by Benji Lovitt
Thank heavens United States Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords survived the horrific shooting attack back in January. If not for an innovative Israeli-designed bandage, her fate might have been less clear. Bernard Bar-Natan, a Brooklyn native who immigrated to Israel, is credited with the creation of a unique pressure-applying bandage. Used in armies around the world including the US, the county in which Giffords was shot began using the bandage in 2009. Whew.
Facebook. Mark Zuckerberg. Heard of them? They’re kind of a big deal. As part of their plot to take over the world, Facebook acquired the Israeli start-up Snaptu back in March for between sixty and seventy million dollars. We’re not betting men here at Size Doesn’t Matter but let’s just say that while this was the first, it probably won’t be their last acquisition of an Israeli company.
We’re double-dipping a bit here, borrowing April’s Better Place story from our 2011 top 10 list. And why shouldn’t we? This might only be the biggest technological innovation since, I don’t know, the internet? Electric cars could completely change not just the auto industry but the energy industry as we know it. And from where I come from, that’s pretty INNOVATIVE.
A wise sage once said, “I believe the children are our future. Teach them well and let them lead the way.” This past May, at the 12th Asian Physics Olympiad hosted in Tel Aviv, Israel’s future became a little bit clearer as one of their students became the country’s first gold medal winner since 2003. With countries such as China, Russia, and India also in attendance, the strong performance gives good reason to believe that Israel’s technological future continues to shine brightly.
No doubt about it-using your cell phone while operating a vehicle is dangerous. Well…can you allow us to make an exception? If you seem to always be getting stuck in horrendous traffic jams, your life just changed. Meet Waze, the Israeli app which combines GPS with user input. By tracking drivers’ locations, speeds, and more, Waze tells you the best route to your desired destination and keeps you updated on traffic accidents. You’ll thank us later.
Ok, so maybe this doesn’t rival putting a man on the moon, but for the lives of pedestrians who are tired of stepping in Fido’s dinner from last night, isn’t this a bigger deal, really? NUFAR Natural Products has developed a harness which attaches to your dog, eliminating the owner’s need to…you know, shovel $#%&. Estimates for first year sales are around one BILLION dollars. If it’s not the most innovative event of the year, it might just be the most awesome.
Tech Crunch is the most respected technology blog today. So when they decided to handle the increasing number of Israeli start-ups attending their Disrupt conference back in September, let’s just say we noticed. With Israeli company Soluto winning first place in the 2010 competition and the unrivalled number of start-up companies coming out of the “Start-Up Nation”, Tech Crunch gave these companies their own area at the conference, branded with Israeli flags and colors. Here’s hoping to holding the conference in Tel Aviv next year!
If it wasn’t official already, now it is: there’s a whole lotta stuff happening here. Google…Intel….Microsoft….and now you can add arguably the most “it” technology company in the world to Israel with December’s announcement that Apple plans to open a semiconductor R&D center in the Holy Land. When you consider that this will be the very first time Apple has opened an R&D center outside of California, well, consider us impressed.
Microsoft got a lot of attention for its Kinect motion-sensing game device. Leave it to Israeli company Extreme Reality to take it to another place, combining cell phones with motion technology for, voila, a motion-sensing cell phone. Just last month, it was announced that one of Silicon Valley’s heaviest hitters, Ron Conway, was behind the funding raised by XTR who scooped up another $8 million in the last round of funding. No more taking off your gloves in cold weather to make that oh-so-important phone call. One swipe and you’re connected. Wow.
We may not yet have won the war on cancer but we’re certainly putting up a fight. Just days ago, researchers at Tel Aviv University announced a new procedure to blast cancer tumors, reducing the risk of the disease returning after treatment. Working much like a cluster bomb, atoms disperse alpha particles not in one place but at increasing distances. In testing, those treated with this procedure had tumors reappear in only 50% of the cases as opposed to 100% when the tumor was removed via surgery. While cancer is nothing to smile about, these breakthroughs give us hope that we are in fact getting closer to wiping it out completely.