NoCamels – Israeli Innovation News NoCamels.com is the leading news website on Israeli innovations. We cover all the latest innovation in the fields of technology, health, environment and lifestyle. 2017-02-20T15:02:46Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/ Kirk D’Souza, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Startup Pixtier Transforms Aerial Photos Taken By Drones Into Perfect 3D Maps]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52175 2017-02-20T15:02:46Z 2017-02-20T10:07:08Z

Maps have traditionally been created by trailblazers who dared to venture into the unknown. Spurred by the same pioneering spirit, Israeli startup Pixtier aims to spearhead the next revolution in cartography.

The innovative company has designed a software program that can automatically transform a series of two-dimensional aerial photos into accurate, three-dimensional digital maps. These maps can then be used in urban planning, homeland security, virtual reality tours, and even autonomous vehicles.

drone

“We want to create 3D urban maps and provide them to municipalities, city planners, architects and construction companies,” Dror Ouzana, CEO of Pixtier, tells NoCamels.

In order to create these 3D maps, the only input needed for Pixtier’s software is a series of aerial photos of a city. For instance, a drone can be used to take aerial photos of the Old City of Jerusalem. In a few hours, Pixtier’s software automatically generates an accurate 3D model of Jerusalem that can be analyzed and modified using modelling software such as AutoCAD.

City planners and architects can then use these 3D models for urban planning. “Today, architects plan their buildings in 3D using modelling software, but then there’s no map to place their plans on,” Ouzana says. With Pixtier’s 3D maps, architects can easily visualize their building plans in an accurate digital model of the city.

This technology is also useful for designing and building new city infrastructure. For example, the upcoming 5G network, the next generation of cellular data,will require antennas to be placed every few hundred meters in all cities. The only way to integrate this infrastructure into an urban environment is with the help of a 3D map, claims Ouzana.

Designing smart cities

After emerging as a finalist in the 3C Smart Cities Challenge 2016 in Tel Aviv, Pixtier was given the opportunity to help design a brand new smart city called “Croatá Laguna Ecopark” in  Brazil. Pixtier is currently working with a multinational team, including a group from Israel’s Tel Aviv University, to design a new city for some 20,000 people.

The company is constantly exploring new applications for its 3D maps – beyond urban planning. For instance, 3D maps can be integrated with VR technology to create virtual tours. In fact, Pixtier has already created a virtual tour of the Mar Saba monastery, just east of Bethlehem, complete with information derived from Wikipedia.

Mar_Saba_Monastery

Mar Saba monastery, just east of Bethlehem

These 3D maps could also be programmed into self-driving cars. Using cameras, radars, and other advanced technologies, driverless cars can detect and avoid other cars and obstacles. But for navigation purposes, they need 3D maps with precise information about street layouts, traffic lights and roadside infrastructure.

Out-mapping the competition

While Pixtier is not a drone company – rather, a software developer – the startup’s groundbreaking solution is only possible thanks to recent advances in drone technology. The wide availability of drones on the market means that aerial images of cities can be crowd-sourced from drone users. Pixtier can create separate 3D maps based on different sets of aerial images from different drone users, and then merge maps of adjacent locations. Furthermore, if a new building is built in a city, existing 3D maps can be updated using new drone photos of the building.

SEE ALSO: Personal Delivery Drone Will Ship Goods To Your Location Within Minutes

Pixtier’s competitors include Google, Apple and Microsoft, which have offered 3D maps for several years now. There are also two other companies that offer similar automatic 3D mapping services – DroneDeploy and Maps Made Easy.

However, Ouzana claims that only Pixtier’s 3D maps can be used in modeling software like AutoCAD to plan new buildings. As for other drone-to-map services, Ouzana claims that existing services are oriented towards mapping agricultural plots or small construction sites, while Pixtier is the only company that can create large-scale 3D urban maps.

SEE ALSO: Delivering The Goods: Israel Leads The Way In Drone Innovation

With just three employees, the four-year-old company has raised $300,000 from Israel’s Office of the Chief Scientist. Besides its project in Brazil, it has also embarked on a project to map the city of Ramat Gan, Israel.

Ramat_Gan, Israel

Ramat Gan, Israel

3D maps: In high demand

In the future, Pixtier plans to retain ownership of the 3D maps it creates, and offer access to these maps for a fee.

Ouzana believes that demand for 3D maps and services will increase rapidly in the coming years. Reports suggest that Uber, Tesla, Toyota and Ford are some of the major corporations in search of 3D mapping technology like Pixtier’s.

However, he is aware of the intense competition to meet this soaring demand. “Someone will eventually have 3D maps,” he says. “We just hope it will be us.”

pixtier 3d maps drones

Photos and video: Pixtier, Godot13Someone35

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Apple Buys Facial Recognition Co. RealFace]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52699 2017-02-20T09:27:36Z 2017-02-20T09:16:32Z RealFaceFebruary 20, 2017 | Apple Inc. has acquired Israeli startup RealFace, a cybersecurity and machine learning firm specializing in facial recognition authentication technology. According to Israeli financial news website Calcalist, the deal was worth “a couple of million dollars”.  Founded in 2014 by Adi Eckhouse Barzilai and Aviv Mader, the Tel Aviv-based startup had developed a unique facial recognition technology that integrates artificial intelligence and “brings back human perception to digital processes”. RealFace’s software is said to use proprietary IP in the field of “frictionless face recognition” that allows for rapid learning from facial features. RealFace’s first product, the Pickeez app, created a new way to enjoy photos, with its recognition software automatically choosing the user’s best photos from every platform they’re on.

RealFace is the fourth Israel-based firm Apple is known to have acquired. In 2011 it bought flash memory maker Anobit for a reported $400 million, then in November 2013 it acquired 3D sensor company PrimeSense for an estimated $345 million. Most recently in 2015, Apple bought LinX for around $20 million.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[IDC Entrepreneurship BA Program Okayed]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52675 2017-02-20T07:09:10Z 2017-02-19T13:41:15Z idclogoFebruary 19, 2017 | Israel’s IDC Herzliya has received the approval of the Council for Higher Education to open enrollment for an undergraduate double major in entrepreneurship, to be taught in English, the first of its kind in Israel. The program will provide young entrepreneurs the knowledge and the tools to realize their ideas and entrepreneurial ambitions. The IDC was the first to develop a training program for entrepreneurship 16 years ago. The Adelson School of Entrepreneurship, headed by Prof. Yair Tauman, offers academic courses to all IDC students as part of joint academic programs, or as elective courses. The new BA program in Entrepreneurship is based on the unprecedented success of two other special programs at IDC: The ZELL program for entrepreneurship and Media Innovation Lab (MiLab). The IDC was founded in 1994 by Prof. Uriel Reichman as a private, nonprofit institution for higher education that doesn’t rely on government subsidies. [Photo: Ofer Amram]

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Researchers Develop Method To Catch Smartphone Thieves In 14 Seconds]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52145 2017-02-20T07:17:11Z 2017-02-19T11:57:42Z An Israeli research team has developed a method that detects exactly how you press your touchscreen, so that it can identify someone else using your phone within 14 seconds.

Studies have shown that smartphone passwords are not enough, and can be easily uncovered by hackers, since most people choose passwords that are fairly easy to guess. Annually, more than 3.1 million Americans are victims of smartphone theft; and 68 percent of them aren’t able to restore all of the information that was stolen.

That’s why researchers at Ben-Gurion University (BGU) wanted to find a verification method that detects each person’s exact touch patterns.

SEE ALSO: Your Headphones Could Be Used To Spy On You

hacking-phone-hacker-password

BGU’s Liron Ben Kimon examined the information gathered from 20 users over a two-week period. Her model is based on how the users touch the screen while using the device – where they touch the screen, and how much of the finger touches the screen.

In addition, Ben Kimon’s model takes into account which mobile application is being used, since how one presses on the screen is different for each app – for example, you will touch your screen differently when typing a WhatsApp message, as opposed to scrolling up and down your browser. Moreover, since users often accidentally touch their screen, the model classifies a group of touches to identify a user, as opposed to each touch separately.

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

Another factor that the model computes is the history of each touch – what was done on the device 30 seconds before the current touch, and more specifically, which areas of the screen the user touched, which buttons they pressed and what the electricity consumption was during that time.

The findings show that unauthorized users can be identified in 14 seconds – after fewer than 35 touches of the screen (on average, a user touches the screen 35 times in 13.8 seconds).

According to the researchers, a criminal who wants to steal information from your device will almost certainly touch the screen more than 35 times, since someone who is not familiar with your phone will have to touch the screen more often to get to the information.

In conclusion, Ben Kimon says that “differentiating the user according to how they touch the screen is a verification method that is hard to imitate, since a thief cannot steal another user’s behavior.”

The team has not yet commercialized its findings, but this may point phone manufacturers in the right direction.

smartphone password

Liron Ben Kimon, a data scientist at PayPal in Beersheba, conducted the research under the supervision of BGU’s Prof. Bracha Shapira, Prof. Lior Rokach and Mr. Israel Mirsky of the Department of Software and Information Systems Engineering.

Photos: Ciklum

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Huge Crowd: OurCrowd Investor Summit Draws 6K]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52633 2017-02-16T17:17:39Z 2017-02-16T17:14:03Z OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo| February 16, 2017 | OurCrowd, leading equity crowdfunding platform, made history today by hosting the biggest investment event in Israel, the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit. Some 6,000 guests from 82 countries, including startups, venture capitalists and strategic investors, attended the event at the Jerusalem International Convention Center. Also in attendance were over 200 multinational corporations including Honda, Innogy, GE, Shell, Intuit, Microsoft, and Samsung Ventures. The theme of the summit was “The Future is Here” and it included over 60 booths demonstrating a variety of frontier technologies already changing the world, including industrial drones, companion care robots, miniature spectrometers to “google” everything, tracking devices with centimeter accuracy, phone based glucose monitors, and much more. “This is by far the largest equity crowdfunding conference in the world, and Israel’s largest investor event ever,” Jon Medved, OurCrowd founder and CEO said in a statement. “We have twice the number of attendees that we had last year, giving proof to the tremendous vitality and dynamism in the global equity crowdfunding market.”

 

 

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TinyTap Wins $1M Powerful Answers Award From VerizonFebruary 16, 2017 | Israeli educational games developer TinyTap has closed a $1.5 million financing round. The Tel Aviv based startup, which helps parents and teachers create educational games and other interactive apps, raised the funds from Hong Kong based Animoca, Israeli micro-venture capital fund Inimiti VC and New York Angels. Founded in 2012, the startup claims more than 100,000 titles have been created by teachers. The proceeds will be used to develop an online marketplace through which teachers can earn money from games that they’ve developed on the TinyTap platform.

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Einat Paz-Frankel <![CDATA[OurCrowd Opens Taipei Office]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52620 2017-02-16T09:59:59Z 2017-02-16T09:59:59Z FebruaryOurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo 16, 2017 | Israeli crowdfunding platform OurCrowd is expanding in Asia with a new Taipei office, the firm announced today during its  2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, one of the largest technology and investment conferences in the Middle East. “We see Taiwan as one of the major technology and innovation centers in the world,” Jon Medved, founder and CEO of OurCrowd, said in a statement. OurCrowd community boasts 17,000 investors from 110 countries, who have invested some $400 million in 110 portfolio companies and funds.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[3D Virtual Reality Therapy Could Help Repair Damaged Limbs, Israeli Study Finds]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51211 2017-02-16T09:32:09Z 2017-02-16T09:32:09Z A combination of traditional physiotherapy and cutting-edge technology may improve the motor skills and mobility of an impaired hand by letting the more mobile hand “lead by example” through virtual reality training, a new Israeli study suggests.

Typically, patients suffering from hemiparesis — the weakness or paralysis of one of two paired limbs — undergo physical therapy. “But this therapy is challenging, exhausting, and usually has a fairly limited effect,” Prof. Roy Mukamel of Tel Aviv University, who led the research, said in a statement. “Our results suggest that training with a healthy hand through a virtual reality intervention provides a promising way to repair mobility and motor skills in an impaired limb.”

SEE ALSO: Virtual Reality Therapy To Treat Fear Of Flying

physiotherapy, hands

Does the left hand know what the right hand is doing?

As part of the study, 53 healthy participants completed baseline tests to assess the motor skills of their hands, then strapped on virtual reality headsets that showed simulated versions of their hands. The virtual reality technology, however, presented the participants with a “mirror image” of their hands — when they moved their real right hand, their virtual left hand would move.

In the first experiment, participants completed a series of finger movements with their right hands, while the screen showed their “virtual” left hands moving instead. Next, participants placed motorized gloves on their left hands, which moved their fingers to match the motions of their right hands. Again, the headsets presented the virtual left hands moving instead of their right hands.

The research team found that when subjects practiced finger movements with their right hands while watching their left hands on 3D virtual reality headsets, they could use their left hands more efficiently after the exercise. But the most notable improvements occurred when the virtual reality screen showed the left hand moving while in reality the motorized glove moved the hand.

Tricking the brain

“We effectively tricked the brain,” Mukamel says. “We manipulated what people saw and combined it with the passive, mechanical movement of the hand to show that our left hand can learn even when it is not moving under voluntary control.”

SEE ALSO: DouxMatok Tricks Your Brain

According to the researchers, this research could be applied to patients in physical therapy programs who have lost the strength or control of one hand. “We need to show a way to obtain high-performance gains relative to other, more traditional types of therapies,” Mukamel says. “If we can train one hand without voluntarily moving it and still show significant improvements in the motor skills of that hand – we’ve achieved the ideal.”

The researchers are currently examining the applicability of their novel VR training method to stroke patients.

virtual-reality

The study was conducted by Prof. Roy Mukamel of TAU’s School of Psychological Sciences and Sagol School of Neuroscience, along with his student Ori Ossmy. It was recently published in Cell Reports.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Sapiens Buys StoneRiver for $102M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52577 2017-02-15T13:35:27Z 2017-02-15T13:32:48Z Multi-Million Dollar Deal For Sapiens In North AmericaFebruary 15, 2017 | Sapiens International Corporation, an Israeli provider of software solutions for the insurance industry, with a growing presence in the financial services sector, announced today it has entered into a definitive agreement to acquire privately held StoneRiver Inc., for approximately $102 million in cash. StoneRiver delivers a wide range of solutions and services for the insurance industry in North America. Founded in 1982 by Tsvi Misinai, Sapiens is headed by Roni Al-Dor and is traded both on NASDAQ and on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Kid Country: Israel Rated Third Best Country To Raise Children]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52444 2017-02-15T14:53:13Z 2017-02-15T13:03:02Z We all want the best for our children, including living in a kid-friendly place. According to a recent survey, Israel is one of the best countries in the world to raise a family.

InterNations, the world’s largest network for people who live and work as expats abroad, ranked Israel third on their list of 19 countries for raising a family. First place was Finland, with the Czech Republic taking second place. Just behind Israel, placing fourth and fifth respectively, were Austria and Sweden. The other countries, in descending order, were: Norway, Australia, Taiwan, Belgium, Germany, France, Poland, Netherlands, Luxembourg, South Africa, Singapore, Philippines, Mexico and South Korea. The UK and US were not on the list.

The InterNations survey rated 43 different aspects of life abroad on a scale of 1-7. One of the sub-indexes is the Family Life Index, which consists of 45 countries. Expats were asked to rate everything from childcare and education, to children’s health and safety. Each country had to have at least 31 respondents raising dependent children abroad, for the nation to be included in the index.

The Samid family

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Intuition Robotics Raises $6M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52569 2017-02-15T10:08:40Z 2017-02-15T10:03:39Z Intuition roboticsFebruary 15, 2017| Israeli startup Intuition Robotics, which is developing social companion technologies, today announced funding from strategic investor iRobot Corp. and equity crowdfunding platform OurCrowd. This investment brings the total funding in the company to $6 million across various funding instruments. Ramat Gan based Intuition Robotics will participate in the world’s largest equity crowdfunding conference, the 2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit on February 16th in Jerusalem, where the company will conduct the first live demonstration of Elli•Q, an autonomous active aging companion aimed at keeping older adults active and engaged.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Sports Platform Minute Media Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52555 2017-02-14T14:38:07Z 2017-02-14T15:02:45Z Minute Media, 90 MinFebruary 14, 2017 | Minute Media, parent company of 90min and 12up, a leading contributor-driven sports media platform, announced today the closing of a $15 million investment round, bringing its total funding since inception to $60 million. The funding will serve to further boost Minute Media’s global expansion into new markets, introduce new sports brands, and expand the teams across the company’s London, New York, Tel Aviv, Tokyo, Singapore, Manila and São Paulo offices. The round was led by Qumra Capital, with participation from Minute Media’s existing investors: Battery Ventures, Dawn Capital and ProSieben. Minute Media allows fans to share their passion for the game with millions of other fans by creating articles, quizzes, slideshows, videos, listicles and other multimedia content to tell the stories behind the game, further integrating sports in to pop culture.

 

 

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[From Bauhaus To Luxury: Inside Tel Aviv’s Lavish Karim Rashid-Designed Boutique Hotel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52492 2017-02-14T17:05:50Z 2017-02-14T13:19:57Z A stunning boutique hotel designed by world-renowned industrial designer and architect Karim Rashid has opened in Tel Aviv, the starchitect’s first project in Israel.

A 40-room hotel located on the historic Magen David Square in the heart of the city (at the intersection of King George, Sheinkin, and the Carmel Market), the lavish Poli House is housed in a restored Bauhaus building, originally constructed in the 1930s in the spirit of functionalism and minimalism. All rooms and suites were exclusively designed by the award-winning designer.

The center of Tel Aviv, which boasts dozens of buildings designed in the spirit of the International Style and the Bauhaus School, was named a World Heritage Site by UNESCO some 14 years ago, and is known by many as “The White City.”

You can see these white buildings from the hotel‘s rooftop, which offers a spectacular panoramic view, along with an infinity pool, sunbathing lounge, cocktail bar, a spa and a charming café where breakfast is served.

poli house hotel tel aviv

The hotel’s interiors are colored yellow, blue, green and white, with a psychedelic flare. “The Poli House embodies the eccentric diversity of culture and design in Tel Aviv: street art and graffiti-lined streets,” according to the hotel.

What gives the hotel its edge? Its “mélange of whimsical, futuristic interior design and the clean and calming elements of Bauhaus architecture,” the owners say.

The hotel also features Rashid’s hand-drawn blueprints, sketches and inspirations for the property, as well as liquid-type patterns with yellow, blue, green, pink and white colors “influenced by the natural sundrenched palettes of Tel Aviv.”

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

Tel Aviv-based Nitza Szmuk Architects was responsible for the building’s preservation and restoration.

Polishuk morphed into Poli

Built in 1934, this Bauhaus building originally designed by architect Shlomo Liaskowski, was called The Polishuk House. It included 15 shops and 50 offices, and a clandestine Etzel (underground military organization) printing press.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv’s Brown Beach House Voted World’s Best Designed Hotel

Rashid completely reimagined the Polishuk House and “created a new vision for the building to serve as a vibrant, landmark boutique hotel that Tel Aviv has never before seen,” the owners state.

The prices, however, have been seen in the relatively expensive city before: A night at the Poli House starts at $171 per room; the circular suite costs $340, according to the hotel’s reservation system.

Polishuk House in the 1930s

The stunning Poli House is a member of the Brown Hotels Group, which owns Brown TLV, and the Brown Beach House in Tel Aviv, with Brown Jerusalem scheduled to open this year. Another hotel developed by the group, in Croatia, opened last year.

From Egypt to the MoMA

Rashid is one of the most prolific designers of his generation. With 300 awards and 3,000 designs in production, he’s currently working in 40 countries.

Karim Rashid in a mesmerizing Poli House bathroom he designed

Born in 1960 in Egypt, Rashid grew up in Canada. He has designed a concept store for Giorgio Armani, perfume bottles for Kenzo, watches and tableware for Alessi, lighting for Artemide and products for Veuve Clicquot, to name a few.

He has also worked with Audi, Samsung and Swarowski, Davidoff, Issey Miyake, and Estee Lauder.

His work is featured in 20 permanent collections and art galleries worldwide, including the prestigious MoMA, Centre Pompidou, and SFMOMA.

Photos: Poli House

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Enterprise Service Co Samanage Raises $20M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52541 2017-02-14T11:00:29Z 2017-02-14T11:00:29Z SamanageFebruary 14, 2017 | Israeli employee services cloud based IT company Samanage today announced that it has received $20 million in new capital funding, including investments from Carmel Ventures, Gemini Israel Ventures, Marker LLC, Salesforce Ventures and Vintage Investment Partners. Samanage was founded by Doron Gordon in 2007 and is headquartered in Cary, North Carolina with a development center is in Netanya, Israel. Samanage also announced that it has recently launched the new Service Desk, Enterprise Edition, on the Salesforce AppExchange, empowering businesses to connect with their customers, partners and employees in entirely new ways.

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cyber Security Co. IntSights Raises $15M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52499 2017-02-14T08:51:48Z 2017-02-14T08:51:48Z IntsightsFebruary 14, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company IntSights today announced the completion of a $15 million Series B financing round. This latest investment comes only four months after IntSights’ Series A round. The Series B round included investments by Glilot Capital Partners, Blackstone, Blumberg Capital, Wipro, Vintage Investment Partners, and other strategic investors. The Herzliya-based company is an intelligence-driven security provider for cyber threats from the dark, deep and open web. IntSights was founded by CEO Guy Nizan, CPO Alon Arvatz and CTO Gal Ben-David, all of whom are veterans of elite intelligence and cybersecurity units in the Israeli Defense Forces.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Fintech Startup CrediFi Raises $13M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52487 2017-02-13T14:07:32Z 2017-02-13T14:00:40Z credifilogoFebruary 13, 2017 | CrediFi Corp., a leading source for data and analytics for commercial real estate finance, announced today that it closed a Series B funding round of $13 million. The round was led by Liberty Interactive’s Liberty Israel Venture Fund, and joined by 31 VENTURES Global Innovation Fund, a CVC fund managed by Global Brain for Mitsui Fudosan, Japan’s leading real estate developer, along with substantial participation from existing investors Battery Ventures, Carmel Ventures, OurCrowd and Stax. Founded in 2014, CrediFi Corp. is a SaaS big data platform serving the Commercial Real Estate Finance market. CrediFi is the commercial real estate leader in the Fintech space, focused on greater transparency in understanding borrowers, lenders and transactions, enabling better real estate investment decisions. CrediFi currently has 75 employees, dual headquartered in New York City and Tel Aviv.

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Wake Up! Daydreamers More Likely To Suffer From Sleep Deprivation]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51539 2017-02-13T12:04:25Z 2017-02-13T12:04:25Z A new experiment performed on Israeli Air Force jet pilots reveals a new personality trait that predicts who is more likely to suffer from sleep deprivation. The study’s results are crucial to recruiters of professionals who are required to function well in extreme situations, such as pilots, combat soldiers and firefighters.

According to Ben-Gurion University researchers, people who tend to daydream, get absorbed in reading a book or watching a movie to the point of ignoring their surroundings are those who will feel more tired as a result of sleep deprivation and will have a harder time returning to full alertness even after an eight-hour night of sleep.

IAF pilot preparing for a flight

IAF pilot preparing for a flight

The researchers – led by BGU‘s Dr. Nirit Soffer-Dudek and Major Shirley Gordon of the Israeli Air Force – contend that a personality trait called “dissociative absorption” is key.

“Dissociative absorption is the tendency to involuntarily narrow one’s attention to the point where one is oblivious to the surroundings,” the researchers explain. “It involves a temporary lack of reflective consciousness, which means that the individual may act automatically while imagining vividly, bringing about confusion between reality and fantasy.”

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

1200px-Sleep_woman

There is a vast professional literature about the harmful effects of sleep deprivation, including its effect on mood, cognitive function, and motor function. At the same time, “there have been very few studies that identified who would be especially affected by sleep deprivation,” according to BGU. “This study is the first to posit and identify the role of dissociative absorption.”

“Especially crucial to people who must function in extreme situations”

The question of who is more affected by sleepiness is relevant to the general population, but it is “especially crucial when it comes to people who must function in extreme situations with very little sleep, such as pilots, combat soldiers, professional drivers and others,” Soffer-Dudek and Gordon said in a statement.

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

The research team conducted experiments on IAF pilots and Remotely Piloted Aircraft (RPA) officers (those who operate military drones, also known as unmanned aerial vehicles). As part of their training, pilots and RPA officers participated in a four-day seminar exposing them to the subjective and objective effects of fatigue. The purpose was to emphasize the importance of adhering to an orderly and sufficient sleep routine during operational activity.

“People who tend to daydream have difficulty regulating the transition between different states of consciousness and transitioning between different awake and sleep states,” says Dr. Soffer-Dudek. “Therefore, any disruption to their sleep-wake cycle generates an especially strong shakeup of their system, and the person has a harder time fighting off sleepiness.”

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Curry

New York Fire Department Deputy Chief Joseph Curry calls for rescue teams at Ground Zero three days after the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

The study, recently published in the scientific journal Consciousness and Cognition, is the initial publication on this topic; the researchers hope that this personality trait may be instrumental in sorting people for key roles in the future.

Photos: Hernan Sanchez, IDF

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Actress Inbar Lavi Takes Over Hollywood As Sexy Con-Artist In Bravo TV’s ‘Imposters’]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52364 2017-02-13T12:29:14Z 2017-02-13T10:10:41Z Playing one role is difficult enough for any actor, but imagine playing a character with many different personalities.

Israeli actress Inbar Lavi is more than up for the challenge. In her first starring role, Lavi plays Maddie Jonson, a complex, cunning con-artist in Bravo TV’s new original scripted series Imposters, which premiered last week on the popular cable network.

“Maddie is a con-artist who makes men and women fall in love with her, marry her, and then takes off with all they’ve got,” Lavi explained to Elle in an interview.

To get away with her crimes, Inbar’s Imposters character Maddie also assumes three other identities; Ava, Alice and Saffron.

Imposters

The many faces of Inbar Lavi on Imposters

While fun, playing a con-artist can be intense, the 30-year-old admits. “The main thing I noticed was how incredibly intelligent they are,” Lavi said in an interview. “It’s all about the attention to detail. They’re always 10 steps ahead of everyone else.”

From Ramat Gan to Hollywood

Born in Ramat Gan, Israel to a Polish father and Moroccan mother, Lavi always loved to perform. Her passion was first manifested through modern dance and ballet, which she performed in high school. She also attended the Sofi Moskowitz School of Acting in Tel Aviv, where she studied method acting. When she turned 17, she moved to New York City for eight months before accepting a full scholarship to the Lee Strasberg Theatre and Film Institute in California.

Lavi’s acting idols include Israeli-born Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman, and Israeli TV and film actress Ayelet Zurer.

SEE ALSO: ‘Wonder Woman’ Gal Gadot Joins Forces With Tech Company Wix In Super Bowl Ad

No stranger to American TV viewers

Although Imposters is her first starring role, Lavi has had several supporting roles on American TV. She appeared in the 2012 MTV television series Underemployed as Raviva, a pregnant aspiring singer, and portrayed Veronica “Vee” Dotsen in the 2014 Fox television series Gang Related. She also appeared in the seventh season of Sons of Anarchy, and in 2016 joined the Prison Break revival in the role of Sheeba.

Imposters also has some star power. Oscar-nominated actress Uma Thurman will join the Imposters cast in the series’ third episode as Lenny Cohen, a fixer who is sent to keep the con-artists in line and eliminate any potential enemies.

Hollywood Reporter: “A breakthrough performance”

Although it’s too soon to tell how Imposters will fare in the ratings, at least one TV reviewer is already hooked.

“I think Israeli actress Inbar Lavi gives a breakthrough performance that will open doors for greater stardom, if only people in TV power check her out,” Hollywood Reporter Daniel Fienberg wrote in his review of the show. “The best reason to watch Imposters will be for Lavi and possibly just to get excited for what she’ll do next.”

Imposters, Inbar Lavi

An Israeli at heart

“I am Israeli first and foremost – in my blood, veins and my heart,” Lavi told the Huffington Post in a recent interview. “I am here (in America) but my heart is there.”

Photos and video: Bravo TV

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[OurCrowd Teams With LeAD Sports Tech Accelerator]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52464 2017-02-13T09:31:31Z 2017-02-13T09:03:50Z OurCrowd, OurCrowdlogo| February 13, 2017 | After a successful Super Bowl Week, which showcased some of the latest Sports Technology, OurCrowd, a global leader in equity crowdfunding is partnering with the Adi Dassler International Family Office (ADIFO) backed sports accelerator LeAD, to discover high potential innovation in sports-related products and services on a worldwide scale. OurCrowd is also gearing up for the  2017 OurCrowd Global Investor Summit, the largest tech investment conference in the Middle East, which will take place this Thursday, February 16th, in Jerusalem. The event is expected to attract over 5000 people from all over the world.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[AR Co. TIPIT Raises $2.5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52459 2017-02-13T08:26:43Z 2017-02-13T08:26:43Z tipitFebruary 13, 2017 | Israeli augmented reality (AR) company TIPIT has raised $2.5 million in a seed financing round. With investment from Atooro Fund, TIPIT has developed a cross-platform engine aimed at innovating in the space of augmented reality (AR), which provides developers, cameras, and brands with a software development kit (SDK) of computer vision and AR technologies that increases platform users’ retention, engagement and boosts revenues at an affordable price. Founded in 2014 and run by CEO Jonathan Rimon, TIPIT has offices in San Francisco and Ra’anana.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[UN To Host Exhibition Showcasing Gorgeous Israeli Nature Photography]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52367 2017-02-12T12:36:35Z 2017-02-12T12:36:35Z An exhibition of breathtaking Israeli nature photos will be on display at the United Nations headquarters in New York City starting this week. Thirty photographs of Israel’s most stunning wildlife and landscapes, taken by local photographers, will be showcased following the February 15 opening ceremony, through March 2.

A pair of Drimia maritima in the midst of their bloom, as if greeting the sun - by Daniel Winter

A pair of “Drimia maritima” in the midst of their bloom, as if greeting the sun – by Daniel Winter

Titled The Natural Side of Israel, the exhibition that celebrates Israel’s beauty is sponsored by its Nature and Parks Authority and the Israeli ambassador to the UN, Danny Danon. The Authority’s curators carefully selected 30 unique photographs out of the thousands submitted.

Young mantises on a purple leaf of bougainvillea, by Daniel Danilov

Young mantises on a purple leaf of bougainvillea, by Daniel Danilov

The photos portray endangered species, water sources, biodiversity, pollution, and more. “Thanks to Israel’s unique climate and geography, it’s considered critical to guarding the biodiversity of wildlife and plants,” according to a statement by Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority. “Israel has unique endangered species, and wonderful habitats.”

According to Danon, “we’re proud to present Israel’s beauty at the UN. We take part in the global efforts to protect the environment and to preserve our wildlife, and this exhibition is an opportunity to present our striking nature to the world.”

Unforgettable natural phenomena

One of the most imrpessive photos on display at the UN, taken by Ilia Shalamaev, shows the Dead Sea from a small cave, which was formed by the crystallizing salt throughout the receding shoreline (see photo above).

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

Red fox cubs, by Alex Geifman

Red fox cubs, by Alex Geifman

Another picture, by Alex Geifman, portrays two four-month old red fox cubs climbing up a tree, with one of them hanging on a branch, trying to avoid falling.

A picture showing a “ball” of thousands of Red Sea dwarf sweepers (tiny fish), also called “glass fish” for their transparent body, was taken by professional diver and photographer Noam Kortler.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Diver-Photographer Noam Kortler Wins Prestigious Underwater Picture Award

According to Kortler, during the months of April-May, when the sea is affluent with food, the sweepers come to the area en masse. They gather around a shipwreck in the Red Sea, just off the coast of Eilat, creating an unforgettable natural phenomenon.

Tiny Red Sea fish swarming a shipwreck - by Noam Kortler

Tiny Red Sea fish swarming a shipwreck – by Noam Kortler

“Naturally building bridges for piece”

Israel has been known to protect its wildlife. In 2015, the country hosted an international convention on endangered species trade, on behalf of CITES, an organization named after the international treaty that protects wildlife against exploitation. Israel is now one of four nations representing Europe in CITES.

“We were blessed with rare natural resources and we must protect them for future generations,” Shaul Goldstein, director of Israel’s Parks Authority, said in a statement. “Nature has no boundaries, and we believe that cooperating with our neighbors could naturally build bridges for piece.”

Photos: Ilia Shalamaev, Noam Kortler, Alex Geifman, Daniel Winter, Daniel Danilov – for Israel’s Nature and Parks Authority

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Listen Up: Study Shows Your Voice Can Tell If You Have Heart Disease]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=49963 2017-02-18T19:55:31Z 2017-02-12T12:32:46Z The common expression,”I can hear it in your voice” is most often said during phone calls. It’s uttered when one side in the conversation picks up on how the other side is really feeling based on verbal clues. Now an Israeli company is taking emotional voice analysis to a whole new level with technology that can detect heart disease just by listening to us talk.

Beyond Verbal, an Israeli startup which makes voice recognition software to analyze human emotion, has announced the results of a new study on Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) patients, conducted together with the Mayo Clinic. The research, presented at the American Heart Association Scientific Sessions, shows that voice analysis can be used to identify the presence of CAD by establishing a strong correlation between certain voice characteristics and CAD. The study represents a significant breakthrough in this field, proving that there is a connection between distinct voice features and health conditions, which can significantly improve continuous monitoring and reduce remote healthcare costs.

CAD: The most common, and deadly, heart disease

Coronary Artery Disease (CAD) is the most common type of heart disease and the leading cause of death in the United States in both men and women. CAD happens when the arteries that supply blood to heart muscle become hardened and narrowed. This is due to the buildup of cholesterol and other material, called plaque, on their inner walls. This buildup is called atherosclerosis. As it grows, less blood can flow through the arteries. As a result, the heart muscle can’t get the blood or oxygen it needs. This can lead to chest pain (angina) or a heart attack. Most heart attacks happen when a blood clot suddenly cuts off the hearts’ blood supply, causing permanent heart damage. Over time, CAD can also weaken the heart muscle and contribute to heart failure and arrhythmias. Heart failure means the heart can’t pump blood well to the rest of the body. Arrhythmias are changes in the normal beating rhythm of the heart.

When screening for the disease, there was a great need for simple and noninvasive tests that could also improve the accuracy of risk estimation models. This is where Beyond Verbal realized they could use their technology to provide unique insight. In the past, Beyond Verbal has found voice signal characteristics that can be associated with various conditions such as Autism and Parkinson’s. The company then joined forces with the Mayo Clinic in order to research this same concept with CAD patients.

SEE ALSO: Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App

Beyond Verbal, Beyond Verbal Team

CEO Yuval Mor (2nd from right) with the Beyond Verbal Team

A 19-fold increase

After conducting the double blind study, which included 120 patients referred for elective coronary angiography and corresponding control subjects, one voice feature was shown to be associated with a 19-fold increased likelihood of CAD. This is the world’s first study to suggest a link between voice characteristics and CAD, and holds the potential to assist physicians in estimating the pre-test probability of CAD amongst patients with chest pain.

“A patient’s voice is the most readily available, easy to capture, and rich output the body offers,” Yuval Mor, CEO of Beyond Verbal said in a statement. “We are very excited to be able to work with Mayo Clinic on such a breakthrough research, studying the potential of using the human voice in healthcare monitoring and specifically CAD.”

2.5 million voice samples on file

Beyond Verbal has recently announced the availability of the Beyond mHealth Research Platform to facilitate the global collaboration between hospitals, research institutes and universities in the research to find vocal biomarkers. Founded in 2012 by Yoav Hoshen and Yuval Mor, Beyond Verbal has collected more than 2.5 million emotion-tagged voice samples in more than 40 languages to analyze human emotions, and secured their technology with multiple granted patents. Working off the concept that vocal intonation can provide significant insight into the inner-workings of human beings, the company is expanding its research on the connection between vocal intonations and health issues. The company has raised $10.1 million in funding in total.

Beyond Verbal plans to repeat the experiment in China and Israel to determine if the same correlation will show up in different languages. They will also test for any voice characteristics linked to other cardiovascular diseases.

The future: Diagnosis by voice recording?

Beyond Verbal’s CEO suggests that in the future doctors could diagnose medical conditions remotely by analyzing patients’ voice recordings.

“The idea eventually is to give people an app so we can check on them and tell them if everything is OK,” Mor told the New York Daily News. “We are opening the door for something completely new that can make a huge difference in the medical community.”

Beyond Verbal, CAD, Heart disease, voice

Photos: Beyond Verbal

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[JOY Ventures Launches New $50M Israeli Fund]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52424 2017-02-12T14:22:13Z 2017-02-12T12:29:47Z joy- ventures logo February 12, 2017 | JOY Ventures, a new investment firm, has recently inaugurated its office in Herzliya Pituach, and earmarked $50 million for the first stages of its operations. JOY Ventures was founded by the Israeli-Japanese Corundum Open Innovation Fund. Joy Ventures will focus on startup companies, technological incubators for entrepreneurs and grants for academic research in the emerging field of Neuro Wellness, related to consumer products and technologies developed based on neuro research as anti-stress and mood alteration solutions. Avi Yaron, a serial entrepreneur, founder of Visionsense and the inventor of a state-of-the-art instrument for complex brain surgery, will head the company.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Cyber Security Co. Demisto Raises $20M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52353 2017-02-09T09:54:41Z 2017-02-09T09:54:41Z Demisto_Logo_color_TransBGFebruary 9, 2017 | Israeli cyber security company Demisto Inc. today announced that it has closed its $20 million Series B financing round. The company also announced the appointment of ClearSky managing director Jay Leek to its board of directors. Round participants also included Accel, Slack Fund and other strategic investors. Today’s funding brings the company’s total funding to $26 million. With offices in Tel Aviv and Cupertino, California, Demisto was founded in July 2015 by CEO Slavik Markovich, Rishi Bhargava (VP marketing), Dan Sarel (VP products) , and Guy Rinat (VP engineering). Demisto also unveiled the industry’s first comprehensive incident management platform to offer integrated threat intelligence.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Health Analytics Co. Intensix Raises $8.3M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52348 2017-02-09T09:27:57Z 2017-02-09T09:27:57Z February 9, 2017 | Israeli big data healthcare company Intensix has completed an $8.3 million Series A financing round. The investment was led by Pitango Venture Capital with the participation of German firm Rhon-Klinikum, which also recently invested in Israeli startup Inovytec. The funds will be used to boost the company’s sales and marketing operations in North America and to expand and accelerate the development of its predictive analytics platform. Based in Netanya, Intensix was founded by CEO Gal Salomon. Intensix has developed a real-time predictive analytics platform for early detection of patient deterioration in the ICU and high acuity departments of hospitals.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Giving Tree: Israeli Researcher Discovers Trees Interact, Share Resources]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51921 2017-02-09T09:01:35Z 2017-02-09T08:59:06Z Trees are truly amazing. Besides producing nearly half the earth’s oxygen, providing habitat for millions of species, and creating the soil and timber resources we depend on, trees also do one more surprising thing: they share resources, Israeli researchers show.

Weizmann Institute’s Dr. Tamir Klein recently made such a startling discovery that his supervisors at first declared that the finding must have been a mistake. In the forest, trees are known to compete for resources such as light and nutrients, but Klein found that the same trees also engage in sharing.

Klein showed that the carbon molecules taken up by the canopies of mature spruce trees were passed through the soil in surprisingly large quantities to neighboring beech, larch and pine. As Klein recently reported in the prestigious scientific journal Science, the carbon was being transferred via “underground highways” formed by overlapping networks of root fungi.

“Neighboring trees interact with one another in complex ways,” Klein said in a statement. “Of course, there is a great deal of competition among them, but they also form communities, sort of ‘guilds,’ within which individual trees share valuable resources. In fact, trees belonging to a ‘guild’ usually do much better than those that don’t.”

forest trees by stijn-te-strake

In his new lab at the Weizmann Institute, Klein follows these findings to investigate tree ecophysiology: how the tree functions in its ecosystem. “Studies on ‘underground’ tree collaboration may reveal which tree species get along well, and this may help determine which trees should be planted next to one another,” he says. “Our studies have additional relevance to forestry and agriculture because we elaborate on the mechanisms of growth and drought resistance of different tree species.”

Ideal climate for tree research

Only 5 percent of Israel’s land is covered by forest, but the country nonetheless offers unique advantages for forest research: Its warm climate provides an excellent opportunity for investigating how trees adapt to drought and stress. Many trees common to Israel are already resistant to drought; understanding the mechanisms that allow them to live with little rain may help develop varieties of lemons, almonds, olives and other tree crops that can grow in even drier areas.

SEE ALSO: Energy Does Grow On Trees, As Israelis Design First Solar Energy eTree

Klein’s projects aim to clarify how trees manage their water and carbon “budgets” – both separately and as a forest community. In one study the team focuses on emboli – tiny air bubbles that form inside the tree’s water channels during drought. When drought persists, the emboli can kill a tree, much like blood vessel clots that can cause a fatal heart attack in a human being. After injecting fluids into tree branches at different pressures, Klein and his students analyze the emboli in the minutest detail, using micro-computed tomography.

Hugging trees – with measuring tape

In Weizmann’s greenhouses, Klein’s team members experiment with seedlings of pine, cypress, carob and other trees commonly found in Israel. The researchers make use of advanced technologies, including innovative nuclear magnetic resonance imaging, to study hydraulic conductivity in trees; a special lamp-equipped, below-ground camera is used to study the growth of tree roots in the soil.

When conducting field studies on their research plot near Beit Shemesh, Klein and his students hug trees – not to have a spiritual experience, but to follow a tree’s growth by encircling its trunk with a measuring tape. They apply laser isotope analysis and analytical chemistry techniques to trace carbon metabolism in individual trees, and they investigate carbon transfer among trees via different types of fungal “highways.” The scientists also employ thermal imaging, which enables remote temperature measurements, to study the rate of evaporation in the foliage.

In another set of experiments, Klein will double the concentration of CO2 to mimic the atmospheric conditions that may emerge on Earth as a result of pollution. Klein hasn’t owned a car in 10 years, so as not to contribute to CO2 emissions, but he warns against jumping to conclusions when it comes to the impact of increased CO2 on tree biology.

Tree Lab Team

Dr. Tamir Klein (center) with members of the Weizmann Tree Lab.

“Higher COconcentrations don’t help trees grow faster – contrary to the hopes of industrialists – but surprisingly, recent research suggests they might render the trees more resistant to drought-induced stress. This doesn’t mean it’s OK to carry on with CO2 pollution, but it does mean that we need to deepen our understanding of its effects on trees in general and on agricultural tree crops in particular.”

Overall, Klein’s studies could help predict how future climate changes, including global warming and the rise in greenhouse gases, may affect forests.

Photos and videos: Weizmann Institute, Stijn te Strake

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[AI Co. Chorus.ai Raises $16M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52326 2017-02-08T15:41:26Z 2017-02-08T15:41:26Z Chorus a.iFebruary 8, 2017 | Israeli company Chorus.ai completed a $16 million financing round led by the Redpoint Ventures fund. The company uses artificial intelligence (AI) technology to analyze sales conversations. Emergence Capital, which has advised the company from the beginning and invested in it previously, also took part in the round. CEO Roy Raanani and president and R&D manager Micha Breakstone founded Chorus.ai in 2015. The company has raised over $20 million since it was founded, including the current round. Chorus.ai has 25 employees in Israel and San Francisco.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Suiting Up For Mars: Israeli-designed Cosmic Ray Vest Approved For Mars Trial]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52097 2017-02-08T17:27:45Z 2017-02-08T11:38:25Z While it’s far too early to speculate on who will be the first humans to travel to Mars, we may have an idea of what they will wear: An Israeli-designed space suit.

Together with the Israel Space Agency and the German Aerospace Center, Israeli startup StemRad is suiting up to launch a trial of its new protective suit against cosmic gamma rays on the next flight of NASA’s Orion satellite.

If an initial experiment flight to the moon next year shows that the suit adequately protects the flight test dummy wearing it, StemRad’s suit may be used on the first manned flight to the red planet.

SEE ALSO: Mission To Mars: Israeli Scientist Prepares To ‘Live’ On Mars

Testing on moon mission to prepare for Mars

The German Aerospace Center is responsible for research into the effects of deep space radiation on the human body. As part of this research, Orion will be sent to the moon in 2018 with dummies on its deck, some of which will be dressed in StemRad’s protective suit, while other remain exposed. With the return of Orion to the Earth a month later, the dummies, which will be equipped with thousands of radiation detectors, will be checked under laboratory conditions, and the level of radiation penetrating through StemRad’s suit and absorbed by them, if any, will be closely analyzed.

The team will then make adjustments to the suit in preparation for the first manned mission to Mars, which NASA believes could be scheduled as early as 2121-23, although President Obama once said it could be achieved by the mid-2030’s. StemRad is cooperating in the suit’s development with weapons manufacturer Lockheed Martin, which is also involved in NASA’s program for launching a manned flight to Mars.

StemRad, mars, first responders

The inspiration: From Fukushima to Mars

The story of how this Israeli radiation protection suit was born began during a restless night experienced by Dr. Oren Milstein soon after the earthquake and subsequent nuclear disaster at the nuclear reactors at Fukushima, Japan in 2011.

Following the disaster, they began developing a suit designed for the rescue forces in disaster areas who are exposed to dangerous high-intensity radiation. A few months after the disaster, Dr. Milstein founded the start-up StemRad to developed a special belt to protect the pelvic area, which contains half of the human bone marrow. Because the vest protects the wearer from gamma radiation, the belt is now widely used among first responders around the world. It comes in all sizes, is 100 percent fire-resistant, and has specialized features such as reflector strips and ballistic resistance.

StemRad’s suit protects mainly bone marrow, the lungs, chest, stomach, intestine, and the ovaries among women. These organs are particularly sensitive to the formation of malignant tumors as a result of exposure to radiation. The suit itself is made out of hydrogen-rich materials and worn like a vest.

“High intensity ionizing radiation destroys the bone marrow, which is the body’s factory for blood production, causing severe anemia, infections and cancer”, Dr. Milstein said in a statement. “Research has shown that it is sufficient to protect about 5% of bone marrow cells to lead to renewal and recovery.”

The main hazard to which astronauts flying to Mars will be exposed is radiation from solar flares. These flares are liable to continue for many days, and Orion has limited space for its crew to protect themselves from dangerous radiation when solar flares are occurring. The function of the suit is to enable the satellite’s crew to function normally if a prolonged solar flare emitting large amounts of radiation takes place.

SEE ALSO: If Nuclear Disaster Strikes, This Israeli-Designed Belt Protects Against Radiation Exposure

Space Week: Making space accessible to all

The StemRad agreement was signed by Israel Space Agency Director Avi Blasberger and German Aerospace Center Chairwoman Profesor Pascale Ehrenfreund during the 12th International Ilan Ramon Space Conference, which was held as part of Israel Space Week. The annual event include meetings with collaborating space agencies.

“Space Week is an opportunity to make space accessible to the Israeli public as far as possible and close to home,” Israeli Science, Technology and Space Minister Ofir Akunis said in a statement. “Israel Space Week takes this complicated field and translates it into an enjoyable experience.”

Photos and video: StemRad

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Einat Paz-Frankel <![CDATA[Israeli Private Equity Financing Peaks]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52278 2017-02-07T13:55:31Z 2017-02-07T13:52:35Z IVC Research CenterFebruary 7, 2017 | In 2016, Israeli and foreign private equity funds invested a record $3.5 billion in 68 deals, the highest amount ever invested by private equity entities, according to a new report released today by IVC Research Center and Israeli law firm Shibolet. The amount was 14 percent up from 2015, and 29 percent above the $2.73 billion invested in 2014. The number of deals, however, dropped 17 percent in 2016, down from 103 deals in 2015, and 17 percent below the five-year average of 82 private equity transactions.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Tel Aviv University In Top Ten List For Most Billion-Dollar Startup Founders]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52219 2017-02-07T14:50:33Z 2017-02-07T13:00:02Z Israel’s Tel Aviv University is among the top 10 colleges worldwide that have graduated the most founders of privately held billion-dollar startups, also known as unicorns, according to British business management firm Sage, which ranked the Israeli institution at No. 8.

Topping the list is Stanford University, which boasts 51 unicorn founders as alumni, followed by Harvard University with 37. Rounding out the top five list are the University of California (18), the Indian Institute of technology (12), and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), which graduated 9 founders of unicorns.

Overall, US institutions account for nine of the top 15 most popular universities among unicorn founders. However, with seven graduates who founded billion-dollar startups, Israel’s Tel Aviv University (TAU) is placed at a better spot than such Ivy League schools like Cornell University [click table to enlarge].

unicorn schools by Sage

TAU alumni who have gone on to establish startups that are currently valued at $1 billion or more include the founders of Israeli cyber-security company ForeScout Technologies: Oded Comay, Dror Comay, Ori Naishtein and Hezy Yeshurun, who studied computer science and mathematics, according to Forbes Israel. Founded in 2000, ForeScout offers organizations the ability to see devices connected to their network and remotely control them.

Founders of Conduit, another Israeli unicorn, are also on the Sage list. Founded in 2005 by Gaby Bilczyk, Dror Erez, and Ronen Shilo, the cloud-based software company is now worth $1.4 billion.

Some founders of ironSource, an Israeli software startup worth $1.02 billion, also graduated from Tel Aviv University. The online software distribution and monetization company was founded in 2010 by Eyal Milrad, Omer Kaplan, Arnon Harish, Itay Milrad, Tamir Carmi, Tomer Bar Zeev, Tomer Bar Zeev, and Roi Milrad.

Tel Aviv University Campus

Tel Aviv University

The largest university in Israel 

With more than 30,000 students, Tel Aviv University is the largest in Israel. The public research university boasts nine faculties, 17 teaching hospitals, 18 performing arts centers, 27 schools, 106 departments, 340 research centers and 400 laboratories.

SEE ALSO: Unicorn Dreams: Who Will Be The Next Billion Dollar Israeli Startup

Some of its most notable alumni include author Dan Ariely, novelist Etgar Keret, screenwriter Gideon Raff, and the late Israeli astronaut Ilan Ramon.

The Center for World University Rankings recently ranked Tel Aviv University 81st in the world and third in Israel in its 2016 CWUR World University Rankings.

Most unicorns per-capita in the world

In a separate report released this week, accounting firm Baker Tilly says Israel is the nation with the most unicorns per-capita in the world. The report includes unicorns that were founded by Israelis but aren’t necessarily headquartered in Israel.

Among the highest-valued unicorns founded by Israelis is WeWork, a shared office space firm said to be worth $17 billion, which was co-founded by Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann.

SEE ALSO: A New Kibbutz? WeWork’s Urban Community WeLive Could Revolutionize City Living

Miguel McKelvey and Israeli entrepreneur Adam Neumann, founders of WeWork

Another well known Israel unicorn is navigation app Waze, which was sold to Google in 2013 for $1.3 billion. Israeli content recommendation platforms Taboola and Outbrain, are also on the prestigious unicorn list, as well as Israeli taxi-hailing platform Gett.

Other privately held Israeli startups with a valuation of $1 billion or more include Tango, Houzz, Tanium, Compass, Actifio and Magic Leap, according to Baker Tilly, which says that in 2016 there were 183 unicorns in the world.

Shahar Waiser, CEO of Gett

Shahar Waiser, Founder and CEO of Gett

Photos and infographics: SageDavid, Tel Aviv University, Gett, WeWork

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Biomed Co. Laminate Medical Raises $8M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52272 2017-02-07T12:56:27Z 2017-02-07T12:56:27Z laminateFebruary 7, 2017 | Israeli bio-medical start-up Laminate Medical Technologies, which is developing a blood vessel support device implanted in patients needing dialysis, has announced it has raised $8 million in a B round of capital raising. This round brings the total investment in the company to $13 million. A number of European funds took part in the current round, as well as the Chinese pharma giant Haisco. The company’s existing investors are private investors, including Nava and Yehuda Zisapel, Zohar Gilon, Eri Steimatzky, Henit Vitos, Ari Raved, and a grant from the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of the Economy. Laminate was founded in 2012 by Tammy Gilon, who is the company’s CEO, and Dr. Eyal Orion, and started out in the Rad-Biomed incubator.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Teva CEO Erez Vigodman Resigns]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52267 2017-02-07T11:07:31Z 2017-02-07T11:07:31Z tevaFebruary 7, 2017 | Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. announced last night that CEO Erez Vigodman has resigned. He will be replaced as interim president and CEO by Dr. Yitzhak Peterburg, who has served as Chairman of the Teva Board of Directors since January 2015. Vigodman’s sudden departure is unexpected but not entirely surprising. The world’s largest generic pharmaceutical company has suffered a string of setbacks over the past year, which has seen it lose 40% of its share price. Some of the problems are shared by its generic rivals as the US government presses for lower drug prices. Others are specific to Teva including complaints that the company overpaid in the $40 billion acquisition of Actavis, and was duped in the $2.3 billion acquisition of Mexican company Rimsa. Teva has also been forced to pay antitrust fines in the US and last week lost a crucial patent case in the US on 40mg Copaxone, its flagship branded product.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Trax Image Recognition Raises $19.5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52259 2017-02-07T10:18:59Z 2017-02-07T10:18:59Z TraxFebruary 7, 2017 | Trax Image Recognition completed a $ 19.5 million financing round led by Investec Bank. Trax will use this investment to expand its global operations with a focus in products and services for top tier retailers. Founded in 2010 by CEO Joel Bar-El and chief commercial officer Dror Feldheim, Trax has raised nearly $100 million since its founding. Headquartered in Singapore, more than half the company’s employees are in its Tel Aviv development center. Trax has developed a computer vision platform that turns retail shelf images into real-time actionable insights. Analyzing over 8 million images every month (representing a quarter of a billion products captured and analyzed monthly), Trax provides high accuracy data, intelligence, insights and recommendations to consumer good companies and retailers in over 45 countries.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Mobile Ad Co. Spotad Raises $3.5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52245 2017-02-07T10:08:47Z 2017-02-07T09:58:29Z spotadFebruary 7, 2017 | Israeli mobile ad company Spotad has raised $3.5 million in a Series A financing round led by Hong Kong’s VLTCM. The startup has developed advertising technology that uses Artificial Intelligence (AI) to deliver mobile ads. The startup combines advertisers’ own marketing data and programmatic ad buying with its proprietary machine learning systems to create a demand-side platform (DSP) for buying any mobile ad space in real time. Spotad, with offices in Tel Aviv and Netanya in Israel as well as San Francisco, New York, London and Beijing, claims to be the first Western DSP to enter China. Spotad connects to all the main Chinese ad exchanges, including Baidu, Alibaba, Sina, and Weibo.

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Yonatan Sredni, NoCamels <![CDATA[Made In Israel: SodaStream Now Proudly Labels Its Products With The Israeli Flag]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52195 2017-02-07T08:36:49Z 2017-02-07T08:22:36Z Sodastream International, a company that distributes seltzer-making units and syrups in 45 countries around the world, is taking a bold move to ensure that all their customers know exactly where their products come from – Israel.

From now on, the company will be displaying a large Israeli flag with the words “MADE IN ISRAEL” on all of its packaging. Below the flag a note reads, “This product is made by Arabs and Jews working side by side in peace and harmony.”

SodaStream

SodaStream, which produces easy to use carbonation machines for consumers to make their own soft drinks at home, took the step of adding the Israeli flag to its packaging voluntarily, despite the risk of backlash from the BDS (Boycott, Divestment, Sanctions) movement. Sodastream CEO Daniel Birnbaum said the company has been the target of boycotts numerous times in the past, and it was common knowledge that the product was made in Israel, so there was no reason to hide the fact.

“The company management wants to send a message of national pride, particularly in days when many of us hide our Israeli identity from the world,” the company said this week in a statement.

SEE ALSO: SodaStream Launches Slick Cocktail Shaker To Prep Cosmos At The Push Of A Button

The Scarlett Johansson stir

SodaStream was the subject of a fierce BDS campaign following the hiring of American film actress Scarlett Johansson as an ambassador for the organization. Johansson submitted her resignation to Oxfam, a British NGO for which she also served as an ambassador, after the latter demanded that Johansson cut all ties with SodaStream over a factory it operated in the Mishor Adumim industrial zone of the settlement Ma’aleh Adumim.

Mishor Adumim is at the edge of the Judean Desert, and the factory employed hundreds of Palestinian Arabs, but BDS caused Sodastream to close that factory and move to the Negev desert area instead, where it now employs hundreds of Israeli Bedouin instead. Oxfam later admitted that it had lost “thousands of donors” over its quarrel with Johansson.

“Being an ambassador for Israel”

“Israeli industry is a symbol of entrepreneurship, innovation and technology,” Birnbaum said in a statement. “As a proud Israeli company, we make sure to keep our Israeli identity at a high profile, even if it means fighting on the home front across the EU and against the economic terrorism of the BDS movement. In recent years, we Israelis have found ourselves attacked, forced to apologize, and [our products] seized around the world. We Israelis may not be perfect, but we have much to be proud of, and we decided to show it – both for ourselves and for the world.”

Birnbaum said that the Israeli flag would be placed on all of the company’s products, 50 million of which are on store shelves worldwide at any given time. “We hope that every Israeli company does the same for the products they sell, whether it is a microchip, a tomato, or a watering system. We wish that everyone would feel comfortable being an ambassador for Israel.”

Photos and videos: SodaStream

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Group Buying Startup Shopiz Raises $2M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52198 2017-02-06T12:35:38Z 2017-02-06T12:35:38Z ShopizFebruary 6, 2017 | Israeli startup Shopiz, which offers group shopping for products through a connection between consumers, has completed a $2 million financing round led by Ron Zuckerman and other private investors. The company has raised a total of $3.5 million to date. Founded in 2014 by CEO Gilad Brovinsky, Shopiz’s offices are in Tel Aviv. The company’s platform, which is available on its website, makes it possible to purchase goods and services at substantial discounts from a wide range of stores, websites, and various businesses. Shopiz operates a social shopping mechanism for lowering the price when more buyers join a purchase, even after the purchase is made. Customers continue receiving reimbursement directly on their credit card account after they buy a product when other customers join the purchase and the price of the product continues to fall.

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Meital Goldberg and the NoCamels team <![CDATA[How Israel’s 3D Printing Industry Is Paving The Way To The Future]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51757 2017-02-12T06:40:06Z 2017-02-06T09:24:42Z The future has arrived. The ability to create a three-dimensional object using a simple printer is a reality in today’s world.

Merely three decades after 3D printing was invented, Israel is already the manufacturer of roughly 40 percent of all 3D printers worldwide, Ziv Sadeh, VP sales at Israeli 3D printing company Su-Pad, tells NoCamels.

The prices of these printers vary depending on their intended use and the quality, but many of them can now be purchased by anyone for use at home. While a consumer 3D printer costs a few hundred dollars, a professional printer – up to $1 million. But beyond their prices, the applications of 3D printing are very broad, used today to create anything from objects like toys and clothes, to sophisticated medical equipment.

3d printer

The process of 3D printing is relatively straightforward. A digital file of the desired item is created and stored on a computer, which is then sent to the 3D printer for printing. However, creating the file from scratch is very technical and can currently only be done by trained programmers. According to Sadeh, as 3D printers proliferate in the market, children will be taught how to do this programming on their own. But that’s a while away.

3D printing “live” organs?

In the meantime, physicians are already using these printers to create anatomy mock-ups, so they can get the clearest view possible and know exactly where to cut once in surgery. They also use them to create medical devices that can match the exact need of any patient at a fraction of the price in a fraction of the time.

Medical professionals are even looking for ways to create live tissue on 3D printers, which could one day, hopefully, eradicate the need for donors.

SEE ALSO: Israeli Startup Nano Dimension 3D Prints Human Stem Cells

Human stem cells are already being 3D-printed in Israel by Nano Dimension. Founded in 2012, the startup has created a worldwide name for itself. In addition to manufacturing PCB’s (printed circuit boards) which connect electronic devices through conductive tracks, Nano Dimension’s breakthrough has been to discover how to print stem cells at high resolutions and high volumes.

syqe-inhaler-new

Another Israeli company, Syqe Medical, is using 3D printing for medical marijuana purposes. Its Syqe Inhaler is a 3D-printed device used to inhale medical cannabis. In addition to being healthier for your lungs, the Syqe Inhaler can distribute the dosage of medical marijuana with a higher accuracy than a standard medical marijuana cigarette, according to the company. Marijuana cigarettes make it difficult for doctors to accurately measure how much marijuana to distribute.

SEE ALSO: World’s First Precision Medical Marijuana Inhaler Hopes To Remove Stigma Of Smoking The Green Stuff

The Inhaler is also said to eliminate the feeling of a “high” for patients, which some don’t like, while still relaxing the patient and relieving their pain. Last year, Israel’s Teva Pharmaceutical Industries – one of the largest drug companies in the world – signed a distribution and cooperation agreement with Tel Aviv-based Syqe Medical to market medical cannabis in an inhaler.

Another strong evidence attesting to Israel’s strength in 3D printing is the acquisition of Simbionix by the company 3D Systems for $120 million in 2014. Simbionix is considered a leader in 3D virtual reality surgical simulation and training. Just last year, the company presented its cutting-edge software for printing anatomical models that enables doctors to plan and practice in advance of complicated surgery. Using this innovative technology, the doctor can 3D print the organ or limb on which they are about to perform a surgical procedure on, and study it while holding it.

Not only plastic objects 

Israeli 3D-printing pioneer Objet, which was founded some 20 years ago, is considered to be Israel’s first major 3D-printing company. In 2012, Objet merged with American printing giant Stratasys, making it one of the largest and most profitable 3D printing companies in the world. The current CEO of Stratasys is Israeli Ilan Levin, who previously served as the president of Objet.

SEE ALSOIsraeli 3D Printer Company Objet Merges With American Stratasys

Stratasys, which has headquarters in the US and in Israel, creates 3D printers ranging in price from $10,000-$400,000; some of these are used by large corporations to create prototypes of their products.

But while most 3D printers use plastic, Israeli startup XJet, founded in 2008, is a pioneer in 3D printing using liquid metal, making the resulting product stronger and more durable.

These and other 3D-printing technologies developed in Israel prove the country is set to become a 3D-printing powerhouse in the years to come.

Photos and videos: Courtesy of the companies

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mass Migration: 3.5 Trillion Insects Fly Over Europe Every Year, 8 Times More Than Birds]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=51952 2017-02-05T12:09:17Z 2017-02-05T11:58:38Z In J.D. Salinger’s seminal novel The Catcher in the Rye, protagonist Holden Caulfield asks where the ducks go when the lake freezes over.

We know many kinds of birds migrate south in the winter, toward warmer areas of the world. Some ducks do, too. But where do insects go?

Little is known about insect migration. But a new Israeli study done over 15 years has found that their massive exodus has more impact on our planet than that of bird migration.

In fact, this is the largest biomass movement on the planet: Roughly 3.5 trillion insects fly over southern England each year, the researchers say, and stress that this migration is important to study in light of global warming.

“This bug movement constitutes the largest migration found in today’s world, creating a mass that is almost eight times that of birds that migrate from Britain to Africa,” University of Haifa researchers say.

bird migration

Bird migration

The migration of insects – even more than that of the birds that migrate from Britain to Africa – has “significant ecological ramifications,” says Dr. Nir Sapir, who led the study that was published in the prestigious journal ‘Science’. Since insects are highly sensitive to climate change, this could lead to “dramatic changes in the population of migrating insects, causing important environmental changes.”

Although flying insects constitute one of the largest populations on the planet, this is one of the first comprehensive studies that examines the phenomenon of insect migration. Until now, researchers assumed that many insect populations migrate, but according to the Israeli researchers, did not know which insects do so; or when; or what the scope of migration is.

SEE ALSO: Haifa Researchers Able To Control Insects’ Movements

dragonfly, insect

In order to collect data, a team of Israeli and international scientists installed radars 15 years ago in southern England. Data from these radars were used to estimate insect bio-flow over an area of 70,000 square kilometers. The radars measured the weight of the insects, their flight speed and their direction and height. For very small insects that weigh less than 10 mg and are not picked up by the radar, special nets were used to catch samples in the air. Between 2000 and 2009, data were collected for insects flying at a height of over 150 meters above.

The findings clearly showed a southward movement of these insect populations in the fall, and a northward movement in the spring. Some 3.5 trillion insects, creating a biomass of 3,200 tons, migrated in each season.

The study did not examine the starting points and destinations of each insect population, but the researchers believe that this migration takes place over distances of at least several hundred kilometers.

“Since there is evidence that this migration also takes place over the sea, and since Great Britain is an island, these insects must have come to Britain in the spring, and at least some of them must reach continental Europe in the fall,” Sapir explains.

Hitching a ride on the wind

Insects use the wind in order to reach their destination, choosing to “hitch a ride” on specific wind flows. The insects exploited the southerly winds in spring and the northerly winds in the fall. “Insects make conscious use of navigation capabilities in order to reach their destinations using these winds,” Sapir says. The larger insects even combined their natural flight speed with the wind in order to reach a speed of up to 58 kilometers per hour during the migration seasons.

These findings have ramifications for many ecosystems. In most cases, insects’ bodies include 10 percent nitrogen and one percent phosphorus. This makes them excellent fertilizer for plants and crops and nutritious food for insect eaters, such as birds, bats, and other animals.

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

honey-bees

In addition, insects also pollinate, constitute crop pests, as well as kill some other pest insects, transfer diseases and parasites, and play other functions.

“Such a large biomass has tremendous importance for the functioning of diverse ecosystems across large parts of the globe, and for other aspects of our daily lives,” Sapir explains. “Cycles of nitrogen and phosphorus in nature are extremely significant, particularly since these chemicals form a limited component in the food chain. This massive movement of insects transports these vital materials across enormous distances.”

Bug invasion

Since more insects are born in warmer summers, global warming could increase their numbers significantly. Sapir says: “An increase in the number of some insects could be harmful, while in other cases it could actually be beneficial. It’s too soon to tell whether this change should be welcomed. But what is certain is that this is the largest and most influential continental migration in the world, as far as we know to date. We need to start monitoring it carefully.”

grasshopper

The study was conducted by the University of Haifa, Nanjing Agricultural University, the University of Exeter, the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, the University of Greenwich, and Rothamsted Research.

Photos: WaugsbergMichael Beattie

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Games Co. CodeMonkey Raises $1.5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52162 2017-02-05T09:29:50Z 2017-02-05T09:27:43Z codemonkeyFebruary 5, 2017 | Israeli educational games company CodeMonkey has closed $1.5 million in seed funding. The startup has developed a game-based learning platform for teaching children code. These funds will be used to expand CodeMonkey’s research, development, sales and marketing teams. J21 Corporation led the current funding round alongside Invictus Capital from Singapore. China-Israel Education VC Fund and Japanese holding company Edulab also entered the strategic partnership. As part of this partnership, Edulab announced the integration of CodeMonkey into its STEM resources portfolio in China and will expand the CodeMonkey platform to reach 30,000 elementary school students. Founded in 2014 and run by CEO Jonathan Schor, CodeMonkey is a game-based-learning platform that enables students eight years and older to learn the fundamental principles of computer programming. In the game, players help a monkey collect bananas by writing code.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Medical Cannabis Co. Cannabi-Tech Raises $1M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52159 2017-02-05T09:12:09Z 2017-02-05T09:12:09Z cannabiTechFebruary 5, 2017 | Israel-based Cannabi-Tech Ltd., which provides lab-grade medical cannabis quality control testing systems, has closed a seed investment round of $1 million, and appointed two new directors to its board. The round will support the North American launch of Cannabi-Tech’s fully-integrated testing platform for medical cannabis labs and dispensaries. The robust system features patented optical testing and advanced imaging tools for the industry’s most accurate quality control testing of medical marijuana flowers, along with integrated cloud database, sorting and labeling systems, traceable packaging, mobile apps, and more.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[APERIO Wins Cybertech Startup Contest]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52134 2017-02-08T13:59:12Z 2017-02-02T11:09:00Z AperioFebruary 2, 2017 | APERIO Systems was selected “most innovative startup” in cyber security at the Cybertech Startup Competition powered by YL Ventures, that took place during Cybertech in Tel Aviv this week. Yoav Leitersdorf founder of YL Ventures, awarded the winning prize to company co-founders Yevgeni Nogin and Michael Shalyt. APERIO Systems secures critical control systems with a last line of defense against both internal and external cyber threats. The company uses statistical physics and state-of-the-art machine learning techniques to detect operational data forgery attempts and reconstruct the true state of industrial control systems in real time. APERIO was awarded two tickets to the prestigious RSA convention, the world’s leading cyber conference, to be held in San Francisco.

 

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Tel Aviv Among 10 First Cities To Incorporate Driverless Cars In Public Transit]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52100 2017-02-02T09:26:28Z 2017-02-02T09:26:28Z Israel’s bustling metropolis Tel Aviv is among a handful of cities worldwide to incorporate driverless cars in its public transit system.

Joining Austin, Nashville, Los Angeles, Washington D.C., Paris, Helsinki, London, São Paulo and Buenos Aires, Tel Aviv will become one of 10 cities participating in a new prestigious program run by Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, dubbed “The Global Initiative On Autonomous Vehicles.”

The program, which helps top cities prepare for the advent of autonomous vehicles, is designed for “leading global mayors, who will work together to prepare their cities for the emergence of autonomous vehicles,” according to a Bloomberg statement.

According to the city of Tel Aviv, it was selected to participate in the program “thanks to its many achievements in the field of transportation, and its global leadership in innovations and creative solutions to urban challenges.”

Google_self_driving_car

Google’s self-driving car

Participating in the program is an opportunity “to reduce the use of private vehicles across town. Autonomous cars could have a positive impact on the city if they can be used as part of our car-sharing system,” Tel Aviv’s mayor Ron Huldai said in a statement.

Tel Aviv is the first town in Israel to invest in a city-wide shared vehicle fleet, and one of only a handful in the world. It is also the Israeli municipality that pioneered the highly popular city-wide bicycle-sharing system, called “Tel-O-Fun,” in 2011.

SEE ALSO: Tel Aviv Revolutionizes City Transportation With New $26M Car-Sharing Service

The Blomberg program will provide experts and data to accelerate cities’ planning efforts, and produce a set of principles and tools that participating cities, as well as cities around the world, can use to chart their own paths forward. Over the course of the next year, the selected multi-city cohort of mayors will discuss and implement strategies to capitalize on the new technology of autonomous cars.

Shaping the future of transportation

“The autonomous vehicle revolution is here – and by examining the opportunities and challenges, mayors can lead the way in adopting policies that benefit citizens and communities,” philanthropist and former New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement. “Together, we can help shape the future of transportation.”

According to Aspen Institute President and CEO Walter Isaacson, “The development of autonomous vehicles has the potential to have a significant impact on cities in unexpected and dramatic ways.” The new initiative “offers an excellent opportunity for cities and experts to share knowledge and collectively plan, with the ultimate aim of improving the quality of life in communities throughout the world.”

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

In order to solve chronic urban challenges, and to improve the lives of citizens, the program will create a cross-sector public dialogue, with leading experts across a wide range of practice areas to help cities explore the intersections of autonomous vehicles with various policies and issues – from the opportunities that can be created in the areas of inequality and mobility, to the potential challenges autonomous vehicles pose to commuting and public transport.

According to a statement by released by Bloomberg and Aspen, “insights developed during the year-long process will help a broad network of cities proactively and strategically prepare for the integration of autonomous vehicles.”

Photos and video: Bloomberg PhilanthropiesMichael Shick, Shaula Haitner for PikiWiki

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[WhiteSmoke Acquires Wise Data Media]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52110 2017-02-02T08:39:31Z 2017-02-02T08:39:31Z WiseData MediaFebruary 2, 2017 | Israeli digital marketing and ad services company WhiteSmoke has acquired Israeli company Wise Data Media for up to $5.3 million. The acquisition is part of WhiteSmoke’s growth strategy to deepen its operations in web and mobile ad services and expand operations in video ads. Wise Data Media has developed a technological solution for advertising media buying processes, with a focus on video advertising – automatically with no human intervention. Wise Data Media Corporation was founded in 2012 by CEO Tomer Sade, former CEO of Publicis Group’s E-dia og IL advertising agency and CEO of the advertising agency Saatchi and Saatchi Interactive Israel. As part of the acquisition Sade and 16 Wise Data Media’s employees will join WhiteSmoke’s Israel office.

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Einat Paz-Frankel, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Study: Viruses Exchange Infection Strategies, Plan Attacks Together]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52052 2017-02-01T10:34:17Z 2017-02-01T10:34:17Z Viruses may be stealthy invaders, but an Israeli study reveals a new, chatty side of some. For the first time, viruses have been “caught” communicating with one another. This communication – short “posts” left for kin and descendant viruses – helps the viruses “reading” them to decide how to proceed with the process of infection.

According to the study, during infection, viruses secrete small molecules into their environment that other viruses can pick up and “read.” In this way, they can actually coordinate their attack, turning simple messages into fairly sophisticated infection strategies.

In the future, this discovery could lead to new anti-viral treatments.

SEE ALSO: Why Studying Mosquito Habitats And The Evolution Of The Zika Virus Can Help Halt The Epidemic

Ebola Virus

Ebola Virus

Conducted at Israel’s Weizmann Institute of Science, and recently published in the prestigious scientific journal Nature, the study reveals that many viruses face a choice after they have infected their hosts: to replicate quickly, killing the cell in the process, or to become dormant and wait.

HIV, herpes and a number of other human viruses behave this way and, in fact, even the viruses that attack bacteria – called phages, or bacteriophage – face similar decisions when invading a cell.

SEE ALSO: One Israeli Researcher Is Outsmarting HIV To Cure AIDS

Interestingly, Prof. Rotem Sorek and his team at the Weizmann Institute discovered the communications between phages almost by accident. “We were looking for communication between bacteria infected by phages, but we realized that the small molecules we found had been sent by the phages themselves,” he said in a statement.

To find evidence for this communication, the team grew bacteria in culture and infected them with phages; they then filtered the bacteria and phages out of the culture, leaving only the smallest molecules that had been released to the medium. When they grew more bacteria on the filtered medium, infecting them with the same phages, they were surprised to find that the new phages became dormant rather than killing the bacteria.

The team isolated the communication molecule, eventually discovering that it is a small piece of protein called a peptide; they also identified the gene encoding it. They found that in the presence of high concentrations of this peptide, phages choose the dormancy strategy, so they named it “arbitrium,” the Latin word for decision.

Don’t get too gung-ho 

“At the beginning of infection, it makes sense for the viruses to take the fast-replication, kill-the-host route,” explains Sorek, “but if they are too gung-ho, there won’t be any hosts left for future generations of viruses to infect.”

At some point, the viruses need to switch strategies and become dormant, he says. This molecule enables each generation of viruses to communicate with successive generations by adding to concentrations of the arbitrium molecule. Each virus can then ‘count’ how many previous viruses have succeeded in infecting host cells and thus decide which strategy is best at any point in time.

Prof. Rotem Sorek

Prof. Rotem Sorek

Once they had identified this communication molecule in one phage, the researchers were able to find similar molecules in dozens of related phages – each phage encoding a slightly different communication molecule. “We deciphered a phage-specific communication code. It is as if each phage species broadcasts on a specific molecular ‘frequency’ that can be ‘read’ by phages of its own kind, but not by other phages,” says Sorek.

He points out that the communication-based dormancy strategy he discovered was found in phages, but it may have broader implications. “We don’t really know how viruses that infect the human body decide to go dormant. It is possible that a similar strategy to that of the phages could be used by viruses that infect us.”

If the viruses that infect humans are found to communicate with one another in a similar manner, we might learn to intercept these messages and use them to our advantage, possibly creating new kinds of anti-viral drugs.

Photos: Weizmann Institute, NIAID

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Fintech Co. Earnix Raises $13.5M]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=52093 2017-02-01T09:45:32Z 2017-02-01T09:45:32Z Insurance Giant Generali Chooses Israeli Earnix For Its Big Data SolutionFebruary 1, 2017 | Israeli fintech startup Earnix has raised $13.5 million from previous investors Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP) and Vintage Investment Partners and from Israel Growth Partners (IGP), a new investor, bringing the total the company has raised to date to $25 million. Earnix has developed advanced predictive analytics solutions for making decisions about and pricing banking and insurance products. The Ramat Gan based company’s integrative solutions are designed to help financial institutions all over the world achieve business, growth, and profit targets. The solutions facilitate optimal decision-making about the product, pricing, and marketing, with tailoring to dynamic marketing conditions.

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