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Archive | Innovation and Technology

Israeli discovery could reverse Alzheimer’s damage

Posted on:
May 21, 2014
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A team from Tel Aviv University may have found a way to reverse some of the damage caused by Alzheimer’s.

According to Times of Israel:

“Tel Aviv University Prof. Illana Gozes describes how NAP, a snippet of a protein essential for brain formation, has been proven in previous studies to protect cognitive functioning. Loss of NAP exposes cells to physical damage that eventually destroys them, but applying proteins with NAP-like properties makes them healthy again.

“It’s just such a protein that Gozes and her team have discovered. The research, she said, could eventually lead to development of drugs to treat Alzheimer’s.”

This groundbreaking research could one day help minimize or even reverse the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Read more at Times of Israel.

Top 10 Apps for Touring Israel

Posted on:
May 8, 2014
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Now is the time to jump on the bandwagon as record-breaking numbers of tourists are entering Israel — 776,000 people in the first three months of 2014, three percent more than the same period in 2013.

Touring Israel on a budget? Download some of these awesome applications to your smartphone to get the most out of your trip.

1.The Israel App

You don’t need to hire a guide or even access the Internet to take advantage of professional guides’ expertise when you use the iOS and Android Israel App: GPS Digital Travel Guide. Hailed as a tourism game-changer, it provides audio explanations and links to articles and photos of hundreds of popular tourist sites and off-the-beaten-track destinations. Choose from dozens of walking tours or let the app figure out where you’re standing based on GPS tracking. Get directions, search destinations and make hotel and rental car reservations.

2. Israel Tourism Guide

This iOS app features six different modules: attractions, map, POI (points of interest) search, translator and world clock. You can find information on attractions, museums, beaches, restaurants, bars, hotels, landmarks and shopping destinations with ratings, reviews, image galleries and daily updates. The POI search also acts as a guide to finding the directions from one place to another via GPS.

3. Eilat City

This GPS-powered multilingual app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch puts the Red Sea resort city at your fingertips. Eilat City provides location-based information on hotels, restaurants, tourist attractions, pubs and bars, diving clubs and more.

4. Chronus Imaging

Chronus develops location-based, augmented reality Android and iPhone apps for cities and heritage sites, allowing visitors to experience and explore significant tourist attractions as they were in historical times. It added Tel Aviv to its roster last summer. The web interface lets travelers upload tours and stories via a social plug-in.

5. VisiTLV Tel Aviv-Jaffa Official Guide

Screen shot of the VISITLV app

Screen shot of the VISITLV app

This iOS app from the municipality gives you images and descriptions of Tel Aviv-Jaffa’s most popular attractions, including museums, walking tours, restaurants and bars, sights and hotels.

6. Old City of Jerusalem Audio Walking Tour

The Jerusalem Development Authority made this free app for the “independent tourist,” and it makes good sense because the Old City of Jerusalem is a “must see” stop on any Israeli vacation – yet its vast web of alleyways is awfully confusing. Fifteen different GPS-navigated tours (five of them wheelchair accessible and all with an audio transcript for users with hearing impairment) explore houses of worship, marketplaces, eateries, the Temple Mount compound, the Western Wall, the Garden Tomb and other iconic locations. Available for iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android devices.

7. Tour Haifa 

The Tour Haifa application matches places of interest to your location in town, allows you to save favorites and supplies useful information about opening hours and other details. Through 2eat, it also provides phone numbers of restaurants, cafés and pubs in the “capital of the North.”

8. Haifa Maps and Walks

This iOS app presents several self-guided walking tours with detailed route maps and navigation features to get from one site to the next. Included are six museums, the Bat Galim neighborhood, the Bahá’í World Center, nightlife, shopping, architecture and the Ein Hod artists’ colony a short distance from the city.

9. Masada Acoustiguide

The Israeli company Espro Acoustiguide makes many of the audio guides in use at museums and tourist sites across the world. It also offers many touring apps. Download its English-language Masada tour iPhone app directly from the website.

10. Tel Aviv Gay Vibe

Travelers to Israel interested in Tel Aviv’s LGBT scene can download several new apps, including this iOS one, offering information on special events, LGBT bars, clubs and restaurants to people over 17 years of age. TLV Scene (https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=il.co.tlvscene.android), for Android devices, offers exclusive benefits and free entrance into LGBT parties and clubs.

:: Israel21c.org

Google Doodle for Yom Haazmaut

Posted on:
May 6, 2014
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Google is celebrating Israel’s 66th birthday with its latest Google Doodle! Check it out!

VIDEO: Israeli Start-Up Invents Pocket-Sized Printer

Posted on:
April 30, 2014
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ZUtA Labs, an Israeli start-up, has created a pocket-sized printer to help denizens of the mobile economy print their memos and presentations on the go, according to the company’s founders.

Featured at Microsoft’s prestigious ThinkNext event and funded over Kickstarter, the 4-inch-long device is basically a printer head in the middle of two opposing sets of wheels, which allow it to print across and then down a page. The ZUtA Pocket Printer will be part of a full range of micro-printers on the market by January, 2015, the company said.

The idea came from classmates Matan Caspi and Tuvia Elbaum at the Jerusalem College of Technology, which provided the initial funding for their prototype.

Watch a video of the Israeli start-up’s pocket-sized printer:

:: Algemeiner.com

VIDEO: Israeli mom’s invention goes global

Posted on:
April 30, 2014
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VIDEO – An Israeli mom from Jerusalem who developed a special harness to help her child walk on his feet has launched her invention in the international market.

Debby Elnatan, whose son Rotem suffers from cerebral palsy and is wheelchair bound, invented a device known as the Firefly Upsee, to help him walk. Elnatan, a music therapist, developed a support harness that enabled Rotem to stand upright, and by attaching the harness to herself, it allowed Rotem to take steps together with his mom. The product even allows physically impaired children like Rotem to dance.

“When my son was two-years-old, I was told by medical professional that he didn’t know what his legs were and had no consciousness of them,” Elnatan said in a press release.

“That was an incredibly difficult thing for a mother to hear. I started to walk him day after day, which was a very strenuous task for both of us. I said there had to be a better way. Out of my pain and desperation came the idea for the Upsee, and I’m delighted to see it come to fruition.”

Elnatan selected the Lecky company in Lisburn, Northern Ireland to manufacture the product for the global market. Lecky has had 30 years of experience making equipment for children with special needs. After two years of planning with a team of designers, textile experts, therapists, and engineers at Leckey, Elnatan’s invention was launched this past Monday, March 24. It also underwent successful trials with families in the United States, Canada and United Kingdom beforehand.

“It is wonderful to see this product available to families across the world,” said Elnatan, who was at the official unveiling at the Lecky factory in Lisburn, according to a report in the Daily Mail.

Giving children a better childhood

One of the first families in the UK to use the Upsee product was the McCrystal family from Draperstown in Northern Ireland. Maura McCrystal, mother of five-year-old Jack described what it was like to see her son Jack playing soccer with his family for the first time.

“Last Sunday was a significant one for us as a family as it was the first time our son Jack was able to play football in the back garden with his dad, his brothers and our little dog Milly. To see Jack playing like any other 5-year-old boy made me very emotional,” said McCrystal.

The Firefly Upsee, which costs nearly $500 and is available for purchase from April, enables infants and small children to stand and achieve repetitive walking training with the support of an adult. The system includes a harness for the child that is attached to the system’s adult belt. Both the adult and child wear specially-engineered sandals, which allows the parent and child to step simultaneously and leaves their hands free for play and other tasks.

Firefly’s Clinical Research Manager and occupational therapist, Clare Canale, said the product could help families across the globe. “Short-term, the Upsee improves special needs family participation and quality of life, while research suggests it has the potential to help with physical and emotional development in the longer term.”

“My hope is that (the Upsee) will be used all over the world to give children a better childhood,” said Elnatan.

:: YnetNews.com

Israeli Rock Star Got Bob Dylan and Silicon Valley to Dig His Tech Startup

Posted on:
April 29, 2014
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Yoni Bloch’s latest project began with a flash of inspiration in the recording studio. Bloch, an Israeli rock star and former host of the local version of “American Idol,” couldn’t come to an agreement with his band mates over who would get to play a particular solo.

“In the middle of the argument, we said, ‘You know what? Let’s just record all the solos and see what people choose,'” he says.

To make that happen, Bloch, 32, swapped his guitar for a laptop. He and his fellow musicians formed Interlude, a technology company that lets fans instantly remix songs and videos. Their startup helps musicians, directors and advertisers create interactive videos that allow Web watchers to switch between various scenes with the tap of a button.

Interlude’s best-known project is an interactive music video for “Like a Rolling Stone,” which singer Bob Dylan commissioned last year. The video lets viewers flip through 16 mock television channels, using the up and down arrows on the keyboard, where different characters are shown lip-syncing the classic Dylan hit. Fans tuned in more than 70 million times to create their own custom videos. Bloch, Interlude’s chief executive officer, told Bloomberg Television that the Dylan video contains “billions of different combinations.”

In Israel, tech entrepreneurs seem to be the new rock stars. The country has become one of the hottest startup scenes on the planet, thanks in part to recent billion-dollar acquisitions of homegrown companies, such as Google’s purchase of Waze and Rakuten’s deal for Viber. That activity has caught the eye of foreign investors, including those in Silicon Valley.

Interlude has raised about $20 million in funding from backers such as Sequoia Capital, Intel Capital and Eric Schmidt’s Innovation Endeavors. The startup, which has offices in Tel Aviv and New York, has filed a dozen patents, according to Bloch. He says they’re testing versions of the technology that use eye-tracking software as well as one that runs on Oculus Rift, the virtual-reality headset that Facebook is acquiring.

In addition to high-end versions of the content-creation tools targeted at professionals, Interlude has a website called Treehouse that aims to enable anyone to craft their own interactive works. Treehouse was the center of a global music video competition, where winners were featured this month at the Tribeca Film Festival in New York.

Beyond music, Interlude has created ads for PepsiCo, Subaru, Lincoln Motor, Shell Oil and ESPN. Interactive content helps advertisers better understand whether people are paying attention, what they click on and when they lose interest, according to the company. These attributes could also translate to other industries. Bloch says universities plan to use Interlude to create interactive classes, and real-estate agents are using it to provide virtual tours of homes.

“The time is ripe for the next evolution in how people interact with films, rather than just watching them,” Bloch says.

Bloch describes this as a “megalomaniac vision.” At least that’s one quality that rock stars and tech entrepreneurs have in common.

:: Bloomberg.com