Archive For The “Israeli Tech” Category
Coral reefs around the world have been slowly dying due to the effects of climate change and rising sea temperatures, as well as growing local pressures such as pollution, fishing practices, and physical harm.
However, the northern Red Sea between Africa and Asia has acted as a “thermal refugia” that protect marine life from this imminent destruction, showing resistance to rising temperatures and stress induced by global warming, according to scientists. The phenomenon has piqued the interest of regional researchers – led by Israel – who are partnering for a unique trans-national collaboration on the study, monitoring, and protection of the Red Sea coral reef ecosystems.
The research partnership is the brainchild of Professor Maoz Fine, a marine biologist from the Mina and Everard Goodman Faculty of Life Sciences at Bar-Ilan University. Dubbed the Red Sea Transnational Research Center, it will include partners from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Eritrea, Sudan, Yemen, and Djibouti. Since Israel does not have formal ties with a majority of these countries – save Jordan and Egypt with which it has peace treaties – the center will be led by Switzerland’s Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne (EPFL), Bar-Ilan University said in a statement.
[This article was originally published by NoCamels.com]
In March, the Swiss foreign minister inaugurated the center in Bern surrounded by diplomats and researchers from throughout the region. Prof. Fine believes that the idea of collaboration between these historically adverse nations through science is what motivated the Swiss government to participate, highlighting the idea of “diplomacy for science, and science for diplomacy,” he tells NoCamels.
“Reefs recognize no borders and are affected by any neighboring country. So, we have to take action and coordinate in order to solve the complex geopolitical situation in the region,” he says in a phone interview.
The center will unite scientists from a wide range of disciplines including oceanography, biology, genetics, ecology, geology, nature conservancy, civil and environmental engineering, the university said, and will make direct use of already existing research platforms such as the Inter-University Institute for Marine Sciences in Eilat and the Jordanian Marine Station in the Gulf of Aqaba. New monitoring stations will also be created.
As reported recently by NoCamels.com, Israel’s most educated population is leaving the country at a pace that should “ring alarm bells in all of the corridors that determine Israel’s national priorities,” according to a new report released this month by the Shoresh Institution for Socioeconomic Research headed by Professor Dan Ben-David, a leading Israeli economist at Tel Aviv University.
In the detailed study named “Leaving the Promised Land: A Look at Israel’s Emigration Challenge,” Ben-David shows that as Israel has become more integrated into the developed world, a rising share of its college graduates has been emigrating, particularly those with advanced degrees in exact sciences and engineering – who make up the foundation of Israel’s high-tech sector – physicians, and academic researchers.
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While nine million people live in Israel, “it is an exceptionally small number of Israelis – less than 130,000 persons – that is keeping the economy, the healthcare system, and their underlying university bedrock near the pinnacle of the developed world,” the report reads.
According to the research based on figures from Israel’s Central Bureau of Statistics, just 2.7 percent of all employee positions in Israel are in high-tech manufacturing fields, which accounted for a staggering 40.1 percent of Israel’s total exports in 2015. Meanwhile, the total number of research faculty in Israel’s eight universities (regardless of research fields) is just 0.1 percent of Israel’s population 25 years old and up, and physicians account for just 0.6 percent of all persons ages 25 and up.
“What we tried to do is look at a smaller group that makes up the primary engines of the Israeli economy: those who provide healthcare, those who teach everybody, and those in high-tech,” Prof. Ben-David tells NoCamels in a phone interview.
“It’s a small group, but these people play a major part in what makes Israel a first-world country; they are keeping Israel in the modern world,” he adds.
Emigration by a critical mass of the total, even if it numbers in the tens of thousands, “could generate catastrophic consequences for the entire country,” the report he authored notes.
Ben-David wrote that “the extent of emigration, the direction of the trend, and the direction that all of Israel – a country that needs to remain sufficiently attractive to those who are very sought after by other countries – is headed should ring alarm bells in all of the corridors that determine Israel’s national priorities.”
The study shows that of the nearly 600,000 Israelis who earned their academic degrees between 1980 and 2010, 5.8 percent with BA degrees have been living abroad for at least three consecutive years in 2017, while 4.5 percent of those with MAs have been doing the same. Of those with PhDs, over 11 percent moved abroad.
And while some return, in 2017 the ratio of persons with an academic degree leaving Israel for each who returned was 4.5, up from 2.6 in 2014, according to the research.
The highest rate of emigrants from Israel are graduates of research universities with degrees in exact sciences and engineering which stands at 9.2 percent, according to the study.
Israel’s economic engine is fueled by the technical fields, which highlights the challenge created by emigration rates among these graduates, the report says.
“In the high-tech sector, the markets are already abroad,” says Ben-David in reference to the industry’s global outlook as the country’s local market is small and limited. “There’s pressure to relocate already in these fields, and then there’s the issue of labor productivity: Israel has very low labor productivity and you can’t get high wages if there’s no productivity, so there’s a growing gap between what they can earn here and what they can earn abroad,” he explains.
In the medical field, the numbers are also alarming. The study shows that over the past decade, the number of Israelis earning their medical degrees abroad went from 37 percent (of the total number of Israelis receiving their medical degrees in Israel) in 2008 to 52 percent in 2017, owing to a lack of national resources bring out into educating physicians.
“When so many Israelis study medicine abroad, it should not come as a surprise that many also choose to live and practice abroad afterward. The number of Israeli physicians in the United States, for example, is the fourth highest among all source countries,” the report reads. The share of Israeli physicians working abroad rose from 9.8 percent in 2006 (of the total share of physicians working in Israel) to 14 percent in 2016, according to the report, and while the number of foreign-trained non-Israeli doctors living in Israel had been increasing until 2003, the outflow has surpassed the inflow.
In the academic field, the study focused on tenured or tenure-track positions in the top 40 American academic departments across a number of different fields, excluding adjunct, clinical and other semi-permanent positions, as well as visiting Israeli professors and tenured faculty who also hold positions in Israel. The share of Israeli faculty in US universities has risen sharply in the fields of philosophy, chemistry, physics, economics, computer science, and business.
Israel needs “a uniform core curriculum, for all kids of all communities, we need teacher training and better compensation for them, better screening, and we need to overhaul the Education Ministry which just swallows up money and is very inefficient,” he tells NoCamels.
At the moment, Israel operates “like an engine that’s not using all its cylinders,” Ben-David says, calling for urgent attention to the matter.
“We have to do something about this tomorrow morning. A third-world economy cannot support a first-world army, and we can still fix it,” Ben-David tells NoCamels, suggesting the direction the country is headed in will have a detrimental impact on its security situation.
Israel’s politicians, meanwhile, who set the national agenda, “are arguing about chairs on the deck of the Titanic,” he says.
A bunch of Israeli entrepreneurs has come together to find creative solutions to address misinformation about the Holocaust, to promote Holocaust education and to support Holocaust survivors.
As reported by NoCamels.com, the 30-hour hackathon at the Tel Aviv Stock Exchange will see participants take part in the creation of various applications and tech products focused on benefiting survivors. They will cooperate with a number of non-profit NGOs and organizations that work with Holocaust survivors, including the Foundation for the Benefit of Holocaust Victims in Israel, as well as about 20 mentors from companies like Microsoft, EY and NICE Systems.
The Spark Hackathon was established by TLV Starters, an organization that is also behind the “Startup Guide Tel Aviv.” The event is significant for TLV Starters for a number of reasons, not least of which is the opportunity to use the products created at the event as a tool to teach young people about the Holocaust.
“In five to 10 years, no [Holocaust survivors] will be left. Someone needs to take care of the day after tomorrow,” TLV Starters co-founder Erez Gavish tells NoCamels, “What’s going to happen when history repeats itself? We are just doing our humble part with providing a platform which enables people to create a solution with applications that can help. They will not replace the survivors but will be another means to an end that people will not be forgotten. This is the power of technology.”
Gavish’s concerns are well-founded. Recent studies point to rising levels of Holocaust denial and ignorance, combined with rising anti-Semitism.
Earlier this month when Israel marked Holocaust Remembrance Day, to honor the six million Jews killed in World War II, Tel Aviv University released an annual report on the state of antisemitism worldwide – and the results were alarming. The report by the Kantor Center, headed by European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor, noted a 13 percent rise in anti-Semitic incidents in 2018 and cited an “increasing sense of emergency” in parts of North America and Europe where Jews once felt safe.
The Kantor Center suggested a number of reasons for the increase including a strengthened presence of classical anti-Semitism due to religiously-based conflicts, and the rise of right-wing parties and extreme right movements. The primary reason, however, was a growing ignorance among younger generations regarding the Holocaust.
The report highlighted a 2018 CNN poll showing that one out of five people between the ages of 18 and 34 in France had said they’d never heard of the Holocaust. In Austria, 12 percent of young people said the same.
According to another 2018 report, a third of American millennials (born between early 1980s and early 2000s) did not know what Auschwitz was and 22 percent had not heard of the Holocaust or were not sure if they had. In the UK, 45 percent of people polled in a separate report said they did not know how many people were killed in the Holocaust. One in five believed fewer than two million Jews were murdered.
Meanwhile, the generation that survived the Holocaust is departing fast and with them, the stories and testimonials some of them have yet to record.
In Israel, a Central Bureau of Statistics report released this year found that at the end of 2017, there were only approximately 200,000 Holocaust survivors still living in the country. Ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on January 27, 2018, CBS estimated there would only about 26,200 Holocaust survivors living in the country by 2035.
Concerned by these developments, Gavish and four other Israeli entrepreneurs – Natan Leibzon, Anat Greemland, Talia Savchenko and Alon Rapaport – set up the first Spark Hackathon last year in an effort to harness the power of technology to promote Holocaust education as well as to help solve some of the difficulties facing Holocaust survivors.
The hackathon gathered 120 participants, resulting in 23 projects created during the event. The winning initiative, called Momento, won for its use of virtual reality and augmented reality to create a visual experience of Jewish sites before and during the Holocaust, offering an authentic reconstruction of buildings, streets, ghettos, concentration camps, and extermination. Second place went to “Hilf” (meaning help in Yiddish), a mobile app that creates an online community to help Holocaust survivors, the elderly and the disabled. The team that developed this app is currently conducting a pilot with emergency medical service United Hatzalah, Gavish said.
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.
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
“We’re bringing together 500 visionaries from around the world- US, Europe
“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.”
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.