Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category

It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

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It’s all in the Yeast: Beer of Pharaohs Resurrected?

A team of Israeli archeologists, microbiologists, and brew experts, recently brewed a beer so old it would have been drunk by Pharaohs some 5,000 years ago. The yeast was discovered in ancient pottery from that era.


Portions of this article were originally reported by NoCamels.com


In the study, authored by over a dozen scientists from The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Tel Aviv University, Bar-Ilan University, Ariel University, and the Dead Sea and Arava Science Center, the researchers wrote that they “developed a pipeline of yeast isolation from clay vessels and screened for yeast cells in beverage-related and non-beverage-related ancient vessels and sediments from several archaeological sites,” finding that “yeast cells could be successfully isolated specifically from clay containers of fermented beverages.”


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The scientists say that a majority of previous studies of ancient organisms were based mainly on the analysis of ancient DNA, and that attempts to recreate ancient beer and wine were made using “modern ingredients combined with modern domesticated commercial yeast (predominantly Saccharomyces cerevisiae) and not with the actual microorganisms that might have been used in the production of these fermented beverages.”

These results, they wrote, “open new and exciting avenues in the study of domesticated microorganisms and contribute significantly to the fields of bio- and experimental archaeology that aim to reconstruct ancient artifacts and products.”

The team was led by Dr. Ronen Hazan and Dr. Michael Klutstein, microbiologists from the School of Dental Medicine at the Hebrew University, and Dr. Yitzhak Paz from the Israel Antiquities Authority.

Paz called the study a “real breakthrough,” asserting that “this is the first time we succeeded in producing ancient alcohol from ancient yeast… This has never been done before.”

In all, the scientists isolated six yeast strains from 21 beer-and mead-related ancient vessels dating back to the reign of Egyptian Pharaoh Narmer (roughly 3000 BCE), Aramean King Hazael (800 BCE) and to Prophet Nehemiah (400 BCE) who, according to the bible, governed Judea under Persian rule.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Female Visionaries Converge On Israel for Forbes Global Women Summit

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Female Visionaries Converge On Israel for Forbes Global Women Summit

This year’s Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit, saw participation from thirty-nine countries , in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.


The following excerpts were originally reported by NoCamels.com


Hundreds of young, inspiring and influential entrepreneurs, disruptors, visionaries, change-makers and investors from 39 countries are in Israel this week to take part in the inaugural Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit. The summit is taking place in Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.

It brings together some of the most powerful female leaders from around the world, comprised of honorees from Forbes’ Under 30 lists and mentors who will provide leadership, guidance and insights.

“We’re bringing together 500 visionaries from around the world- US, Europe and Asia, the Middle East and Africa and of course, Israel. Supporting the future aspirations of female leaders and breaking down systemic barriers to achieve those aspirations is critical to achieving greater economic vitality around the world and driving greater prosperity not just for women, but for everyone,” Moira Forbes, EVP Forbes and President of Forbes Women, said at the opening of trading on the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange on Sunday.

“Our signature Under 30 Summit brings together the most inspired minds around the world, whose actions create change throughout all levels of society,” said Randall Lane, Chief Content Officer at Forbes. “Because we bring together the most impressive minds in entrepreneurism today, we are in a unique position to activate a worldwide community of leaders who can raise our collective consciousness and bring about meaningful social change that benefits women everywhere.”

On Monday, delegates congregated at the Peres Center for Peace and Innovation in Jaffa to hear talks by their counterparts on women making a difference the world over. Navigating from failure to success, being authentic, the importance of philanthropy, changing government laws, and innovating in the tech space were just a handful of the topics on the agenda at this international gathering.

One of the panels to draw interest was the Israeli alumni group of elite IDF intelligence Unit 8200, which included Galit Zuckerman Stark, CEO and founder of Medasense, Mor Chen, 8200 EISP Managing Director and Noa Shafir, Co-founder; Chief Product Officer at Odo Security.

It was noted that Unit 8200 has a 55 percent majority of women in the army but after age 30, the ratio of men to women changes drastically.

“It starts in education. We need to spread the word about women’s achievements and successes in tech and science. Young women need a role model and someone to be like,” said Chen. “We need to ensure that we have the right mentoring. When you have the right mentor and see she has done it. We need to encourage equality at home, too. This is one of the things that will increase the numbers.”

After the panel, Zuckerman Stark told NoCamels that she doesn’t usually label herself according to her gender: she’s a CEO, not a woman CEO. But she also takes her role as a mentor for younger women entrepreneurs seriously.

“Statistically, in my career I was the minority. The minority in my class, in my army service, in the job titles I held. And it didn’t necessarily have to be like that. When I was in my army course we were less than a third women. Today, I am a mentor and I want the statistic to just be about men and women, no difference,” she said, noting she’s a mentor with the Woman2Woman(https://www.w2w8200.com/our-mentors) initiative.

The Forbes Under 30 Global Women’s Summit is presented in partnership with the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation, the Paul Singer Foundation, Startup Nation Central, the Pratt Foundation and the One8 Foundation. The Presenting Sponsor of the summit is J.P. Morgan.

American philanthropist Lynn Schusterman, the co-founder and chair of the Charles and Lynn Schusterman Family Foundation and founder of several other philanthropic initiatives, was the special keynote speaker for Monday’s event. She spoke about the need for belief in one’s self.

“The future belongs to each and every one of you today. You have the technology and access to education that you need to succeed,” Schusterman told the audience. She also said that when she first began, she “had to bring men to the table with me at first. No one took me seriously.”

Lane, Chief Content Officer at Forbes, told NoCamels that the summit currently underway is a “big idea event” meant to show women that when they work together, they can take the lead, bring change, build bridges, discuss challenges and set goals of establishing new standards for women.

“The idea of bringing young women entrepreneurs to one place, from around the world, across industries to create bonds and partnerships… can they find solutions? We all know that the world will be a better place if we had more women leaders,” he said.

Amanda Nguyen, the founder and CEO of Rise, an American non-governmental organization aimed to protect the civil rights of sexual assault and rape survivors, drew a standing ovation from the crowd for her talk on reforming thelawsfor survivors of sexual assault in the US.

Nguyen, who has been nominated for a 2019 Nobel Peace Prize, told NoCamels that the Israel-sponsored UN resolution preventing and eliminating sexual harassment in the workplace – and which was co-sponsored by other countries – is an inspiration for her NGO in their bid for a UN Resolution for Sexual Assault Survivors.


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“One of the things that inspired us was Israel’s leadership on this resolution to tell the world that sexual harassment is not something that will be taken lightly,” Nguyen told NoCamels during the lunch break. “No matter where you are from, no matter who you are and no matter where you come from, equality should not depend on geography.”

Indeed, Maggie McGrath, Editor of ForbesWomen, opened the Monday sessions in calling for the need to break through barriers across all facets of society around the world and repair the pay gap, the funding gap. “Sitting in this room are aspiring prime ministers, unicorn founders and everyone here is doing something to lift up the generation behind us,” this is just the start of our movement to move forward,” said McGrath.

The international group of women and men taking part in the summit were also given a taste of Israeli culture – tours of food markets, a visit to the beach, and samples of the vibrant nightlife.

“Israel is also a wonderful place to eat and celebrate food and that is core to our lives and our business. It’s been really inspiring to explore the cooking scene,” Sierra Tishgart, co-founder of Great Jones, told NoCamels, adding that she and her co-founder Maddy Moelis, were taking home, “spices, halva, tahini, and all kinds of things.”

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

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Is Israel Becoming Cannabis Nation?

Over a thousand visitors from forty-five countries converged on Tel Aviv for CannaTech, the medical Cannabis (marijuana) conference. Participants from the biotech, pharmaceutical, and medicine were all ears (and eyes) at what appears to be the world’s largest medical cannabis conference, giving Israel yet another designation of Cannabis Nation.


The following content has been exported from NoCamels.com where this story was originally reported.


According to Kaye, the Israeli government’s inhibition of cannabis business in the past, which he says was due to fear of the negative image associated with exporting “guns, cannabis, and other drugs,” made medical cannabis a “heavily illegitimate market.” Despite earlier government backlash, however, continuous pressure and a greater number of resources devoted to medical cannabis research have allowed for CannaTech’s consistent growth since its inception in 2015.

As perhaps the chief representative of the Israeli medical cannabis market, CannaTech’s development signifies Israel’s quick emergence as a global industry leader.

“We’re uniquely placed in innovation, ag-tech, water tech, and now canna-tech in order to propel us into what is the next massive industry […] When you add in the culture of funding startups, and the ability to both black market test and sell your product to an audience, that creates an environment that’s fantastic for a growing ecosystem,” Kaye states.

He also cites Israel’s advanced hospitals, universities and claim to the highest number of PHDs per capita as additional contributors to the country’s potential for sustained success in the industry and the world’s primary innovator and producer of medical cannabis.

“Patients who need medicine now have to get it from somewhere – they can get it from Canada or they can get it from Israel. Those are your options in the world. Canada’s leading and Israel will catch up.”

In January, Israel’s Ministry of Health gave its long-awaited approval for the medical cannabis export law, paving the way for the country to become a leading medical cannabis exporter, and participant in the global cannabis sector. Although law enforcement officials have not yet established a framework through which new international cannabis trade will be executed, the market has already begun to feel the law’s effects. “We are talking about a $2 billion industry next year that, last year, was also a $2 billion industry, it just wasn’t legal,” Kaye says.

By 2029, the global cannabis industry is expected to soar to $33 billion, which Kaye believes is necessarily an underestimate: “It’s the fastest growing industry in the world with more consumers than we know about because they have all been in the closet. So, we don’t really know the size, but it’s way bigger than whatever we think it’s going to be.”

Despite the growing support for medical cannabis within Israel and beyond, there are those who still doubt the plant’s positive potential, arguing that it may decrease societal productivity. Kaye urges doubters to reject “uneducated stigma that they’ve been taught for 60 years” and to instead, turn to cannabis research.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Using Artificial Intelligence on Facial Recognition Detects Rare Genetic Disorders

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Using Artificial Intelligence on Facial Recognition  Detects Rare Genetic Disorders

A new technological breakthrough is using AI and facial analysis to make it easier to diagnose genetic disorders. DeepGestalt is a deep learning technology created by a team of Israeli and American researchers and computer scientists for the FDNA company based in Boston. The company specializes in building AI-based, next-generation phenotyping (NGP) technologies to “capture, structure and analyze complex human physiological data to produce actionable genomic insights.”


Portions of this article were originally reported in NoCamels.com


DeepGestalt uses novel facial analysis to study photographs of faces and help doctors narrow down the possibilities. While some genetic disorders are easy to diagnose based on facial features, with over 7,000 distinct rare diseases affecting some 350 million people globally, according to the World Health Organization, it can also take years – and dozens of doctor’s appointments – to identify a syndrome.

“With today’s workflow, it can mean about six years for a diagnosis. If you have data in the first year, you can improve a child’s life tremendously. It is very frustrating for a family not to know the diagnosis,” Yaron Gurovich, Chief Technology Officer at FDNA and an Israeli expert in computer vision, tells NoCamels. “Even if you don’t have a cure, to know what to expect, to know what you’re dealing with helps you manage tomorrow.”

DeepGestalt — a combination of the words ‘deep’ for deep learning and the German word ‘gestalt’ which is a pattern of physical phenomena — is a novel facial analysis framework that highlights the facial phenotypes of hundreds of diseases and genetic variations.

According to the Rare Disease Day organization, 1 in 20 people will live with a rare disease at some point in their life. And while this number is high, there is no cure for the majority of rare diseases and many go undiagnosed.

“For years, we’ve relied solely on the ability of medical professionals to identify genetically linked disease. We’ve finally reached a reality where this work can be augmented by AI, and we’re on track to continue developing leading AI frameworks using clinical notes, medical images, and video and voice recordings to further enhance phenotyping in the years to come,” Dekel Gelbman, CEO of FDNA, said in a statement.

DeepGestalt’s neural network is trained on a dataset of over 150,000 patients, curated through Face2Gene, a community-driven phenotyping platform. The researchers trained DeepGestalt on 17,000 images and watched as it correctly labeled more than 200 genetic syndromes.

In another test, the artificial intelligence technology sifted through another 502 photographs to identify potential genetic disorders.

DeepGestalt provided the correct answer 91 percent of the time.


Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.


Indeed, FDNA, a leader in artificial intelligence and precision medicine, in collaboration with a team of scientists and researchers, published a milestone study earlier this year, entitled “Identifying Facial Phenotypes of Genetic Disorders Using Deep Learning” in the peer-reviewed journal Nature Medicine.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

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McDonald’s Turns To Israeli-Tech To Customize Orders And Drive-thru

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McDonald’s Turns To Israeli-Tech To Customize Orders And Drive-thru

It’s been a long time since McDonald’s made a major acquisition. Twenty years actually, and their acquisition of Isreali-tech startup Dynamic Yield may be a shrewd move to buy the proprietary AI technology and keep it from their competitor’s reach.


What follows was excerpted and originally reported by NoCamels.com.


McDonald’s is set to acquire Israeli company Dynamic Yield, a market leader in customer personalization and decision logic technology, the two companies announced on Monday.

The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed but TechCrunch reported that “a source with knowledge” said the agreement was valued at over $300 million and is McDonald’s largest acquisition in 20 years.

Founded in 2011 by Israeli entrepreneurs Liad Agmon and Omri Mendellevich, the New York-headquartered company’s AI-powered omnichannel personalization engine helps product managers, and engineers build personalization campaigns that deliver individualized experiences at every customer touchpoint (online, mobile apps, email, kiosks, IoT, and call centers).

Dynamic Yield says its platform’s data management capabilities “provide for a unified view of the customer, allowing the rapid and scalable creation of highly targeted digital interactions. The company has over 300 clients that have included IKEA, URBN Brands, and Stitch Fix.

McDonald’s said in a statement that it will use Dynamic Yield’s technology “to provide an even more personalized customer experience by varying outdoor digital Drive Thru menu displays to show food based on time of day, weather, current restaurant traffic and trending menu items.” The tech can also suggest and display additional items based on customer current selections.

“Dynamic Yield’s ability to meet McDonald’s customer needs, coupled with their commitment to grow capabilities around ever-changing consumer trends and evolving marketing technologies, allows for the continued advancement and elevation of the McDonald’s customer experience with technology and innovation,” the fast-food giant said in the statement.

Steve Easterbrook, president and CEO of McDonald’s Corporation, said “technology is a critical element of our Velocity Growth Plan, enhancing the experience for our customers by providing greater convenience on their terms. With this acquisition, we’re expanding both our ability to increase the role technology and data will play in our future and the speed with which we’ll be able to implement our vision of creating more personalized experiences for our customers.

Agmon, who serves as Dynamic Yield’s CEO said: “We started Dynamic Yield seven years ago with the premise that customer-centric brands must make personalization a core activity. We’re thrilled to be joining an iconic global brand such as McDonald’s and are excited to innovate in ways that have a real impact on people’s daily lives.”

According to the agreement, Dynamic Yield will remain a stand-alone company and employees will continue to operate out of its offices across the world, including Berlin, Singapore, Moscow, Paris, London, NY, and Tel Aviv. Dynamic Yield will also continue to serve their current, and attract future, clients.

McDonald’s said upon the completion of the deal, it will become sole owner of Dynamic Yield, and will continue to invest in the company’s “core personalization product and world-class teams.”

Dynamic Yield previously raised some $83 million from investors such as Viola Growth, an Israeli-based technology growth capital fund, Innovation Endeavors, Bessemer Venture Partners, Vertex Ventures Israel, and Union Tech Ventures.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Neurowellness: A New Way To Manage Stress

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Neurowellness: A New Way To Manage Stress

Move over mindfulness meditation. Neuroscience is now beginning to map what’s going on inside your brain when you’re feeling good, and not-so-good, to help promote mental and emotional wellness. It’s a logical augmentation of mindfulness meditation which has become very popular recently although it’s been around for thousands of years.


The remainder of this post was originally reported by NoCamels.com


Brain researchers across the world are increasingly beginning to study the link between our body’s control center and emotional health. In recent years, neurological wellness (or neuro-wellness), an emerging field focused on emotional wellbeing, mood enhancements and innovation and technology, has also garnered attention.

“Because we’re living longer, our focus is starting to shift toward well-being,” Bill Gates wrote last month as part of a piece reflecting on technological breakthroughs for the MIT Technology Review. “I think the brilliant minds of the future will focus on more metaphysical questions: How do we make people happier? How do we create meaningful connections? How do we help everyone live a fulfilling life?”

Earlier this month, this question was one of the main focuses at the Fourth International BrainTech Conference in Tel Aviv, a two-day global meeting point for leading scientists, clinicians and entrepreneurs who engage in brain research and technology.

While the power of a positive mindset has been praised as key, there is emerging scientific backing for the thesis that mood is directly linked to the mental processes in our brain. Moshe Bar, director of the Leslie and Susan Gonda Multidisciplinary Brain Research Center at Bar-Ilan University, presented a study that found that optimistic people show better cognitive work on associations, creativity, memory and a broader scope of attention than those with a more depressed outlook. People with a positive mindset, he indicated, are better able to foresee what’s coming next and to minimize perceived uncertainty. Thus, improving the mood of individuals can prompt our brain to activate processes that will make us feel well.

The brain’s powerful capacities are well documented, but can the mind heal the body? Neuroscientists Dr. Talma Hendler, of Tel Aviv University, and Dr. Asya Rolls, of the Technion, are currently collaborating on a study on brain-body interaction. Their initial findings have shown that activating a neural mechanism in our brain’s reward system may boost the immune system.

Can technology support us emotionally? More and more entrepreneurs recognize the potential of such evidence for transforming our mind and body. Products for emotional wellness are currently flooding the market. But can technology really support us emotionally?

“Yes,” says Nichol Bradford, executive director and co-founder of The Transformative Technology Lab (USA), who believes that we are standing at the threshold of a new era of human flourishing. “I think there is a great deal of range and possibility in using technology to teach us how to relate to the way we feel. Emotions and self-regulation are trainable and teachable skills,” she tells NoCamels.

According to Bradford, transformative technologies for well-being will not only address mental health and happiness, they are also entering the future of workplaces, improving emotional intelligence and social skills. Ultimately, they will lead to enhanced mental and emotional capacity.

Bradford calls this the “future of human possibilities” in which technology helps people develop their full potential. “The point is … to establish a new level of mental and emotional health.“

An example of this is TRIPP, a Los Angeles-based software company that developed a mood-on-demand platform powered by virtual reality. Like a combination of video games and meditation, “taking a ten-minute TRIPP” can puts users in a state of mindfulness by creating a deep immersive, brain-stimulating experience. CEO and co-founder Nanea Reeves believes that mental health is the market for VR. After launching their product for corporate wellness programs, the company’s goal is to enter the therapeutic market, where TRIPP could be used for treatments like addiction recovery, he tells NoCamels.

An Israeli product that has already been deployed in hundreds of clinics worldwide is Myndlift, a device for personalized neuro-therapies. When looking for ways to improve ADHD symptoms without medication, Myndlift CEO Aziz Kadan discovered the potential of neurofeedback. Combining a sensory headset with a training program, Myndlift responds to changing brainwave patterns and is able to change and balance brain activation. The devices were featured at the conference.

Meanwhile, NYX Technologies, a young Israeli neurotech startup, is developing a platform for sleep management and stress reduction. A headset reads a user’s brain patterns and adapts its function individually for falling asleep faster, getting into deeper sleep and waking up refreshed. Currently, the Haifa-based company is conducting beta tests.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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SAP Opens Accelerator Program in Tel Aviv

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SAP Opens Accelerator Program in Tel Aviv

German owned SAP, the global leader in enterprise resource planning (ERP) solutions, just made a big move in Israel, a startup accelerator to do just that; help tech startups get to market, and generate profits, faster.


The following excerpts were originally reported by NoCamels.com


European multinational SAP SE is opening an accelerator program in Tel Aviv designed to support early-stage startups building innovative software, the software corporation said in a statement.

The 12-week program, dubbed SAP.iO Foundry, will start in July 2019 and will work with 10 startups “focused on deep technology and the intelligent enterprise to deliver incremental value to SAP’s customers,” the company said.

“The SAP.iO Foundry Tel Aviv represents the next phase of SAP’s commitment to Israel’s dynamic startup ecosystem,” said Ram Jambunathan, Managing Director of SAP.iO at the OurCrowd Summit in Jerusalem on Thursday. “We are excited to work with and help Israeli startups scale with our value proposition of curated mentorship, exposure to SAP data and technologies, and opportunities to meet and collaborate with SAP unparalleled, global base of enterprise customers.”

“Israel’s one-of-a-kind vibrant ecosystem is home to thousands of unique startups, several of which will enjoy and benefit from SAP Israels R&D Center’s professional tech expertise and the Foundry’s business know-how. We look forward to creating new exciting solutions and opportunities for SAP customers,” said Orna Kleinmann, MD of SAP Israel R&D Center & SVP Technology & Innovation Cloud Experience.

SAP also has accelerators in 6 strategic startup hubs, including Paris,
Berlin, Munich, New York City, San Francisco, and Tokyo. SAP says that since the SAP.iO Foundries were formally launched in early 2017, they have accelerated the growth of over 100 startups.

SAP first established its R&D center in Israel in 1998. The center leads SAP Cloud Platform development for the company, while also specializing in machine learning and user identity management. The center also leads strategic partnerships, startup acquisitions, and internal innovation initiatives.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Mel Brooks Proves Prophetic: Jews Are In Outer Space

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Mel Brooks Proves Prophetic: Jews Are In Outer Space

Indelibly inked into my memory from early childhood is Mel Brook’s History of the World, Part 1 feature film whereby spacecraft shaped like the Star of David pervade our Galaxy (and beyond) with Brook’s own narration introducing “Jews in Outer Space.”

And now it’s happening less the whole Star of David thing…obviously.


The remainder of this post was originally reported and published by NoCamels.com


The launch of Israel’s first voyage to the moon is upon us and giddiness over the possibilities of what a successful landing will mean for Israel – and the international space community – are growing by the minute.

Excitement abounds in Israel and on social media networks with people posting photos of themselves in a SpaceIL picture frame, sharing the hashtag #israeltothemoon, posing for selfies at a replica of the spacecraft in the Habima Square in Tel Aviv. The Tel Aviv Municipality lit up its city hall with lights reading, Tomorrow Israel Is Going To The Moon.

If all goes according to plan, the lunar lander Beresheet, whose name in Hebrew means “In the Beginning/Genesis,” will blast off aboard a SpaceX Falcon 9 from Launch Complex 40 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station at 3:45 am Israel time on Friday.

Anticipation is high because if Beresheet completes its lunar mission on April 11, Israel will join superpowers China, Russia, and the United States in landing a spacecraft on the moon.

And that’s not the only amazing statistic. Beresheet is remarkable because almost everything about the unmanned spacecraft goes against convention.

Beresheet is set above a the communication satellite (the main passenger of the launch) It began as a dream by three young engineers and not a government program, making it the first privately funded space probe to shoot for the moon. It cost just $100 million to plan and develop, whereas other space missions in the past have run in the billions of dollars.

But as Israel has shown time and again, when it comes to technological prowess, size doesn’t matter.

Indeed, this small spacecraft has big hopes riding on it.

“It was very difficult to raise money for this mission because it was really a mission impossible,” said South African-Israeli philanthropist Morris Kahn, the president of SpaceIL. “I didn’t realize it was impossible and the three engineers who started this project didn’t realize it was impossible, and the way we in Israel think, nothing is impossible. We dare to dream. And we really are making this dream come true.”

From a physical design point of view, Beresheet has been likened to a gold-colored robotic spider. It is roughly the size of a washing machine, reaching a height of 1.5 meters, about two meters in width, and weighing just 600 kilograms.

The design of the craft changed twice since its first inception in 2011 until the final touches were made last year.

The SpaceIL spacecraft was originally designed to meet regulations set out by the now-defunct Google Lunar X Prize competition, an international contest that challenged the world’s engineers to create and send the first private lander to the Moon. The SpaceIL crew chose to continue with the mission – with or without the prize money – and kept dimensions of their lunar lander to a minimum and with as low redundancy as possible.

A multi-disciplinary team of some 250 engineers, scientists, and computer scientists from the non-profit SpaceIL and state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) designed, engineered and developed Beresheet. The actual building of the spacecraft from full-scale development took just four years.

“The navigation control system and the simulator were developed from scratch and they are very sophisticated,” Opher Doron, IAI’s Space Division General Manager, told a prelaunch press conference in Ramat Gan.

Doron tells NoCamels that the “main computer and computer chips, as well as other pieces of technology and the cameras, are Israeli-made.”

One of the main issues facing the SpaceIL and IAI team was how to land the spacecraft on the Moon without it breaking apart. So, they created four foldable landing legs with energy absorption mechanisms to ensure a soft landing.

“The structure is Israeli, the landing legs are Israeli, the main computer is Israeli, the design of the spacecraft is Israeli… most of the technologies onboard and the engineering is Israeli. It is an Israeli mission,” says Ido Anteby, CEO of the SpaceIL. “Of course, there are some parts of the sub-systems that come from vendors around the world. But almost all the technology onboard is Israeli.”

Indeed, Beresheet truly shows off Israel’s prominent technological and engineering innovation and expertise. It highlights the country’s aptitude in creative thinking, resourcefulness, and advance research.

“It was very exciting to work with SpaceIL on this project and also interesting from an engineering point of view. This was an inspiration,” Inbal Kreiss, Deputy General Manager, Space Division, IAI, tells NoCamels.

“It used to be that only superpowers had the ability to go and do things like land on the Moon, but lately there’s been so much flourishing of technology, which has been enhanced greatly by the computer revolution,” Phil Metzger, a planetary physicist at the University of Central Florida, told The Verge. “Now it’s within the range where small groups of people can build a lunar lander, which is super amazing.”

Israel’s tech expertise in space sciences is already world-renowned. The country is known for developing and manufacturing advanced technology solutions for satellites, unmanned and robotic systems, radars and more.

There is an Israeli-developed space-qualified CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) sensor aboard the Parker Solar Probe.

The country is a mecca for satellite development.

“Israel is blessed with human capital and brain power. We can create effective solutions that afterward become global standards. We want to change the game of satellites as flash drives did to floppy discs,” Raz Itzhaki Tamir, co-founder & CEO of NSL Comm and an expert on nano space technology, tells NoCamels.

Even NASA has taken interest in this little spacecraft. The space agency is allowing the Israeli team to use its Deep Space Network to communicate with Beresheet in deep space.

The spacecraft is built to withstand extreme environmental conditions during launch, in space, during landing and for its lunar stay. Yet, IAI and SpaceIL engineers noted at the prelaunch press conference that once on the moon, the spacecraft will only function for about two Earth days. In that time, Beresheet will take a selfie, gather imagery of the Moon, and transmit information back to the mission control room in IAI’s space facility in Yehud.

SpaceIL engineers hope the spacecraft will land in an area on the Moon known as Mare Serenitatis because this region is supposed to have some “magnetic anomalies” that the Israeli team hopes to analyze using an onboard magnetometer. SpaceIL is conducting a scientific experiment together with the Weizmann Institute of Science to take measurements of the Moon’s mysterious magnetic field.

On board, there’s also a time capsule and a nano-Bible microscopically etched on a small metal disc the size of a coin.

Landing a spacecraft on the moon will bring an extraordinary achievement in engineering and the country’s technological capabilities. SpaceIL hopes it will advance and promote science and research.

“It’s exciting,” says Doron. “It’s a great technological achievement.”

SpaceX will broadcast the historic launch live on its YouTube channel, and SpaceIL will simultaneously air on Facebook live video from inside the control room in Yehud.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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Israel’s Top Innovative Companies – FAST COMPANY

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Israel’s Top Innovative Companies – FAST COMPANY

Every year FAST COMPANY puts together its list of the top 400 innovative companies. Seven Israeli and Israeli-founded companies were among over 400 firms featured by US business magazine Fast Company on its annual “World’s Most Innovative Companies” for 2019.


The following excerpts were originally published by NoCamels.com


The monthly publication’s editors and writers said they sought out groundbreaking businesses across 35 industries in every world region, listing the top 10 in 41 categories such as AI, Biotech, Branding, Health, Robotics, Food, Security, and Middle East, for a total of 410 organizations.

Fast Company also released its annual “50 Most Innovative Companies” but no Israeli firms made that list. In 2018, Israeli-founded navigational app Waze was featured in the top 50 alongside giants such as Apple, Amazon, Netflix, and Spotify, and Israel had its own category with 10 top startups. An additional 5 Israeli companies and startups were featured in other categories.

This year, Fast Company featured a Middle East category and named four Israeli startups to its list of 10 businesses in the region.

They are:

Sight Diagnostics

An Israel-founded company that develops lab-grade blood testing systems, and which recently raised $27.8 million for the technological and commercial expansion of diagnostics system OLO as well as regulatory efforts in the US and R&D.

OLO leverages AI with a revolutionary method to ‘digitize’ blood, allowing patients to receive blood test results within minutes at the point-of-care, and with just a finger-prick. The system takes detailed images of blood and then analyzes them with AI-driven computer vision algorithms. It was first deployed in African countries and India in 2014 to detect malaria.

Sight Diagnostics now says its technology offers Complete Blood Counts (CBCs) – the most prevalent blood test in the world, and plans to develop further applications.

Fast Company said Sight Diagnostics, No.1 in the Mideast category, was chosen “for accurately diagnosing illnesses from a few drops of blood.”

Vayyar Imaging

n Israeli company founded in 2011 that developed revolutionary technology that can “see” through objects, including liquids and human tissue, to deliver 3D images with a host of applications.

The tech is being used across industry sectors including automotive, construction, agriculture, smart homes, robotics and medical care.

Vayyar has also been named an innovative Israeli company to watch by a host of publications including WIRED, Business Insider, and the World Economic Forum.

Fast Company says Vayyar was selected “for making low-cost, 3-D-imaging technology to improve health and safety.”

NoCamels has reported that Vayyar’s sensor-based technology “can see through skin and tissue to detect cancer masses, look through walls and create a 3D image of hidden structural foundations; or, it can be used to create a smart home that tracks the location of persons needing care, as well as their vital signs as they move around the house.”

Last year, Vayyar launched what it called the “world’s most advanced millimeter-wave 3D imaging chip,” which provides a high-resolution, mobile, and cost-effective 3D imaging solution.

Innoviz Technologies

A leading Israel-based provider of solid-state LiDAR sensors and perception software for the future of autonomous cars.

Featured in fourth place in the Mideast category, Fast Company says Innoviz was selected “for helping autonomous cars see their surroundings.”

The company recently launched new offices across the world including in the US, China, Japan, and Germany, and opened new headquarters in the central Israeli city of Rosh Ha’ayin.

The new HQ , a 4,000-square meter facility, includes labs, garages for test vehicles, and other manufacturing capabilities.

Last month, Innoviz entered its newest strategic partnership with Harman International, a Samsung subsidiary that focuses on connected technologies for automotive, consumer and enterprise markets

Last year, Innoviz entered an agreement to supply German auto giant BMW Group with its automotive-grade LiDAR InnovizOne and computer vision software for its autonomous vehicle production

Innoviz was founded in January 2016 by Keilaf, Oren Rosenzweig, Oren Buskila, and Amit Steinberg. The company has raised $82 million to date, including a $73 million Series B funding round in 2017, which included participation from Delphi Automotive and Magna International.

ECONcrete

An environmental tech company founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella, that develops sustainable concrete for constructing ecologically active infrastructures in coastal and marine environments as well as in urban landscapes.

In 10th place in the Mideast category, Fast Company chose ECONcrete “for pouring concrete that stimulates biodiversity, reducing the ecological footprint of coastal projects.”

The company was recently featured in an episode of the popular web series Nas Daily.

Three more Israeli companies were featured in other categories, including:

Nanit

An Israeli-developed baby monitor that uses computer vision, machine learning and advanced camera sensors to track a baby’s sleep cycle and development.

Nanit appeared in seventh place in the Data Science category “for helping babies – and parents – get more rest.”

Nanit says its product is the first smart monitor to merge computer vision with data-backed sleep science, to produce the most advanced and secure camera technology ever introduced to the home.

The company says its technology can be applied more widely “since tracking and understanding sleep patterns and anomalies can lead to early detection of other disease states like sleep apnea, seizures, autism and more.”

Nanit has ongoing partnerships with major universities and institutions including the Technion, Ben-Gurion University and the City University of New York to study the effects of infant sleep on the overall health of a baby and their family.

Last year, the company raised $14 million in a financing round led by one of Israel’s leading VC firms, Jerusalem Venture Partners (JVP).

JVP chairman Dr. Erel Margalit said at the time that “Nanit takes the science of sleep one step forward and revolutionizes this field through computer vision and machine learning technology. Nanit’s unique home-based camera monitors and analyzes sleep patterns in real-time and updates parents on their children’s quality of sleep, something which directly affects their physical, mental and emotional development.”

Nanit was founded in 2016 in New York by Dr. Assaf Glazer, Tor Ivry, and Andrew Berman.

Waze

Israeli-founded Waze, sold to Google in 2013, featured in second place in Fast Company’s Transportation sector, down one spot from last year.

Founded in 2009 by Amir Shinar, Uri Levine, and Ehud Shabtai, the company, a social traffic and navigation platform that collects input from users to provide warnings of auto accidents and other disturbances on the road.

After experimenting with a carpool service since 2016, Waze officially rolled out Waze Carpool late last year in Israel and in the US.

TripActions

A US-based corporate travel tech company founded by Israeli entrepreneurs Ariel Cohen and Ilan Twig, that recently raised $154 million in a Series C funding round led by Andreessen Horowitz.

TripActions placed eighth in the Travel category for “incorporating a user-experience mind-set into managing corporate travel.”

This startup, said Fast Company, “is shaking up the sleepy corporate travel world by making it easier than ever for companies to book and manage employee travel.”

Twig has said the company is “re-thinking the way that corporate travel is run and supported globally. With AI and machine learning, we’re able to deliver a truly customized traveler experience at scale, allowing us to reduce the time to book a trip from more than hour to a mere 6 minutes.”

“We’re also using this technology to deliver incredible support. Imagine a world where every travel headache –– whether that be a flight delay or a lost hotel room –– is taken care of before you even knew something was wrong. This is exactly what TripActions is able to offer to our customers today,” he added.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

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First Lab-Grown Bone Implant Patient Competes In Triathlon

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First Lab-Grown Bone Implant Patient Competes In Triathlon

Israeli Biotech company Bonus Biogroup has created Bonofill, a first-of-its-kind tissue-engineered bone graft process that produces human bone from the patient’s own cells.


The following excerpts were first reported by NoCamels.com.


When Danny Yaakobson, an extreme sports enthusiast, suffered a serious leg injury following a car accident two years ago, he did not imagine he would become the world’s first patient to receive a lab-grown bone implant made from his own fat cells to replace a missing section of his shinbone, let alone take part in an Israman triathlon just a year following the surgery.

But that is exactly what happened. While traveling abroad in 2017, Yaakobson suffered a road accident and nearly lost his whole leg. The injury was serious and painful, he says, but his doctor told him about a clinical trial that would change the course of his life.

“The doctor said that there wasn’t much to lose anyway [in participating in the clinical trial], that the situation was not so good as it was,” Yaakobson explains in a video interview provided by Bonus BioGroup.

During the process, human fat tissue is extracted from the patient. Bonus BioGroup then separates the various types of cells and isolates the stem cells. The stem cells are removed and stimulated in a bioreactor, a special device that simulates the body’s environment and provides suitable conditions for bone generation. The fat cells are then grown in a lab until the tissue becomes solid, after which the hardened bone tissue is injected back into the patient’s body.

Bonus BioGroup CEO Dr. Shai Meretzki says in a video interview that “currently an autologous [cells or tissues obtained from the same individual] transplant is the gold standard for treating patients who lose bones for a wide variety of reasons. In order to perform the process you need to harvest the bone for one location within the body. Usually you cut from the femur and move it to the cut location, which is a very hard, expensive, painful and difficult process.”

“What we are offering instead is a completely new approach to patients who have lost their bones for the most disparate reasons, growing the old bone outside of the human body within a relatively short time,” Meretzki says.

The surgery to replace a missing 2 inches (5 centimeters) of Yaakobson’s tibia was performed last year at Afula’s Emek Medical Center led by Dr. Nimrod Rozen, Head of Orthopedics. In just three months following the procedure, Yaakobson was able to walk more comfortably and even jump.

Diane Israel is a Chicago native and long-time supporter and advocate of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC). She is also famous for her culinary recipes. Diane can be reached at Diane@IsraelOnIsrael.com

Learn more about Diane Israel. Also, see Diane Israel on LinkedIn.

Read more »