Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
It’s that time of the year for the granddaddy of all consumer electronics shows, CES (International Consumer Electronics Show) to turn heads with groundbreaking innovations in Las Vegas. It’s the proverbial Disneyland for tech geeks and those more inclined to adopt early in the emerging technologies sector.
Here’s a flash summary of the top Israeli companies participating at CES and why their worth writing about. (Summary information originally published in NoCamels.com.)
- Edgybees, an American-Israeli startup founded in 2016 that combines AR, drones, computer vision, multi-sensor data analytics, and 3D video generation to improve “situational awareness” for rescue teams and emergency responders. Its real-time platform relays vital information over video captured by drones to help lead rescue efforts in natural disasters and public safety incidents.
- 2sens —A Tel Aviv-based company that developed computer vision tech for capturing 3D video and 3D graphics with smartphones.
Anagog— The developer of JedAI, the first on-handset AI engine that converts sensors data in real-time and predicts mobility status and location information. The company has nabbed investments from Daimler AG and Skoda; Porsche Digital GmbH, a subsidiary that identifies trends and invests in startups for Porsche AG, purchased a “minority stake” earlier this year
- Brodmann17 — A software technology company founded in 2017 that can run deep learning vision on edge devices. Its tech can be used in applications such as augmented reality, robotics, home security, smart cities, and autonomous vehicles.
- Byond developed a virtual reality publishing platform aimed at allowing “brands, media companies, and businesses to create their own interactive experiences.”
- CipherSiP, an Israeli-Swiss company that provides end-to-end communications and authentication solutions for connected mobility and industrial platforms, using watermarking technology.
- FireDome, a cybersecurity company that provides home IoT vendors with highly specialized, continuously evolving software solutions.
- Gauzy, an Israeli company with offices in California, Germany, and Hungary that developed patented Liquid Crystal Glass (LCG) panels. Gauzy combines high-tech and low-tech by embedding film technology into raw materials, like glass, to allow for control of various forms of light, where the surface can be switched from opaque to transparent on demand. The former is ideal for projection and privacy, while the latter invites the outside world in. Images and videos in HD quality can be projected onto the LCG, potentially turning any such surface into a projection platform.
- Gauzy Car Ads: Ads projected in a car window using Gauzy’s LCG technology.
- Hexa, a Tel Aviv-based company that uses a unique AI framework with a complex computer vision algorithm to reconstruct 3D assets from ordinary photos. The tech focuses on fashion, furniture, and electronics.
Lishtot, the award-winning Jerusalem startup that develops and builds products to detect for drinking water contamination and safety. Lishtotwas named by TIME Magazine among 50 “genius companies” for 2018 and was selected among 15 “superhero” startups for NoCamels’ end-of-year review.
- Lumen, an Israeli startup founded in 2014 that developed a single-breath device that tracks the metabolism for better nutrition and overall health. Lumen is currently crowd-funding on Indiegogo.
Nanoscent, a Haifa-based company that specializes in scent recognition technology, developing a sensor-chip and AI platform. Its first scent recognition app was for “match-making,” predicting a match likelihood based on skin scent.
- NFT Inc, an Israeli company developing an autonomous, electric Vertical Takeoff and Landing (
eVTOL) vehicle that would function as a car and a plane for two-to-four passengers. Qlone, a startup that has developed an app, based on five patented technologies, that allows users to scan real objects, using a smartphone camera, “modify them in app and seamlessly export the result” to a number of platforms “for 3D printing, 3D sharing, 3D selling or to use as a 3D asset in your game or app.” The startup has already partnered with LEGO and number of other companies for product launches.
- Sixdof Space, a company that combines “optics, electronics, and algorithms in a single package for deployment in products currently in development in multiple industries – with an initial market focus on the VR market.”
- Superb Reality Ltd., a startup founded in 2015 that developed hand gesture control and motion tracking software solutions for AR and VR glasses and phones.
Syteai, also a Tel Aviv-based startup that “combines object recognition, artificial intelligence, and machine learning” to make images and videos become instantly shoppable. Talamoos, a company developing prediction platforms based on AI’s machine learning and Big Data to track behavior. The startup participated in the first cycle of a unique accelerator launched Israel’s Internal Security Agency (ISA, also known as the Shin Bet in Hebrew) and TAU Ventures, the investment arm of Tel Aviv University.
- TriEye, a startup founded in 2016 that is “developing technology to maintain smart and autonomous vehicle safety in adverse weather and low-visibility conditions. Its semiconductor design uses patent-pending technology that allows the production of shortwave infrared cameras at a fraction of their current cost.”
- Unbotify, which detects anomalies in human-device interaction using Machine Learning, in real-time on a specific user-flow.
Waycare, a company founded in 2016 in Palo Alto, CA with offices in Tel Aviv that leverages artificial intelligence and predictive analytics for proactive traffic management optimization. It recently made headlines for helping the city of Las Vegas improve road safety and reduce vehicle crashes by some 17 percent on a stretch of one of its busiest highways.
- Woojer Ltd., a New York-based Israeli startup founded in 2011 that developed a “polyphonic haptic transducer that enhances music and audio.” The wearable devices (strap or vest) “accurately reproduce[…] bass frequencies and deliver[…] the emotional tactile sensation directly to the wearer’s body,” according to the company.
- OurCrowd, a leading global crowd-investing platform for accredited investors based in Jerusalem (and a NoCamels sponsor), also has a startup pavilion at CES 2019 with exhibiting Israeli startups that include:
- TechSee, an AI-powered visual customer engagement company that recently raised $16 million in a Series B funding round. Founded in 2015, TechSee developed a visual engagement solution powered by artificial intelligence and augmented reality that aims to revolutionize the customer experience, enabling consumers to receive augmented reality-based visual guidance through their smartphones from a virtual technical assistant.
Engie, a Tel Aviv-based startup founded in 2014 that developed an app that tracks car conditions and diagnoses malfunctions.
- C2A Security, a Jerusalem-based cybersecurity company that combines large-system security, artificial intelligence, machine learning, and hardware and software security to develop solutions for connected vehicles.
Vayavision, a startup founded in 2016 that combines raw data fusion, AI and machine vision for a platform for autonomous vehicles that gives a complete environmental model outside a vehicle using a system of sensor technologies – LiDAR, radar, and camera. It recently raised $8 million in a seed funding round led by Viola Ventures, OurCrowd, and MizMaa Ventures, with participation from LG Electronics, and Mitsubishi UFJ Capital.
A few dozen more Israeli Startups had booths at the show as well, including MobileEye, Arbe Robotics, Arberobotics, Karamba Security, Innoviz Technologies, Mantis Vision, Valerannn, and Temi.
When you think of Israel, many images come to mind, usually of the biblical
UNICORN is the designation of tech startups who are valued at $1Billion or more. And currently, Israel has a bunch of them. Well, more like a dozen and a half!
The remainder of the article was originally reported by NoCamels.com
Unicorns have been the stuff of legends for centuries. Many tales have been inspired by these mythical creatures, usually depicted as a white horse with a long horn extending from the forehead. But in the tech world, “unicorns” are real and there are over 200 companies around the world who have made the list as of 2017, according to research form CB insights.
In tech parlance, unicorns are privately-held startups valued at $1 billion and above. The term was first coined in 2013 by US venture capitalist Aileen Lee in an article titled “Welcome To The Unicorn Club: Learning From Billion-Dollar Startups” and has since taken off.
Get our weekly highlights directly in your inbox!SIGN UP
Israel, a small nation with nearly 6,000 active startups and companies and a world leader in tech, can claim 18 unicorns, according to an overview of the high-tech industry compiled by Israeli entrepreneur Yaron Samid, the founder of TechAviv, an invitation-only global Israeli startup founders club which currently boasts some 3,000 members.
The list was criticized for including companies with only loose connections to Israel and those without a presence in the country. But Samid, a serial entrepreneur with three exits under his belt – BillGuard, Pando Networks (acquired by Microsoft) and DeskSite – and the founder of angel investment firm Novadea, stands by the round-up, telling NoCamels that the purpose was to “show Israel’s transformation from a ‘start-up nation’ to a ‘growth nation,’ or ‘scale-up nation.’”
“If the list contained only companies headquartered in Israel, it would be a very short list. That would undermine the growth of industry in Israel I am trying to portray. And as a founders’ club, TechAviv also focuses more on founders rather than headquarter locations,” he says.
Samid’s list contains a caveat that reads: “This is not a list of ‘Israeli startups,’ it’s a list of private technology companies founded by Israelis…The goal of this list is to provide some perspective on the massive impact Israeli founders are having on the global innovation economy.”
Despite the flack, Samid tells NoCamels that his criteria for next year’s Israeli unicorns list will not change.
In addition to the unicorns, Samid also counted 26 Israeli “charging ponies,” startups and companies with a valuation of over $500 million as of June 2018. He says that he expects “the top half of the list to make unicorn list in 2019, if not by the end of this year.”
Below are the 17 firms among the unicorns list. Valuations are based on public and private
- WeWork: $20 billion
- Magic Leap: $5 billion
Tanium: $5 billion
- Houzz: $4 billion
- Compass: $2.2 billion
- Elastic: $2 billion
- Infinidat: $1.6 billion
- ironSource: $1.5 billion
- Gett: $1.4 billion
- eToro: $1 billion
- OrCam: $1 billion
- Gusto: $1 billion
- Outbrain: $1 billion
- Taboola: $1 billion
- Fiverr: $1 billion
- Lemonade: $1 billion
- VIA: $1 billion
As Climate Changes becomes more difficult to deny with each passing day — 95+ percent of scientists are already convinced — severe weather is becoming commonplace. Even in areas where it is common, it’s becoming more extreme and costly, both in terms of lives lost as well as the negative impact on the economy. In response to the growing urgency of the problem, Google Tel Avis has just rolled out an artificial intelligence (AI)-powered flood forecasting for flood stricken areas of India.
The remainder of this text was originally published by NoCamels.com
Google is harnessing artificial intelligence tech to create forecasting models that can better predict when and where floods will occur, and it has partnered with India’s Central Water Commission (CWC) to roll out early warnings in Google Search in the subcontinent, Google VP of engineering and the managing director of Google’s R&D Center in Tel Aviv, Yossi Matias, announced this week.
Deadly floods are common in some parts of India, especially during monsoon season, which runs from July to September every year. In August, India’s southern state of Kerala experienced the worst flood in the region in nearly 100 years, with over 400 killed and more than a million people displaced. A number of other areas in India have seen more devastating floods over the past decade, with death tolls running into the thousands. The 2004 tsunami is still the worst water-related natural disaster to have occurred in the country, with over 10,000 lives claimed in India alone.
“Floods are devastating natural disasters worldwide — it’s estimated that every year, 250 million people around the world are affected by floods, also costing billions of dollars in damages,” Matias wrote in a blog post. Existing warning systems can be inaccurate and uninformative while being wholly unavailable in some areas, “resulting in far too many people being underprepared and unaware before a flood happens,” he added
Google is now “using AI and significant computational power to create better forecasting models that predict when and where floods will occur, and incorporating that information into Google Public Alerts,” to help improve preparedness for impending floods, he wrote.
The tech giant feeds a number of elements – past events, river readings, elevation calculations – into its models to generate maps and “run up to hundreds of thousands of simulations in each location,” Matias explained.
“With this information, we’ve created river flood forecasting models that can more accurately predict not only when and where a flood might occur, but the severity of the event as well,” he said.
The partnership with India’s CWC was first announced in June by the agency. Under the terms of the agreement, the CWC would use “state-of-the-art advances made by Google in the field of Artificial Intelligence, Machine Learning and geospatial mapping for effective management of water resources particularly in the field of flood forecasting and dissemination of flood-related information to the masses widely using the dissemination platforms developed by Google.”
The CWC said in a statement that until recently, it was disseminating flood levels with maximum lead time of one day, but the cooperation with Google would allow for a lead time of up to three days.
The collaborative arrangement, the CWC said, is likely to save millions of rupees “which otherwise would have to be spent by the government on acquiring high-resolution DEM [digital elevation models], high-end computational resources and developing dissemination platforms widely used by the masses.”
First. A little background from our good friends at Wikipedia: Renewable electricity can
The remainder of this article was originally published by NoCamels.com
Water could be the source for hydrogen-fueled cars one day in the near future, thanks to continued scientific breakthroughs such as a recent one by Israeli scientists.
Researchers led by Dr. Arik Yochelis and Dr. Iris Visoly-Fisher of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Prof. Avner Rothschild of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology in Haifa, say they have identified a missing mechanism for an environmentally friendly way to split water molecules in order to produce energy without the need for an outside catalyst.
“It is a conceptual change in research and this can provide a new perspective in how technology in the future can be approached,” Yochelis, of the Blaustein Institutes for Desert Research and the Alexandre Yersin Department of Solar Energy and Environmental Physics at Ben-Gurion, tells NoCamels.
Although it’s been well-known for decades that production of hydrogen that does not emit greenhouse gases requires the splitting of water molecules (H2O) into the elements from which they are composed (two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom), that process has always demanded more energy than was gained back at the end of the process. As such, it has never been commercially viable.
Yochelis tells NoCamels that he and his fellow researchers believed there was “something missing” in how to go about splitting the water molecules in an energetically favorable way.
“In water splitting literature, people assumed they sufficiently well understood chemical reactions and mechanisms,” explains Yochelis. Much is indeed known but the knowledge is incomplete and sometimes the “devil is in the details,” he says.
From left: Dr. Arik Yochelis, Dr. Iris Visoly-Fisher, both of
After years of separate experiments, the research teams in BGU and Technion joined forces, hoping that three research teams were better than one. It proved a winning move.
The researchers were the first team to successfully reveal the fundamental chemical reaction present in solar power that could form the missing link to generate the electricity necessary to accomplish this process. That would allow the process to unfold naturally instead of relying on large amounts of man-made energy sources or precious metals to catalyze the reaction.
“Beyond the scientific breakthrough, we have shown that the photo-electrochemical reaction mechanism belongs to a family of chemical reactions for which Prof. Gerhard Ertl was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry, about a decade ago. Our discovery opens new strategies for photochemical processes,” says Yochelis.
But Yochelis won’t say whether this finding is a watershed moment for energy just yet. For one, he wants the science community to test and retest their mechanism to ascertain that their finding is correct.
“It is still too early to know the science community’s reaction” to the new finding, says Yochelis. “We need to give it a year to allow people to learn.”
Yet, the discovery could have a significant impact on efforts to replace carbon-based fuels with more environmentally friendly hydrogen fuels.
The ubiquity of
The remainder of this text was excerpted from full-length published article in NoCamels.com
For decades, Israel has been an established world leader in medical cannabis R&D, due to the pioneering work of Hebrew University of Jerusalem Professor Raphael Mechoulam. In 1964, the renown organic chemist was the first researcher to identify cannabis’ THC compound, the chemical known for causing a “high,” laying the foundation for scientific research on cannabis and its use in modern medicine.
In the years since, Israel became among the few countries with a government-sponsored medical cannabis program, and was the first in the world earlier this year to approve a vaporizer as a medical device for the use of cannabis extracts and formulations.
Though the country’s efforts to lead in other areas – like its big plans to become a top medical cannabis exporter with an estimated $1 billion in revenue per year – have stalled due to political wrangling, Israeli cannabis startups have stepped ahead with cutting-edge, smart devices and products for cannabis cultivation, consumption, measurement, and storage.
And their sights are set on the global cannabis market, expected to be worth some $32 billion by 2022.
Oren Todoros, CEO of the branding firm CannaImpact, tells NoCamels that mixing cannabis culture with IoT (the internet of things) “has the potential to lift the industry to new heights.”
“Due to this rapid shift towards smart connected devices, growers and consumers are increasingly turning to IoT technologies, essentially comprising of sensor devices, artificial intelligence (AI) and data analytics, to bring new efficiencies to the way we grow and consume cannabis,” says Todoros, whose firm works with Israeli startup Kassi Labs, which developed a smart storage hub solution for marijuana.
Yona Cymerman, a co-founder of Can Innovation Finder (CIF), a new initiative that hopes to connect North American cannabis growers with blue-and-white tech solutions, says “the licensed producers we work with are always interested in hearing about innovative designs and technologies being developed to improve the consumer experience, and have expressed a lot of interest in devices and gadgets.”
“Israeli entrepreneurs have demonstrated great creativity in developing and designing their products, adopting concepts from other industries such as the sports market, and are aware of, and investing in the aesthetics of their products, which makes them all the more attractive for investment purposes,” she tells NoCamels.
From vaporizers and inhalers to growing environments and all-in-one storage solutions, we’re taking a closer look at seven companies that developed forward-looking “smart” gadgets for a next-generation cannabis experience and data analysis.
In part one of, “From ‘Content is King’ to GODLIKE“, we introduced some mind-boggling facts: namely that:
- 90 percent of all content ever generated in the history of mankind, was created in the last two years
- 99 percent of all content is yet to be accessed, let alone worked, mined or analyzed.
Throw artificial intelligence (AI) in the mix and it quickly becomes apparent that we are embarking on the creation of a technology that would rival any god ever envisioned — and there have been thousands. The big difference between the gods of the past and those of the present are worth elucidating.
Traditional or conventional gods provided answers to most if not all of life’s mysteries. Of course, there are problems with that, most notably, a lack of empirical rigors to go along with the robustness of the claims. Newer gods — I’ll use Google’s search engine as an example — are empirical for sure, and use information, i.e., empirical evidence, as an epistemic foundation. From there the commonalities between the old and new intersect again since both models are pretty big on predictions (or prophecy). And before I can complete that sentence we experience yet another bifurcation with the old depending on one or another form or revealed truth and the Google god relying on inference, induction, and most recently, artificial intelligence to answer the secular prayer more commonly known simply as THE SEARCH.
God or godlike dichotomies aside, what’s a civilization to do with all this content, especially since 99 percent of it is just sitting here and there (and everywhere), doing nothing? Well, we already have the technology, i.e., Google and similar technology, to harness it. That’s one thing but taking benign predictability — the search — to profound prophecy and beyond through weird and counterintuitive correlations that provide answers even before we think of them, let alone type them into Google, is where the future of content vis-a-vis AI is heading.
The next article will get into the specifics of precisely how this might look, using everyday problems and contemplations.
To say I was “blown away” by a recent editorial in NoCamels.com by Yaniv Garty, General Manager of Intel Israel, is a frustatingly cliche due to the poverty of English usage as it exists today. And it wasn’t Garty’s predictions of what the world could look like by 2025 that captured and downright agitated my imagination (in a way I enjoyed). Sure, his IT prophecies are all plausible among numerous pundits, evangelists, and visionaries. Nope. It wasn’t that.
It was the data, specifically the vast quantities of data being generated, even right now. Consider these three incredible facts:
- Of all the data created since the beginning of civilization, 90 percent of it has been generated in the last 2 years.
- By 2025, total data will reach 163 zettabytes. You probably never heard of a zettabyte, and you may want to pause before you attempt to digest it. 163 zettabytes is 1,000 Billion terabytes. Even with the comparison, I still find it incomprehensible.
- Only 1 percent of all data has been accessed in any meaningful way.
Garty, who is charged with growing Intel’s hardware for IT ecosystem of the future, has a lot to think about, namely…
Artificial Intelligence (AI), and how it can begin to mine the 99 percent for, among other things, greater insights and predictive measures. Intel already has its eyes on the medical field with aspirations to provide tailor-made solutions for each patient, perhaps and beyond, like unique biological and genetic characteristics.
Another good example is the interface between data and transportation: The potential of saving lives by lowering the number of accidents made possible with autonomous driving is incredible. But to reduce accidents we need a combination of technologies working together – from computer vision to end-computing, mapping, cloud, and of course AI. All these, in turn, require a systematic change in the way the industry views data-focused computing and technology.
My personal take is that the IT ecosystem of the future will more and more resemble the different executive and subordinate functions of the human brain with neuroscientists and computer scientists conspiring to construct the greatest monster even seen: one giant decentralized and interdependent mega-brain.
In the next segment of this series, we will consider the moral and religious implications of this almost godlike monstrosity.
This story was originally reported by NoCamels.com.
Habana Labs, an Israeli startup that develops AI processors, announced on Thursday that it has secured $75 million in a Series B funding led by Intel Capital, with participation from WRV Capital, Bessemer Venture Partners, Battery Ventures and existing investors.
Since it was founded in 2016, Habana Labs has raised a total of $120 million.
The new funding will go toward continued growth, including next-generation processors, sales, and customer support, said Habana Labs CEO David Dahan.
Related Story: Artificial Intelligence: Part 1.
“We are excited to invest in a dynamic team with a proven track record in the industry,” said Wendell Brooks, Senior Vice President of Intel Corporation and President of Intel Capital. “Habana Labs’ innovation and execution on their vision will help drive the next evolution of Artificial Intelligence.”
“AI brings a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a significant wave of new semiconductor companies, and venture firms are heavily investing in AI-focused chip startups”, said Lip-Bu Tan, Founding Partner of WRV Capital, a leading international venture firm focusing on semiconductors and related hardware, systems, and software. “Among all AI semiconductor startups, Habana Labs is the first, and still the only one, which introduced a production-ready AI processor. We are delighted to partner with Intel in backing Habana Labs’ products and its extraordinary team.”
As more states move to legalize recreational use of marijuana — there are nine now, plus the District of Columbia — and dozens more who now allow medical use (with a doctor’s prescription), tech innovators are not waiting for the law to catch up with public sentiment. One of the more notables is the launching of CIF (Can Innovation Finder), a new Canadian-Israeli-American initiative that aspires to be the virtual R&D hub for all-things pot. If it’s better quality, higher yield, and packaging you’re looking for, CIF hopes to be the dominant source in filling those needs.
Right now, the United States is playing a secondary role as it continues to lag behind Canada in market maturity, including industry standards, the emergence of trade associations and other institutions commonplace in any industry’s ecosystem. So essentially, the partnership’s muscle is between Canada and Israel with Canada supplying the product and an already viable market, and Israel focused on R&D like most any other industry for which it is a global force.
“There are incredible partnership opportunities for companies on both sides, and Canadian Licensed Producers can gain a huge market advantage by tapping into Israel’s tech ecosystem,” says CIF CEO Sarah Tahor. “Our role is to highlight opportunities that the market may not know about and provide the platform to enable new partnerships and business ventures. With contracts in place with the LPs to introduce them to multiple Israeli companies, we save them time and ensure they have access to top Israeli cannatech (cannabis tech), agri-tech and biotech innovation.”
Indeed, Israel is a sought-after partner in the cannabis industry thanks to its renowned scientific innovation and tech expertise to grow consistent, high-quality, and varied strains of cannabis.
“There are tons of companies that deal specifically with technologies focused on growing and agriculture; some are focused on soil quality and climate control of greenhouses while others are focused on humidity and lighting,” Oren Todoros, CEO of CannaImpact branding firm, tells NoCamels. He says there are between 70-100 cannabis-related ventures in Israel. “Despite the fact that there is no external export, there’s a lot of growing technologies being produced here for the global cannabis market.”
On the US front, agreements have been inked with Massachusetts-based holding company MariMed, to cultivate, manufacture and sell the Israeli company’s MMJ products in seven US states.
As for the rest, the partnerships are almost exclusively between Canada and Israel. But despite its slowness to market, driven by a host of statewide legal hurdles, don’t expect this mainly bilateral arrangement to stay that way for long.
First pictures of the Sun’s atmosphere due in December of this year, thanks to an Israeli-engineered sensor affixed to the Parker Solar Probe. Israeli integrated circuit manufacturer TowerJazz produces this one-of-a-kind sensor.
Reporting of this story originally appeared in NoCamels.com
Scientists everywhere – and space enthusiasts, too – are waiting with bated breath for the first images from the NASA Parker Solar Probe spacecraft, now making history as it orbits the sun, due in early December. It is an Israeli-engineered sensor, which is capturing the high-resolution images of the sun’s atmosphere, including coronal mass ejections (CMEs) and solar wind.
“Parker Solar Probe is going to answer questions about solar physics that we’ve puzzled over for more than six decades,” Parker Solar Probe Project scientist Nicola Fox of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory, said in a statement. “It’s a spacecraft loaded with technological breakthroughs that will solve many of the largest mysteries about our star, including finding out why the sun’s corona is so much hotter than its surface.”One of those technological breakthroughs onboard the probe is the space-qualified CMOS (complementary metal–oxide–semiconductor) sensor.
Israel’s integrated circuit manufacturer TowerJazz, based in Migdal Ha’emek, about an hour-and-a-half drive north of Tel Aviv, and SRI International, an independent nonprofit research center, collaborated on the high-performance CMOS imager for the US Naval Research Laboratory (NRL).
“TowerJazz has been working with SRI for several years to develop custom technology to support US government imaging applications,” Mike Scott, Director of TowerJazz USA Aerospace & Defense, said in a press statement last month.
TowerJazz’s CMOS image sensors and pixel technology are used in photography, industrial, medical, automotive and consumer applications, including high-end camera phones and 3D cameras. “We are very pleased to see our teamwork take flight in this exciting endeavor by NASA.”
This is the first time NASA has sent a spacecraft into the sun’s atmosphere. Headlines from around the world show that the global community is eagerly watching this engineering feat unfold.
The Parker Solar Probe’s mission is to understand the corona – the aura of plasma that surrounds the sun – in order to protect our technology-dependent society from space weather threats and solar wind. The data will also help in planning future space missions to the Moon or Mars.
For local engineers and the local space community, Israel’s sensor onboard the NASA spacecraft is an exciting moment. While outwardly a small contribution to the overall Solar Probe project, without the Israeli-engineered sensor there would be no images.
“Israel has amazing tech capabilities and people around the world appreciate the ingenuity of the Israeli space industry,” Kfir Damari, SpaceIL co-founder and engineer, tells NoCamels. Damari adds that the blue-and-white sensor joins a long list of Israeli components used in international space projects, giving the example of the 2016 Schiaparelli Mars Lander, which used a propulsion system developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems.
“I believe there will be more collaborations in the future,” says Damari.
Damari and co-founders/engineers Yariv Bash and Yonatan Winetraub, founded SpaceIL in 2011. They plan to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the Moon in early 2019.
“Space is something that is exciting. For SpaceIL, our mission is not just about landing a spacecraft on the Moon. For us, the bigger vision is getting people excited about space, science and technology, so I think any added project that gets people in the street talking about science and technology is amazing,” says Damari.
Moreover, those familiar with Israel’s expertise in sensor technology, aren’t surprised that an Israeli firm was part of the tech side of this latest NASA mission.
Israeli sensor technology, after all, is Grade A.
“It should not come as a surprise that Israel is providing key sensor technology for the NASA Solar Probe. Israel has world-leading vision and imaging technology, that power applications as diverse as autonomous driving (Mobileye), chip inspection (Orbotech), airborne agricultural imaging (Taranis), and next-generation spectrometry (Consumer Physics),” Jonathan Medved, serial entrepreneur and CEO of OurCrowd, tells NoCamels.