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rabbi 05 smallsf badge lgRabbi Joel Landau  (rabbi@adathisraelsf.org) has been the Rabbi of Adath Israel since May 2013. He was ordained by the Chief Rabbinate in Jerusalem and has served previously as a congregational Rabbi in Charleston, South Carolina and Irvine, California. A full biography of Rabbi Landau is available here.


 

It may seem ironic that a nation known for its ancient history and landmarks also stands out for its innovation and creative solutions to modern problems. I guess that's one of the reasons Israel is known as the "Start-up Nation." Just check out nine of the Israeli-made inventions on Time magazine’s list of the “100 Best Inventions” of 2019.

Time magazine published a list last Thursday featuring the “100 Best Inventions” of 2019 that are making the world “better, smarter, and even a little more fun” – and nine Israeli-made creations are among them.

The round-up features smart gadgets, consumer electronics, innovative beauty items, exceptional design methods, stylish multi-purpose products, and health wearables across categories such as “social good,” “sustainability,” “parenting,” “transportation,” “experimental” and “wellness.” There is also a “special mentions” category where a number of the Israeli inventions are listed.

Time magazine said it assembled the list by soliciting nominations from editors and correspondents around the world, as well as through an online application process. Nominations were then evaluated based on factors such as “originality, creativity, influence, ambition, and effectiveness. “

Here are the nine Israeli innovations that appear:

MyEye 2.0 by OrCam

MyEye 2.0, listed in the “accessibility” category, is a revolutionary vision technology device developed by Israeli company OrCam for people with visual impairments. The portable, finger-sized, AI-powered device can be discreetly clipped to eyeglasses or sunglasses to read out texts from books, newspapers, product labels, and restaurant menus and scan barcodes. MyEye 2.0 can also identify faces and currency and tell time (even without a watch). “This is the world’s most advanced artificial vision device for people who are blind, partially sighted and have reading difficulties,” OrCam Director of Media and Communications Rafi Fischer told NoCamels last year.

The device is gesture-motivated so the user only has to point to the piece of text to activate the device or hold their hand out to stop the audio of the reading.

“Fitting all this power into such a small device is like “putting an elephant into a small closet,” OrCam co-founder Amnon Shashua told Time. Shashua is also famously the co-founder of Mobileye, which develops vision-based driver-assistance systems. Intel acquired Mobileye for $15.3 billion in 2017.

The first-generation device was released in 2011 with the MyEye 2.0 launched last year. A newer version, set to come out in 2020, “will allow users to get even more specific, like telling the machine to read only the headlines of a newspaper, or only the appetizer section of a menu,” TIME magazine reported. MyEye goes for about $4,500 in the US – “the price of a mid-range hearing aid,” Fischer said – and comes with a head unit and a charger.

ECONcrete

ECONcrete, an environmental tech company founded in 2012 by marine ecologists Dr. Shimrit Perkol-Finkel and Dr. Ido Sella, was listed in the “design” category of TIME’s list of 100 Best Inventions of 2019 list.

ECONcrete develops sustainable concrete for constructing ecologically active infrastructures in coastal and marine environments as well as in urban landscapes.

The company uses “a technique known as biomimicry, relying on the shapes, textures and size of natural systems to dictate how the company builds its products,” so they blend in with their surroundings and are less intrusive to marine ecosystems, TIME magazine described.

Earlier this year, ECONcrete was listed by Fast Company on its “World’s Most Innovative Companies” of 2019. The company was also featured in an episode of the popular web series Nas Daily.

Nerivio by Theranica

The migraine-zapping wearable device Nerivio by Israeli medical tech company Theranica was featured in the “health care” category of TIME’s list.

The device, worn on the upper arm, provides migraine treatment through neuromodulation therapy, altering nerve activity through targeted delivery of a stimulus. The treatment is like “a personalized pain-relief program,” according to the Netanya-based company. It is controlled via app and offers a migraine diary to track treatment sessions and migraine headaches which can be shared with healthcare professionals.

Nerivio, priced at $99, received FDA approval in May and is available in select headache and migraine clinics throughout the US.

“We are honored to be recognized by Time and thrilled to see Nerivio listed alongside inventions that are shaping the future,” said Alon Iron, CEO and co-founder of Theranica, in a statement. “At Theranica we believe that migraine solutions should be affordable and accessible. We are proud of the non-invasive, low side-effect and drug-free alternative that Nerivio offers and remain dedicated to bringing effective relief to individuals around the world living with migraine.”

Theranica, founded in 2016, raised $35 million in a Series B funding round led by aMoon, Israel’s largest healthcare VC. The company says it is dedicated to developing proprietary electroceuticals that address prevalent medical conditions and diseases.

TytoHome by Tyto Care

The “health care” category on the Time list also featured the remote medical examination device TytoHome developed by Israeli telehealth company Tyto Care.

TytoHome is a handheld examination device that comes with attachments to examine the heart, lungs, skin, ears, throat and abdomen, as well as measure body temperature, to enable remote diagnosis of acute care situations like ear infections, sore throats, fever, cold and flu, allergies, and so on. The device allows users to perform these comprehensive medical exams and send the information to a primary care provider. The device, at $299, was recently made available to purchase at over 300 Best Buy locations across the US. It’s also available online.

“Tyto Care’s mission has always been to make high-quality healthcare accessible on-demand, from any location to as many people as possible,” Tyto Care CEO and co-founder Dedi Gilad, said in a statement. “We are honored to be included on TIME’s Best Inventions list for 2019. This recognition signifies the ground-breaking impact TytoHome is having on people’s day-to-day lives and we are excited to continue to deliver the best virtual care experience to consumers across the globe.”

Gilad co-founded Tyto Care alongside Ofer Tzadik in 2012, after spending many days and nights in emergency care as a parent of young children. Tyto Care also developed TytoPro for professionals and TytoClinic for remote point-of-care testing. The company has FDA clearance and launched its products in the US in 2017. It also has a CE mark for Europe and gained Health Canada approval in 2018.

Temi by Robotemi

In the “home” category, Time magazine featured the rolling, Israeli-developed robot Temi, billed as the world’s first intelligent, mobile, personal AI robot.

Created by Israeli startup Robotemi, the Temi robot is a 3-foot-tall personal robot with a 10-inch touchscreen for a head, that retails for $1,999. Temi can answer questions, order groceries, play music and videos, make calls, control your smart home, follow you around your house (except up or down stairs), and call for medical assistance. Users can control Temi remotely from any location in the world via the app and command different actions.

In January, the company announced a collaboration with tech and retail giant Amazon, where Temi will integrate Amazon’s Alexa and Echo Show functions into the machine.

Temi by Robotemi has won a number of prestigious awards over the past year, including 1st prize in the field of robots and drones at the Shanghai CES Asia 2019 Exhibition, a Gold Award in the Personal Robot category at the prestigious Edison 2019 Awards, and the best robot in CES Las Vegas according to Tom’s Guide and the International PC Magazine Award for Best of MWC 2018.

Founded in 2015, Robotemi is headquartered in New York City, has an R&D lab in Tel Aviv and a business and manufacturing location in Shenzen, China. Earlier this year, the company announced that world-renown Israeli mentalist Lior Suchard was joining as chief brand officer (CBO).

Genny by Watergen

Earlier this year, Israeli company Watergen, which developed a patented technology that makes drinking water “out of thin air,” launched an at-home appliance called the Genny, featured now on the Time magazine list in the “social good” category.

The device, which looks like a water cooler, is a generator capable of producing between 25-30 liters (6.6-7.9 gallons) of water per day using the company’s heat-exchange GENius technology. The generator first collects water vapor in the air and then cools the air at its dew point, after which the water goes through physical, chemical and biological treatment followed by a mineralization process to maintain its cleanliness, tastiness and healthy quality, Watergen explains.The Genny was the company’s first appliance for the home and office. It retails at an estimated $1,500.

Watergen already has a number of applications and its generators are used in disaster relief and humanitarian aid operations as well as community development across the world. Founded in 2009, the company develops and manufactures the GEN-350 model, a medium-scale atmospheric water generator which produces up to 600 liters of clean water per day, the large-scale Atmospheric Water Generator (AWG), and the Emergency Response Vehicle (ERV), which transports Watergen units in emergency situations and natural disasters. Watergen’s generators have been used in countries like India, South Africa, Vietnam, Sierra Leone, China, Uzbekistan, and the US.

Alice by Eviation Aircraft

In June 2019, Israeli aerospace company Eviation Aircraft debuted a prototype of the first all-electric commuter aircraft, Alice, at the 53rd annual Paris Air Show, wowing the crowd. Alice was featured in the “sustainability” category of TIME magazine’s list.

The aircraft is a battery-powered nine-seater which Eviation hopes will help transform urban aerial travel through a “flying taxi” concept. CEO Omer Bar-Yohay has called it “Uber meets Tesla in the sky.” Bar-Yohay said Eviation Aircraft’s services will make regional trips cheaper than a train ticket and better for the environment.

Earlier this month, Eviation Aircraft said it has signed secured more than 150 orders for the Alice, even before the first flight. the company had aimed to have its first flight this year, but Bar-Yohay has said certification from the US Federal Aviation Administration is “slipping” toward 2022.

In September, NoCamels reported that Singapore-based conglomerate Clermont Group had acquired Eviation Aircraft, buying a 70 percent stake in the company. The financial terms of the deal were not disclosed. Last year, the company was selected as the winner in the transportation category of Fast Company’s World Changing Ideas Awards.

ElliQ by Intuition Robotics

ElliQ, a robotic companion created by Israeli company Intuition Robotics, appeared in the “special mentions” category on the TIME’s list.

The tabletop robot is aimed at helping the elderly stay engaged, independent and connected to family and friends. The social robot mimics human movements and responds to voice, gaze, and touch. ElliQ offers tips and advice, responds to questions, engages throughout the day, makes appointments and reminds those in its care about medications.

Useful for those who cannot easily operate a smartphone, ElliQ is meant to address the issues of isolation and loneliness among senior citizens by reading out messages, displaying photos, and answering video calls.

Intuition Robotics was founded in 2015 by Itai Mendelsohn, Dor Skuler, and Roy Amir. In 2017, it raised $20 million, including $14 million from Toyota AI Ventures, the investment arm of the Japanese auto giant. It was named the Best of Innovation Winner in the smart home category at CES 2018.

Giveback by Lemonade

Also in Time's “special mentions” section was Israeli insurance tech company Lemonade and its “Giveback” charity element.

Founded in 2015 by Israeli entrepreneurs Daniel Schreiber and Shai Wininger, Lemonade combines behavioral economics, artificial intelligence, and chatbots to deliver renters and homeowners insurance policies and handle claims to users in over two dozen states across the US. Lemonade’s renters’ insurance pricing starts at $5 per month and homeowners’ insurance starts at $25 per month.

When users sign up, they choose a charity or non-profit organization they care about, and once a year, Lemonade tallies up unclaimed money pooled from policyholders who chose that same cause and donates it to the organization.

Lemonade indicated that in 2019 so far, the Giveback funds have totaled $631,540.