How old is your brain?; Syrian baby flown to Israel for heart surgery; Energy from plants; and much more!
by: Michael Ordman
ISRAEL’S MEDICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
A new passive coronavirus vaccine prospect
Israeli researchers at Bar-Ilan University have identified short amino acid sequences (epitopes), that trigger an immune response to eliminate Covid-19. The discovery could lead to the development of a passive vaccine.
Corona Data challenge
Sheba Medical Center – Israel’s largest hospital – has offered (non-personal) medical data on its 500+ recovered coronavirus patients to innovators, startups, defense companies and the IDF. They have been challenged to build the best artificial intelligence tool for saving lives in future virus outbreaks.
Doctors, we have a problem
Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) hopes to win Sheba’s Corona Challenge with its data analysis artificial intelligence system. It gives an 80% accuracy early warning that a Covid-19 patient is likely to suddenly deteriorate in the next hours. IAI uses similar systems to predict likely failure of its satellites.
Saving lives of ventilated Covid-19 patients
A new video featuring Israel’s AnapnoGuard (reported here previously) which is saving the lives from pneumonia of hundreds of coronavirus patients on ventilators in Israel, the USA and China. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-gv0UXt8yp8
How are you? Check your cheek
Israeli startup Binah.ai was previously into financial analysis (see here). Now it uses its Artificially Intelligent technology to analyze a video the cheek of a human face to extract vital signs and mental stress measurements. It is used in Montreal hospitals to monitor Covid-19 patients remotely.
Home blood tests for cancer patients
Israel’s PixCell (reported here previously) has partnered with Interreg Germany-Denmark’s Changing Cancer Care (CCC) initiative. They will assess PixCell’s HemoScreen hematology analyzer for cancer patients to perform blood tests as part of their homecare oncology treatment.
How old is your brain?
Researchers at Israel’s Ben Gurion University have developed a deep learning framework based on Magnetic Resonance Images (MRIs) for age prediction. Specifically, an ensemble of deep neural networks was trained to predict a subject’s chronological age from brain imaging of healthy subjects.
In-heart computer saves grandmother
Israel’s Vectorious Medical Technologies (reported here previously) has now patients from Italy, Germany, the UK and Israel, in the trial of its revolutionary in-heart monitor. It is safe and has already detected and prevented pulmonary edema and hospitalization for one elderly UK patient.
Converting public phones into defibrillators
Israel’s public phone booths are being converted into lifesaving public access defibrillator stations, as part of a new national collaboration between the country’s main phone company (Bezeq) and its ambulance service (Magen David Adom).
Pickles prevent tooth decay
Israeli scientists from Ben Gurion University working with Chinese scientists have discovered that probiotics produced in the pickling process can slow the buildup of dental plaque. The research can lead to a new generation of mouthwashes for maintaining dental health.
ISRAEL IS INCLUSIVE AND GLOBAL
Looking after special people for 3 decades
On 10th June 1990, Israeli charity Shalva began providing services for people with special disabilities. It now supports thousands, from infancy to adulthood and their families. This includes therapy, education, social, recreation, employment training, respite and family support.
Israel digitizes 2,500 Islamic books
The National Library of Israel, in coordination with the Arcadia Fund, is to open digital access to over 2,500 rare Islamic manuscripts and books. High resolution images of books will be uploaded and accessible via a new English-Hebrew-Arabic digital platform.
Second UAE plane lands in Israel
Just over two weeks ago, the first commercial flight from the United Arab Emirates landed at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport (reported here previously). A 2nd Etihad Airways plane has just arrived, delivering tons of coronavirus aid to the PA and Gaza. This one bore the full Etihad Airways logo.
Syrian baby flown to Israel for heart surgery
A 10-day-old baby, born to Syrian parents who live in Cyprus, was flown by air ambulance to Israel to undergo an emergency procedure to correct a severe congenital heart defect. He was immediately transferred to Sheba Medical Center at Tel Hashomer.
An Israeli-Arab fights BDS in South Africa
Israeli-Arab Yoseph Haddad flew to South Africa, despite the Coronavirus pandemic, to speak in TV debates and to audiences during Israel Apartheid Week. If only more people would see this video.
Israel’s mission to Poland
Besides the coronavirus pandemic, Poland is currently experiencing its worst drought in recent history. The Israeli Ministry of Economy and Industry’s Poland mission, based in the Israeli embassy in Warsaw, includes infection tracing and a webinar presenting Israeli water tech to Polish companies.
World Oceans Day
The theme of 2020 UN World Oceans Day on 8th June was “Innovation for a sustainable ocean”. This video highlights the work of Israel’s Oceanographic and Limnological Research institution and Haifa University’s School for Marine Sciences. Separately, volunteers removed garbage from Israel’s beaches.
SCIENCE & TECHNOLOGY
Grants for 22 agricultural R&D projects
The US-Israel Binational Agricultural Research and Development Fund (BARD) has approved grants of $7.3 million for 22 joint Israeli – US research projects. They include projects involving agriculture-engineering, animal health, animal and crop production, water and renewables.
Fuel for Israel’s growth engines
Israel’s Innovation Authority is funding NIS 150 million for three new R&D consortia. Andromeda Consortium will target autonomous vehicles; Quantum communications consortium will develop quantum encryption and Advanced Materials Processing Consortium will focus on high-power lasers.
Microscope records the flow of light
The groundbreaking quantum electron microscope at Israel’s Technion Institute gives the clearest images ever produced of light moving inside materials. At a million billion frames per second, it shows light and electricity flowing. It will initiate major advances in nanotechnology.
Israel produces N95 facemasks
Israel has inaugurated its first production line for N95 masks, with the expectation that it will produce as many as two million per month. The factory is situated in the southern city of Sderot, close to the Gaza strip and is one of only a few production lines of its kind in the world.
An eco-friendly facemask
Israel’s Ofertex manufactures personal protective equipment made from recycled materials. It has just launched the EcoMask – an antibacterial and antimicrobial facemask with an inner filter made from recycled textiles and embedded with antimicrobial copper nanoparticles.
Hot water project to save fuel
Israel’s Brenmiller Energy (reported here previously) is piloting a new water heating system to save 36,000 liters of diesel and reduce pollutant emissions at Israeli army outposts. Residual heat from the base’s power generators is stored in crushed rocks and discharged when hot water is required.
AI for good
Microsoft and Israeli NGO “Tech for Good” have launched a new accelerator “AI for Good”. It has selected 14 Israeli startups for its first cycle considered to be the most interesting cases combining artificial intelligence and social impact. Each will receive expert training alongside an average of $500,000 in funding.
Rehearing the world
Lipifai is one of Israel’s “AI for Good” accelerator startups. Lipifai translates speech into text by automatically using deep learning technology. Text is generated and displayed in real time to help the deaf and hard of hearing. It even works in noisy environments. https://www.lipifai.com/
Music to your ears
Israel’s TuneFork creates a personal audio profile for an individual. A 5-minute test with the app using earphones produces a unique “earprint” for integrating and optimizing all audio content. It is designed to improve the listening experience, overcome hearing impairments and prevent further damage.
Energy from plants
Tel Aviv University researchers have successfully produced hydrogen from plants. They injected chlorophyll cells with the enzyme hydrogenase that, with sunshine, produced a tiny but constant supply of hydrogen. This is a breakthrough, as hydrogen produces no pollutants when used as a fuel.
Hi-tech agriculture in the desert
One of the most important resources that farmers in Israel’s Negev desert have is the Ramat haNegev Desert AgroResearch Center (RNDARC). It helps them solve problems of water conservation, irrigation, soil erosion, seed selection, crop rotation, harvesting and more.
Modernizing the Israeli stock market
The Israel Securities Authority (ISA) selected five companies for their “Data Sandbox” project to help modernize Israel’s stock market. They are Zirra.co (AI risk factors), Scanovate, (Identity provider), Correlate Capital (liquidity engine), FINTICA and WizSoft (data-mining tools).
3D virtual car showroom
Israeli startup Matter beat 52 teams from 19 countries in Skoda’s ‘COVID Mobility Race’ hackathon. Matter used 3D technology to create an interactive digital virtual showroom concept. Skoda will help Matter develop the concept and investigate putting the project into practice.
ECONOMY & BUSINESS
The world’s 3rd best startup ecosystem
Israel rose from 4th in 2019 to 3rd of the 202 countries on Startup Blink’s 2020 Global Ecosystem Report. It lists Outbrain, Fiverr and Moovit as the most popular of the 968 startups listed. Israel was 2nd for Coronavirus innovation.
Sweden partners Israel for innovation
Sweden’s Innovation Agency, Vinnova, is partnering Israeli non-profit Startup Nation Central to promote innovative R&D projects. Called “Connector”, it will have a 2 million Euro budget for companies and academic institutions to engage in co-development.
Two new records for currency reserves
Israel’s reserves of foreign currency rose by a record $9 billion in May to reach a new record total of $142.5 billion.
Good sales for re-opened Israeli stores
May was an excellent month for those stores in shopping centers and malls that reopened after lockdown. Their average sales rose 21% in May 2020 compared with May 2019 according to data from Retail Information Systems, which took figures from 2,850 stores across Israel.
Pandemic Innovation Conference
The OurCrowd Pandemic Innovation Conference on June 22 will explore the latest technological solutions to the coronavirus crisis, including vaccination, treatment, diagnostics and prevention of the disease. Thousands of investors from 100+ countries are expected to attend online.
Mobile X-ray devices for Asia
Israel’s Nanox (reported here previously) has just received $20 million investment from SK Telecom who will partner Nanox in selling thousands of its portable X-ray machines in South Korea and Vietnam. SK Telecom said Nanox can make a significant change in early disease detection.
Record sales and exports for IAI
Israel’s state-owned Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) had a record $1 billion in sales in Q1 2020. Exports accounted for 71% of sales. Its backlog of orders was over $13 billion. There had been little if any cancelations of contracts or major delays resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Team8 raises $100+ million venture fund
Israeli cybersecurity startup foundry Team8 (reported here previously) has launched its Venture Capital arm. It has raised another $104 million to invest in startups working in the fields of data, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, and enterprise technologies.
Red Dot raises $200 million VC fund
Israeli venture capital fund Red Dot Capital Partners has raised nearly $200 million for its second fund that invests in late-stage companies. Red Dot launched its first fund in 2016, raising $151 million.
Startups raising funds
Latest funding includes: TuneFork raised $1.5 million; Nanox raised $20 million; Upstream raised $32 million; Planck Resolution raised $16 million; Binah.ai raised $13.5 million; Alpha Tau raised $26 million; Opora.io raised $7 million.
CULTURE, ENTERTAINMENT & SPORT`
A modern twist to ancient exhibits
300 Israeli artists have produced some unique displays for the Tel Aviv Biennale of Crafts and Design at Tel Aviv’s Eretz Israel Museum. They include 10 century glass bottles alongside pink liquid cleaner; a 3D printer plus a golden artifact; a mixture of ancient and modern.
Virtual Israel tours with JNF
The whole family can enjoy a week of JNF virtual Israel tours with a licensed Tour Guide. See biblical and modern Israel, famous and off-the-beaten-path sites, JNF projects, hidden gems, The Old City of Jerusalem, Ayalon Institute, Rosh Ha’Nikra, Akko, Sderot, Be’er Sheva, Timna Park and more.
Bars are open so science is on tap again
Now that Israel’s bars are no longer locked down, Weizmann Institute professors are giving their 11th annual “Science on Tap” talks. This year the venues are 32 bars in villages and towns on Israel’s border with Gaza and in nearby Ashkelon and Netivot.
Biggest record deal for an Israeli
Nineteen-year-old Noa Kirel is currently serving in the IDF. Meanwhile, she has just signed a contract worth millions of dollars with US company Atlantic Records. Coincidentally, she recently released a single on Youtube entitled “Million Dollar”. It has already received 2.7 million views.
A boar ate my homework
As reported here previously, the coronavirus lockdown has encouraged wild animals to take to the streets. In Haifa, the son of Israeli basketball player Ido Kozikaro had a good excuse for not being able to do his homework – a wild boar had eaten it! Luckily, he had video evidence.
Israelis puts the ads on stadium boards
Israel’s STADS Technologies’ platform markets TV advertising space on the boards around soccer stadium sports fields. It is used by Manchester City, Arsenal, Sevilla FC, Borussia Dortmund, AS Monaco, AC Milan and Real Madrid. Juventus legend Del Piero is a strategic partner.
THE JEWISH STATE
Love at a coronavirus hotel
Ruth and Bezalel come from two families who were infected with Covid-19 and taken to a hotel converted into a coronavirus recovery ward. Ruth was impressed that Bezalel had organized Torah activities for the yeshiva students at the hotel. A friend organized a date and the couple soon got engaged.
Jerusalem – a city of contrasts
Some remarkable scenes of Israel’s capital city. Green paths, speedily completed roadworks, hotels opening for guests, streets closed to accommodate eating outside restaurants, the Unity Prize winners and three contrasting volunteer medics for United Hatzalah.
Birthright internships continue – virtually
Despite the coronavirus pandemic, Birthright is going ahead with its Excel summer internship project, virtually. It places Jewish university students from the US, Canada, Mexico, Israel and the UK with Israel’s top tech and finance companies.
Aliya applications double in May
May 2020 ended with a 100 percent increase in North American interest in Aliyah compared to May 2019, with a record-breaking number of immigration applications. Many of the 800 applicants said that the coronavirus helped prompt a decision they long had in the making.
Moving to Israel to avoid racism
Listen to what converted black Jew Elton says at 21:20 on this ILTV video. (Relevant extract begins at 17:30) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=r2Kr5ea_Z_Y&time_continue=1033
CLICK HERE FOR THE PREVIOUS GOOD NEWS FROM ISRAEL ARCHIVE!