn directions app, and even though Google, Apple and others came out with their own apps, people got used to using Waze and maintained their loyalty. I think the same thing could happen with Peanut.”

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

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Technion Creates Artificial Lung To Study Pollution Effects]]> 2015-10-22T13:21:31Z 2015-10-22T12:58:56Z

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Air pollution is one of the leading causes of lung cancer and respiratory diseases, responsible for one in eight global deaths, according to the World Health Organisation.

However, researchers will soon be able to develop new treatments for such diseases with a life-sized, artificial human lung created at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, Israel. It is the first diagnostic tool for understanding in real time how tiny particles move and behave in the deepest part of the human lungs, the alveolar tissue. The patented platform could provide a better understanding of the health risks associated with airborne pollution, and could be used for the evaluation and design of drugs for the respiratory system.


Pollution is one of the leading causes of death, reports the WHO.

Inhaled particles, known as aerosols, are tiny particles that exist naturally in the atmosphere, but can also come from industrial and transportation areas. Although they are just a few microns in size – one hundredth of the size of a grain of sand – when inhaled, these particles may interfere with the activity of the body’s organs, including neurons in the brain, and in some extreme cases can lead to the onset of lung cancer.

SEE ALSO: Following Israel’s Most Devastating Sandstorm, Eyes Are On Air Pollution App BreezoMeter

“This is the first diagnostic tool that enables quantitative monitoring of the dynamics of aerosols at such small scales,” said lead researcher Professor Josue Sznitman of the Faculty of Biomedical Engineering. “It gives us the ability to directly observe airborne particle trajectories and their patterns of deposition in the alveoli in real time.”

Creating an artificial lung

Monitoring the movement of aerosols in the respiratory system, and especially how they are deposited in alveolar tissue, has long posed a challenge for researchers. This is due in part to their tiny size, and because their movement is affected by airflow, gravity and other forces. Another factor that makes it hard to map the movement of aerosols is the complex structure of the alveolar tissue, which contains hundreds of millions of tiny air sacs interconnected by dense texture of narrow ducts. For this reason, it is impossible to study the movement of these particles in vivo, and researchers have had to rely on animal-models or computer simulations.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Could End Animal Testing

The walls of the artificial lung system provide a realistic simulation of a human lung. They expand and contract, similar to the actual respiratory system, making it possible to understand the behavior of both ‘bad’ inhaled particles, such as pollution, and ‘good’ particles that are administered as medication to the alveoli. The model could also reduce the need for animal testing in future studies of the respiratory system.

Images of the life-size artificial lung created at the Technion

Images of the life-size artificial lung created at the Technion.

According to its designer and builder Dr. Rami Fishler, also of the Technion Faculty of Biomedical Engineering, “the model consists of technologies similar to those used to manufacture computer chips, and comprises a branched network of minute air ducts approximately one-tenth of a millimeter wide, with craters simulating the alveoli.”

Such models will not only accelerate research on pollution and its effects on the lungs, but may also pave the way for the engineering of future artificial organs.

The results of the Technion study were published recently in Scientific Reports.

Photos: Technion

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[The New Normal: Israeli Startups Raise Over $1Billion For Third Quarter In A Row]]> 2015-10-22T07:28:08Z 2015-10-21T16:16:08Z

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In their latest report, IVC-KPMG Survey revealed that Israeli startups have collectively raised $1.1 billion this quarter, just short of the $1.12 billion that they raised last quarter. In the first three quarters of 2015, 506 Israeli startups have collectively raised $3.2 billion, compared to $2.3 billion at this time last year.

IVC, q3 report

Koby Simana, CEO of IVC Research Center commented that, “The third quarter of the year tends traditionally to be on the slow side for capital raising, so we expected to see a slight drop from the previous quarter’s records, yet capital raising is still going exceptionally strong, which is why this drop is marginal at best. We expect the fourth quarter trend to go up again, and believe 2015 may end with as much as $4.4 billion in total capital raising by high-tech companies.”

Yet more indicative than the aggregate amount raised was the number of large fundraising deals by startups of $20 million or more. 20 companies were able to raise such amounts in the third quarter, amounting to $703 million. These sizable transactions accounted for 64 percent of the total capital raised in the third quarter and reflected a 67 percent increase in large deals from the last quarter.

Ivc, 2015q3 report 2

Of the companies that had stellar fundraising rounds, many were fintech companies, including FundBox; which raised $50 in September; Payoneer, which raised $50 million; and Behalf, which raised $119 million in July.

SEE ALSO: What is ‘FinTech’ And Why Is Israel So Good At It?

Real estate search engine Compass also raised $50 million in September, while data analytics company Optimal+ also raised $42 million from private equity firm KKR.

According Simana, “We are far from Silicon Valley’s $0.5 billion financing rounds, even while we do find the occasional $100 million round here as well, but in general large deals in Israel are affordably-priced, reflecting real, rather than speculative, valuations.”

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

Not surprisingly most of the capital came from venture capital funds. This quarter VCs contributed $908 million to Israeli companies – the highest aggregate contribution ever – averaging $9.1 million per deal.

However, Israeli VC funds only accounted for 12 percent of total investments, a sign of continued international interest in Israeli startups and innovation. Notable international firms that were active this quarter include San Francisco-based Blumberg Capital, Hong Kong based Horizons Ventures, and Jeff Bezos’ personal fund, Bezos Expeditions.

Given the recent large fundraising rounds of Israeli companies, Simana’s predictions on the fourth quarter results could prove to be accurate.


Photo: Yderovan/Wikipedia Commons


David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Famed TechStars Accelerator Opens Up Shop In Israel]]> 2015-10-21T11:01:43Z 2015-10-21T11:01:43Z

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

There are tech accelerators galore around the world, but there’s only one Techstars – and last week, the most prestigious brand name in accelerators announced that it was opening an office in Tel Aviv.

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

TechStars Program, London (Photo: Sherman Lee)

TechStars Program, London (Photo: Sherman Lee)

“We’re expanding, moving beyond our city programs in Denver and other US cities,” said Greg Rogers, executive director, Techstars Barclays Global Partnership. “Now we are concentrating on partnering for specific industries. Tel Aviv has become one of the premier places in the world for financial technology, so we decided to open a branch here.”

Techstars has partnered with Barclays, the famed UK bank, to develop innovative financial technology solutions with Israeli start-ups, said Rogers. “It started with a program in London, in which we selected and worked with ten start-ups to develop their technology on payments, security, consumer banking, and more. They were so happy with the program that we eventually expanded it, first to New York and now to Capetown and Tel Aviv.”

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

All four cities represent a different “pillar” in fintech, with Tel Aviv a center for cyber-security blockchain technologies and more.

Alan Weinkrantz, Brand Ambassador to Israel for the Rackspace Startup Program (center) with two Israeli Teams at TechStars, Berlin

Alan Weinkrantz, Brand Ambassador to Israel for the Rackspace Startup Program (center) with two Israeli Teams at TechStars, Berlin. (Photo: Alan Weinkrantz)

Start-ups accepted into the 13-week program will work with a large variety of mentors in the fintech industry, and be eligible for an investment of up to $120,000 – $20,000 just for being in the program, and an additional $100,000 convertible note (a loan that converts to equity when the start-up raises money or gets acquired).

But the most important aspect of the program – and what makes it a Techstars program – is “access to the largest entrepreneurial network in the world,” said Rogers. “We run 20 programs in 15 cities, and have a great relationship with enterprise, investors, and institutions. We can provide start-ups that work with us access to just about anyone they need to grow their business.”

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

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[It’s Official: One Glass Of Wine A Day Improves Cardiovascular Health, Diabetes]]> 2015-10-21T12:36:11Z 2015-10-20T13:43:14Z

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Red wine has always been considered heart-healthy. If consumed moderately, it can also contribute to healthier teeth, act as an anti-aging agent, and even help you lose weight, according to multiple studies. But now, a comprehensive, two-year trial confirms that a glass of wine every night may help people with type 2 diabetes lower their cholesterol and improve their cardiac health.

SEE ALSO: Dario Turns Diabetics’ Smartphones Into Trendy Glucometers

According to new findings from a study led by researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University, both red and white wine can improve sugar control. The researchers aimed to assess the effects and safety of initiating moderate alcohol consumption in diabetics, and sought to determine whether the type of wine matters.

Environment News - Bravdo: Using Chemistry To Make Great Wine

People with diabetes are more susceptible to developing cardiovascular diseases than the general population and have lower levels of good cholesterol. Despite the enormous contribution of observational studies, clinical recommendations for moderate alcohol consumption remain controversial, particularly for people with diabetes, due to lack of long-term, randomized controlled trials, which are the “holy grail” of evidence-based medicine. That why BGU embarked on a two-year trial.

“Red wine was found to be superior in improving overall metabolic profiles, mainly by modestly improving the lipid profile, by increasing good (HDL) cholesterol and apolipoprotein A1 (one of the major constituents of HDL cholesterol), while decreasing the ratio between total cholesterol and HDL cholesterol,” the researchers said in a statement. Simply put,  drinking wine is good for patients with type 2 diabetes, who need to watch their cholesterol levels.

SEE ALSO: New Device To Measure Glucose Levels Through Breath

The researchers concluded that “initiating moderate wine intake, especially red wine, among well-controlled diabetics as part of a healthy diet is apparently safe, and modestly decreases cardio-metabolic risk. The differential genetic effects that were found may assist in identifying diabetic patients in whom moderate wine consumption may induce greater clinical benefit.” They further noted that sleep quality was significantly improved after patients started to moderately consume wine.

red wine glass

This long-term trial was performed on 224 diabetes patients (aged 45 to 75), who generally abstained from alcohol. The results of this long-term alcohol study – the first of its kind, according to BGU – were recently published in the prestigious internal medicine journal Annals of Internal Medicine.

The trial was performed by BGU’s Prof. Iris Shai, in collaboration with Prof. Meir Stampfer from Harvard University, and colleagues from University of Leipzig, Germany and Karolinska Institute, Sweden.   

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Meet G-RO, The ‘Smart’ Carry-On That Charges Your Phone, Laptop On The Go]]> 2015-10-19T13:27:41Z 2015-10-19T13:02:32Z

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A new Israeli Kickstarter campaign that has raised over half a million dollars in just a few days may just offer the world’s coolest carry-on luggage.

The new G-RO carry-on suitcase is not only super sleek, ergonomic and compact, but it is also smart: It charges your laptop and smartphone on the go!

SEE ALSO: FUGU Luggage Expands, Turns Into A Table

With the rise of low-cost airlines, millions of people choose to travel light, carrying just a handbag or a carry-on suitcase onto the airplane; but schlepping your carry-on around isn’t always a smooth ride. Many suitcases never really roll smoothly on cobblestone and gravel, and they’re difficult to lift up a staircase. And, if you leave them unattended, they often tilt and then fall.

SEE ALSO: Mifold, The Tiny Booster Seat That Fits Into Any Bag

G-RO carry-on luggage

Reinventing the wheel?

That’s why G-RO’s model has already captured the attention of the crowds: Its carry-on features large wheels that enable users to easily wheel the luggage over rugged surfaces and terrain, such as gravel, street curbs, cobblestone, snow and icy sidewalks. By placing the rotation axis of the wheel closer to the center of gravity of the bag, G-RO feels significantly lighter than a bag of similar weight with small wheels. Its dual compartment system maximizes the luggage space, keeping clothes wrinkle-free and enabling easy access to packed items.

During the course of just five days, G-RO successfully raised $660,000 on crowd-funding platform Kickstarter – more than five times what the G-RO team had initially hoped to raise.

This smart carry-on – which starts at $199, and will be shipped to campaign backers next summer – contains an electronic module with a battery strong enough to charge a smartphone up to 10 times. It also includes two USB ports and a universal power outlet, for charging up to three devices at once while on the move. G-RO’s battery can be charged using a standard cable, which will be provided with the suitcase.

The carry-on (along with its patented, all-terrain wheels) was developed by Israeli startup Travel-Light, founded by Netta Shalgi and Ken Hertz in 2010. The company claims this is the new generation of luggage: The 1990s four-wheel “spinner“ luggage with 360 degree turning capabilities “doesn’t really work outside of a perfectly flat space,” according to Shalgi. “G-RO is the world’s first luggage that isn’t just smart, it’s intelligent.”

G-RO carry-on luggage

Photos and videos: Courtesy

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[How Elephants’ Genes Are Fighting Cancer In Humans]]> 2015-10-18T12:50:09Z 2015-10-18T06:55:06Z

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A new study reveals that elephants fend off cancer better than humans. Now, a team of researchers at the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology want to recreate in humans what elephants have naturally.

For years, scientists have wondered why elephants and other large mammals are less prone to cancer than humans. 4.8 percent of known elephant deaths are related to cancer, whereas the rate in humans in somewhere between 11 and 25 percent. The phenomenon, called Peto’s Paradox, is particularly puzzling to scientists because elephants have many more cells than humans do, and all other things being equal, elephants should incur a higher incidence of cancer.

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

However research published last week in the Journal of the American Medical Association offers some explanations that could turn this paradox into a potential cancer treatment. Led by pediatric oncologist Dr Joshua Schiffman of the Huntsman Cancer Institute in Salt Lake City, the three year study revealed that African elephants have 20 copies (40 alleles) of a tumor-suppressing gene called P53. Humans, by contrast, have only one copy (two alleles). The extra copies of the gene, the paper suggests, is what enables elephants to defend against cancer.

elephants playing

An old friend

Scientists have known about P53 since its discovery in the 1970s. Research labs in the US, the UK and Israel independently identified the gene, and its cancer fighting properties were discovered in 1989 at Johns Hopkins University.

However, Schiffman’s study, as well research at the University of Chicago, shows that the gene behaves differently in humans than it does in elephants. In humans, the gene tries repair genetic mutations, hence its epithet, “the guardian of the genome.” In elephants, P53 kills off cancerous cells without trying repair them, thus reducing the overall probability that cancer develops. “If you kill the damaged cell, it’s gone, and it can’t turn into cancer,” explains Schiffman. “This may be more effective of an approach to cancer prevention than trying to stop a mutated cell from dividing and not being able to completely repair itself.”

From lab to bedside

To translate his research into treatment, Schiffman is partnering with Technion Professor of Chemical Engineering, Avi Schroeder. The two met four months ago at a pediatric oncology conference at Rambam Medical Center in Haifa, and have already begun working together. “As part of the collaboration between the University of Utah and the Technion, we will be able to translate 55 million years of the elephant’s evolution into the benefit of cancer patients,” Schiffman says.

Yet their greatest difficulty is not how to replicate P53, but how to deploy it. “The biggest challenge in dealing with tumors,” explains Prof Schroeder, “is secondary tumors – metastasis. This is because these tumors are small, unpredictable and very scattered, and they attack a patient whose immune system is already weakened, following the primary tumor. The minuscule platforms that we are developing know how to identify diseased tissue and release the drug they are carrying to the precise location.”

"P53 is one of the most important mechanisms in cancer and it’s relevant to almost all types of cancer,” said Prof Schroeder.

“P53 is one of the most important mechanisms in cancer and it’s relevant to almost all types of cancer,” said Prof Schroeder.

To fully implement Schiffman’s research, Prof Schroeder has organized a group of biomedical and chemical engineers to develop nano-cells that will deliver the P53 to diseased cells, first in computer models of the disease and then in vivo.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researchers Discover Cancer Suppressing Proteins

If they are successful, scientist in the future may be able to use the same platform to deploy other cancer fighting proteins.

Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels   <![CDATA[In Face Of Global Shortage, World Leaders Praise Israel’s Water Technologies At WATEC Conference]]> 2015-10-16T06:44:27Z 2015-10-15T08:46:54Z

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Despite tensions in the region, 25,000 people from 100 countries are attending the 2015 Water Technology and Environment Control Exhibition (WATEC) conference held in Tel Aviv this week, one of the largest water technology events in the world, featuring 150 exhibitors and dozens of speakers.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Helping California Overcome Devastating Drought

According to the UN, 1.2 billion people (almost one-fifth of the world’s population) live in areas where water is scarce, and another 500 million people are nearing this situation. This pressing issue is met at WATEC this week with a host of Israeli solutions, from seawater desalination and water conservation, to grey water recycling and wastewater treatment. Other pressing issues on the agenda include drip irrigation (an agricultural technology developed and perfected in Israel primarily by Netafim) and water purification.

Sorek desalination plant

Sorek Desalination Plant, Israel

Many WATEC attendees are looking to bring such solutions to their countries. And so is Mark LeChevallier, director of innovation and environmental stewardship for American Water, one of America’s largest publicly traded water utility companies. His company is “looking into the Israeli water companies and water-related technologies, trying to find the next big thing and import it to the US,” says LeChevallier, who’s currently meeting with Israeli entrepreneurs at WATEC in order to find projects to collaborate with.

Nuno Fragoso and Angeles Ramos, executives at Spanish engineering firm EPTISA who are attending the conference, tell NoCamels they’re looking for water technologies to be used in arid areas of Southern Spain, but not only. “We have projects all around the world, we can help Israeli companies expand into Latin America,” Fragoso says. Angeles says EPTISA is looking “to form a consortium of strong companies that can solve water shortages. I believe Israel can provide these solutions.”

SEE ALSO: TaKaDu’s Water-Saving Technology Saves Australia Millions Of Dollars

Chinese executive Yanhua Ca of Umore Consulting Group, says she has brought three of her clients – large, Chinese manufacturers – to WATEC. “They’re looking for industrial wastewater solutions, specifically recycling and treatment technologies.”


Israel: A global leader in managing water resources

According to Israel’s Minister of Economy Aryeh Deri, who spoke at the conference, Israel is a “global leader in developing innovative and breakthrough technologies to manage scarce water resources.”

Since 50 percent of Israel is made up of desert – and with recurring droughts – over the years the Israeli government, scientists and companies have developed cutting-edge solutions to avoid water shortages. Now, most of Israel’s drinking water comes from desalination plants that are scattered around the country. “Israel has become an oasis of water technologies,” Deri told a mixed crowd of Israelis and internationals at a WATEC panel discussion on Tuesday.

As retold at the conference, Israel used to rely on natural resources for its water, like the Sea of Galilee, but quickly discovered that “Galilee is really a pond,” as desalination expert Ron Yachini of IDE humorously put it, and that the Jordan River is “famous and holy but lacks water,” as former Israeli president Shimon Peres said at the event.

Sea of Galilee

Sea of Galilee

Now that Israel doesn’t solely rely on natural water, its remarkable water management solutions inspire others – including countries in Africa, Asia and America – to implement technologies developed in the Startup Nation.

“Israeli drip irrigation technologies can transform the lives of millions”

According to William Samoei Ruto, Kenya’s deputy president, only 4 percent of Kenya’s available water is used, and the country is looking for solutions to make the other 96 percent usable. The African country looks to Israel, “the superpower of water,” for solutions, he said. “We don’t want to reinvent the wheel.”

Drip irrigation – an Israeli technology that carefully dispenses drops of water to plants, thus conserving water – is especially important for agriculture in Africa, Ruto said. “We have come here with open minds to benefit from Israeli technologies that can transform the lives of millions in our continent and country.”

drip irrigation

Governor of Arizona Doug Ducey said Israel and his state share the same climate and that he feels “truly honored and privileged to be given an unparalleled opportunity to collaborate.” He praised the fact that 80 percent of Israel’s sewage water is reused; combined with extensive desalination for drinking water, these efforts give Israel significant water supplies. “You figured it out,” he said.

And while Arizona is looking forward to collaborating with Israel, California, which is suffering from extreme drought, already provides proof that Israeli water technologies can be successfully implemented elsewhere in the world. Israeli company IDE and its partners are currently building a desalination plant just outside San Diego, which could potentially provide Californians with 54 million gallons of water a day. The plant is using technology Israelis have been using for years, reverse-osmosis, which involves forcing seawater through a film with tiny holes that allow only water molecules to pass through, while the larger salt molecules cannot.

According to Richard Bloom, a California Assembly member attending WATEC, “up until now, Sacramento homes didn’t have water meters, because water has been taken for granted for so long; this needs to change. We never gave another thought to water, and now we’re forced to conserve water and learn from Israel, a world leader in the field.”

Photos: Joby Elliott, IDE

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[NASA And Israel Ink Deal On Space Cooperation]]> 2015-10-14T13:58:24Z 2015-10-14T08:16:35Z

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After it was announced last week that the Israeli group SpaceIL partnered with aerospace manufacturer SpaceX in order to compete in Google’s $30 million Lunar XPRIZE challenge, NASA and the Israel Space Agency (ISA) signed an agreement Tuesday to further expand cooperation in civil space exploration.

Signed by NASA administrator Charles Bolden and ISA director Menachem Kidron at the International Astronautical Congress in Jerusalem, the agreement will enable NASA and the ISA to exchange personnel and scientific data, share facilities, and ultimately conduct joint missions.


“Our two countries have had a long history of cooperation in space exploration, scientific discovery and research,” said Bolden in a statement. “We look forward to the opportunities this new agreement provides us to build upon this partnership. You are known for your innovation and technology and this agreement gives us the opportunity to cooperate with Israel on the journey to Mars as we open up new opportunities for all of our children.”

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

ISA Chair Isaac Ben-Israel responded that “Israeli space technology is known for being extremely light-weight. Seeing that conserving energy will be vital in any future mission to Mars, we expect our technology to play a key role in such endeavors.”

The choice of Jerusalem as the host city for the annual International Astronautical Congress is also a telling sign that Israel’s technology is playing a key role in the advancement of space technology. Despite tensions in the capital, the five-day conference hosted over 2,000 international visitors from 58 different countries, including moon walker Buzz Aldrin, who attended the conference in an effort to encourage space education for Israeli students.

SEE ALSO: Facebook To Beam Free Internet Across Africa Using Israeli Satellite

Israel’s first cooperation with NASA began in 1996, and the first Israeli astronaut, Ilan Ramon, began training  at the Johnson Space Center in 1998. He joined the STS-107 Columbia mission in 2003, which tragically exploded upon reentry into the earth’s atmosphere on February 1, 2003, and all on board were killed.

This agreement reopens space cooperation between Israel and the US, which has not significantly advanced since the first agreement expired in 2005.

Photos: United States Air Force

Roseanne Tabachnik, NoCamels <![CDATA[By 3D-Printing Solar Panels, Israeli Startup Utilight Significantly Cuts Renewable Energy Cost]]> 2015-10-13T14:08:27Z 2015-10-13T13:35:53Z

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Solar power is rapidly gaining momentum as the world’s alternative source of energy, with a slew of new technologies aimed at harnessing the sun’s powerful rays. In search of non-polluting alternatives and cost-effective methods of capturing solar energy, scientists and companies alike are turning to technology to find a compatible solution.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Annual savings of up to $1 million

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

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

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


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

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

Photos and video: Courtesy of Utilight

NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Study: New Technology Can Protect Schools, Colleges By Identifying Potential Shooters]]> 2015-10-12T06:44:03Z 2015-10-12T06:44:03Z

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Over the past three years, there have been more than one hundred school, college and university shootings in the US. Just last week, two college shootings, in Arizona and in Texas, left scores dead.

While parents and politicians are working towards increased gun control – so far with little or no success at the federal level – some Israeli researchers are perfecting their possibly controversial technique to identify potential school shooters before they actually commit a heinous crime, thus preventing future tragedies.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company X-Test Trains Mice To Detect Explosives At Airports

Researchers at Israel’s Ben-Gurion University recently presented an automated technique that scans students’ social media texts to determine if they could become dangerous. The technique, which profiles school shooters, was recently published in the academic journal Frontiers in Forensic Psychiatry. In the study, BGU researchers selected writings by six shooters involved in a number of high-profile scenarios worldwide, including the Virginia Tech massacre in 2007. They then analyzed and compared these with writings by 6,000 young bloggers and tasked a computer to identify the shooters.

Virginia Tech candlelight vigil in 2007

Candlelight vigil at Virginia Tech in 2007

The tool developed at BGU was able to significantly narrow down the pool of suspects (to 3 percent of bloggers), which included the writings of all six shooters. This method could reduce the effort needed to identify shooters or solo terrorists. Since it’s automatic, it enables screening a massive number of texts in a short time, which could aid in the detection efforts.

SEE ALSO: BriefCam Helps To Quickly Catch Terrorists

But scanning and analyzing students’ blog posts using advanced technology to prevent crime could be a step too far for some privacy proponents.

“While ethical considerations are inevitable, we can definitely imagine a situation in which parents give the school permission to scan their teenagers’ social media pages under certain limitations,” BGU’s Prof. Yair Neuman, said in a statement. “In this context, using our automatic screening procedure, a qualified psychiatrist or psychologist may automatically get red flag warnings for students whose texts express a high level of potential danger.”

Neuman emphasizes that his technique should be used in combination with other forensic methods: “The proposed methodology does not pretend to solve the enormous difficulties in profiling and identifying school shooters, but modestly adds another tool to the tool kit of forensic psychiatry and law enforcement agencies.”

kid in school library

Photos: Ben

Lauren Blanchard, NoCamels <![CDATA[Life on Mars? Israelis Design 3D-Printed Space Home For NASA]]> 2015-10-11T09:55:15Z 2015-10-11T09:55:15Z

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In the just-released blockbuster movie “The Martian”, Matt Damon’s character is left stranded on Mars, and struggling to remain alive. So he would have been happy to hear about a recent design competition that saw teams around the world submit designs for astronaut housing in space.

Israeli design team Tridom won honorable mention in NASA’s 3D Printed Habitat Challenge for their ‘Bubble Base’ model (pictured below).

The challenge, hosted by NASA and America Makes, America’s 3D Printing Institute, called for 3D printed housing designs that could be made suitable for deep space exploration, including life on Mars.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Researcher Heads Team That Discovers One Of The Oldest Galaxies In The Universe

Bubble Base

Bubble Base, an Israeli designed model for a Mars habitat won honorable mention in a NASA competition.

One of 162 contestants and 30 finalists, Tridom, a Tel Aviv-based construction robot company, competed against leading international architectural and engineering firms, some of which specialize in space engineering.

Tridom team leaders Yaron Schwarcz and Lior Aharoni presented a design of an inflatable structure that could be blown-up with a small amount of liquefied natural gas once on the red planet. Then a swarm of drones would sinter quartz-rich, Martian sand into blocks and fix them to their appointed location within the dome structure.

The winning team, SEArch/Clouds Architecture Office, a New York-based architecture and space research collective, designed a fin-shaped ‘Ice House’ whose multi-layered shell of ice would house a more hospitable environment, rich in water and minerals. Other finalists submitted plans that used prefabricated folding panels, glass shells and underground modules.

Competing teams had to take into consideration environmental concerns, such as exposure to radiation and high temperatures, while also considering how their habitats could be transported to Mars. Designers also had to incorporate traditional architectural necessities such as gardens, communal and private spaces, and of course, a gym. Almost all teams used robots or drones in the assembly process.

SEE ALSO: Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth

The challenge, which was announced in May of this year, is part of a three-phase competition created by NASA and America Makes to develop 3D printing and additive construction technology for housing solutions on Earth and beyond.


Ice House, the winning design by Search/Clouds, proposed an igloo-like shell that would house a more hospitable environment.

“The future possibilities for 3D printing are inspiring, and the technology is extremely important to deep space exploration,” said Sam Ortega, Manager of the Centennial Challenges Program at NASA. “This challenge definitely raises the bar from what we are currently capable of, and we are excited to see what the Maker community does with it.”

The award ceremony that was held at Makers Faire in New York on September 27th, marked the closing of the first phase, in which Search/Clouds won $50,000. The next phase asks candidates to use indigenous materials and recyclables, while the final phase calls for the construction of full-scale habitats. Each of the subsequent stages offers up a $1.1 million prize.

The ‘Bubble Base’ design was completed by the Tridom team with the help of Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design architecture graduate Helen Wexler.

Photos: NASA

Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[3D Fashion Designer Danit Peleg Takes Tyra Banks And US By Storm]]> 2015-10-08T14:52:34Z 2015-10-08T10:08:43Z

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

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

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

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


Peleg’s collection on FABLife models.

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

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

SEE ALSO: The Israeli Fashion Designers Who Dress The Stars

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


Peleg watching the episode rehersal.

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



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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos and video: Ex Libris

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

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

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

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

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

AMOS-6 satellite

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

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

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

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

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg

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

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

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

Photos: Mark Zuckerberg/Facebook, Brian Solis

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

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

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

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook

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

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


PrimeSense’s 3D sensor

SEE ALSO: Apple CEO Tim Cook In Israel

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: PhysiMax

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

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

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

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

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

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

UpWest Labs


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

Y Combinator


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

Tech Stars


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

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

500 Startups


Dave McClure, Founder of 500 Startups

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

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



IcoNYC offices in New York.

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

Mass Challenge


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

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

Photos: Maki Oshiro/ Robyn Twomey/

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

Intel processor

Intel’s processor

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


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

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

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

IBM Israel

IBM Israel

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

Microsoft Haifa

Microsoft Israel


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

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

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


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

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

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

Apple CEO Tim Cook

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

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

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

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

Photos: Pikiwiki, companies

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

Photos: Courtesy

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

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

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

SEE ALSO: Israeli Company Gearing Up For Driverless Cars


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

Cyber security – for cars

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

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


Argus is ready to tackle a future of car hacks.

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

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

‘Computers on wheels’

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

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

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

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

Safety first

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

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

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


Delphi Roadrunner

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

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

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

A car battery that charges in five minutes 

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Photos: ENTR