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.2014-11-27T13:41:20Z http://nocamels.com/feed/atom/WordPress NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWise’s Email Wizard Shai Geva]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35076 2014-11-27T13:41:20Z 2014-11-27T13:39:03Z

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Shai Geva is the co-founder and CEO of MailWise, an email application that simplifies email exchanges into a clear, chat-like format. Geva began his career in the Israeli Defense Force’s elite engineering and intelligence Unit 8200. After his release, Geva spent a few years learning the high tech industry while working as a software engineer at Aternity, particularly how a software company should work. Eager to create his own startup, Geva met computer science Prof. Hanoch Levy, his entrepreneurial vision took off, co-founding MailWise in August 2011.

What is your biggest inspiration? The Roman empire. Because these guys were serious about building stuff.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? I just got married a year ago, what are you trying to get me into?

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Leonardo da Vinci. I would tell him about the internet, about space flight, about the Khan Academy (an organization providing a free, world-class education via YouTube videos) and show him a smartphone. Then I’d ask “what are you thinking about right now?” and shut up for the rest of the evening.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Geva and the MailWise team

Falafel or shawarma? Shawarma.

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel-Aviv, Israel is home.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Bouldering (a form of rock-climbing that doesn’t make use of harnesses and ropes). In bouldering, the routes you need to complete are called “problems”. And that’s exactly what they are – problems you need to solve. I’m a problem solver by nature, so that’s the sport for me.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Peter Pan from Hook (R.I.P Robin Williams).

What’s your hidden talent? Pretending that I had enough sleep.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? Hate to sound cliché, but this is not really a choice. Obviously, I won’t always be a founder of a company, but I will always need to be a key player in a project that tries to get something from “I don’t know if this is possible” to “done”.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

The late Robin Williams as Peter Pan in ‘Hook’.

What’s your homepage? Google.

Star Wars or Star Trek? I’ve actually been trying to finish watching Star Trek’s “The Next Generation” over the last few months (true story). So Star Wars it is.

What are you totally addicted to? Hell Tetris – http://www.kongregate.com/games/banthar/hell-tetris. This question just cost me 30 minutes.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Hell Tetris

Who was your first celebrity crush? I don’t do celebrity crushes.

What were your first steps in the business world? I quit my job as software engineer to take a few months for learning and experimenting a little with finance, business and marketing. The most fun thing I did at the time – selling Shofars on eBay with my dad.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With MailWises Email Wizard Shai Geva

Auctioning off shofars is lucrative business

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35175 2014-11-27T11:29:15Z 2014-11-27T11:29:15Z

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How the brain ages is still largely an open question – in part because this organ is mostly insulated from direct contact with other systems in the body, including the blood and immune systems.

In research that was recently published in “Science,” Weizmann Institute researchers Prof. Michal Schwartz and Dr. Ido Amit  found evidence of a unique “signature” that may be the “missing link” between cognitive decline and aging. Their findings showed that the health of one’s immune system plays an important role in maintaining normal function in the brain, and preventing deteriorating cognition. The scientists believe that this discovery may lead, in the future, to treatments that can slow or reverse cognitive decline in older people.

Factoring in the immune system could explain brain aging

Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason

A microscope images of the choroid plexus

Until a decade ago, scientific dogma held that the blood-brain barrier prevents the blood-borne immune cells from attacking and destroying brain tissue. Yet in a long series of studies, Schwartz’s group showed that the immune system actually plays an important role both in healing the brain after injury and in maintaining the brain’s normal functioning. They have found that this brain-immune interaction occurs across a barrier that is actually a unique interface within the brain’s territory.

     SEE ALSO: Study: Common Drug Could Prevent Injury-Related Epilepsy

This interface, known as the choroid plexus, is found in each of the brain’s four ventricles, and it separates the blood from the cerebrospinal fluid, known as brain goo. According to Schwartz, “The choroid plexus acts as a ‘remote control’ for the immune system to affect brain activity. Biochemical ‘danger’ signals released from the brain are sensed through this interface; in turn, blood-borne immune cells assist by communicating with the choroid plexus. This cross-talk is important for preserving cognitive abilities and promoting the generation of new brain cells.”

This finding led Schwartz and her group to suggest that cognitive decline over the years may be connected not only to one’s “chronological age” but also to one’s “immunological age,” that is, changes in immune function over time might contribute to changes in brain function – not necessarily in step with the count of one’s years.

The tell-tale signs of aging aren’t on your face

To test this theory, Schwartz and research students Kuti Baruch and Aleksandra Deczkowska teamed up with Amit and his research group in the Immunology Department. The researchers used next-generation sequencing technology to map changes in gene expression in 11 different organs, including the choroid plexus, in both young and aged mice, to identify and compare pathways involved in the aging process.

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

Why Do Our Brains Age? Scientists Reveal The Real Reason

Dr. Michal Schwartz

That is how they identified a strikingly unique “signature of aging” that exists solely in the choroid plexus – not in the other organs. They discovered that one of the main elements of this signature was interferon beta – a protein that the body normally produces to fight viral infection. This protein appears to have a negative effect on the brain: When the researchers injected an antibody that blocks interferon beta activity into the cerebrospinal fluid of the older mice, their cognitive abilities were restored, as was their ability to form new brain cells. The scientists were also able to identify this unique signature in elderly human brains. The scientists hope that this finding may, in the future, help prevent or reverse cognitive decline in old age, by finding ways to rejuvenate the “immunological age” of the brain.

Prof. Michal Schwartz is the incumbent of the Maurice and Ilse Katz Professorial Chair of Neuroimmunology and Dr. Ido Amit, of the Immunology Department, is the incumbent of the Alan and Laraine Fischer Career Development Chair at the Weizmann Institute of Science.

Photos: Chuck LaChance/ courtesy

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[For Israeli App ‘SleepRate’, A Good Night’s Sleep Is A Matter Of Heart]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35159 2014-11-26T16:20:31Z 2014-11-26T16:15:12Z

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

In a 24/7 world, sleep is increasingly becoming a luxury, to the great detriment of millions around the world. In the US alone one out of every three people will experience an extended period of insomnia at some point in their lives, impacting their health and costing the economy billions due to lost wages and productivity.

Now, an Israeli start-up called SleepRate has a solution that it says will help people sleep more efficiently and take maximal advantage of the hours they do have to sleep, even if they can’t get the full allotment recommended by experts.

Sleep deprivation is by far the most common ailment affecting Americans, according to the Centers for Disease Control – making it nothing short of an “epidemic.” The effects of lack of sleep is far more serious than walking around glassy-eyed, the CDC says. The body will not be denied; individuals who can’t sleep at night will end up falling asleep during the day, often at very inopportune moments. Unintentionally falling asleep, nodding off while driving, and having difficulty performing daily tasks because of sleepiness all may contribute to what has become a public safety and health crisis.

     SEE ALSOIsraeli Research Finds Parents’ Interrupted Sleep Is The Equivalent Of No Sleep At All

“Persons experiencing sleep insufficiency are also more likely to suffer from chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, depression, and obesity, as well as from cancer, increased mortality, and reduced quality of life and productivity,” said the CDC. For many of the sleepless, the problem is twofold. Many just can’t spare the seven to eight hours health officials recommend everyone get on a nightly basis. A globalized 24/7 economy requires an always-available workforce, and many workers fear being replaced by a less-expensive but just as skilled colleague on the other side of the world. For them, eight hours of sleep nightly is a faraway dream, to be deferred indefinitely until they reach financial stability – or retirement age.

SleepRate helps those seeking a sleep solution bring the principles of CBT-I into their lives. Key to the system is determining sleep habits to see what behaviors need to be corrected. Using a heart-rate monitor and an iPhone’s sensors and microphone (an Android version is on the way), SleepRate generates data that analyzes heart rate variability to understand how you sleep.

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

Photo by Tony Alter

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35152 2014-11-26T09:07:40Z 2014-11-25T17:02:14Z

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Europe’s largest organization for applied research, the Fraunhofer Society (Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft), will collaborate with the well-known Israeli industrialist and billionaire Stef Wertheimer to gain access to leading Israeli researchers and companies. Based in Munich, Germany, Fraunhofer hopes that the partnership will expose the organization to potential collaborative efforts between innovative Israeli companies and skilled Society researchers.

     SEE ALSO: Report: Israel And EU Sign €80 Million Scientific Research Agreement

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

Stef Wertheimer

Werthemier and the Israel connection

In order to further cooperation, Fraunhofer and the Lavon industrial park in Israel’s northern Galilee region signed a letter of intent to establish a joint communications platform between Israeli companies in the park and the organization’s scientists and institutions. The connection between the Lavon industrial park and Fraunhofer’s relationship with Wertheimer is not coincidental—the German native is the owner of the Lavon industrial park, as well as four other industrial parks in Israel, that generate up to $1 billion in combined revenue. Both Fraunhofer and Wertheimer hope that this cooperative effort will help launch joint research projects, organize scientist exchanges, and intensify the educational transfer between the institutions.

Prof. Reimund Neugebauer, President of the Fraunhofer -Gesellschaft, commented on the agreement in a statement: ”Israel is one of the most innovative countries in the world. As a location for technology-oriented companies, Israel is particularly well-known for its many successful startups. Fraunhofer has had ties with the country for many years.” Regarding the collaboration with Wertheimer, Neugebauer continued, “Our partnership with an industrialist of Stef Wertheimer’s caliber, who is so highly regarded in Israel and Germany, will bring this exchange to a new level.”

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

The Lavon industrial park

An end to the academic boycott?

The effort to bridge between Israeli and European researchers and innovators made by a worthwhile institution like Fraunhofer may signal the end of a decade of boycotts against Israeli academic institutions. In recent years, Israeli researchers have urged their scientific collages to refuse offers for submissions to European journals, due to what is perceived by many as politically-driven academic bias against Israelis. Yet the latest move by Fraunhofer to draw closer to the Israeli innovation scene (the Society already has a partnership with Hebrew University) may suggest that the European scientific establishment is ready to cooperate again with Israeli brains. But before getting too hopeful, Wertheimer makes clear that the prominent German society won’t be entirely separating science from politics: “good education and good jobs are major contributors to stability in our region, partnerships like this will hopefully give a boost to the peace process between Palestinians and Israelis.”

     SEE ALSO: Israel Launches I-CORE For Advanced Biofuel Research

Europe’s Largest Research Organization, Fraunhofer Society, Sets Sights On Israel

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation invested $1 million in Israeli startup ‘Hervana’

Despite the possible implications of such political goals on Fraunhofer funding in Israel, Europe’s leading applied research society enters the market as another foundation importantly changes its funding guidelines. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation confirmed reports that beginning in 2015, all funded researchers will have to publish their studies with open access publications, making it possible for anyone to gain access to their work as well as for commercial use of their findings. What may seem like a blessing for science students is a nightmare for many scientists in Israel and the world who value the exclusivity and seriousness of access-controlled scientific publications. Israel in particular has seen many of its researchers turn to the Gates Foundation, one of the world’s largest foundations for grants and funding, but due to the changes in policy and now that Fraunhofer is an official option, more Israeli scientists may decide to put their eggs in the European basket.

Photo: Senior male researcher carrying out scientific research in lab/ Jonathan Blum

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[For Babies Allergic To Cow’s Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable-Based Formula]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35114 2014-11-25T13:16:39Z 2014-11-25T13:16:39Z

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The optimum nutrition for a baby may come from breast milk, but for many women breastfeeding is not an option. The alternative is commercially prepared infant formulas that have stood the test of time as nutritious alternatives to breast milk. However, as most infant formulas are based on cow’s milk whey and casein as a protein source, many babies develop a variety of symptoms ranging from dermatological and respiratory problems, to gastric distress and other allergic reactions.

     SEE ALSO: Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds

Now two Israeli baby-food executives and the owners of Heart baby food have come up with the world’s first viable dairy and soy-free solution. Setting out to solve what began as a personal problem, Hamutal Yitzhak and Uriel Kesler teamed up to create a new vegetable-based baby formula called Innovative Dairy Infant formula (INDI) that contains neither cow’s milk nor soy, and still claims to provide all the necessary nutrients.

For Babies Allergic To Cows Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable Based FormulaThe secret is in the plant

For babies who are intolerant to both dairy and soy, many stores offer hypoallergenic or hydrolyzed formulas, which break down milk proteins into tiny particles that trick the body into believing it isn’t allergic. Still, only 90 percent of children with cow’s milk allergies, which is about two to three percent of infants, can tolerate these formulas. Soy based formulas may be a solution, but infants who are allergic to milk are commonly also allergic to soy.

As the creators of this first-of-its-kind formula, Kesler tells NoCamels that after his granddaughter was born, he realized that the market lacked real alternatives to soy and milk-based formulas. Often overwhelmed with digestive problems, the only solution for his granddaughter was a hydrolyzed formula with a terrible taste and smell, making feeding time for her, and those around her, a difficult process. That’s when Yitzhak, one of the first experts to warn of the dangers of plastic BPA-filled baby bottles, and Kesler came together to give parents what they deserve— INDI—the world’s first vegetable-based formula.

     SEE ALSO: The Upside of Suburbia: Green Spaces Found To Significantly Increase Child’s Birth Weight

Using the profits that they earned from Heart baby food, Yitzhak and Kesler began research on their new formula at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology. They started off experimenting with almonds, but soon discovered that they needed more than just almond paste to fulfill the regulations governing the ratio of protein, fat, carbohydrates and essential amino acids required in infant formula. Through trial and error, they uncovered a secret plant-based component to add to their almond recipe. The rest, as they say, was history!

For those of you eager to know what that secret component is, according to the company, you’ll just have to wait to find out. Yitzhak explains, “We can’t release it yet, until we commercialize the product.”

The veggie-based formulas of the future

Founders Yitzhak and Kesler hope to see their formula hit the market within the next year. They recently completed their first industrial trial in a baby food factory in Germany and are in negotiations with several major companies to acquire additional investments.For Babies Allergic To Cows Milk, Israelis Develop World’s First Vegetable Based Formula

“We still need another year to complete safety tests with the babies to make sure there are no side effects.  We also need to complete our patent registration and then we will be ready to start marketing,” says the team.

Yitzhak and Kesler hope that their new formula will provide parents with a real alternative to milk and soy-based formulas that have been proven to cause allergies and other side effects. Offering a price competitive with other baby formulas, and targeting babies from 0-36 months, they aspire to appeal to the market at large. “We want to have a formula that babies will like. We want to be able to provide a solution to all babies suffering from allergies. We want to solve these problems.”

Photo: Baby drinking formula/ Olga Beauty/ Bottle feeding

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35096 2014-11-24T15:48:20Z 2014-11-24T15:37:53Z

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When the engineering students at England’s prestigious University of Cambridge aren’t using their brains, they are busy capturing the intricate beauty of their work through a lens. As part of the annual photography competition held within the university’s Department of Engineering, Israeli PhD student in Machine Learning, Yarin Gal, took second place for his extrapolated image of Vincent van Gogh’s classic painting “Starry Night.” Sponsored by international optics leader ZEISS, this competition’s images were a beautiful and mysterious sight, to the eye of an untrained engineer that is.

     SEE ALSO: You Won’t Believe What This Is!

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic

Yarin’s extrapolation of ‘Starry Night’

Though many aren’t aware, van Gogh painted “Starry Night” in 1889 from what he saw from the window of the French insane asylum he admitted himself to after amputating part of his left ear. The painting has since become one of the world’s most famous works of art and Gal wanted to imagine how it would look had van Gogh painted it on a larger canvas. Using an algorithm called PatchMatch that analyzes pattern and style mathematics, Gal expanded the image by extrapolating its contents, envisioning how van Gogh would have viewed the full scenery from the asylum window.

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic

Aria’s “Asteroidea Electrica”

First place went to Indrat Aria for an image entitled “Asteroidea Electrica,” which at first glance appears to be a colored image of a starfish. However, and not surprisingly, the subject is much more complex than it appears. The image is a “false colored low magnification electron micrograph of free-standing graphene foam,” or the open-cell foam made of single-layer sheets of graphene, commonly used in lithium-ion batteries.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldman’s Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life

In order to participate in the competition, the images must be related to research or teaching within Cambridge’s Department of Engineering and the submitter must be a member of the department. According to the criteria, images must be “beautiful, fascinating, intriguing, amusing, or possibly all of these things.” As Director of Research for the Department Philip Guildford stated, “We continue to be blown away by the beautiful images produced by our students and researchers for this competition,” continuing, “But more than just pretty pictures, these images also show how engineering is helping to solve problems, big and small, all over the world.”

Check out some of the other photos from the competition:

Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh Classic Israeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh ClassicIsraeli Student Wows Judges In Photo Contest With Extrapolated Image Of Van Gogh ClassicPhotos: Yarin Gal/ Indrat Aria/ Calum Williams, Yunuen Montelongo and Jaime Tenorio-Pear/ Long Teng/ James Griffith/Anthony Rubinstein-Baylis/ Mari Ijäs/ Audrey Hon/ Dhiren Mistry/ Nikhil Tiwale and Stanko Nedic/ Jonathon Parkins

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Despite Bump In US-Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says Expert]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35119 2014-11-24T15:26:39Z 2014-11-24T15:26:39Z

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

If politics sometimes divides Israel and the United States, there is a strong force that consistently unites them. The tech relationship between the two countries is as firm as ever, according to Itay Frishman of international law firm Gross, Kleinhendler, Hodak (GHK), and that’s good for both sides.

Despite Bump In US Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says ExpertJust as the US is Israel’s biggest international supporter, providing assistance – diplomatic, military, and otherwise – America is also the biggest overall year-to-year investor in Israel (though China is set to surpass the US in that area this year), with the world’s biggest economy and the most resources. And, it is still the country with the largest and most prosperous market – the best place for an Israeli start-up to sell products or technologies.

     SEE ALSO: Netanyahu’s Gift To Obama: Nanotechnology Mounted On Archaeology

As head of GHK’s high-tech and venture law group, Frishman is one of Israel’s most active deal-making attorneys, in a law firm that is one of the biggest dealmakers in Israel. Among the recent deals GHK has handled: Rakuten’s acquisition of Viber, Yahoo’s acquisition of RayV, AOL’s acquisition of Converto, HiLan’s acquisition of Ness Technologies, along with investments by Goldman Sachs, Bessemer, Norwest Ventures, Samsung Ventures, and others in Israeli firms.

Despite Bump In US Israel Relations, Tech Brings Countries Closer, Says Expert

Itay Frishman

Nowadays, deals between Israeli start-ups and China are all the rage – or seem to be, at least from the headlines. But the US is still ground zero for start-ups looking to make it big. “We have nothing against China, and in fact we do a lot of work there,” Frishman said. “But the US is still the world’s largest economy, and I think for the sake of all of us, things should remain that way.

“Many Israeli start-ups that have technology or an app can only work with a large company in China, which will distribute its tech. But they cannot deal directly with the consumer or end-user – unlike the case in the US, where Israeli companies can sell to anyone,” he added.

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

Photos: Reuters/ GKH Law

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35021 2014-11-23T18:32:06Z 2014-11-23T14:58:28Z

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One of the joys of roughing it in nature is the disconnect from today’s constant technology. However, the silent bliss for some is a bothersome inconvenience for others, which is why the creators of a new technology sought out a power solution to strike a balance between the two. Lovers of nature and technology, meet the KaliPAK, the portable renewable energy generator.

     SEE ALSO: Meet Seven Israeli Alternative-Energy Companies With Solutions To Fuel The Future

The brainchild of two years of research and design by the Kalisaya team based in Israel, the idea for the KaliPAK came about as a solution for those places where grid-based electric power doesn’t exist. This doesn’t just mean that campers and trekkers have a way to stay connected; this autonomous and environmentally-friendly power source could even be used to replace diesel generators or as a back-up in the case of natural disasters. Currently, the team of designers, disaster-recovery experts and businesspeople are hoping to raise $250,000 on crowdfunding site Kickstarter to bring the product to market and aid electrically-challenged communities in Africa in the process.

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great OutdoorsEnough power to charge a smartphone 100 times over

Calling itself “all the power you need when there is no power around,” KaliPAK can generate up to 600watts/hour, enough to charge a smartphone 100 times over, a laptop 10-15 times and provide 120 hours of light. The pack weighs less than 14 lbs. and can be charged by plugging it into anything from a regular outlet, to a car-lighter socket, or using the four (patent-pending) solar panels contained inside the pack. According to the company, the KaliPAK can be charged to up to about 80 percent of its full power capacity on a sunny day. In addition, the pack comes equipped with all the outlets you may need: two USB ports, two 12V power outlets and a Bluetooth transmitter that will let you know, through the KaliAPP, how much energy you still have, whether you’re correctly aimed at the sun, and provide an emergency switch.

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors

This little power station on-the-go comes with still cooler features for the tech-savy outdoorsman: a waterproof raincoat, a waterproof torch, an AC/DC inverter, one LED lightbulb, cord and carabiner, a car-lighter adapter and a quick-charge USB splitter. Of course, this kind of next-generation gadget doesn’t run cheap, with the mid-range KaliPAK 401 costing at $348 and the full-force 600W generator at $698 and up. As an additional bonus, if the company is able to raise the $250,000 it’s aiming for (it has already raised $35,000 from 100 backers), it will ship one KaliPAK for every 50 produced to a community in need of electricity in Africa via Vital Capital, an impact investment fund focused on sub-Saharan Africa.

     SEE ALSO: Look Again: This Israeli Kickstarter Campaign Has Less Depth Than You Think

Portable Solar Energy Backpack KaliPAK Is The Ultimate Gadget For The Great Outdoors

The KaliPAK app

Besides being an incredible outdoors gadget for those who can afford it, the KaliPAK has an inherently positive mission to make power accessible to those who need it most. Whether it be providing accessible energy to a small community in Africa, or immediate power needs after a natural disaster, if it raises the required funds, KaliPAK’s uses are likely only to grow with time.

Photos: Kalisaya

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35085 2014-11-21T12:36:43Z 2014-11-21T12:36:43Z

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The City of Tel Aviv won the award for the ‘World’s Smartest City’ at the Smart City Expo World Congress held this week in Barcelona, Spain. The White City was selected for the prize among 250 competing international cities, including London, Washington D.C., New York, Dubai, Amsterdam and more.

Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo

Delegation from Tel Aviv accepting the award

Tel Aviv was nominated for the prize due to its provision of an impressive array of technologies to city residents that include: city-wide WiFi access (Tel-Net), location-based smartphone technology to help visitors get around the city, and active measures to engage residents through public round-table policy discussions and a collaborative budget.

     SEE ALSO: A Foodie Feat: ‘Saveur Magazine’ Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

In addition, Tel Aviv provides its residents with a unique service dubbed ‘Digi-Tel,’ allowing them to access services and information via email, text message or a personalized website that can be customized according to location, preferences, marital status and more. As part of the services, Tel Aviv residents can engage in a city-wide application development competition based on open databases, as well as register online for municipal services.

Tel Aviv Awarded Title Of ‘World’s Smartest City’ At 2014 Smart City Expo

Digi-Tel services

In response to the honor bestowed on his city, Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai commented: “I am pleased with the recognition the municipality has received for the technological knowledge and creativity it has used to improve public services and make city services more advanced, efficient and transparent.”

In November of last year, the ‘Digi-Tel’ program won the special merit prize at the 2013 Webi Awards, held by the “People and Computers” publication. This and the latest award joins the list of achievements for Tel Aviv as a ‘Startup City,’ which includes its recognition as an international center for innovation and entrepreneurship.

This is the third year of the Smart City Expo is Barcelona, an event that has quickly gained attention as an important milestone for city innovation. Last year, the Brazilian city of Rio de Janeiro was the recipient of the first place award.

Photos: Jeremy Woodhouse/ courtesy

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest-Hit African Countries]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35064 2014-11-20T07:50:04Z 2014-11-20T07:50:04Z

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Israel’s experience in dealing with emergency situations makes it a valuable asset to the international community during times of crisis. Following urgent pleas from the United Nations, the World Health Organization, the US government, and others, the Israeli Ministry of Foreign Affairs has allocated NIS 1.2 million (approx. $313,000) to help combat the Ebola virus that continues to spread at an alarming rate. “We perceive these direct requests as testimony to the well-known Israeli willingness of constant assistance in crisis situations,“ said head of MASHAV, Ambassador Gil Haskel.

Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest Hit African Countries
MASHAV, Israel’s Agency for International Development Cooperation has teamed up with SAREL, Israel’s one-stop-shop for medical equipment and emergency supplies, to launch operation “Hospitals of Hope” aimed at providing much-needed equipment to the West African countries hit hardest by the virus, such as Liberia, Sierra Leone, and Guinea.

     SEE ALSO: How Israel’s Leading Ebola Expert Could Eradicate The Virus

Launched on November 11th, the containers should take 30 to 40 days to reach their destinations. The medical shipments expected to arrive will include mobile clinics with a capacity of 20 beds each, protective gear for healthcare workers, as well as a treatment cart and all the equipment needed to set up the clinics as quickly and efficiently as possible. In the meantime, Israeli NGOs, such as “ISRA-AID” and “Israel Flying Aid” will continue to recruit doctors and assist local medical teams as they begin to operate the clinics.

Israel Sets Up ‘Hospitals of Hope’ To Combat Ebola In Hardest Hit African Countries
The Israeli response to Ebola arrives in two phases

Israel’s immediate response to the Ebola outbreak was to provide the region with basic medical equipment, medication, and protective gear. An early request was made by the UN and US to send Israeli Defense Force field hospitals to the region, but the Ministry of Defense declined. Fear of exposing the Israeli medical teams to infection coupled with the difficulty of providing security for each encampment caused great concern. Instead, a team of doctors was dispatched to peripheral countries to assist in emergency preparedness and prevention, and the Foreign Ministry also upped the level of Israeli aid to the region.

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

Now, MASHAV is switching gears and getting ready to initiate their long-term response by building clinics and providing training to the local population.

MASHAV Ambassador Haskel told ISRAEL21c, “We are working together with African countries at their request and in accordance with the situation on the ground. Israel has unique expertise in the medical realm, and we willingly share our knowledge with all nations.”

Photos: European Commissions DG ECHO / MFA

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Team Wins At Int’l BattleHack Competition With App To Call Plan-Free]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35055 2014-11-19T16:49:00Z 2014-11-19T14:15:59Z

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

The next time you’re stuck without cellphone service, you might still be able to make a phone call – if you have a Paypal account.

Taking advantage of a little-known feature in iOS, AirHop lets users “hop” onto another person’s device (if it’s also running the AirHop service) to make a phone call or send a text in exchange for a PayPal-enabled payment.

Paypal was impressed enough with the project to award the Israeli team behind it $100,000 in its just-completed “BattleHack for Good” contest, held at Paypal headquarters in Silicon Valley.

     SEE ALSO: Young Israeli Innovators Win NASA Competition For Great Innovations

“Good” in this case is defined widely. According to the rules, teams had to come up with an app that made a positive social contribution while using APIs from PayPal, which processes online payments, or its credit card acquirer components Braintree or Venmo. As PayPal is a payments business, any app using its technology would most likely be a commercial-oriented one. But the hacker teams pulled through, creating 14 new apps, ranging from helping the visually impaired to creating an open marketplace for education.

Israeli Team Wins At Intl BattleHack Competition With App To Call Plan Free

The winning BattleHack team from Tel Aviv

But it was AirHop, created by Tel Aviv hackers Shai Mishali and Pavel Kaminsky, that was good enough to score the $100,000 PayPal prize. Calling AirHop “extraordinary,” John Lunn, a top PayPal executive and Battlehack judge, said that it was “absolutely disruptive. What [the team from] Tel Aviv built from a technology standpoint was incredible. I’ve never seen it before.”

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

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=35009 2014-11-19T10:58:02Z 2014-11-19T10:58:02Z

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After years of transporting goods across the globe, shipping containers are finally finding new, more permanent homes. In cities across the globe, old storage units are being transformed into low-cost swanky new pads for those eager to simplify their lives, lighten their footprint, and manage their budget. These durable structures, designed to withstand the strongest of elements, have already proven a great alternative to traditional housing in a number of locations. Now Israel, through the grassroots Ayalim Association, is opening container apartments in two locations – Sderot in the south and Lod in the center – to serve the housing needs of the young student population.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Eco-Home Wins Big At International Solar Decathlon In China

Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes
For $160 a month, who wouldn’t want to live in a container?

Two containers are used to construct a full-size apartment, complete with two bedrooms, a living room, small kitchen and bathroom, at a purchasing price of just $4,000. In just six months, construction companies can assemble one container apartment for approximately $40,000, saving between 20 to 50 percent on traditional construction costs. The dorms will initially be able to house up to 86 students when they are completed by this December, and get this, one month’s rent will cost no more than $160 per person!Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes

While Israel is not the first place to realize the value of these chic containers, it is certainly a country that can benefit from their use. The social protests of 2011, that saw almost a million Israelis come out to the streets in protest, succeeded in drawing attention to the high cost of living in the small Middle Eastern country. The shipping containers are seen by many of these students as the only viable alternative, affordable housing solution.

Joining an international trend

Already used in big cities like Amsterdam, home to the biggest container city in the world called Keetwonen, as well as in the US, Europe and Australia, these units have proven a big success among students and young professionals on a budget. For environmentalists, these containers are also an excellent way to give back in terms of recycling as millions of shipping containers are discarded each year. Additionally, these containerized homes can substantially offset an institution’s carbon footprint and reduce the use of natural resources in the construction of new housing units.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Super Architect Moshe Safdie Designs Singapore Airport’s Incredible Bio-Dome

Israeli Students Turn Shipping Containers Into Swanky Sustainable Homes

The Keetwonen in Amsterdam

Students and Israeli residents are already excited about adopting this international trend at home. But the trend has seen such demand, that in order limit the number of applicants, residents must be willing to commit to volunteering in the local community. At once an affordable and environmental option, these housing units strategically placed in the periphery of Israel are also meant to encourage a youthful, creative vibe outside of the big metropolises, Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

Photos: Temphousing

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think So]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34903 2014-11-18T12:55:41Z 2014-11-18T12:52:45Z

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Though youth may feel that they have an upper hand on stroke and similar brain incidents in comparison to their older counterparts, new research from Tel Aviv University found differently. According to the research, despite the significant reduction in the overall incidence and death rates from strokes in the United States over the past twenty years, more attention needs to be paid to specific age groups.

     SEE ALSO: Video Games Are A Great Way To Rehabilitate Stroke Victims

According to the study, the decline in stroke risk was concentrated mainly in the over‐65 set, with little progress in reducing the risk of strokes among young people. In contrast, the drop in stroke‐related deaths was primarily found among those under age 65, with mortality rates holding firm in older people.

If the obesity epidemic in the U.S. and other countries progresses as expected, the incidence of high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol levels will rise, and millions will face an increased risk of stroke, says Dr. Koton. “Stroke is not only the number four cause of death in the U.S., but the leading cause of long-term disability in adults. As a result, the prevention of strokes is crucial,” said Dr. Koton.

Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think SoAn ounce of prevention

“Since strokes mainly affect older populations, and our population is aging, it is important to learn about changes in stroke incidence and mortality. Our findings are encouraging, but they also suggest that there are specific groups that require more attention. Adopting a healthy lifestyle and controlling cardiovascular risk factors is important for everybody, but apparently there is a need to focus stroke prevention efforts on particular population subgroups.”

The research, conducted by Dr. Silvia Koton of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine and a team of international experts, found a 24 percent decline per decade in first‐time strokes and a 20 percent drop per decade in deaths after strokes in the last 24 years.

Extensive study population

The study based its findings on data presented by Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities (ARIC) research, which monitored 15,792 residents between the ages of 45 and 64 in four U.S. communities starting in the late 1980s. In the new study, researchers followed the progress of 14,357 participants who were free of stroke in 1987, with an eye to stroke hospitalizations and deaths between 1987-2011.

     SEE ALSO: Can The Immune System Help Recovery From Stroke?

Extensive information was collected through interviews and physical exams at baseline (1987-1989) and in three follow-up visits (1990-92, 1993-95, and 1996-98). In addition to the check-ups, annual phone interviews were conducted as well as active surveillance of discharges from local hospitals until December 31, 2011.

Could Strokes Among The Elderly Soon Be A Thing Of The Past? Tel Aviv Researchers Think So

Dr. Silvia Koton

“Decreases in stroke incidence and mortality have previously been demonstrated, but empirical data on validated stroke incidence are scarce,” said Dr. Koton. “In the ARIC study, each stroke was confirmed by expert review of medical charts using uniform criteria. In addition, previous reports on long-term trends in stroke incidence by race have not been consistent, with some studies in the U.S. showing decreases in stroke incidence over time only among whites — but not African-Americans. Our study shows that stroke incidence and mortality are decreasing also among African-Americans.”

The researchers hope their findings will provide a basis for future studies that focus on the reasons for age disparities in stroke incidence and subsequent mortality.

The research was conducted by Dr. Silvia Koton of Tel Aviv University’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine as well as a team of international researchers from the Bloomberg School of Public Health at Johns Hopkins University, Prof. Josef Coresh of the Bloomberg School of Public Health, and a team of experts at Hopkins, the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill and the University of Arizona.

Photos: Herman Bogaerts

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israel’s New National Library]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34986 2014-11-18T10:57:58Z 2014-11-18T10:57:58Z

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Leading Swiss architecture firm Herzog & de Meuron has just revealed its design for the upcoming National Library of Israel in Jerusalem, which will be the largest in Isreal. The 34,000 square-meter structure, located in the same complex as Israel’s parliament, the Israel Museum, the Science Museum and the Hebrew University, was designed together with Israeli architecture firm, Shinar Architects.

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library
According to the Swiss-Israeli team, construction on the complex will begin in 2016 and is set to be completed by 2019. The structure will have a huge oculus opening in its roof, providing for lots of natural day light in the four-story structure. The international firm, headquartered in Basel, Switzerland, was chosen for the ambitious project after native Israeli architect Rafi Segal was released from his position due to copyright issues, according to “Dezeen Magazine.”

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library
Aside from its function as Israel’s largest public library, the complex will house research laboratories, offices, educational facilities, a visitor’s center, a multipurpose hall and a climate-controlled archive. Herzog & de Meuron described the building’s design: “The strong, sculptural form of the stone, related to the specific topography and context of the site, is elevated off the ground, and situated above vitrine like elements.”

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Super Architect Moshe Safdie Designs Singapore Airport’s Incredible Bio-Dome

Herzog & de Meuron is an architecture firm famous for the design of London’s Tate Modern, as well as the Beijing National Stadium for the 2008 Olympic Games. More recently, the firm has engaged in ‘environmentally-friendly’ projects, like a biologically filtered swimming pool in Switzerland and an open-air gymnasium in Brazil. The firm was chosen to complete the project in April 2013 after Segal was dismissed for potential copyright infringements in his winning design.

Swiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National LibrarySwiss Architects Herzog & de Meuron Reveal Beautiful Design For Israels New National Library

Photos: Herzog de Meuron

 

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israelis Create Therapy ‘Bubbles’ In The Heart Of New York City With ‘Talkspace’]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34998 2014-11-17T15:42:13Z 2014-11-17T15:33:05Z

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A city of 8.4 million residents and endless possibilities, it would be an understatement to call living in New York City ‘overwhelming.’ That’s one of the reasons why the Israeli-founded startup Talkspace created a convenient solution for New Yorkers to consult with a psychologist in the heart of the city. At Talkspace’s #PopUpTherapy installation on Fifth Avenue and 23rd Street, passersby are able to receive a quick, free 15-minute consultation with a therapist, and find out about the startup’s psychology solutions for the modern age.Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With Talkspace

Raising awareness, and treatment levels

Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With Talkspace

Roni and Oren Frank

Talkspace was founded in 2012 by Israelis Roni and Oren Frankel after one of Roni’s friends committed suicide as a result of years of untreated depression. Armed with a master’s degree in psychology, Roni set out to “democratize psychotherapy,” aware that nearly 60 percent of individuals with a diagnosable mental health disorder never seek treatment. This, Roni points out, is due to the fact that physically showing up at a therapist’s office takes a good deal of emotional strength, something that individuals suffering from depression and other mental conditions may be lacking.

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

The Talkspace application and therapy platform allows users to receive mental health support from licensed therapists online and via text, in real time. The installation in the heart of New York, #PopUpTherapy, began last Wednesday in order to raise awareness about Talkspace’s services and to make the needs of mental health patients more transparent. That’s why the Talkspace therapist is housed in a transparent bubble, designed by Alon Seifert, in the middle of the urban jungle—to assure New Yorkers and the international viewing public that someone, somewhere is there to hear their problems out.

It all begins with a text

Unlike the run-of-the-mill blood test or psych evaluation you may get as a new patient at a conventional therapist, Talkspace begins with texting. The new user receives a free texting consultation that can last anywhere from 15 minutes to an entire day, according to Roni. Then one of the 100 licensed therapists employed at Talkspace will assess the new patient’s status and pair him or her with a specialist for their disorder, or just a friendly therapist for them to reach out to. When it comes time to pay for the services, the options are just as flexible. For $49 a month, the user can engage in weekly text or video sessions with their therapist, $25 for monthly and $19 for four times a year. Though Talkspace doesn’t accept traditional medical insurance, it is a lot cheaper than in-person therapy sessions.

And while the idea of texting your therapist may seem unsettling, the accessibility and informality of the digital relationship is already answering the needs of many Talkspace users. According to one, “It’s really like texting. It’s easier to write out my feelings, rather than when you’re sitting in a room with someone and it’s hard to explain things. This gives you time to think about what you want to say, and really think about what they’re saying.”

     SEE ALSO: Abandoned Dogs Help Human Sufferers Overcome Abuse, Grief

Israelis Create Therapy Bubbles In The Heart Of New York City With TalkspaceWith so many traditionally in-person services going online, it was only a matter of time before the Internet got Freudian. A number of online therapy services are popping up, like Blah Therapy, 7 Cups of Tea and more, but Talkspace is the only platform to offer the texting option, and to go out of their way to raise awareness about untreated mental conditions with the #PopUpTherapy installation. This past May, the startup raised $2.5 million in seed funding from Spark Capital and SoftBank and has already begun expansion of its services outside of the US to locations like Turkey, Iran, England, Canada and more.

Photos: courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating Habits]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34975 2014-11-16T13:22:22Z 2014-11-16T13:22:22Z

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The most frequently broken promise we make to ourselves may be, ‘This week I will start my diet.’ This is probably because we are constantly surrounded by irresistible temptations, making it hard to change our eating habits. Whatever the reason, there may be a solution to help keep your diet on track. It’s called BitBite and its purpose is to track and analyze how much you eat without interfering in your daily life.

BitBite is a wearable earpiece that contains a microphone, Bluetooth chip and other sensors that track what you eat, how much you eat and even how quickly you eat. All of this information is then transferred over a cloud-based server to an application on the BitBite wearer’s smartphone, providing them with real-time data on their eating habits. Everything from bite frequency to calorie intake is recorded to help wearers make the most of their diet and stay on track. The Israeli team behind the BitBite technology is currently looking to raise $60,000 on Indiegogo, of which they have already raised $41,000.

BitBite may not be a first

The BitBite claims to track what you eat, how many bites you take and how long you chew with a microphone installed within the earpiece. Then, using Bluetooth technology at a distance of up to 60 feet from a smartphone, the information is transferred to the cloud where users can access it later on. If you don’t feel like wearing the earpiece, despite its small size, it can be stored in either a wristband or clip for when you’re ready for a snack. The earpiece’s battery lasts a total of three hours and is charged on a USB device, with a LED light indicator to let you know when it’s fully charged and ready to wear.

     SEE ALSO: SCiO: This Unbelievable Device Will Change The Way We Interact With The World

Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating Habits
Though BitBite’s technology may seem novel, they weren’t the first to come up with it. In a 2008 paper entitled “Eating habits monitoring using wireless wearable in-ear microphone,” engineers from Keio University in Japan outline their technology, “To realize ubiquitous eating habits monitoring, we proposed the use of chewing sound sensed by an in-ear placed wireless wearable microphone.” And, much like BitBite, the technology was developed using a Bluetooth headset, allowing users to track their eating habits.

Bite Into This: BitBite, The Earpiece Sensor That Keeps Track Of Your Eating HabitsIs an earpiece all it takes to keep you on track?

     SEE ALSO: LifeWatch: The Smartphone That Will Keep Track Of Your Health

Still, BitBite made it first to the crowdfunding scene. The first crowdfunders to purchase a BitBite will pay between $109 for the basic kit including BitBite earpiece, charger, app access and a storage clip, and up to $199 for an engraved BitBite skin. The earpiece comes in three different colors: white, black and pink and, according to the company, can be used immediately, from the moment its taken out of the box.

Photos: Indiegogo

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34964 2014-11-13T13:34:15Z 2014-11-13T13:10:27Z

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Moshe Hogeg is the CEO and founder of the real-time visual medial platform Mobli, which has brought you apps like Yo!, the messenger app that went viral, and Mirage, a Snapchat rival. Moshe is also the founder of venture capital firm Singulariteam that has offices around the globe, funding startups like StoreDot and META. Moshe hails from the desert city of Beersheva, Israel, and currently resides in Tel Aviv.

What is your biggest inspiration? Elon Musk, since he’s changing the world on several fronts. I admire his professionalism and versatility. He is extremely sharp in many areas that usually conflict with one another – it is an amazing thing to see.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? Gal Gadot, since she’s more ‘Israeli’ in my eyes. She’s more my taste. Bar Refaeli wears sunglasses and a bikini, Gal Gadot is cool! She drives fast cars and she’s Wonder Woman! With a Sword!

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? I’d love to have dinner with Albert Einstein. He seems like a fascinating person. I would love to discuss philosophy, math, life… Just listen and learn.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg
Falafel or shawarma? Shawarma. I’m a meat lover.

Tel Aviv or New York? I spent three years in New York and now I live in Tel Aviv. Generally, the fact that I left New York to go back to Tel Aviv says I prefer the latter, however, if you have an anchor in New York, it makes doing business in Tel Aviv easier. The two cities are very connected as far as Israeli business goes. I would rather live in Tel Aviv and do business in New York. I had fun living there.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Nothing. My favorite thing to do on the weekend is nothing. I do so much during the week that on the weekends I do nothing. All of my hobbies I do over the week. On weekends I’m a couch potato, with my kid and family.

What’s your homepage? http://www.singulariteam.com/

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg

The Mobli team

What’s your hidden talent? I play piano. I love playing Israeli music.

Star Wars or Star Trek? I’m a Star Trek person. It’s more tech-oriented. It’s still sci-fi, but it has a realistic foundation. It’s closer to our world and it is very inspiring. It feels much closer than Star Wars.

What are you addicted to? My job, soccer and my two-year-old son.

Who was your first celebrity crush? As a kid I was in love with Alyssa Milano from ‘Who’s the Boss?’

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Mobli Mogul Moshe Hogeg

Milano on ‘Who’s the Boss’

What’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? The biggest risk I ever took was becoming an entrepreneur. I’m in the risk-taking business and take risks daily. Looking back… I was an officer in the army with a very clear path – and it’s not like I came from rich family. Leaving that, without knowing where you’re going, was a meaningful decision. It was giving up everything for something unknown.

What were your first steps in the business world? My first steps in the business world were due to my love of soccer. In 2006, there was a game in which Barcelona’s coach wouldn’t let Lionel Messi play, and the fans were outraged. That gave me the idea to create a platform for crowdsourcing coaching. Eventually, that led to a platform called Web2Sport, where the fans could influence coaching decisions for a third-league team in Israel. It was a great platform with a lot of fans, but I made a lot of mistakes building it. But that’s fine, I learned from all of them.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? I find it hard to imagine myself doing anything else… But definitely something creative. Maybe an artist.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? I’m trying to decide between Iron Man, Batman and Spider-Man. I love superheroes. Iron-Man is all science and Spider-Man is all supernatural, while Batman is a little bit of both. Who doesn’t think about building an Iron Man armor? We actually have a robotics company that we keep asking to develop something like that, and we’re also invested in META, that developed Iron-Man-like AR glasses.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents? If there was one mantra that repeated itself it was “there’s no such thing as ‘can’t.’” Kids always say they can’t do things. I was taught that there’s no such thing as ‘can’t’ there’s only ‘I don’t want to.’

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Yo. Even though that works in almost any language.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On Earth]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34943 2014-11-12T16:39:31Z 2014-11-12T16:03:01Z

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Scientists made history today as the European Space Agency’s Rosetta satellite dropped lander Philae on a moving comet deep in outer space. After decades of research and preparation, scientists hope to find evidence that will reveal what sparked life on Earth. And despite Israel’s small size, the country’s scientific community wouldn’t miss out on the opportunity to contribute to an event that could literally change the course of history. Tel Aviv University Professor Akiva Bar-Nun told NoCamels how Israeli research into comets and their composition is aiding scientists in understanding this potentially groundbreaking accomplishment.

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On EarthThe first comet landing in history

At 6:03 PM Israel time, space aficionados around the world awaited news of the successful landing of lander Philae on the 67P Comet (Tz’riumov-Grsimnko) following a decade-long journey. The lander detached itself from Rosetta at approximately 10:00 AM and traveled 20 kilometers for about seven hours until it landed softly on the comet. Immediately following the landing, Philae will send a signal to Rosetta, which communicates with the scientists back on Earth to let them know that the landing was successful. Because the distance between Earth and the comet is over five hundred million kilometers, it took approximately 28 minutes for the signal to reach Earth.

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

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

67P Comet

This isn’t the first time that scientists have tried to make contact with a comet. In January 2005, during alpha mission Deep Impact, a NASA Space probe successfully released an impactor, “the size of a washing machine” onto comet Tempel 1. Through this mission, scientists were able to gather a significant amount of information regarding the composition of comets and their possible contributions to life on this planet. Tel Aviv University significantly contributes to these findings, possessing the only machine in the world that can produce real samples of comet ice. By analyzing the measurements taken during Deep Impact and now by lander Philae, researchers hope that the Rosetta mission will be able to confirm their earth-shattering hypothesis.

35 years in the making, and finally they’ve found the right design

It was over a decade ago that the idea for the Rosetta mission was first conceived. A group of researchers came together from across the US and Europe on a mission to land the first probe on 67P Comet. “The original goal of the mission,” says Prof. Bar- Nun, “was not only to land on this comet, but also to dig into it, to take a sample, put it in a canister, and bring it back to Earth for close study.” The problem was that scientists were unaware of the mechanical strength of the ice, and after speaking with engineers, they realized that gathering a sample would prove difficult and that their design would have to change.

     SEE ALSO: New Antibacterial Material Purifies Water In Space

Rosetta Mission Lands On Comet To Discover Possible Origins Of Life On EarthOften compared to a ‘dirty snowball’, a comet is an icy small body that releases gas or dust. Researchers posit that comets may have originally brought some of the water and organic materials to Earth that sparked complex life here millions of years ago. However, due to the vast distance and lack of knowledge regarding the constitution of comets, the team struggled to design a lander that could effectively collect and preserve the material in its journey back home. Thus, they came up with the idea that rather than physically bringing samples back to Earth, the lander would reach the comet, collect its measurements, and eventually relay the information back to Earth via Rosetta’s satellite.

It’s easy enough to say, but landing on a comet is no easy task. Prof Bar-Nun explains that because there are conditions of zero gravity, the lander won’t just sit on the surface. “The material of the comet is extremely fluffy, like snow that has just fallen on the Earth. This makes it very difficult for the lander to stay grounded,” he says. The comet also contains some very uneven terrain, steep cliffs, and huge boulders. After actively testing many different models and landing mechanisms, researchers are hopeful that this time the landing will yield success. Philae will slowly drop to the surface of the comet and will be anchored down by two harpoons that will fire into the ice.

The search for amino acids – the stuff of life

Once Philae is able to collect enough information, scientists hope to answers to one of the most baffling questions of all time—why does Earth posses complex life? To this goal, understanding the chemical composition of the comet will be of the utmost importance.

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

Rosetta’s flight path, 500 million kilometers

“These materials interest us because we know that comets delivered to the early Earth, after its formation, contained about a third of the water and a lot of the organic material which eventually dissolved in the ocean and set the scene for life to emerge on Earth.  These organic materials were essential for the emergence of life and we would like to know what they are,” says Prof. Bar-Nun.

In particular, scientists will be especially delighted if that are able to find “left handed” amino acids in the chemical makeup of the comet. These organic molecules form the basis of life on Earth and interestingly enough, all of the plant and animal proteins on Earth are derived from left-handed amino acids.  Finding them on a comet could explain the existence of complex life on Earth and potentially suggest that similar life could exist on other planets.

Tonight, as over a decade of hard work and diligent research has reached its climax, the project’s scientists anticipate that Philae’s rendezvous with 67P Comet will reveal the secret to Earth’s complex lifeforms.

Photo: ESA

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[FUGU, The Carry-On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34928 2014-11-13T09:39:17Z 2014-11-12T11:21:43Z

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With air travel increasing from 2.2 billion passengers per year to over 3 billion between 2009 and 2014, major airlines are getting in on the affordable air fare “trend”. But when relieving one burden, airlines tend to create another – luggage fees are going through the roof. In fact, if you fly a cheaper charter flight to your destination, it’s likely you’ll have to pay at least $180 per suitcase on top of the price of the plane ticket!

With people struggling to figure out where to fit their possessions when they fly, one company has come up with an interesting solution to the suitcase conundrum. FUGU luggage is an Israeli Kickstarter campaign creating carry-on to full-size expandable luggage that serves many of the needs of the busy traveler on the go. FUGU also offers features like built-in-storage shelves, hangers and even a working table for the kind of people that literally live out of their suitcase. We know a number of people who would fit that description (thought they may not readily admit it), so it’s no wonder that the team has already raised $64,000, well past their $50,000 funding goal, in only a few days.

A solution for the modern international traveler

The project started when product designer and FUGU luggage CEO Isaac Atlas set out on an international business trip with only a carry-on in hand. His wife warned him that, come the end of the trip, he would need a full-sized suitcase to fit his purchases. Upon the day of return, Atlas was forced to admit that his wife was right (yet again), forcing him to buy a larger suitcase. So he created ‘FUGU’, named after the poisonous Japanese puffer fish that expands to three times its size.

     SEE ALSO: Dreaming Of Privacy On Packed Flights? Israeli-Designed ‘B-Tourist’ May Be The Solution

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!

Fugu founders Daniel Gindis and Isaac Atlas

However, it wasn’t just travel that inspired the design of FUGU luggage, it was something a bit more random. “Initially, Isaac thought of a box to store books in that would be adjustable in size. In order to achieve this, he started playing around with cereal boxes, and when it came time to design FUGU, he remembered this, putting the cereal box pieces together like origami so that the suitcase could expand,” says VP of Business Development Daniel Gindis told NoCamels.

The soon-to-be patent-protected FUGU luggage expands from a 40 by 50 centimeter hard plastic-covered carry-on to a height of 25-70 centimeters with a built-in electric pump. It has four 360 degree ‘omni’ wheels to allow for comfortable travel when the suitcase is pumped up to full size, and a wheeling advantage when its used as a carry-on. In addition, the long handle on the carry-on suitcase folds down to make rolling easier and it’s covered in colorful, light-weight and durable plastic to protect valuables. It also has a built-in table, shelves, and more, making FUGU “the ultimate suitcase,” according to Gindis.

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!
Freedom of choice for the traveler

Despite our freedom to choose an airline and buy a ticket to nearly any location in the world, there is little freedom of choice in the world of luggage, which is why the FUGU team decided to try something new – a square suitcase. “The big innovation here is that the suitcase is not a rectangle, it’s a square and this came after a realization that we don’t really care what shape our suitcase is when it’s under the plane, but we do when we have to pack and unpack it. That’s when we began to ask why suitcases are designed rectangularly in the first place and to consider non-traditional features that travelers really need,” says Gindis.

     SEE ALSO: The Internet Age Means Flights Are Longer And Airlines Are Greedier, Study Shows

FUGU, The Carry On Luggage That Expands, And Even Turns Into A Table!
This brought Gindis to suggest that they should add more features to make the FUGU travel experience complete. From built-in shelves for easy organization, to hangers, to a portable table that makes a great airport workspace, to a removable laptop case and stand, it seems that FUGU has got a lot covered. Gindis told NoCamels that the company plans to release additional features within the next week as part of its ‘stretch goals,’ which may include a temperature-controlled compartment and other optional features that he says makes FUGU “the Mary Poppin’s bag of suitcases.”

At least one notable downside of this product is the price. Due to the air-pumping technology involved, the expensive, light-weight plastic and other unique features, one piece of the expandable luggage and a built-in laptop case costs $245, about the price of a high-end suitcase, and it’s available in five different colors. Another downside could be the weight, though admittedly the extra features only add on about a pound. But the unique innovation and thought that went a product that smartly seeks to adapt to changes in air travel may be worth the extra bucks, and may even save you a few on excess baggage next time you’re at the airport.

Photos: Ariel Zandberg

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[The World’s First ‘Smart Hat’ Sets Bar High For Wearable Sports Technology]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34919 2014-11-12T10:14:36Z 2014-11-11T13:40:14Z

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

If you’re in the market for smart health gear, you can wait another half year or so for the Apple Watch to go on sale – or you can get a “smart hat” from Israel’s LifeBEAM. Specializing in devices that let users measure heartbeat, number of calories burned, distance covered while running or cycling, and other key metrics runners and cyclists care about, the new LifeBEAM baseball cap takes the place of chest heart monitors, wristbands, pedometers, and other devices.

The Worlds First Smart Hat Sets Bar High For Wearable Sports Technology

And at $99, it’s priced at the very bottom of new health devices, while providing much more information – a value proposition the company is confident will help it sell a lot of hats. There’s also a visor geared towards women, who seem to prefer them over baseball caps, the company says.

The LifeBEAM hat works if you’re interested in a device to keep an eye on your workouts, whether in the gym or on the jogging track. But a baseball cap is not the kind of thing you’d wear around the office – unlike the Apple Watch, which, as company CEO Tim Cook said when he introduced the device last month, will come in several editions, including a “classic” one, featuring a Rolex or Breitling “look of luxury” to it. And, of course, the Apple Watch will have a slew of non-fitness related features.

     SEE ALSOThe Top Ten Wearable Tech Made In Israel

For monitoring workouts and connecting to apps that can analyze fitness data, though, the LifeBEAM hat has everything athletes need. To get the hat working, users just put it on, and the hat begins measuring heart rate, calorie consumption, steps taken, and cadence (walking rate and gait data). The information can be uploaded to smartphone apps on devices with Bluetooth compatibility (iPhones, Android and Windows devices), or to hundreds of other devices such as treadmills/elliptical machines, GPS trackers, and bike computers that use the ANT+ wireless connectivity system.

For most users, the best tech aspect of the hat is likely to be its heart monitor. LifeBEAM placed the sensors – including an optical sensor that monitors pulse — in the back of the hat, measuring the flow of blood via an LED that determines heart rate from the speed at which blood flows through the veins, using a technique called photoplethysmography (PPG), replacing the bulky and clumsy chest-strap monitors most athletes use.

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

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes Different]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34714 2014-11-10T14:54:50Z 2014-11-10T14:41:06Z

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Have you ever wanted to become a more adventurous food aficionado? Picky eaters of the world take note; researchers from the University of Haifa have found that if you try the same “yucky” food in a different location, your brain will be more tolerant of the new attempt.

In a new study led by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum and doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan at the University of Haifa, researchers established for the first time that there is indeed a functional link between the areas of the brain responsible for negative taste memory and those responsible for processing the memory of the time and location of the sensory experience. This link does not exist when we savor and enjoy a new experience with food.

     SEE ALSO: The ‘Memory’ Of Starvation Stays In Your Genes For Three Generations, Tel Aviv Researchers Show

The taste cortex, which is the area of the brain responsible for storing memories of new tastes, is found in a rather insulated area of the human brain known as the insular cortex. The area of the brain responsible for formulating memories of time and place is the hippocampus. Until now, experts believed that no direct connection existed between these areas, meaning that taste was not related to the time and place where one experienced it. However, the latest research changes all that, and with it our understanding of eating habits and traumatic food memories.

The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes DifferentBad, not good, tastes are more dominant in our memory

To begin their research, scientists chose to study and investigate the taste cortex, responsible for taste memory, as well as three different areas in the hippocampus: CA1, the area responsible for encoding the concept of space; DG, the area responsible for encoding the time relationship between events; and CA3, the area responsible for filling in missing information. To do this, researchers used ordinary mice, as well as mice that were genetically engineered by their Japanese comrades. The genetically engineered mice had normal functioning brains, but lacked plasticity between the three different areas of the hippocampus making it impossible for them to form new memories in that area of the brain.

In the study, the mice were exposed to two new tastes, one mimicking the exposure to toxic food, thus causing stomach pains, and another that didn’t cause that feeling. By analyzing the two groups, it appeared that when the new taste was not accompanied with the association of toxic food, there was no difference between the normal mice and the mice that lacked plasticity.  However, when the taste caused a negative feeling, there was unmistakable involvement in the area of the hippocampus responsible for encoding space.

     SEE ALSO: Your Genes Could Tell You Exactly Which Foods To Eat To Stay Healthy

“The significance of this is that the moment we go back to the same place at which we experienced the taste associated with a bad feeling, subconsciously the negative memory will be much stronger than if we come to taste the same taste in a totally different place,” explained Prof. Rosenblum.

The Tricks Of The Mind! Study Shows The Same Food In A Different Place Tastes Different

Prof. Kobi Rosenblum

Understanding how memories are made

On a larger scale, the findings of this study uncover the complexity of the simple sensory experiences that are etched in our brains and that in most cases we aren’t even aware of. Scientists have found just how closely our senses are connected to memory and cognition. The results of this study have the ability to help explain the brain’s difficulty in producing memories when certain areas of the brain become dysfunctional following an illness or accident.  For example, as we age, we become more forgetful and absent-minded in large part because our brain does not process what we see, hear, and feel as well as it once did. As a result, we struggle to store images of our experiences as clearly, and we have trouble using them and recalling them later.

The more we understand about the encoding of simple sensory experiences in the brain and the link between the feeling, time and place of the experiences, the better we will understand the complex process of creating memories and storing them in our brains.

So, to all the fussy eaters our there, don’t surrender to selectivity just yet! The next time you have an urge to re-try one of those dreaded food items, find a fresh, new place to do it. As this research proves, you can trick your brain into thinking that a once lousy bite is now a scrumptious delight!

The study was conducted by Prof. Kobi Rosenblum and doctoral student Adaikkan Chinnakkaruppan at the Sagol Department of Neurobiology at the University of Haifa, in collaboration with the Riken Institute, the leading brain research institute in Tokyo, Japan.

Photo: Man complaining for the bad food/ Grossed Out/ Gil Nehushtan

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34896 2014-11-09T15:53:10Z 2014-11-09T15:43:07Z

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To commemorate the 25th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, Google today decided to make a very special Google Doodle (the Google logo that changes daily). With only a short time to put the Doodle together, and a desire to make it as meaningful as possible, the Google team wanted to make a video compilation showing parts of the Berlin Wall that are currently on display in 17 countries across the world. With little time on their hands, the Google team in Mountain View, California turned to Israeli video production startup VEED.me to get crews filming in all locations.

The Berlin Wall: from divider to a unifier

Only weeks ago, the Google Doodle team set out for a short bike ride from the company’s headquarters to observe a piece of the Berlin Wall outside a local public library. This got the team excited about documenting all of the remaining pieces of the Berlin Wall, which was once the ultimate symbol of segregation, in an attempt to shed light on the beautiful irony of its division 25 years later. According to the company, “The gratified chunk of concrete, once a literal division, has been transformed into a symbol of unity, a reminder to passersby of the triumph of the collective human spirit.”

     SEE ALSO: Check Out Google’s Awesome New Tel Aviv Offices!

Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall

Fall of the Berlin Wall- November 9, 1989.

Yet in order to complete the task at hand, the Google Doodle team began thinking of ways to achieve unique footage of each of the Berlin Wall pieces scattered throughout the world. That’s when the Google Doodle team remembered that the Israeli video production platform VEED.me quickly outsources video production according to clients’ needs. “We [the Google team] asked them [VEED.me] to arrange 17 international film crews to document wall segments in 3 continents and within a week (!) we had it all ready.”

Any project is possible with ‘crowdsourced’ footage

VEED.me, a two-year-old Israeli startup, immediately got to work fulfilling Google’s Doodle vision, hiring videographers in Moscow, Hungary and Belgium to document the wall pieces and their unique graffiti. Google then went in and added a few shots of raw footage from that earth-shattering night in November 1989 when the wall of Communism came tumbling down. However, if it weren’t for VEED.me’s unique video production services, what co-founder and CEO Yoav Hornung says specializes in, “crowdsourcing for footage,” Google wouldn’t have been able to present one of its most stunning and moving Doodles yet.

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

Google Doodle Partners With Israeli Video Startup To Remember 25 Years Since Fall Of Berlin Wall

Piece of Berlin Wall in Madrid, Spain.

Founded in 2012 by four fresh film school graduates, VEED.me’s platform hopes to make it easier for worthy clients to get the video footage they need by outsourcing projects to a community of over 2,000 videographers throughout the world. Hornung says the startup was founded because “instead of doing what we loved, we were forced to work as waiters and bartenders. We wanted to create a place that would make it easier not only for film makers and videographers like us to find work, but also for businesses to gain access to video production services at affordable prices.”

Creating any kind of video, from commercials to short films, VEED.me gained the attention of AOL’s Nautilus Israel incubator program, as well as UpWest Labs, which invested $20,000 in seed funding in the company nearly a year ago. Maybe with their big break as the Google Doodle video producer, VEED.me will be able to better market their unique video production technology as answering the video needs of none other than the giants of the Internet.

Photos: Screenshot

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Rachel Dinh, NoCamels <![CDATA[Project Ara, Google’s First Completely Customizable Smartphone, Built With Israeli Tech]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34866 2014-11-09T12:03:11Z 2014-11-09T12:03:11Z

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The tech community has been buzzing with anticipation ahead of the release of Google’s hottest new venture: Project Ara, a smartphone with customizable hardware. Describing itself as the smartphone “designed exclusively for 6 billion people,” Project Ara is still in it’s early stages, but already has tech buffs the world over excited about the concept. What few know, however, is that Project Ara’s modular smartphone is based on failed Israeli technology.

In 2008, an Israeli startup called Modu developed the first modular smartphones that fit into electronic jackets to become cameras, fitness trackers, music players, etc. The company failed to gain traction in part because of its clunky design, and the limited availability of modules, resulting in the folding of the company soon after it launched. After Modu failed, Google bought its intellectual property patents and is now using this unique Israeli technology to create Project Ara – its very own version of a smartphone with customizable hardware.

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

A Project Ara prototype

Making smartphones personal, once and for all

The Ara smartphone, named after tech guru Ara Knaian, has a number of interchangeable segments called modules that snap into place, allowing users to customize their phone according to their personal needs. While the Project Ara team will design necessary components like screens and hard drives packed into small, medium and large frames, they are releasing the Module Development Kit to third part developers who are interested in actively creating their own unique modules for the project.

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

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

Project Ara

Users can buy modules including sensors (for example, blood sugar monitors), additional storage, more battery capacity, better speakers, and cameras that are snapped into place on the phone with electro-permanent magnets. Even things like pulse oximeter modules that test your blood oxygen levels and incense burners are on the table of options. The real beauty of this concept lies in the infinite possibilities for customization.

“The possibilities are endless,” says the man leading Project Ara Paul Eremenko, “For instance, you could buy a jumbo frame and only use half of the screen, the rest could be used as a keyboard. If on a long trip, you could drop a lot of other modules and replace them with battery modules so you don’t run out of power.”

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

Modu’s modular phones from 2008 – inspiration for Project Ara

Will the first personal smartphone also be cheaper?

The phone, which Google is planning to release next year, is expected to start at $50. But with so many options for add-ons and upgrades, the price tag can quickly jump a few levels. The company just announced that the final version of the Spiral 1 prototype has been completed, but still faces challenges with the final development stages.

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

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

A prototype for Project Ara

Project Ara is an amazing innovation, but it’s also extremely ambitious. Integrating modular hardware into smartphones has huge potential in the mobile market, but there’s still a lot of ground to cover before we see Ara phones in the hands of 6 billion people. While only time will tell how successful Project Ara will be, it is certain that this advance for the mobile sector wouldn’t be possible without the little Israeli innovation to back it up.

Photos: Dieter Bohn/ Modu

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With ‘Interlude’s’ Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34875 2014-11-06T15:39:19Z 2014-11-06T12:07:09Z

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Yoni Bloch is an Israeli musician and the founder and CEO of Interlude, a company creating interactive, multi-layered videos, founded in 2011. In 2012, Yoni won the Israeli Prime Minister’s innovation award for his work. Prior to founding Interlude, Yoni was a successful rock musician in Israel and published three records. He has produced and recorded tracks for some Israel’s biggest artists, and has composed music for TV, film and theater.

What were your first steps in the business world? When I was 16 I decided to sit in the business class section on my flight to Europe. It was a short flight before they noticed I’m not supposed to sit there but it was business.

What is your biggest inspiration? A girl once told me that if I’m the smartest person in the room – I’m in the wrong room.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch

Who is the once person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? Steve Jobs. I’d really like to meet the man who  single handedly changed the world as we see it. Unfortunately, I missed this opportunity.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? Pet food tester – I want to make sure our animals eat something worthy.

What are some of your favorite weekend activities? Laying my bed thinking about all the things I should do.

What’s your hidden talent? I am actually a very tall basketball player hidden in a small flimsy body.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek is much more intelligent, interesting, complex and full of new creative ideas. But I like Star Wars more – because of the music.

What are you addicted to? Dark chocolate – I eat 12-15 pieces a day, every piece with a cup of tea.

Who was your first celebrity crush? Pam from The Office. I always wanted to meet her.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni BlochWhat’s the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? I take risks every day and every risk is bigger than all the previous ones.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? Who are they?

Falafel or shawarma? Definitely shawarma – Maybe with one falafel ball, or two or four and without the shawarma.

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel Aviv, much better coffee.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Yoda. Good fight to know how to lightsaber with.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Interludes Interactive Video Superstar Yoni Bloch

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents? “Be with someone who ruins your lipstick, not your mascara”. I guess my father always wanted another girl.

Burger or green juice? Green juice. Unless I’m hungry.

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Nu! It’s a great word that you can translate to “Hurry up!” but it somehow doesn’t have the same urgency.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

Photo: Wikia

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Wix Acquires OpenRest To Give Small Restaurants A Larger Presence]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34826 2014-11-05T11:23:11Z 2014-11-05T12:00:15Z

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

Israel-based website building tool provider Wix.com is acquiring OpenRest, another Israeli start-up that specializes in on-line ordering and mobile solutions for restaurants. The acquisition is Wix’s second in an industry-specific vertical in recent months. OpenRest’s technology will be integrated into Wix’s web authoring platform to further expand the company’s already considerable reach, and giving a boost to smaller restaurants looking for ways to attract hungry customers.

With 55 million users, Wix, now a public company, is the first firm to turn web authoring into a routine activity for anyone, even those without technical skills. Wix offers a drag and drop method to build HTML5-based websites. Users can choose among hundreds of templates to build upon, and add basic web interface services as well as advanced apps like music, shopping forms, and social media. Wix operates on a freemium basis, with basic and some advanced services free, and additional services, support, and hosting of sites available for a price.

Wix Acquires OpenRest To Give Small Restaurants A Larger Presence

Example of Wix sites for OpenRest

Among the unique features Wix offers its users is an App Market, which includes specialized modules that users can add to their sites to expand functionality. The apps allow Wix users to integrate features like e-commerce, social networking functionality, marketing, and others into their sites, without having to spend endless hours trying to tweak code in order to get it to work with existing objects and features.

     SEE ALSO: Israelis Turn Their Homes Into Restaurants To Help The Poor

With OpenRest, Wix will be able to add services like order forms, menus, maps, and social media connections that restaurant and cafe owners will be able to integrate into their sites. Those services are aimed at independent restaurants, either single establishments or small chains in limited geographic areas usually owned by locals, who run the chain themselves, which are struggling to survive against major chain restaurants over a shrinking pie of customers. Restaurant patronage has been declining in recent years, especially among underemployed millennials (18-24 year olds) who can’t afford to eat out as much as previous groups of youngsters, like the baby boomers and Gen X’ers.

Many independent restaurants already have websites, but they are unlikely to have their own on-line or mobile menu/reservation/ordering system. For that, they turn to established sites like Grubhub and Seamless, which have apps that provide on-line services for small restaurants. But those apps take a hefty commission, as much as 20% on each order, making the proposition a less than winning one for many small restaurant owners.

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

Photos: Alam/ OpenRest

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[A Foodie Feat: ‘Saveur’ Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34761 2014-11-06T07:34:14Z 2014-11-05T10:44:12Z

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The readers and contributors at the respected international culinary magazine “Saveur” voted Tel Aviv as an ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’ in the category of small international cities for 2014. Together with other cities like Copenhagen in Denmark and San Sebastian in Spain, Tel Aviv shares second place with the cities of Lyon, France and Florence, Italy, among Europe’s culture stars.

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

A dish at famed Tel-Aviv restaurant Catit


It’s no wonder that the White City was voted on to the list because, as anyone who has visited Tel Aviv knows, there is much more to this foodie Metropolis than falafel and hummus. Tel Aviv has over 4,500 eating establishments, which amounts to about one restaurant per 1,000 residents, an outstanding number for any country. With top-level restaurants of international standing like RafaelCatit, Herbert SamuelMul Yam and Yaffo Tel Aviv, (to name just a few), the vote of confidence from “Saveur” provides Tel Aviv with well-deserved culinary credit.

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

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

Legendary deserts at Mul Yam

But Jerusalem wasn’t left out of the magazine’s culinary survey either; the city’s Mahne Yehuda market made the ‘recommended’ section of the list, together with the ancient markets of Istanbul and the night markets in Bangkok. Another surprise winner was Israeli airline El-Al for the best in-flight wine selection including top Israeli vineyards like “Ramat HaGolan,” “Recanti,” “Castel and more.

Speaking of alcohol, Tel Aviv’s Imperial Bar was recently rated as one of the ‘Best Bars in the World,’ by “Restaurant & Bar Design,” winning first place on the Asian continent.

A Foodie Feat: Saveur Magazine Votes Tel Aviv ‘Outstanding Culinary Destination’

Another dish at Catit

These nods just go to show that whether it be with high-tech or culinary delights, Israelis sure know how to make their way to the top of notable international lists.

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel’s Universal Flu Vaccine Nears Worldwide Patent Approval]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34820 2014-11-04T13:15:56Z 2014-11-04T13:15:56Z

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

A universal flu vaccine developed by Israel’s BiondVax has been granted patents by both the European Union and Japan, the company announced last Wednesday. BiondVax’s technology had previously received patents in the United States, Hong Kong, Australia, China, Russia and Mexico, and the two new approvals extend its reach dramatically.

With the newest patent approvals, the company said that it can now enter into wide-scale development programs with pharmaceutical companies and governments that will license its technology to develop a one-stop-shop vaccine for influenza.

     SEE ALSO: Super Vaccine To Eradicate The Flu, Including Bird Flu

Ironically, one of the few countries where it has not received a patent is Israel, where the company’s vaccine against all forms of flu — bird, swine, Spanish, Hong Kong, Wisconsin, Brisbane, California, and other well-traveled forms of influenza — was developed. Company officials said that Israeli approval would be forthcoming in the near future.

Studies and clinical trials conducted by the company, hospitals, and universities around the world show that the BiondVax product, Multimeric-001 (M-001), works. BiondVax, established in 2005, licensed the technology from the Weizmann Institute, where it was developed in the mid-90s.

Before BiondVax, researchers developed vaccines for each flu as it popped up. Though it was long known that there were commonalities between strains, mutations made adapting existing vaccines to new strains impractical. As a result, health authorities were not able to properly prepare for flu outbreaks, because it was impossible to know which strain would be “in fashion” in any particular season.

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

Photo: Flu Shot

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldman’s Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34804 2014-11-04T10:58:36Z 2014-11-04T07:59:04Z

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Every photograph starts out with a dream or a fragment of a dream that Israeli photographer Ronen Goldman remembers. With a keen interest in the subconscious mind and dreams, Goldman has spent months at a time transforming images from his mind into a single expressive photograph. His current project, “The Surrealistic Pillow,” has been a seven-year-long endeavor, requiring careful planning, constant reflection, and profound attentiveness.

Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life

“Working with that iguana and its handler was amazing and weird.”

Born in California, raised in Jerusalem, and residing in Tel Aviv, Goldman attended Tel Aviv University where he was educated as a script writer. However, it wasn’t until after graduation that an old friend introduced him to the art of photography. Soon enough, Goldman was hooked. “It’s a wonderful art form,” says Goldman. “I love that you can tell a whole story in one frame, and have the viewer comprehend the whole thing, no matter what language they speak, and all in a matter of seconds.”

Recreating last night’s dream

According to Goldman, his surreal photographs are inspired by an interest in dreams, the sub-consciousness, and anything that human endeavor has not yet charted completely. “I find that dream ‘events’ sometimes have such an impact on my life, almost like waking ‘events.’ Art feeds off of life, and dreaming is an important part in mine, so I try to convey what happens there—through photography.  The images start out as a fragment of a dream, and then I use my imagination to complete it into the final image in my mind,” Goldman explains.

Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life

”At the time she was going through aggressive chemotherapy and we were having a really rough time, but creating that photo really gave us both strength, and happily today she is doing just fine.”

     SEE ALSO: Dreame: The Startup That Sketches Your Dreams Into A Beautiful Reality

Recreating your dreams in a photograph is not the average artistic process. For Goldman, work starts as soon as he wakes up, when he begins writing down different elements from his dreams. The next step is remembering the overall atmosphere the dream presented and the emotions it conjured up.  Once the process is complete, Goldman says he collects all of the elements from his dream to recreate the scene in his mind.  And for him, figuring out how to execute his idea is the fun part. “I gather the elements, the people needed, scout locations and times of day and research the light and how it falls on the surroundings at different times,” says Goldman. Then, he alerts his small crew and makes the image come to life, with all of the photographic elements shot on location at the same time and under the same lighting to achieve optimal results.

Unlike most photographers, for Goldman, post-processing can take days, weeks, or even months because he layers the images together and masks the objects as needed to create the illusions that define his work.  He doesn’t stop until he is happy with the results, which may be why he has created only about 20 images over the past six years!

Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To Life

The secret behind his success?

Goldman is passionate and works hard, but there may be more to it. “I actually have what’s called a lazy eye since childhood, which means I can hardly see through my left eye, while my right eye has perfect vision. My eyes look fine, so no one can really tell.  I’ve discovered by chance that some of my favorite photographers have it as well, which makes me think there is something about our condition making it easier for us to render 3D images into 2D creations- which is what photography is all about.”

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Creative Director Becomes Instagram Star With These Photos

Though Goldman’s theory on lazy-eyed photographers has yet to be proven, his success in an increasingly popular artistic sector has. Currently Goldman is working with several major advertising agencies and clients to create promotional visuals based on his surreal style.  Recently, he helped launch a new image for the campaign Redland London, and has plans to create more dream-based artwork for his project, currently being exhibited in Paris.

Israeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifeIsraeli Photographer Ronen Goldmans Surreal Images Bring Dreams To LifePhotos: Ronen Goldman

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David Shamah, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israeli Startup Could End World Hunger With Natural Produce Preservation]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34832 2014-11-03T14:39:33Z 2014-11-03T14:38:32Z

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

Between a third and half of the food grown today never makes it to market. Produce of all kinds is “lost” to spoilage and disease, due mostly to transportation, storage, and other logistics issues. As a result, hundreds of millions of people still go hungry – but they don’t have to, thanks to an invention by Israel’s Pimi Agro. By applying a formula based on hydrogen peroxide — “with a few key additions,” said Nimrod Ben-Yehuda, CTO and co-founder of Pimi – fruits and vegetables remain fresh and viable for up to 10 weeks, significantly cutting losses due to rot and deterioration during the transportation process.

It sounds like a fantastic claim, but one Pimi can prove through the extensive scientific studies the company has undertaken over the past decade – studies that were persuasive enough for agricultural and food authorities around the world, including in the US, UK, Germany, Australia, China, and many other countries, to approve Pimi’s all-natural, zero-chemical method of preserving produce.

Israeli Startup Could End World Hunger With Natural Produce PreservationThey’ve also been persuasive enough for no less than Wal-Mart and SunPacific – one the largest retailer in America, and the other the largest shipper of citrus fruit there – to conduct large-scale field tests of Pimi’s technology, with an eye towards licensing it for everyday use, said Ben-Yehuda. “We’ve been speaking to Wal-Mart about how to market produce treated with our products. They’re not necessarily organic, but they are much healthier than ordinary produce – besides having a much longer shelf life – because farmers can cut down significantly on the use of fungicides.”

     SEE ALSO: ‘The Waze Of Agriculture’ Aids Farmers Around The World With Crowdsourced Data

Fungicides haven’t been on the radar of consumers as much as pesticides, and while organic produce marketers emphasize their use of non-chemical, environment-friendly pesticides – many based on natural ingredients known to deter bugs in specific crops – they usually don’t mention fungicides, which are applied to produce both pre- and post-harvest to prevent fungi from invading produce.

There’s a reason for that silence — most commercial fungicides, it turns out – even those certified as “organic” — are based on copper in the form of copper sulphate spray, and on chlorine. But fungicides are essential to the produce business. With much of the world’s produce shipped by truck and train – without refrigeration, in many places – fruit and vegetables are likely to succumb to rot and fungus that thrive in the hot storage conditions.

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

Photos: CIFOR/ Pimi Agro

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Rachel Dinh, NoCamels <![CDATA[Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies’ App]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34736 2014-11-02T13:13:14Z 2014-11-02T13:13:14Z

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Smartphones are, well, pretty smart. From detecting our location to recognizing verbal commands, one day we may fear that our phones have surpassed us in intelligence. The latest step in this futuristic phone-bot direction is Israeli company Beyond Verbal’s application Moodies, a platform that analyzes and recognizes human emotions based on vocal modulations. Dan Emodi, the company’s Vice President of Marketing sat down with NoCamels and explained the company’s emotive technology and how he believes it can change the way humans interact with their mobile machines.

Using an algorithm developed over 19 years from extensive scientific and psychological research on over 70,000 test subjects, Israeli founder Yoram Levanon launched Moodies in May 2013 as the first-ever emotion-analytics application designed to bring emotion-sensing technology to users on the go.

‘How are you feeling today,’ – smartphone style

The Moodies app works by determining the three dimensions of emotions in communication: mood, attitude, and emotional decision-making characteristics—in other words, the user’s personality. When the user speaks into their mobile device, the sound is captured and pre-processed before it is sent to the Internet, to a cloud database. Then, Beyond Verbal’s software filters the voice content, analyzing things like pitch and repetition for the emotional undertone.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli GPS App Waze Wins Best Mobile App Award At Mobile World Congress

While Moodies’ algorithm is unable to understand the meaning of words, what initially appears to be a downside actually allows speakers of over 26 languages to emotionally translate their speech with the touch of button. “Emotions are universal,” Emodi explained to NoCamels. “Our goal is to enable every machine or application powered by human voice to understand our emotions and respond accordingly.”

Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies AppThe Moodies app refreshes with new emotional analysis results every 15-20 seconds and lets the user select “agree” or “disagree” to express their opinion on the accuracy of the emotive analytics. Over time, the algorithm uses this feedback to self-correct, eventually boasting a reported accuracy of about 80 percent, better than some psychologists. In addition, the app features a running screen of results, allowing users to share their mood analysis via email and social networks, if they are up for that kind of group sharing, that is.

A lot of industries are about to get emotional over Moodies

Though the app has been around for a little over a year, it is already used in more than 154 countries with tens of thousands of downloads on iOS and Android, and investors are taking note. Moodies recently raised $3.3 million in funding from Winnovation, SingulariTeam and an unnamed Chinese financial services firm.

According to Emodi, the possible applications of this patented technology are endless: aiding in self-tutoring and educational apps, automotive safety, coaching, call centers, advertising, media content selection, and more, emotional-comprehending machines can revolutionize the human-machine relationship.

     SEE ALSO: Analyze This: Facebook Acquires Mobile Analytics Startup Onavo For Up To $200M

In the same vein, Emodi noted how the customer-service sector could particularly benefit from Beyond Verbal’s technology, “Call centers, for example, could understand if the customer on the phone is frustrated or angry. On the flip side, it could also alert the agent if he is getting carried away and losing that service-perfect intonation.”

With companies struggling to keep their customer service up-to-par, Moodies could be a welcomed aid in improving distanced verbal interaction. Emodi revealed that Beyond Verbal recently landed exciting pilots with several big companies, among them a large call center and an airline, unspecified due to confidentiality agreements. He did hint, however, that it could be useful to monitor the emotions of pilots in the cockpit during flight, though he refrained from elaborating further.

Mobile Is About To Get Emotional With Beyond Verbal’s ‘Moodies AppMoodies moving forward

This is just one of several exciting new projects Beyond Verbal is looking forward to. This past summer, the company paired with one of the world’s largest market research firms, Lieberman Research Worldwide to find out how the platform could be used as an invaluable marketing tool.

“We’re excited to showcase to some of the world’s largest brands how important and valuable emotion analytics can be when evaluating consumers’ true feelings,” said Yuval Mor, the CEO of Beyond Verbal.

With five patents, and a recent Gardner Award for “Best Vendor Improving the Human-Machine Interface,” Beyond Verbal certainly tastes the fruits of its 19 years of labor. But the company is far from resting on its laurels. According to Emodi, we should remain on the lookout for announcements regarding exciting industry-geared developments, like the company’s “wellness API,” a platform allowing those in the health and fitness industries to take advantage of emotional analytics.

When it comes down to it, we feel pretty good about Moodies.

Photos: Screenshot

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Israeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed Fashion]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34788 2014-11-02T15:50:42Z 2014-10-31T13:56:52Z

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Noa Raviv just recently finished her studies in fashion design at the Shenkar School of Engineering and Design in Israel, but she already rules the runway with a unique vision for the fashion of the distant future to come. Her collection entitled “Hard Copy,” is based on classical Greek and Roman sculpture, but with a futuristic twist based on the dimensions of virtual space.

Israeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed FashionIn collaboration with Stratasys, an international leader in 3D printing with research and development centers in Israel, Raviv manipulated digital images using the company’s computer modeling software. According to Raviv, “I have deliberately created defective digital images with 3D software. Deformed objects there were created by a command that the software was unable to execute. These objects cannot be printed or produced in reality. They only exist in virtual space.” Manipulating run-of-the-mill digital design tools like the grid, Raviv employs only three colors black, white and orange, as well as flowing tulle fabrics to express a journey into virtual space.

     SEE ALSO: This Designer’s Jewelry Is Inserted Under Your Skin To Harvest Energy From Blood Flow

For her use of Stratasys 3D printing in a number of her pieces, Raviv was chosen as the “Best Fashion Designer of the Year” at the international 3D Printshow event recently held in Paris. In an interview with “Dezeen” Magazine, Raviv expressed just how 3D creation influenced her collection, “While working on a 3D software I was fascinated by the grid shown on the 2D screen and by the way black repetitive lines define voluminous objects.”

Raviv’s stunning designs are a testament that the meeting of classical and futuristic styles holds a little-known secret to haute success.

Israeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed FashionIsraeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed FashionIsraeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed FashionIsraeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed FashionIsraeli Designer Wins International Award For Stunning 3D Printed Fashion

Photos: Ron Kedmi

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Shahar Sorek Of 7 Elements Studios]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34776 2014-11-06T12:30:03Z 2014-10-30T14:13:49Z

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Shahar Sorek is the founder and CEO of 7 Elements Studios, a company dedicated to “creating epic mobile strategy games,” with big hopes to dominate the mobile strategy game market. A former actor and creative producer, as a natural story teller and an avid hardcore gamer, Shahar turned his passion towards the field of core mobile gaming . He lives in Tel Aviv with his wife and young daughter.

What is your biggest inspiration? Bugs Bunny. For me, many things, whether personal or business are all about preserving a joyful attitude.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Shahar Sorek Of 7 Elements Studios
What were your first steps into the business world?
I created a TV show for channel 2 in Israel and sold to a big US distributor.

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? In general, I believe we don’t know who greatest people in the world truly are, since most worthy things are done anonymously. Having said that, I’d love to have dinner with Louis CK [the comedian].

Falafel or Shawarma? Ah, none of these come close to Hummus in the Old City of Jerusalem! Is life really worth living without authentic Hummus?

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Shahar Sorek Of 7 Elements Studios

What is your hidden talent? As a hyperactive kid my parents signed me up for Tae Kwon Do classes. The rigorous training and diligent practice managed to alchemize my troubled soul and energy into the person I am today… Indeed one the most impacting lessons of my life.

Startup or movie? Startups for sure. I love the people and the business environment is much more complex and intriguing.

Where is the best place you’ve ever traveled to? After living in Los Angeles for over a decade and traveling quite a bit, my favorite place is still the Old City of Jerusalem. As a kid I used to wander around the city for hours. Walking the old cobbled stones, sneaking into hidden temples and finding places long forgotten… oh yeah and also eating great hummus.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Wars, of course!  Although my sister will have my head for it Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Shahar Sorek Of 7 Elements Studios

What are you totally addicted to?
Kingdom Rush. The best mobile tower defense game ever.

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? My wife Agne is the most beautiful person in the world and some would dare say the entire known universe.

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Dread Pirate Roberts (of “Princess Bride”)

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Shahar Sorek Of 7 Elements Studios

Dread Pirate Roberts

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel Aviv hands down. Nothing beats the vibrations and life that flow in these streets.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents?
Actually, the best advice I got was from a good friend who said: “It is important to understand that the experience of joy and grace, as well as contentment and salvation, is not arrived at by the elimination of conflict, but through one’s precision of movement within it”

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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David Shama, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel Tops List Of Best Destinations For Medical Tourism]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34726 2014-10-30T10:02:27Z 2014-10-30T09:47:49Z

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

Israel ranks as one of the world’s best places for foreigners to get medical care, according to an authoritative annual report. The Medical Tourism Index (MTI) ranks Israel highest in a survey of 25 of the most popular destinations for medical tourism for care, services, and best patient experiences and third overall as the best place for non-Israelis to get medical care.

It’s clearly a compliment, but some warn that medical tourists might be taking up beds and care that would otherwise go to Israelis.

Israel Tops List Of Best Destinations For Medical Tourism

Rambam Health Care Campus

Traditionally, “medical tourists” have been residents of less developed countries seeking treatment in the US or Europe that was unavailable in their countries. That has changed — much of the medical tourism “traffic” is now in the opposite direction, from developed countries to places where similar procedures are available more cheaply. The 2013 report of the Medical Tourism Association (MTA) shows that nearly 80% of demand for medical travel is driven by cost savings, and almost 76% of patients who have or would be interested in medical travel are Americans. As many as 1.6 million Americans traveled abroad for medical treatment in 2021, the organization said, reflecting the high cost of health care in the US.

     SEE ALSOSpider-Man Window Cleaners Surprise Children’s Hospital On Purim

Most went to India and Latin America (Mexico, Brazil, and Argentina) for treatment, but according to the MTI, which is issued every year by the International Healthcare Research Center (IHRC), there are better medical tourism destinations out there. The top overall places for medical care – based on level and quality of care, price, convenience, services, and tourism possibilities — under the assumption being that many patients will combine care with a vacation– were Canada, the UK, Israel, Singapore, and Costa Rica. The rankings included 25 of the most popular medical tourism destinations, based on the number of tourists, how many organizations were involved in arranging tours, the amount of web outreach hospitals and doctors did to potential patients, and other factors.

Most of the roughly 50,000 medical tourists who come to Israel annually are not from the US, rather from Russia and other Eastern European countries, but at least a few thousand are from the US as well. According to medical tourism expert Stuart Katz, many of them come to Israel for orthopedic procedures, where the cost is about half their price in the US. “Of course, patients just can’t get back on a plane when the procedure is over. They need to take a few weeks to rest and recuperate. But even with the cost of a hotel for that period, along with the airfare, patients can still save between 25% and 35% on the cost of equivalent care in the US,” he said.

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

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[After Waze And Mobileye, Israelis Now Reinvent… The Deodorant.]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34675 2014-10-29T15:16:33Z 2014-10-29T12:20:17Z

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When you think of Israeli innovation, things like the world’s first USB drive or advanced cyber security solutions may come to mind. But sometimes, Israeli innovation also comes in the form of …deodorant.

That’s right. A new Israeli Kickstarter campaign called ClickStick is hoping to make waves in the deodorant sector with their electric deodorant applicator. Currently, the team has raised nearly half of their $55,000 funding goal and still has 34 days to go, which seems to mean that the electric, eco-friendly deodorant dispenser has a market, somewhere.

According to the creators of ClickStick, the electronic deodorant dispenser emits the healthiest amount of deodorant, is environmentally friendly, and yup, you guessed it, is electric. Inserting the eco-friendly ClickStick deodorant or your favorite brand, all the user needs to do to avoid imminent stink is press a button on the applicator that will release the minimal and healthiest amount of deodorant a person needs. The company believes the applicator is ‘beautiful,’ coming in a number of colors and with a sleek design that could potentially make a great gift for someone you don’t mind embarrassing. Finally, and this is the cherry on the cake, the company promises that the ClickStick applicator helps its users avoid those annoying deodorant stains on your shirt. Although we’re not sure how they can guarantee this, it’s nice to think that people are so concerned about deodorant stains that they are innovating technology to avoid them.

     SEE ALSO: Seatylock: This Bicycle Saddle That Turns Into A Lock Is Sure To Win Over Cyclists

After Waze And Mobileye, Israelis Now Reinvent... The Deodorant.
The bottom line emphasized by the ClickStick team on their Kickstarter page is that this is an eco-friendly deodorant option for those worried about the environment. They site the statistic that the weight of deodorant plastic used in the United States each year is 145 times the weight of a jumbo jet. However, the majority of users are likely to use their own deodorant, so while the team may have the right idea, the entire package is a bit confusing when taken together. For $19, you can purchase the ClickStick and one deodorant filling of your choice (the Early Bird Special), but if you wait, you’ll have to pay $26 for a black, white or purple dispenser and one deodorant pack.

Despite our eyebrows being raised regarding this product, the numbers seem to speak differently, and it may be that ClickStick has sparked an electric revolution in the deodorant sector.

After Waze And Mobileye, Israelis Now Reinvent... The Deodorant.Photos: Kickstarter

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Jordana Wolf, NoCamels <![CDATA[Scientists Equate Cancer With Advanced Cyberwarfare, Paving The Way For Better Treatments]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34659 2014-10-29T08:00:54Z 2014-10-29T07:44:53Z

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A fascinating new study reveals that cancer, like an enemy hacker in cyberspace, targets the body’s communication network inflicting damage on the entire system. The researchers discovered just like cyberwarfare, cancer possesses special traits for cooperative behavior and uses intricate communication to distribute tasks, share resources, make decisions and attack.

“What we are dealing with is cyberwarfare, pure and simple. Cancer uses the immune systems’ own communications network to attack not the soldiers but the generals that are coordinating the body’s defense,” says Prof. Eshel Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy. This major breakthrough and new understanding of cancer as conducting  ‘cyberwarfare’ against the immune system, provides insight to new ways of out-smarting and treating a very sophisticated enemy.

Scientists Equate Cancer With Advanced Cyberwarfare, Paving The Way For Better Treatments

Prof. Eshel Ben Jacob

How cancer collapses the body’s communications system

In order to develop a more comprehensive understanding of the body’s communication networks, Ben-Jacob and colleagues at Rice University and the University of Texas developed a computer program that modeled a specific channel of cell-to-cell communication, observing the exchange between cancer cells, dendritic cells and the other cells that make up the immune system.

The innate and adaptive immune systems use different strategies to protect the body from disease, and the relationship they share holds promise for a cure. On the one hand, the innate system, the body’s first line of defense, guards against any and all threats to the immune system and provides immediate protection against infection.  The adaptive immune system, on the other hand, is highly specialized and prepares the body’s immune system for future challenges. Dendritic cells, part of both the innate and adaptive systems, share important information to help the adaptive immune system’s cells distinguish between the body’s own cells and unwanted invaders, like cancer cells.

Scientists Equate Cancer With Advanced Cyberwarfare, Paving The Way For Better TreatmentsIn recent research it was shown that dendritic cells use what is called exosomal communications (cell-to-cell ‘chatter’) to carry out their specialized role as messengers between the innate and adaptive immune systems. Ben-Jacob explains, “Basically, exosomes are small cassettes of information that are packed and sealed inside small [parts of cells], called nanoscale vesicles. These nanocarriers are addressed with special markers so they can be delivered to specific types of cells, and they contain a good deal of specific information in the form of signaling proteins, snippets of RNA, microRNAs and other data. Once taken by the target cells, these nanocarriers can order cells to change what they are doing and in some cases even change their identity.” To put his words in cyber context, exosomes are the cyber criminal, invading the immune system and allowing cancerous invaders to take over.

In the war between cancer and the immune system, lies a cure

Researchers explain that there is essentially a tug-of-war between the cancer and the immune system and thus far they have found that the presence of exosomes creates a situation where three possible cancer states can exist. “When exosomes are not included, there are only two possible states — one where cancer is strong and the immune system is weak and the other where cancer is weak and the immune system is strong,” explains Ben-Jacob. In the third state, an intermediate state, the cancer is neither strong nor weak, but the immune system is on high alert.  Researchers say that this could very well be the key for a new therapeutic approach with reduced side effects.

“The challenge is to be familiar with the battlefield so that we can manipulate cancer therapies to change the balance in favor of the immune system. When cancer is detected, it is almost always in the context of a cancer-immunity competition,” said Prof. Ben-Jacob. “We showed that the way to stop and reverse tumor progression without causing strong side effects is an individualized approach of mixed treatments — i.e., four days of radiation followed by a few days of immune system boosting, followed again by four days of radiation, and so on. If provided in the right order, the treatments could indeed shift the balance toward the immune system’s ‘victory’ in reducing the cancer to the moderate-strong state.”

With just a few of these treatment-boosting cycles the cancer-immune balance can be altered to help the immune system bring the cancer to a more moderate state.  According to the researchers, once in the cancer is in the intermediate state, it can be brought further down to the weak state with a few pulses of immune boosting.

As the war on cancer continues, scientists like Ben-Jacob and his colleagues remain perseverant.  Two years of research, and careful investigation into the body’s communication networks, provides evidence that our immune system may be a key ally in a future cure for cancer. Who knew that understanding cyberwarfare tactics may actually help keep us healthy!

This study was co-authored by Prof. Ben-Jacob of Tel Aviv University’s School of Physics and Astronomy; Donald S. Coffey, Ph.D., of The James Buchanan Brady Urological Institute at Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine; and Herbert Levine, Ph.D., co-director of the Center for Theoretical Biological Physics at Rice University.

Photos: _e.t/ Eshel Ben-Jacob/ Rice University

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David Shama, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[Israel Sets World Record For Largest Digital Printer]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34730 2014-10-28T20:33:36Z 2014-10-28T20:33:36Z

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

The world’s authority on world records, Guinness, has awarded an Israeli company a record for the world’s largest digital printer. That winner — Kfar Sava-based Dip-Tech, which does digital printing on glass and ceramics, often in huge displays.

The Dip-Tech AR18000 printer can print a single pane of glass with a total area of up to 64 meters square (690 feet square). There are only two such printers in the world. Made in Israel, the Dip-Tech printers are owned and operated by sedak GmbH & Co. KG of Germany and Tianjin Northglass Industrial Co., Ltd in China. The Guinness World Records organization, which has been the acknowledged arbiter on the world’s biggest and best since 1955, presented Dip-Tech with the award last week.

Israel Sets World Record For Largest Digital Printer

Dip-Tech AR18000 digital ceramic in-glass printer

Dip-Tech has always been an aficionado of big printers. Using large-size printers is the only way to produce the artful designs and images the company has become known for. Dip-Tech’s methods have been used to design malls, hospitals, office buildings, and universities around the world – bringing a touch of the magic of printed glass, which looks similar to stained glass, to a new generation.

     SEE ALSO: This Tiny Robot Is Actually A Printer You Carry In Your Pocket

Digital glass printing works the same as digital paper printing: An image is sent to the printer, which then gets transferred into the glass. The system is actually a bit more involved, because after the printing, the glass must be dried, and then tempered in a furnace.

Dip-Tech’s digital printing solution includes special inks the company has developed, said Tevet. The digital ceramic inks are made out of nano particles of glass and inorganic pigments, with the ink infused into the glass by the end of the process. After the tempering process, the ink becomes a part of the glass, meaning that it can stand up to any weather and environment conditions without fading. “Our printing solution allows the user to print a wide scale of colors, all in one pass. This is an exceptional capability when it comes to glass,” which usually requires much more intensive processing, said Shlomit Niva Tevet, Dip-Tech’s Director of Marketing.

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

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Michael Lefkoe, NoCamels <![CDATA[Startup ‘TipRanks’ Tells You Who Are The World’s Best Financial Analysts]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34632 2014-10-27T16:07:44Z 2014-10-27T16:07:44Z

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In the world of investing, countless financial analysts are offering advice on which stocks and assets to buy, sell, and hold. Yet statistics show that the majority of analysts – even those who work for premier investment banks – often give recommendations that consistently underperform compared to the market. So, how can you know which analysts to trust?

TipRanks, a financial technology startup based in Israel, allows its users to discover the measured performance of any financial analyst by simply looking up their name in the company’s database. Using machine learning algorithms and Natural Language Processing, TipRanks analyzes the analysts, and ranks them according to the performance of their recommendations, kind of like the lists that rank top athletes. Even former New York governor and state attorney general Eliot Spitzer, who earned the nickname “Sheriff of Wall Street” after chasing down corrupt financiers during the early 2000’s, has invested in the company, expressing his faith that TipRanks is “what the market needs” – a “market-driven answer for investors.”

Startup TipRanks Tells You Who Are The Worlds Best Financial Analysts

Former NY governor Eliot Spitzer, investor in TipRanks

Founded in 2012, TipRanks has already received a swarm of attention from both investors and the media, drawing in over 100,000 users since officially launching a beta version some weeks ago. Though their financial tool is still in its early stages, it has been integrated into the trading platforms of several banks around the world, including the two largest in Israel – Bank Hapoalim and Bank Leumi.

Sometimes failure is the greatest teacher

When Uri Gruenbaum, the CEO and co-founder of TipRanks, finished his army service, he was working as a software engineer and investing in the stock markets on the side. “I was a retail investor, a layman’s investor,” Uri said in an interview with NoCamels. Like many part-time investors, he sometimes relied on the recommendations of leading financial analysts. But then, one analyst’s bad recommendation led Uri to invest in a stock that lost him a lot of money.

Startup TipRanks Tells You Who Are The Worlds Best Financial Analysts

Uri Gruenbaum, co-founder of TipRanks

     SEE ALSO: Going Public Is The New Exit: Six Israeli IPOs To Watch

“I found myself following some bad advice a few years ago and the stock I invested in fell,” Uri said. His wife questioned why he even bought that stock in the first place, to which he said, “I followed the advice of someone who published his opinion on a leading financial website on the front page.” His wife then asked him what he knew about this analyst and how he knew if the analyst was any good. And that’s when Uri had his revelation. “It hit me that I don’t know and that there is no way for any investor to evaluate how good a recommendation they are receiving.”

In retrospect, this bad investment turned out to be the best one he’s ever made.

Shortly thereafter, Uri quit his job and started TipRanks along with CTO Gilad Gat and Roni Michaely, a finance professor at Cornell University. Together they developed a financial accountability tool that allows investors to see which analysts are good and which are not. According to Uri, the only other tool on the market similar to TipRanks is the Bloomberg terminal. However, Bloomberg only lists the top five analysts in each sector and it doesn’t tell you how good they are. Even if it did, Uri notes, a retail investor wouldn’t have access to that information since subscriptions to Bloomberg cost around $2,000 a month.

Hey analysts, it’s time to step up your performance!

TipRanks rates about 6,500 financial analysts and bloggers on a five-star scale. The ranking is determined by a methodology that combines both the expert’s success rate (percentage of recommendations that result in positive returns) and the average return per recommendation into a single ranking. A “z-test” is also used, which takes into account the quantity of recommendations made by an expert.

Transparency is a number one priority for TipRanks with the goal of ensuring users that their rankings are based solely on the numbers. “We aim for complete transparency,” Uri claims. “I think the biggest challenge we had was creating a user interface that was intuitive enough and that would allow users to see all the different stats we have.” In fulfilling their promise of transparency, TipRanks provides a trail back to the information the company collected on each expert’s “portfolio” of stock recommendations.Startup TipRanks Tells You Who Are The Worlds Best Financial Analysts

When asked if TipRanks has the potential to motivate analysts to step up their game because their performance is now being exposed, Uri said, “Absolutely – that’s the idea. If we hold them accountable to what they say, they’re going to think twice about stocks they’re recommending to buy or sell.” It is no wonder why Spitzer likes this company so much.

The go-to wesbite for any investor

All that data TipTanks is collecting has the potential to do even more than just hold analysts accountable. For instance, the company noticed that it is actually the bloggers who rank more often in the top 25 than the paid analysts. So, what does TipRanks do with this information? “We license it to hedge funds in the US and tell them ‘Hey, here are your rock stars, just follow them.’”

     SEE ALSO: Charity Nation? Israeli Startups Donate Millions In Stock Options

In the future, TipRanks plans to do even more interesting things with their data. The company currently has a research and development team whose goal is to develop “reasoning trees” for investors to use when choosing stocks. “You have thousands of reasons for why you should invest in a stock or why you should short-sell a stock,” notes Uri. “We are trying to find the combination of the reasons that make most sense and generate the highest revenues.”

TipRanks is still young in startup terms, conducting its first round of funding this past August which raised $3 million from private investors, including former governor Spitzer. In order to keep the company’s content quality, TipRanks uses a “free-mium” business model, meaning their platform is free for anyone to use, but for more access to information on experts, one must pay a monthly subscription. As another source of income, the company also integrates widgets inside trading platforms at some of the world’s biggest banks.

With a mission to empower the retail investor, TipRanks hopes to become a leading market data provider, and as Uri boldly envisions, “TipRanks is going to be the go-to place for any investor in the world.”

Photos: Finance Blue/ Wide World of Stuff/ NooYalla/ TipRanks blog/

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34703 2014-10-26T15:44:41Z 2014-10-26T15:44:41Z

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Every year, the rate of Type I diabetes incidence among children under the age of 14 increases by three percent worldwide. That means that approximately 80 people per day are diagnosed with Type I diabetes, and this number is only increasing. While the exact cause of juvenile diabetes continues to elude scientists, a new study from Tel Aviv University suggests that the trigger for the condition may occur before birth.

In a recent paper published in “Diabetic Medicine,” Prof. Zvi Laron, Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Endocrinology at TAU‘s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, evidence is put forth that Type I diabetes is initiated in the uterus. According to the research, women who contract a viral infection during pregnancy and especially in winter months can transmit viruses to their genetically susceptible fetuses, which can spark the eventual development of Type I diabetes.

The “right season” for diabetes

“We knew that type 1 diabetes was associated with other autoimmune diseases like Hashimoto Thyroiditis, celiac disease, and multiple sclerosis, so we investigated the seasonality of birth months for these respective diseases in Israel and other countries,” said Prof. Laron. “We found that the seasonality of the birth of children who went on to develop these diseases did indeed differ from that of the general public,” meaning that children born in certain seasons were more susceptible to autoimmune diseases like diabetes than those born in others.

      SEE ALSO: New Research Can Tell Your Susceptibility To Diabetes

“In further studies, we found evidence that viral infections of the mother during pregnancy induced damage to the pancreas of the mother and/or the fetus, evidenced by specific antibodies including those affecting the pancreatic cells producing insulin,” Laron said.

Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds

For the study, Prof. Laron and his team of researchers from Israel, the University of Washington, and Lund University, Sweden, conducted blood tests on 107 healthy pregnant women, testing for islet cell autoantibodies — evidence of diabetes that appears years before initial symptoms do. They also tested for anti-rotavirus and anti-CoxB3 antibodies.

The researchers found a striking difference between women tested in different seasons, suggesting a link to winter epidemics. The concurrent presence of GAD65 antibodies in cord blood and their mothers indicated autoimmune damage to islet cells during pregnancy, possibly caused by cross-placental transmission of viral infections and/or antivirus antibodies. In other words, during viral epidemics of winter months, ten percent of the healthy pregnant women who had no family background of autoimmune diseases tested positive for damaging antibodies connected to the development of Type I diabetes.

Vaccination before conception

Viral Infection During Pregnancy Can Trigger Diabetes In Babies, Study Finds

Prof. Zvi Laron

By comparing the cord blood samples of infants, which tested positive for the Type I diabetes biomarkers, to those of their mothers who tested negative for diabetes biomarkers, the researchers implied that the development of juvenile diabetes could be an in utero response by the fetus to its mother’s viral infection.

SEE ALSO: Israelis Discover Link Between Diabetes And Parkinson’s Disease

“If our hypothesis can be verified, then preventive vaccine before conception would be useful in stopping the increasing incidence of type 1 diabetes and other autoimmune diseases,” said Prof. Laron. “There is no cure for this diabetes, so true intervention would be important not only medically but also psychologically and financially, as the costs of the lifelong treatment of this chronic disease and other autoimmune diseases are great.”

Prof. Laron and his international collaborators are currently raising funds to expand their research to include nearly 1,000 women and newborns.

Prof. Zvi Laron is Professor Emeritus of Pediatric Endocrinology at TAU’s Sackler Faculty of Medicine, Director of the Endocrinology and Diabetes Research Unit at Schneider Children’s Medical Center of Israel, and Head of the World Health Organization Collaborating Center for the Study of Diabetes in Youth. Prof. Laron is internationally known for the discovery of the Laron Syndrome, also known as Laron-type Dwarfism, an autosomal recessive disorder characterized by an insensitivity to growth hormone. He conducted the research together with collaborators from the University of Washington and Lund University in Sweden.

Photo: Alyxandra Hammar/ Juvenile diabetes

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Energy Does Grow On Trees, As Israelis Design First Solar Energy eTree]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34683 2014-10-26T08:20:13Z 2014-10-24T08:25:18Z

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NoCamels recently reported on the final project of Bezalel Academy of Arts student Tal Bahar entitled ‘Charge Yourself.’ When we stumbled on the idea for an urban solar-powered, phone-charging bench, we just couldn’t get enough of the environmentally-friendly and mobile technology-driven idea, until we came across the eTree. No longer in the realm of academic projects, the eTree is the brainchild of artist Yoav Ben-Dov who was commissioned to construct the urban tree habitat by the Israeli solar energy company Sologic. So what’s so magical about the idea of the eTree?

The eTree is a solar-powered urban habitat that is constructed from metal pipes and topped with solar panels. Besides producing energy from the sun to power the unit’s USB charging ports, the solar panels atop the eTree provide shade during the day and illumination at night for all those who pause for a relaxing moment under its branches. The eTree also offers a cool water drinking fountain, free WiFi, electrical outlets, sitting benches and a computer monitor that allows the visitor to communicate with visitors at other eTrees.

The kind of urban niches we need more of

According to Sologic, a Binyamina-based company founded by Larry and Dov Kotler, the environmentally friendly eTree oasis will be installed in urban areas, parks, universities and hiking trials to provide today’s connected generation with on-the-go access. The eTree will operate automatically and won’t require much maintenance, making it a shining example of the kind of sustainable urban niches we need more of. In addition, the eTree will come in two stylistic models: the Citrus, which is about 11 feet wide and will provide cold drinking water in schools and parks and a more advanced model, the Acacia, about 15 feet wide, which will function as a small power station to provide 7 kilowatts of power a day.

     SEE ALSO: Buy Your Food Straight From Local Farms With Farmigo

Energy Does Grow On Trees, As Israelis Design First Solar Energy eTree
The first eTree will be debuted in Zichron Yaakov’s HaNadiv Gardens, but the company has plans to install eTrees in cities in China and France. Sologic chairman Michael Lasry stated that he was proud of the fact that eTree is green in all sense of the word, in that it is radiation-free and doesn’t pose any danger of electrocution or other safety hazards.

eTree is a beautiful, environmentally-friendly mental and mobile charging zone that could be a ‘hot’ new hangout spot in the not-so-distant future.

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Web Analyst And Blogger Orli Yakuel]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34661 2014-11-06T12:30:11Z 2014-10-23T10:48:19Z

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Meet Orli Yakuel, the 42-year-old co-founder of Go2web20 and an avid tech blogger who loves to promote her startups Scoutness and iPad4kids. Orli is also an expert in product development, consulting companies in UI/UX (user interface/user experience) as well as social marketing strategy. When she’s not blogging or searching the web for new and exciting services, Orli spends her time helping companies build their marketing strategy and use social media tools. She is fascinated by today’s user behavior and loves seeing the web through users’ perspective. Orli currently works with several companies that are focused on mobile, among them: Toluna, Clear Sky Apps, and ZinkerZ. She also loves pets.

What were your first steps into the business world? I think the first step was when I started to read tech blogs, at that time it was everything related to web 2.0. The second step was to actually start my own blog. I really liked the blogosphere scene, better than today. It was more magical. Blogs got more attention than today and people actually had time to read.

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? My grandfather. He past away 9 years ago, and I think he would be extremely proud to see where my life has taken me.   

Tel Aviv or New York? Tel Aviv for innovation, New York for shopping.

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Web Analyst And Blogger Orli Yakuel
What are your favorite weekend activities? Gardening,  baking, and yes, working..  when you freelance, you get to choose when to work. The weekends are great for all the things you wanted to work on during the week and couldn’t make the time for.

What is your homepage? I have a few. www.go2web20.net ,www.scoutness.com and www.ipad4kids.com

What’s your hidden talent? I actually know how to paint, and I’m a superhero aunt. Yes, it’s true. My nephews & nieces are my best friends and I can spend great deal of time with all of them together or separately. The reason why I started iPad4kids was because I got inspired and fascinated by my nephews’ user behavior on the iPad.

What is the best place you’ve traveled to? I’ve been in a lot of great places, but I really liked my recent visit at H-Farm Italy, probably the most wonderful accelerator in the world.

Star Wars or Star Trek? Star Trek.

What are you totally addicted to? Halva (a sweet sesame paste)

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Web Analyst And Blogger Orli Yakuel

Halva, a sweet sesame dessert

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? I didn’t plan to be in the high tech business but it showed me that one can be whatever they want if they only work hard enough. Right now, I am so perfectly happy with what I do. I love my work and hoping to be able to do it for a long, long time.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents?  It’s not advice, but a way of life: Generosity.

Falafel or Shawarma? Shawarma in laffa (a flat bread) with everything in it.  I’m serious!

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Sababa (Arabic for cool or O.K.). It’s not quite Hebrew I guess, but if I have to teach someone one word, this is it. You can simply answer anything with Sababa.

What or who is your biggest inspiration? People are my biggest inspiration. Mostly those who build something – a company, an idea, a product – that changes peoples’ lives. I consider myself lucky to be able to meet so many startups and the brilliant people behind them.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”,  write us in the comments below!

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Michael Jackson, ABBA And Bowie In One Music Video. Sound Too Good To Be True? Check This Out]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34645 2014-10-22T14:37:53Z 2014-10-22T14:31:02Z

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Michael Jackson, ABBA And Bowie In One Music Video. Sound Too Good To Be True? Check This Out

Roy Kafri (left) and Vania Heymann (right)

Vania Heymann, the Israeli video wizzard who creates iconic music videos and commercials for the Internet era, has done it again with a new video that brings iconic record covers to life, entitled “Mayokero.” Together with his longtime partner, Israeli comedian and vocalist Roy Kafri, the artistic team dubs old record covers spread out on a city street with Kafri’s beatbox song, to remind us all of what may forever be music’s greatest relic. The humorous and strangely profound style Heymann and his team have adopted shot him to stardom with the interactive music video he created for Bob Dylan’s classic song “Like A Rolling Stone.”

Now a member of interactive video startup Interlude, Heymann has been experimenting with his own unique take on interactive video art since his days as a student at Jerusalem’s Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design. Below, you can view one of his school projects entitled “Shelf Life,” in which he ingeniously envisioned quirky interactions between branded kitchen items (the video is in Hebrew).

SEE ALSO: Watch Kutiman’s New YouTube Mashup Single ‘Give It Up’

Photos: Screenshot/ Facebook

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Hanoch Piven, The World-Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34497 2014-10-23T14:05:49Z 2014-10-22T11:00:29Z

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Taking the ordinary and making it extraordinary is at least one thing that world-famous Israeli artist Hanoch Piven does well. His collage characters, created from food and random objects, have graced the covers of TIME, Newsweek, Rolling Stone, The London Times and many more since Piven started out 20 years ago. But the road to success hasn’t been easy for Piven; indeed his motto has been ‘If first you don’t succeed, try, try again.’

 

Immigrating to Israel from Uruguay at the age of 11, Piven faced road blocks to his unique outlook on creativity wherever he went. When he first set out sketching caricatures, neither his teachers nor his military commanders were impressed. Then, at the age of 23, the budding artist was rejected from the prominent Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design in Jerusalem. Despite the challenges, Piven was determined to get an artistic education, traveling to New York to study at the New York School of Visual Arts.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Creative Director Becomes International Instagram Star With These Photos

For Piven, this was the initial proof that the road to success is paved with failures: “I have this inner courage-slash-irresponsible nature. At 24, to go to New York and study in a private school without money to pay for it was irresponsible, but I guess I felt like yiheh b’seder [it will be fine], and it was,” Piven told website Israel21C. Piven’s desire to face challenges head on led him early on to the conclusion that he should ditch drawing and make collages.
Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

Tasting artistic success

Immediately following graduation, Piven sent his collage works to the popular magazine Newsweek, then receiving the artistic gratification he had been craving for so long. He was asked by the publication to design a cover portrait of presidential candidate Ross Perot. Although that piece was never published, Piven’s work began to pop up all over the cultural scene, with his illustration of Vice President Dan Quayle appearing in Entertainment Weekly, and his iconic trash-can mouth, donut-eyed portrait of Homer Simpson gracing the cover of Rolling Stone.

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic CollagesIf you ask Piven, it was the big move to New York that got his creative juices flowing. Since, he has expanded past magazine covers to publish children’s books, plan interactive exhibitions, create applications, advertising campaigns and television programs. Educating young students on the importance of creativity has become sort of an artistic mission for Piven outside of his commercial artistic success. He works with Israel’s Ministry of Education touring preschools throughout the country to teach students the art of collage, and coaches educators in Spain, China, Canada, Italy and the United States.

     SEE ALSO: Israeli Designer Uses Ancient Potions To Give A Taste Of History

Speaking about creativity seems to give Piven equal fulfillment to creating his collages, “I’m half illustrator, half standup comedian,” Piven likes to joke, a comedic sense gained while learning the artistic ropes and shaping the face of world leaders and iconic figures with toys and trinkets.

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

Hanoch Piven, The World Famous Israeli Artist Who Creates Culturally Iconic Collages

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David Shama, The Times of Israel http://www.nocamels.com <![CDATA[Israeli Cyber Tech Protects Internet-Connected Cars From Hackers]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34594 2014-10-21T14:22:26Z 2014-10-21T14:22:26Z

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

Picture this: You’re in your car, slowing down for a left turn– but suddenly your car decides on its own to speed up and turn right. If it hasn’t happened yet, say security experts, it will soon, because vehicles are hooking up to the Internet, and that’s where hackers live. Preventing such incidents is the mission of Israeli start-up Argus CyberSecurity, which is developing a system to detect and prevent real-time hacking of “connected cars.”

Such cars are already here, with higher-end autos from companies like GM, Mercedes-Benz, Toyota, and others equipped with Wi-fi using 3G and 4G data connections, allowing drivers and passengers to use the Internet in their vehicles to get directions, tune into cloud-based music services, and much more. Part of the entrance of the Internet of Things (IoT) into daily life, connected cars will, its proponents hope, make our lives easier.

Israeli Cyber Tech Protects Internet Connected Cars From Hackers

But connected cars are about much more than the Internet, said cyber-security expert Erez Kreiner, co-founder of cyber-security firm Five-C and former director of Israel’s National Cyber Security Council. “Companies will use the data connections to ensure that drivers don’t get lost or don’t take excessive risks, and monitor the condition of vehicles to ensure that they don’t break down on the road. But hackers will be able to take control of vehicles by hacking into those connections as well,” he warned.

     SEE ALSO: Cyber Warfare Tactics Could Be Used In The War Against Cancer

Those connections could be used by hackers to cause mayhem – or by run-of-the-mill crooks to target an individual. “Having connected cars is very efficient and convenient for manufacturers, car repair garages, and other professionals, because it gives them quick and easy access to data, and lets them easily store and analyze it. But it’s also heaven for criminals,” he said. “Imagine an organized crime ‘hit man’ who wants to ‘send a message’ to someone who owes him money. In the old days he might set off a bomb or shoot at the car, but why take risks? Nowadays all he has to do is hack into the car’s communication system and cause it to crash.”

Israeli Cyber Tech Protects Internet Connected Cars From Hackers

Argus CyberSecurity founders

Like with most other innovations, it’s unlikely that manufacturers will turn back the clock on connected cars just because of some cyber-dangers – so it’s a good thing that companies like Argus are on the job, developing a cyber-security system specifically for cars. Last week, Argus announced that it had raised $4 million in first-round funding to develop its Intrusion Prevention System (IPS).

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

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Israelis Discover Clear Link Between Diabetes And Parkinson’s Disease]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34609 2014-10-20T15:19:15Z 2014-10-20T14:15:53Z

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For some time, doctors and neuroscientists have suggested that people with diabetes are more likely to develop neurodegenerative diseases than non-diabetic individuals, but were unable to prove their hypothesis. Now Israeli scientists at Israel’s Ben Gurion University in the Negev have found a definite link between Type II diabetes and the propensity for developing Parkinson’s disease.

Over a period of three years, Dr. Yifat Miller and her post-doctoral student Yoav Atsmon-Raz attempted to explain how Type II diabetes, also known as late onset diabetes, could affect the body in a way that would make it more susceptible to developing neurodegenerative disease. While things like stroke, heart attack, blindness and kidney disease are known complications associated with Type II diabetes, it has yet to be confirmed that insulin deficiency scientifically raises the risk of contracting neurodegenerative disease. Now Miller’s breakthrough discovery may once and for all make sense of the deadly link between diabetes and neurodegenerative diseases.

The ‘clumping’ connection

The key component to discovering the missing link between the diseases was a new observation, made by Miller and Atsmon-Raz, regarding Parkinson’s disease. Examining the atomic structure of the brain protein fragment non-amyloid beta component (NAC), the team discovered for the first time that Parkinson’s disease is triggered when NAC clumps together. With knowledge that similar clumping action caused by a hormone called amylin triggers Type II diabetes in the pancreas, Miller’s team set out to find the clumping connection.

Israelis Discover Clear Link Between Diabetes And Parkinsons Disease

Dr. Yifat Miller

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

Basing their research on previous studies that showed amylin is also found in the brain and is related to Alzheimer’s disease when it clumps together, Miller discovered that this same hormone could cause Parkinson’s in patients with diabetes. “Our findings led us to the hypothesis that if amylin is located in the brain it can also interact with other proteins and peptides in the brain,” Miller tells ISRAEL21c.

From here, Miller and her team observed how NAC, which is part of a protein called alpha-synuclein, led to the death of neurons at an atomic level. By mapping the atomic structure of NAC and showing how it aggregates itself throughout the brain, Miller revealed for the first time the clumping mechanism in the brain that leads to Parkinson’s disease. All that was left was for her and her team to show that the presence of amylin in the brain and pancreas, and its clumping habits, could be the explanation for why Type II diabetics are at higher risk of contracting neurodegenerative diseases.

The first step on the road to an effective Parkinson’s treatment?

Using sophisticated computer simulations to examine how NAC interacts with amylin in the brain, Miller was able to support her conclusion that the synergy between these elements is what explains the higher neurodegenerative risk for diabetes patients. “We propose that NAC and amylin aggregate together and kill neuron cells, and these aggregates lead to Parkinson’s disease,” says Miller, clarifying that its NAC and amylin taken together that increase the risk of developing the disease.

Israelis Discover Clear Link Between Diabetes And Parkinsons Disease

Glucometer

Miller’s findings on the NAC-amylin interaction were confirmed in experiments, and she hopes that they will be used by other researchers to produce more effective Parkinson’s medication. “Publishing our results will allow other scientists to use this information to learn more about Parkinson’s, its mechanisms and possible drugs to reduce aggregation. Now one could develop a drug to prevent this interaction so the risk of diabetes will not lead to the risk of Parkinson’s,” says Miller.

     SEE ALSO: ‘Sweet’ Success For Israeli Researchers In The Treatment And Early Detection Of Diabetes

Though the research conducted by Miller and her laboratory has yet to be published, it is some of the first to effectively examine the mechanism that causes Parkinson’s disease, a novel endeavor that has won her grants from the European Union Seventh Framework Programme, among other scientific bodies. While it is still unclear what about diabetes, besides the presence of the amylin hormone, triggers a higher risk for Parkinson’s disease, Miller and her team are well on their way to finding out.

Photos: Image Editor/ Dani Machlis, BGU/ Open Knowledge

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Is This The Reason Why Diet Soda Drinkers Are Often Overweight?]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34522 2014-10-21T07:25:43Z 2014-10-19T14:01:29Z

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Beware the Diet Coke!

Since the invention of diet soda by Kirsch Bottling in 1952, the sugar-free, artificially sweetened drinks have been marketed with diabetic and weight-conscious populations in mind. Yet new research from Israel finds that artificial sweeteners could actually hasten the development of the glucose intolerance, leading to diabetes and obesity.

The research, conducted by the Weizmann Institute of Science, found that the artificial sweeteners used to give diet sodas the same sweet taste as their sugar-packed counterparts actually alter the composition and function of bacteria in our gut. In turn, these changes in micro bacteria are what contribute to the development of glucose intolerance or obesity over time, conditions that consumers of diet sodas set out to avoid in the first place!

Is This The Reason Why Diet Soda Drinkers Are Often Overweight?
The only thing as sweet as sugar is, well, sugar

In order to examine their hypothesis, Dr. Eran Elinav and Prof. Eran Segal gave mice water laced with a limited amount of the three most commonly used artificial sweeteners. Over time, the mice developed glucose intolerance, or diabetes, when compared to those mice that drank plain water or even sugar water. Establishing the effect of artificial sweeteners on glucose levels, the team moved on to examine the gut micro bacteria hypothesis that they believed was responsible for the body’s sugar spike. Indeed, the team found that artificial sweeteners are not actually absorbed in the gastrointestinal tract and instead pass through the digestive system, altering the gut micro bacteria they encountered along the way.

     SEE ALSO: New Research Can Tell You Your Susceptibility To Diabetes

Reversing not-so artificial damage

Moving on from mice to men, Elinav and Segal observed data collected by the Personalized Nutrition Project, the largest human trial to date to look at the connection between nutrition and micro bacteria. Analyzing the data, the researchers uncovered a correlation between the consumption of artificial sweeteners, the configuration of gut bacteria and the propensity for glucose intolerance. Then, they conducted a controlled experiment in which a group of volunteers, who did not generally eat or drink artificially flavored foods, asking them to consume artificial sweeteners for a week straight. The results showed that many (not all) of the volunteers began to develop glucose intolerance after just one week of steady artificial sweetener consumption. Looking closer at their gut micro bacteria, the researchers discovered two populations of human gut bacteria – one that induced glucose intolerance and another that failed to have an effect either way.

With knowledge that one-fifth or more of Americans drink a diet soda daily and that such a large population is not likely to give up their drinking habits overnight, the Weizmann research team began to dig into ways of reversing the intestinal tract damage already caused by artificial sweeteners. The researchers achieved success in fully reversing the effect of the sweeteners by treating the suddenly diabetic mice with antibiotics that brought their gut micro bacteria back to normal. This was the conclusive proof for the team that the gut micro bacteria are directly responsible for the harmful effect’s on the host’s metabolism and glucose levels.

Is This The Reason Why Diet Soda Drinkers Are Often Overweight?     SEE ALSO: Study Shows How Sitting On Your Butt ACTUALLY Makes It Fat!

“Our relationship with our own individual mix of gut bacteria is a huge factor in determining how the food we eat affects us. Especially intriguing is the link between use of artificial sweeteners – through the bacteria in our guts – to a tendency to develop the very disorders they were designed to prevent; this calls for reassessment of today’s massive, unsupervised consumption of these substances,” Dr. Elinav stated in a press release.

So before you crack open a can of diet soda for “health” or “diet” reasons, remember your gut bacteria!

The study was conducted by Dr. Eran Elinav of the Weizmann Institute’s Immunology Department, Prof. Eran Segal of the Computer Science and Applied Mathematics Department along with graduate students in each of their study groups.

Photos: fashiontalenet/ Rob Campbell/ courtesy

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David Shama, The Times of Israel <![CDATA[In The Race To An Ebola Treatment, Israel’s CollPlant Synthesizes Human Cells In Tobacco Plant]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34586 2014-10-20T11:32:35Z 2014-10-19T11:28:37Z

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

Scientists around the world scrambling to find a treatment for Ebola are looking to the tobacco plant for assistance, as a vehicle to synthesize antibodies for a vaccine. And that means they are likely to be looking towards Israel’s CollPlant, a company that is a pioneer in the development of recombinant proteins using tobacco plants.

While CollPlant is not involved with the development of Zmapp, the tobacco-synthesized “cocktail” being developed by several American companies that, so far, is the only Ebola treatment on the horizon, the Israeli company knows a great deal about large-scale production of human cells in tobacco plants, said Prof. Oded Shoseyov, founder and chief scientific officer of CollPlant. “We were the first company in the world to use tobacco plants to do large-scale manufacturing of human proteins, and to receive EU permission to market tobacco-synthesized human elements,” he told The Times of Israel in an interview.

In The Race To An Ebola Treatment, Israels CollPlant Synthesizes Human Cells In Tobacco Plant

A CollPlant tomato hothouse, used for ‘growing’ human collagen (Photo credit: Courtesy)

Zmapp, according to its inventors, San Diego-based Leaf Bio and Mapp Biopharmaceutical, with assistance from Defyrus Inc. of Toronto, the US government and the Public Health Agency of Canada, “is composed of three humanized monoclonal antibodies manufactured in plants, specifically Nicotiana. It is an optimized cocktail combining the best components of” three antibodies. The antibodies bind to proteins on the Ebola virus, which triggers the immune system and destroys the germ.

     SEE ALSO: How Israel’s Leading Ebola Expert Could Eradicate The Virus And Why The US Military Is Investing In Him

Zmapp, according to its makers, was first identified as a possible treatment last January. It has since been used on several Ebola victims in Liberia, with mixed results. It has been administered to about half a dozen patients, with most surviving. Although tests on animals have shown positive results, Zmapp has not been tested clinically on humans.

Nevertheless, Zmapp is the world’s best bet for an Ebola treatment, at least right now. The problem is, there are not enough doses to conduct clinical trials – or to treat patients, for that matter. Production is being handled by a company called Kentucky Bioprocessing (KBP), which has been using tobacco plants to synthesize Zmapp. Tobacco plants are injected with Ebola virus and fused with genes for a natural tobacco virus. The plant then responds, producing antibodies to fight the virus. The antibodies are extracted and injected in Ebola victims, hopefully curing them.

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

 

 

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[The Amazing Rise of Home Design Website Houzz, Now Valued At $2 Billion]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34449 2014-10-17T12:42:18Z 2014-10-17T12:42:18Z

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Just five years ago, Israeli designer couple Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen got stuck in the process of trying to renovate their home. Fast forward five years, and Tatarko and Cohen are the founders of Houzz, the web’s leading home design app that recently raised $165 million at a $2 billion valuation; and Tatarko was named by “Forbes” in a list of ‘Tech Titans,’ along with the likes of Elon Musk and Yahoo! co-founder Jerry Yang.

     SEE ALSO: Israel Home Design App Houzz Gets $35M Cash Injection

A ‘Pinterest-style’ website dedicated to home design, Houzz allows its 25 million unique visitors each month to browse through 4 million interior design photos, home decor, decorating ideas and get advice from home professionals online. According to Alexa rankings, Houzz is the 185th most popular website in the United States.

The Amazing Rise of Home Design Website Houzz, Now Valued At $2 Billion

Houzz founders Adi Tatarko and Alon Cohen

Bringing the Houzz down

Seeing potential in Houzz’s platform, the successful American venture capital firm Sequoia Capital, which funds Yahoo!, LinkedIn, Dropbox and Tesla Motors, began bankrolling Houzz early on. Though Tatarko is new to the tech business, “Forbes” recently added her to a list of‘ Tech Titans’ funded by Sequoia.

According to one Forbes article, “the company is more than an eye-catching site for homeowners trying to get their remodeling plans sorted out. Houzz also is a game-changer for architects, designers and craftspeople making all varieties of household items.”

     SEE ALSO: Nat Rothschild To Launch London Ride Sharing App ‘Maaxi’ To Compete With Uber

And as the Houzz community grows, so does the company. The only website that offers users access to a rich database of home design images, products and advice, Houzz already has offices in London, Berlin and Sydney and it hopes to open more using the $165 million investment. Making the home design process still simpler, Houzz now offers a marketplace feature whereby users can click on a certain item they like in an image and instantly purchase it for their home. According to Tatarko, Houzz will not directly deal with the e-commerce side of the sales, but will cut a 15 percent commission from the vendor side of each sale and ensure that only the best vendors are offered on the site.

With the announcement of the new funding round, led by Sequoia, together with new investors Yuri Milner’s DST Global and T. Rowe Price, among others, Houzz also unveiled a new website design, making it easier to search and add filters that will help visitors narrow down their favorite images.

For home design candidates and technology investment buffs, Houzz’s fast-growing and industry transforming website is something to write home about.

Photos: Screenshot/ Courtesy

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Internet Pioneer Jeff Pulver]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34476 2014-11-06T12:30:17Z 2014-10-16T08:20:57Z

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Jeff Pulver is an Internet pioneer known for his work in the Voice over IP industry. A globally renowned thought leader, inspirational speaker and entrepreneur, in 1995 Jeff defined “VON” to stand for Voice/Video on the Net. In 2004 the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) issued what is known as “The Pulver Order.” Pulver has also been involved as the founder, co-founder, advisor and/or investor of a number of startups including: Free World Dialup (FWD) (the first worldwide Internet Telephony Phone network), the VON Coalition, Vivox and VoIP provider, Vonage. Currently, Jeff serves as Chairman of Zula, a company he co-founded together with Jacob Ner-David. In 2003, Pulver was dubbed a ‘Tech Guru’ by Business Week for his commitment to the future of the Internet and expertise in his field.

What were your first steps into the business world? Happened when I was a comic book dealer at a comic book convention when in 6th grade.

Who is the one person, past or present, you’d love to have dinner with? My late father. Been missing him since 1998.

Falafel or Shawarma? Falafel. It’s gluten free and vegan.

What is your hidden talent? Acting. I’ve been an extra on Law and Order, Spin City and the Israeli television series “Mesudarim”

If you were a selfie, what would you look like?

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Internet Pioneer Jeff Pulver

What is your homepage? www.jeffpulver.com, of course.

What are you totally addicted to? Living. Energy. Being. Flow. Feeling. Doing and helping others do the same.

What is the biggest risk you’ve ever taken? Trying to answer your questions. Or maybe it was realizing I was driving my life without looking at the user manual. Or maybe it was going for my dreams and never looking back.

Star Wars or Star Trek? I’ve been to both worlds. I have a home in both places. I live in Star Trek and vacation in Star Wars.

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Internet Pioneer Jeff Pulver

Bar Refaeli or Gal Gadot? I have invested in one of Bar Refaeli’s startups. So I am biased and going with Bar.

If you weren’t an entrepreneur, what would you be? Not sure. I have lived the life of: accountant, software developer, consultant, systems integrator, conference producer, investor, and at times I continue to do some of these. I don’t live in a black and white world. I learned to take having fun seriously and I try to enjoy everything I do. Some things I do don’t come with a title or description. But that doesn’t stop me from being or trying.

What are your favorite weekend activities? Spending time with my kids; Exercise; running near the beach when possible; Instagram; thinking; reflecting; being; enjoying a new gluten free eating spot (NOTE: Jeff recently lost 120 lbs. (54 kgs.) and is now an advocate of healthy eating and regular exercise.)

Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Internet Pioneer Jeff Pulver

Part of Jeff’s healthy diet

If you could be a movie character, who would you be? Someone who brings the world more happiness and love and helps others appreciate life.

Tel Aviv or New York? Both. I enjoy the energy and flow of Tel Aviv.

What’s the best advice you ever got from your parents? If you never ask the answer is no!

What’s your favorite Hebrew word? Hafooch (upside down) followed by Hebook (hugs).

What is your biggest inspiration? I would have to say I am inspired by encouraging people to believe in themselves and to follow their dreams. Why? Because once they learn to do this they can continue to do this for the rest of their life and encourage others to do the same along the way.

NoCamels “Faces of the Startup Nation” features the leading entrepreneurs, innovators, investors and visionaries to give you an exclusive peak into the movers and shakers of Israel’s innovation scene. If you want to suggest a “Face”, write us in the comments below!

Photos: Courtesy/ GameInformer

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NoCamels Team <![CDATA[Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34506 2014-10-14T12:48:36Z 2014-10-14T12:48:36Z

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Spoiler alert!: If you’ve seen the movie “Black Swan,” then you’ll be familiar with the scene near the end when Nina, played by actress Natalie Portman, begins to hallucinate that she is becoming the swan she will portray in a ballet as feathers grow out of her back. Nina is the protagonist of Darren Aronofsky’s 2010 thriller that depicts the fierce competition in the professional ballet world through the eyes of one troubled dancer.

At a recent event hosted by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences, Tel Aviv University neuroscientist Prof. Talma Hendler presented her research on the mental and emotional reaction of viewers to this particularly haunting scene. She found that when people watch the scene, their brain patterns resemble those in people with diagnosed schizophrenia. Introducing her unique research to one of the world’s foremost directors, writers and producers of psychological thrillers, Aronofsky himself was touched by her comments and encouraged by the scientific proof to back them up.

Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows

     SEE ALSO: Study: The Human Brain Can Solve Math Problems Subconsciously

“My suggestion to you is that as Nina is getting crazier and crazier, the audience experiences something like schizophrenia,” Hendler stated to the panel’s audience, displaying the fMRI images that highlight the fascinating correlation between innocent movie watching and a serious psychological disorder.

Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows

Academy panel with Director Darren Aronofsky

Living a movie

At the Oscars event, Prof. Hendler explained her research on the investigating networks in the brain and their role in empathy, or the capacity to share and recognize another person’s emotions. She and her team found evidence for at least two kinds of empathy experienced in the brain when watching a film; the first was “mental empathy,” or feelings that require the viewer to step outside of their own selves and consider what another person is thinking or experiencing. The second was “embodied empathy,” or the intuitive, primal empathy that someone might feel when they witness another person getting punched or wounded.

Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows

fMRI scan during “Black Swan” scene

To back up her findings, Prof. Hendler presented fMRI scans of subjects who had been asked to watch movies like “Black Swan.” Hendler observed that when viewers watched the dramatic scene of Nina pulling a feather from her back (mentioned above), their “mental empathy” network was dominant, while the “embodied empathy” was largely dim. This corresponded with similar readings in Hendler’s schizophrenic patients, who tend to rely on mental empathy even when faced with a visceral experience.

     SEE ALSO: The First Israeli Film Festival Launches in Bangalore, India

However, Hendler did notice that feelings of “embodied empathy” were strong in viewers watching heavy emotional scenes like the touching mother-son moment in the 1998 drama-comedy, “The Stepmom.” This had a different, more ‘I’ve been there’ kind of emotional appeal to the viewers who really felt that they could relate with the characters. Differentiating between more cerebral empathy, like in the “Black Swan” and more ‘out-of-body-experience’ empathy, like in “The Stepmom,” Hendler believes that playing to these reactions, directors and screenwriters can influence what a moviegoer will experience.

Moviegoers And Schizophrenics Share Similar Brain Activity, Study Shows

Scene from “The Stepmom”

Deciphering the audience

Though Hendler’s research is not complete in the sense that it analyzes reactions to a limited number films, using fMRI to identify what people are thinking when they watch a movie could crack a huge code for the movie business. But while trying to figure out how a viewer may feel during any given scene, there are still some scientific limitations to the fMRI brain-reading method. Firstly,  scientists have yet to discover what each region of the brain does specifically, making it difficult to understand exactly what each scan says about brain activity. Secondly, though Hendler has keen insight on the correlation between mental empathy and schizophrenia, it should be taken into account that Nina, the main character in the “Black Swan,” would be considered by most to be a schizophrenic herself, making it difficult to draw a wider conclusion without comparing the results to a similar mind-stirring film.

Aronofsky even asserted to the panel that although his partner and co-producer Ari Handel has a PhD in neuroscience, he doesn’t usually consult him about the brain when writing a scene. Instead, they think about the audience’s emotional reaction to a particularly shocking or disturbing scene, and according to Aronofsky, “There’s always a theory of where the camera is and why it’s there.” It seems that there is still some way to go until the movie business makes films according to the viewers’ emotional and cerebral reactions, but it may not be long until the “Thriller” genre will be renamed “A Schizophrenic Experience.”

Photos: Screenshot / The Academy

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Maya Yarowsky, NoCamels <![CDATA[Teddy Sagi’s London Take-Over: Israeli Billionaire Buys Up More Of Camden Market]]> http://nocamels.com/?p=34559 2014-10-13T15:43:55Z 2014-10-13T15:39:41Z

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What do a self-made Israeli billionaire and London’s iconic Camden Markets have in common? For starters, enough for Playtech billionaire Teddy Sagi to purchase yet another section of the popular arts and crafts market this week. After acquiring the Camden Stables Market section this past March for $632.2 million (£400 million), Sagi has now acquired Camden Lock Market for up to $144.7 million (£90 million), hoping to expand his control of one of London’s most famous cultural landmarks. But what attracted the Israeli tech tycoon to this bric-a-brac and fast food market?

Teddy Sagi’s London Take Over: Israeli Billionaire Buys Up More Of Camden Market     SEE ALSO: Nat Rothschild To Launch London Ride-Sharing App ‘Maaxi’ To Compete With Uber

It all began when Sagi sold 15 percent of his ownership shares in Playtech, a highly successful online casino software company that was then valued on the London Stock Exchange at $884 million. This added nearly $552 million to Sagi’s already hefty fortune which today totals $2.3 billion, according to Forbes. Looking for a way to spice things up, the single 42-year-old business tycoon, who once reportedly dated Israeli model Bar Refaeli, took his money and flooded the market (but not that market). And while buying an arts and crafts market would seem to any other technology entrepreneur to be a poor investment, Sagi has pumped a good deal of funds into the preservation and marketing of one of London’s cultural gems.

The Israeli connection at Camden

When Sagi made up his mind to purchase Camden Stables Market for the hefty sum of $632.2 million, it wasn’t entirely by chance. Over 50 percent of the property sales were purchased from another Israeli tycoon, Bebo Kobo, with the remaining 50 percent owned by Chelsfield Developers and restauranteur Richard Caring. As part of the deal, Sagi also received control over Hawley Wharf, an area zoned for the construction of 170 homes, a school and an arthouse cinema, whose real estate value is set to provide Sagi with the impressive returns he’s used to.

Teddy Sagi’s London Take Over: Israeli Billionaire Buys Up More Of Camden Market
Following the announcement of the deal, Sagi noted his role in ‘continuing’ Kobo’s project and enhancing “Camden Stables Market’s huge tourism and business potential”. Indeed, today Sagi’s goal for turning Camden Markets into his next profitable venture became even clearer, with the announcement of the acquisition of another section of Camden Lock Markets for up to £90 million. He purchased the newest section from the Fulford family’s Brockton Capital Fund, which has owned the market for over 40 years, since the 19th century establishment became London’s preeminent crafts and food market.

     SEE ALSO: Faces Of The Startup Nation: Q&A With Barak Rabinowitz of Win.com

When asked regarding his plans for the market, Sagi’s remarks made it clear that it’s his next exciting venture: “Camden Lock … was a missing part of the puzzle on the way to creating a global brand. The purchase allows us to move forward more swiftly with developing the real estate and the unique electronic commerce that we are preparing and will make the huge potential of this place stronger.”

While the electronic commerce bit still remains unclear, it appears that a new payment method, like the Apple Pay method using smartphones, or an online ordering mechanism for the markets may be in the works.

An Israeli entrepreneur in the City of Westminster

Playing on his unprecedented success with Playtech, Sagi has since filed two initial public offerings in London in the past year. The first was SafeCharge, an international company specializing in credit card clearing for the online gaming industry, which raised $126 million at a company value of $404 million on the London Stock Exchange (AIM) this past March. The second, and most recent, is Crossrider, the Israeli company that Sagi purchased from its founders for $37 million, only to raise $75 million at a company valuation of $250 million on AIM this September.Teddy Sagi’s London Take Over: Israeli Billionaire Buys Up More Of Camden Market

In addition to bringing Israeli companies to London’s markets (not Camden Markets), Sagi was reportedly also in talks to purchase the Reading Football Club for up to £1 million ($1.6 million). Sagi is said to be a big fan of the famous English football club Chelsea, but according to the Daily Mail, he is now looking smaller teams with big potential for ‘turn around’ profits.

In his endeavors across the pond, it is becoming increasingly clear that Teddy Sagi is the Israeli name to remember in London Town.

Photos: Jessica/ TripAdvisorUK/ CalvinAyre/ Camden Market

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