Monitoring coma patients; Direct flights to Morocco; Still an A+; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
27% of Israelis (2.4 million) have had their first Covid vaccination and rollout to the over-40s has begun. Numbers of seriously ill over-60s have fallen by a third and the reproduction rate is below one. Finally, Sheba hospital’s Professor Amnon Afek highlights how Israel’s experience can help the world.
AI monitors progress of Covid patients
Israel’s Zebra Medical (reported here previously) has previously adapted its AI imaging analysis platform to detect Covid-19 infection in the lungs. Now it can chart Covid-19 as it progresses in the lungs, to help decide if the patient needs ICU, ventilator, or can be discharged.
Two Covid webinars
Two Israeli experts explain about the latest coronavirus vaccines and the pandemic. First, Professor Jonatan HaLevy, President of Shaare Zedek Medical Center in Jerusalem. Second, Professor Manfeld Green, now Head of the National Public Health program at the University of Haifa.
Ventilators for California
Israel’s Inovytec (reported here previously) is to provide 1,500 of its advanced portable Ventway Sparrow turbine mobile ventilators to Californian hospitals. The ventilators are lightweight, durable, affordable, low maintenance and enable invasive and non-invasive ventilation for adults and children.
3D-printing to repair spinal cords
Israel’s Matricelf (reported here previously) has extended its 3D-printing platform for tissues and organs to producing spinal cord implants. The patient’s own cells are re-engineered into stem cells and eventually into a spinal tissue implant that isn’t rejected. Human trials are planned to begin 2023.
Monitoring coma patients
Israel’s BrainWatch Tech is developing a device that will continuously check a coma patient’s pupils for their reactions to light stimulus. Over a million patients suffer severe brain injury each year. Reaction to light signifies brain stem activity. No response suggests urgent medication or surgery.
Helping kids grow
Israel’s Nutritional Growth Solutions (reported here previously) is expanding globally. Independent Medical Co-op (IMCO) will distribute NGS’ Healthy Height product to the US market. NGS is also selling to the Chinese market via Alibaba’s online Tmall; and NGS has just acquired the KidzShake brand.
Benefits of a Green MED diet
An 18-month study by researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University found that a Green Mediterranean (MED) diet reduced hepatic fat by 39%. This compared to 20% for the traditional MED diet and 12% for a regular healthy diet. The diet can prevent fatty liver disease, diabetes and heart disease.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Windows protection for the disabled
It may sound like computer software, but this is an Israeli solution for large panes of shatter-proof glass in health clinics and hospitals. Normally, shielded windows are small and unsuitable for ground floor rooms that are accessible to the disabled. Now they can have security and sunlight.
Promoting more women in tech
Ruth Polachek is the Chairwoman, Founder and CEO of “she codes”, a community of 30,000 Israeli female software developers. The goal of “she codes” is to have 50% female representation in the tech industry within a decade. Ruth is also CEO of LessTests – for global Covid testing.
Israeli children to meet space “stars”
At the opening of Israel’s Space Week on 24th Jan Israeli elementary and middle school students will see and hear from Kfir Damari, co-founder of Israel’s SpaceIL, Israeli Eytan Stibbe, going into space in 2021 and Jessica Meyer who recently returned from the International Space Station.
25 years helping Ethiopian Israelis
Marion Wiesel, widow of Nobel Prize winner Elie, will celebrate her 90th birthday online. Marion and Elie established the Beit Tzipora centers in the mid-1990s to support the education of Ethiopian-Israeli children and their families. Beit Tzipora now supports more than 700 children annually.
Landmines cleared at baptism site
After two years of work, the Franciscan St John the Baptist chapel beside the River Jordan in Israel is landmine free. Christians are again able to pray at the site, abandoned 54 years ago.
Global training in agriculture
The Arava International Center of Agricultural Training (AICAT) trains 1,200 students from South East Asia and Africa every year. They include from Vietnam, Nepal, Cambodia, Fiji, Vanuatu, Myanmar, East-Timor, Cape Verde, Laos, Thailand and even Muslim Indonesia and Gambia.
Moroccan PR alliance
This historic announcement from Casablanca and Jerusalem is of the first strategic partnership in PR between Morocco and Israel. Morocco’s Brand & Image Agency and Israel’s Kam Global Strategies will use their expertise to the benefit of business individuals and institutions in both countries.
Direct flights to Morocco
Israel and Morocco have just signed an aviation agreement that will see direct flights launch between the two countries in two to three months.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
More awards at CES 2021
Israel’s Vayyar and Tactile Mobility also won honors at the virtual Consumer Electronics Show CES 2021. Some 43 Israel companies presented. New to this newsletter are Talamoos (Netflix recommendations), Gamitee (Group travel bookings), and EyeNet (road collision protection).
Covid spit test for students
Students seen spitting at Israel’s Technion Institute are not protesting. Technion scientists have developed NaorCov19 – a saliva self-test that can verify Covid-19 infections in just one minute. It can help prevent outbreaks in student dorms and allow the University to reopen when the lockdown ends.
Breath test is 98% accurate
Israel’s Scentech Medical (reported here previously) has completed trials, on 784 individuals at Israel’s Assaf Harofeh Medical Center, of its 10-second Covid-19 breath test. The results displayed seconds later were 98% accurate – much better and faster than standard PCR-based swab tests.
Covid protection for nursing homes
Israel’s Pangea (reported here previously) is to deploy its smart nursing home solution in areas impacted by Covid-19. The multi-sensor solution integrates thermal imaging, video analytics, AI, and biometric access controls to protect the health, security, and safety of its residents.
Contest to feed the world
Israel-based Adama Agricultural Solutions (reported here previously) and non-profit GrowingIL have launched a competition for Israeli agtech startups devise solutions to increase farmers’ crop yields in environmentally friendly ways. The prize is a field test, funded by Adama.
Helping new developers to Swimm
It always takes weeks for new members of an IT team to understand previously written code. Not anymore, as Israel’s Swimm tightly links tutorial-style documentation to a project’s codebase, thus continuously documenting the code. Much easier for new developers.
A robot that can hear
Israeli zoologists and scientists at Tel Aviv University have developed an “Ear-on-a-Chip” that will allow robots to hear. The breakthrough in robot sensing may eventually include vision, smell etc. Applications could include searching for explosives or survivors buried in collapsed buildings.
Lowering the cost of autonomous cars
The technology of Israel’s Brodmann17 (reported here previously) allows AI systems to use inexpensive, low power computer chips. It is now aiming the software at ADAS Advanced Driver-Assistance Systems) manufacturers. It could bring autonomous cars to the mass market.
Taking control when things go wrong
Israel’s Phantom Auto has developed a call center for self-driving vehicles, where a remote operator can take control and drive if a problem arises. Uber-owned Postmates uses the Phantom Auto system in California for its meal delivery robots.
5 minutes to charge an electric car
Israel’s StoreDot (reported here previously) has developed the world’s first electric car battery that can be fully charged in 5 minutes. 1,000 of the batteries have been manufactured in China by German firm Eve Systems, for showcasing the technology to carmakers and other companies.
Elon Musk promotes Israeli startup
A video featuring Israeli robotics startup BionicHIVE was recommended by none other than Elon Musk to his 42.5 million followers. He wrote “The robot future is coming” and the video “SqUID warehouse logistics robot by Bionic Hive” has since received 1.9 million views.
A good feeling about stress
Israel’s FeelIT (reported here previously) has now launched its innovative stress-analysis nano ink product RetroFeel. The sensing technology prevents machinery damage and has attracted the attention of Germany’s Henkel Adhesive Technologies. It has just invested $5 million in the Israeli company.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
Still an A+
Fitch Ratings has affirmed Israel’s A+ rating with a stable outlook, citing its “strong external finances,” diversified economy and “solid institutional debt.”
The rise of the Shekel
The strength of Israel’s economy is reflected in the high value of its currency. The Bank of Israel has announced that it will purchase $30 billion of foreign currency in 2021 to curb the rise of the Shekel and help keep Israeli exports competitive.
Israel’s wealth fund
The Tamar Partnership, extracting natural gas from Israel’s Tamar field, has begun making contributions to Israel’s Sovereign Wealth Fund. The fund ensures that some profits of Israel’s natural gas bonanza are spent on strategic projects for the nation’s benefit and will provide around $300 million a year.
8 new joint US-Israeli projects
The Israel-US Binational Industrial Research and Development Foundation is funding 8 joint US-Israeli projects a total of $7.45 million. They include lighter airline seats, smart pollination, medical micro-optics, CAD inspection, remote skin scanning and epilepsy laser treatment.
Israeli CEOs are itching to take off
Three Israeli executives, about to get their second Covid vaccinations, express their excitement about a near future return to international travel and vital face-to-face meetings.
Radar defense for Slovakia
Following the Czech Republic and Hungary, Slovakia is the latest NATO member to purchase the MMR Radar system manufactured by Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) subsidiary, ELTA systems. The 17 units will cost $182 million. The second link gives some broader context of the deal.
Wizz Air to launch Tel Aviv Abu Dhabi route
Hungarian low-cost airline Wizz Air is launching Tel Aviv – Abu Dhabi flights from 12 Feb. Daily flights are planned from 1 Mar. In Dec, 67,000 passengers flew from Israel to Dubai on four airlines – flydubai, Arkia, Israir and El Al. Wizz will be the first to fly to Abu Dhabi.
Vertical farms for the UAE
Israel’s Vertical Field (reported here previously) is certainly going in the right direction – up! Following its deal with a Ukraine supermarket chain two weeks ago, it is now partnering Emirates Smart Solutions and Technologies (ESST) to deploy its vertical farm system in the UAE.
Helping millions learn to play instruments
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Israel’s JoyTunes (reported here previously) has been downloaded some 10 million times. Its app Simply Piano is listed as one of Apple’s ‘Editor’s Choice’ in its App Store and voted Best App in Google Play.
Bringg partners Uber for retail delivery
Israel’s Bringg (reported here previously) has partnered with US ride-sharing service Uber to improve the retail delivery experience for customers worldwide. Bringg’s customers will now have access to drivers through Uber Direct, which enables same-day and next-day delivery.
4th carmaker invests in UVeye
Hyundai is the latest carmaker to invest in Israel’s UVeye, joining Toyota, Honda, and Volvo. Hyundai wants UVeye’s sensors and camera-based inspection technology for the automatic external inspection of vehicles, on its production lines as well as for used car sales activities.
A tiny Unicorn
Israel’s Nano Dimension (reported here previously) launched on the Nasdaq in 2016 but has only recently become a popular stock. Its share price has risen, even as it raised some $332 million of funds. The company now has a market valuation of $1.4 billion, giving it the financial status of a “Unicorn”.
A healthy Unicorn
Israeli-founded K Health (reported here previously) has become popular during the Covid pandemic when people could not reach their doctors. K Health managed to solve 90% of problems remotely. K Health has just raised $132 million, valuing the company at $1.4 billion and becomes another Unicorn.
Sportstech innovation lab
Swiss-based Infront, provider of business services to sport organizations FIFA, UEFA, FIBA etc., has opened an innovation laboratory in Israel. Infront Lab is partnering Israeli companies WSC Sports, Minute.ly, and Videocites and says it will invest at least $1 million in Israel.
Investment in Israeli startups:
Playtika raised $1.9 billion; Nano Dimension raised $332 million; K Health raised $132 million; Quali raised $54 million; Carbyne raised $25 million; StackPulse raised $20 million; Swimm raised $5.7 million; Humanz raised $3 million;
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
Israeli novel for sale in Morocco
For the first time ever, an Israeli novel has been translated into Moroccan Arabic, for sale in Morocco. “A Girl in a Blue Shirt,” by Tel Aviv University Professor Gabriel Bensimhon, was chosen for translation by Prof. Mohamed Elmedlaoui of the Mohammed V University of Rabat.
Helping the World go green
Just in time for the Jewish New Year for Trees, please pre-register for this Technion UK webinar on 28th Jan from two researchers from Israel’s Technion Institute. They talk about Israel’s work to help to preserve and save our planet.
British bakers in Tel Aviv
British bakers Georgia Green and Lee’at Gentely, who now live in Tel Aviv, make a fabulous rainbow cake to cheer your day. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4riREXMskr8
Israeli restaurant in Paris wins Michelin star
Israeli chef Assaf Granit’s Shabour restaurant in Paris has won a coveted Michelin star and the accolade “a simple restaurant; one of our most delightful places.” Granit’s co-owned MachneYuda Group has 12 top restaurants in Jerusalem (6), Tel Aviv, London (3) and Paris (2).
THE JEWISH STATE
$11 million donation to transform youth village
The Gerald and Gail Ronson Family Foundation has donated $11 million to renovate and upgrade Israel’s Kfar Silver Youth Village. It is the largest ever donation to an ORT school. The village supports some 740 students – one-third living as on-site boarders.
3D testimony from survivors
Israeli non-profit NeVer Again VR is crowdfunding its project to record the testimony of survivors of the Shoah (Holocaust). They are using volumetric video by Israel’s Tetavi (reported here previously) to produce lifelike holograms and keep the message of the survivors “alive” forever.
Unit 669 tribute Gala
Non-profit “American Friends of Unit 669” supports the Search and Rescue Unit of the Israeli Air Force. Its virtual gala event on 31st Jan is hosted by Israeli actress Rona-Lee Shim’on (Fauda) and features Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard and amazing IDF veteran Ziv Shilon, rescued by Unit 669 in 2012.
Returning after 2,700 years
Good articles about the continuing immigration of thousands of the Bnei Menashe community who were exiled from the Kingdom of Israel some 27 centuries ago.
Originally thought to be a replica, a bulla (impression of a seal inscription) was bought for 10 old shekels in the 1980s. In ancient Hebrew, it says it belongs to Shema the servant/minister of Jeroboam who ruled the Kingdom of Israel from 788 BCE to 748 BCE. Technology shows it to be the oldest seal ever discovered.