Science & Technology
- Written by KKL-JNF.
First Israeli Green Renovation Project Inaugurated
The aim of this renovation, which forms part of the Ministry of Housing’s Urban Renewal project, was to upgrade an old building and make it the first structure to be refurbished to meetgreen building standards, and those of the Retrofit method in particular. At the end of June the building was inaugurated at a formal ceremony with the participation of KKL-JNF World Chairman Danny Atar, MK Yael Cohen Paran, Ministry of Housing and Construction Director General Eshel Armoni and Sderot Mayor Alon Davidi.
This national endeavor on the part of KKL-JNF, in conjunction with the Israel Energy Forum and the Sderot Municipality, brought to a successful conclusion an energy-saving green renovation project initiated by the Ministry of Housing and Construction. The objective was the renovation of an old 18-apartment building to make it conform as much as possible to green energy-saving construction standards.
The Ministry of Housing and Construction is the initiator of Israel’s Urban Renewal program, and this particular project was an additional step in a series of moves to benefit the residents of dozens of towns and cities, via the renovation of buildings and public areas, social activism, and community empowerment.
- Written by Technion
Smart Prayer Room
Students at the Technion have developed a system that informs the user whether the Faculty prayer room is occupied or vacant and whether the worshipers are men or women. It does this with the aid of sensors alone, and without using a camera, which could violate the worshippers’ privacy
could violate the worshippers’ privacy
Mosallah (مصلى) is the name of an original system for monitoring the presence of worshippers in the Muslim prayer room at the Technion Faculty of Computer Science. The unique app can identify the current stage of the prayer and, according to this information, the system can estimate when the prayer will end. The innovative system was developed by three students at the Technion Faculty of Computer Science - female students Anwar Dabur and Lina Mudalej and male student Bakr Odeh - as their final project in the course on systems programming in an Arduino environment, held in conjunction with Microsoft R&D.
Dabur relates, “It all started two years ago, when the Faculty provided its Muslim students with a mosallah (dedicated prayer room). It was of course a very important step for us Muslims who want to pray during the day, but we soon found that there was a little problem: a person who wants to pray in the room has no way of knowing whether it’s vacant or occupied.”
Unlike prayers with many participants, where men and women gather in the same hall, prayer in small prayer rooms is not mixed. “Therefore it is important for us to know not only if the room is occupied but also who is inside - men or women. We realized that this was a very complex challenge, but we are students at the Technion - there’s no way we would fail to solve all those problems.”
During the past year, the project year, the three visited many prayer rooms in order to analyze the characteristics that could be monitored during prayers in the mosallah, and developed the system, constantly improving it based on experiments. From the outset, it was clear to them that cameras would not be used, because they violate the worshiper’s privacy. Therefore they developed a smart prayer rug equipped with pressure sensors. The rug provides the system with information enabling it to determine whether the worshippers in the room are men or women. “Women and men pray differently,” Dabur explains. “When men pray, one of the worshippers stands in front and the others behind, while women pray in a single row. The order in which they kneel is also different. Therefore, based on the information obtained from the pressure sensors, we can determine the gender of the worshipers without entering the room.”
The system developed by the three students includes pressure and distance sensors, an Arduino controller and servo motor; software that analyzes the data; and a dedicated app that sends the user prayer reminders on his mobile phone and tells him when the prayer room is vacant or partly vacant. The system can also be used without a smartphone, thanks to an interactive interface based on an LCD touch screen installed outside the prayer room, enabling the user to obtain relevant data and inform the system that he is waiting outside.
“Using the system saves the user a lot of time. Everyone knows that time is a rare commodity when you’re a student at the Technion,” concludes Lina. “This way, instead of standing in line to enter the prayer room, I study at the library and when I see on my phone that the room is vacant, I go there to pray. In the future, we intend to turn the app into a tool for learning prayers and the special movements that go with them.”
The course on systems programming in an Arduino environment is held in conjunction with Microsoft R&D, and enables students to use technology and state-of-the-art software during their studies, including smartphones and tablets for running apps during the development phase. In the course, which is designed to challenge the students with independent product-building projects, the students design smart systems that combine hardware and software using Arduino-based controllers connected to Azure, Microsoft’s cloud.
Photo The student Lina Mudalej / Technion
- Written by MFA
The World Economic Forum has published the annual list of Technology Pioneers. Two of the 14 companies chosen in the category of Life Sciences & Health are Israeli: Consumer Physics and ElMindA.
The World Economic Forum's Technology Pioneers programme recognizes early-stage companies from around the world that are involved in the design, development and deployment of new technologies, and are poised to have a significant impact on business and society. Technology Pioneers come from a wide range of sectors such as life sciences and health, energy and environment, and information technologies and new media.
The World Economic Forum has published the annual list of Technology Pioneers, which this year consists of 49 companies from 10 countries, recognizing the world's 49 most promising Technology Pioneers for 2015. Two of the 14 companies chosen in the category of Life Sciences & Health are Israeli: Consumer Physics and ElMindA.
Consumer Physics, founded in 2011 and based in Herzliya, has produced the SCiO - a tiny spectrometer that allows you to get instant relevant information about the chemical make-up of just about anything around you, sent directly to your smartphone. The world's first molecular sensor that fits in the palm of your hand, it allows users to explore objects by scanning materials.
For example, you can:
Get nutritional facts about different kinds of food: Dairy products, Fruits and vegetables. Other apps for drinks, meats, ripeness, salad dressing and more will be released on a regular basis as our database expands.
Know the well-being of popular plants.
Identify capsules containing medicine and nutritional supplements.
Help build the world's first database of matter.
Potential future use cases include analysis of pharmaceuticals, nutritional supplements, cosmetics, textiles, plants, gemstones, rubber, plastics, and the human body.
ElMindA, also based in Herzliya, was founded in 2006, with the vision of revolutionizing the management of brain disorders and injuries, by transforming state of the art neuroscience into bed-side clinical practice.
ElMindA Ltd. has developed Brain Network Activation (BNA), a non-invasive technology that allows physicians to accurately differentiate between the function of a healthy brain and the dysfunction of an injured brain. With BNA physicians can monitor change in brain networks and address brain health by identifying disease onset and assessing treatment efficacy. ElMindA is revolutionizing our ability to assess and treat the brain across a broad range of previously elusive conditions such as depression, pain, or memory loss.
ElMindA’s innovative approach and supporting data have led to partnerships with top pharmaceutical companies and leading neurological and psychiatric institutes around the world. The company has already completed several clinical trials establishing the utility of the BNA™ technology, and its technology is already being utilized by leading pharmaceutical companies as an integral part of their clinical development programs for monitoring drug effect on the brain.
BNA™ as a measure of brain state and brain changes, can potentially be applied to a wide spectrum of indications and their therapeutic interventions including Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, Concussion, ADHD, pain, stroke, depression, and other Central Nervous System related conditions. In addition, the technology serves as a valuable tool in the development of CNS related treatments.
Photo: Israel's Technological Pioneers: Consumer Physics and ElMindA
Copyright: World Economic Forum Technology Pioneers
- Written by Technion
2015 Shanghai Rankings - Technion consolidates its standing among the world’s elite universities
2015 Shanghai Rankings: Technion consolidates its standing among the world’s elite universities
Technion ranks #77 overall, 18th in computer science and 44th in engineering
Technion-Israel Institute of Technology has consolidated its standing as one of the top 100 universities in the world, according to the annual Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released by Shanghai Jiao Tong University, considered the most reliable global university ranking. The 2015 results, which were published yesterday (Saturday, Aug. 15), highlight Technion’s position among the world’s elite universities, especially in the Technion's core areas of research and education:
· In the field of computer science the Technion ranks 18th for the third consecutive year. The Technion is one of only four non-U.S. universities among the world's top 20 in computer science. This is the highest ranking of any Israeli university in a specific subject area.
· In engineering/technology, Technion is ranked #44, and is the only Israeli university to place in the top 50.
· In the overall global ranking, Technion is in 77th place, up from #78 last year. Technion broke through to the top 80 in 2012, and has remained in this elite group since.
“The Shanghai ranking is recognized as the leading academic ranking of world universities and it continues to acknowledge Israeli scientific achievements, and Technion in particular,” stated Technion President, Prof. Peretz Lavie, following the publication of this year’s rankings. “I am very pleased at Technion’s standing among the world’s elite universities in engineering and especially in the field of computer science. These achievements are a clear manifestation of Technion’s excellence. Our outstanding faculty members, researchers and staff will continue to nurture and train Technion students, who represent the future of Israeli science and technology.”
The Shanghai Ranking was established in 2003 with the aim to identity the global standing of top Chinese universities while comparing them to 500 of the world’s leading institutes. Since then it has evolved into the most influential ranking of universities worldwide. Many objective indicators are examined, including the number of faculty and alumni who have won Nobel Prizes and other prestigious awards; the number of articles published in leading scientific journals; and other per capita performance indices of the universities. More than 1000 universities are ranked by ARWU every year and the top 500 are including in the published rankings.
Heading the list of the world's top universities are leading American institutions such as Harvard, Stanford, Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and the University of California, Berkeley.
- Written by GPO
NIS 5 Million to Be Granted for Innovative Ideas Helping Resolve Global Health Issues and Ensuring Food Safety. Ten Initiatives Will Receive Grants from the Office of the Chief Scientist and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Up to Half a Million Shekels Each
JERUSALEM. JULY 22nd 2015– The Grand Challenges program is an international initiative taking place in countries like the US, Canada, India, Brazil, China and others, aimed at encouraging novel solutions for global food safety and health challenges, with an emphasis on developing countries. The Chief Scientist at the Israeli Ministry of Economy in cooperation with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' Agency for International Development Cooperation (MASHAV) and the Prime Minister's Office are launching the second round of Grand Challenges Israel, a competition aimed at encouraging innovative technological or social solutions in food safety and global health, with an emphasis on developing countries. The program promotes Israeli technological innovation in new markets as an expression of Israel's commitment to offering aid to these countries.
Israeli Minister of Economy and Minister for the Development of the Negev and Galilee Aryeh Machluf Deri: "This exceptional program helps the weakest sectors. Most of the world's population suffers from lack of food and access to fresh water and increased exposure to disease. We invite Israeli entrepreneurs to develop technologies that will improve the quality of life of billions of people around the world."
Developing countries face complex challenges related to under-development, lack of resources, technology, skilled personnel and advanced infrastructure. They require innovative solutions adapted to their complex environment. Israel enjoys a large community of developers and entrepreneurs, focusing mainly on the markets of Western Europe and North America - with extensive knowledge and industrial R&D capabilities in the life sciences in general and public health in particular.
The Israeli Ministry of Economy, through the Office of the Chief Scientist, helps strengthen and broaden the technological base of Israeli industry with a variety of support programs. As part of this support and in light of Israel's international cooperation and assistance programs, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ MASHAV agency, the Prime Minister's Office and the Israeli Ministry of Economy have initiated a unique program operated by the Office of the Chief Scientist intended to promote research and development to find technological solutions for health challenges in developing countries - Grand Challenges Israel.
As part of the program, up to NIS 500,000 will be granted to prove the viability of innovative solutions for problems in global health or food safety. The program aims at directing Israeli entrepreneurs to seek solutions for developing markets - markets where urgent solutions are needed on the one hand and which offer large, unrealized business potential for Israeli industrialists and entrepreneurs on the other.
Among the ten initiatives given grants last year: a novel device to diagnose cervical cancer, a tool for diagnosing malaria, innovative water purifiers and affordable wheelchairs for children to enable maximum mobility and access to education.
Israel’s Chief Scientist at the Ministry of Economy Avi Hasson said: “The Israeli segment of the International Grand Challenges competition is an expression of Israel's capabilities in the field of technological innovation, together with the Israel’s world-renowned entrepreneurial spirit. A combination of doing good by helping resolve global challenges and establishing a foothold in new markets with unique consumer demands for the Israeli industry can bring Israeli entrepreneurs vast new business opportunities."
Head of MASHAV at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ambassador Gil Haskel, said: "This unique program reflects Israel's wish to continue helping developing countries in relevant fields and constitutes the meeting point between Israel's diplomacy and technological innovation."
In light of the complex business environment in developing countries, the Office of the Chief Scientist and MASHAV will help entrepreneurs who show interest in finding compatible partners for the development and implementation of initiatives in developing countries. The criteria for submissions include: Potential effect on the health situation in developing countries - the contribution R&D products can have on health challenges in developing countries; the possibility of implementing developed products in developing countries in order to improve public health, save lives or minimize disability. The product and the technology - a different and original approach, technological viability, advantages over existing solutions, the ability to reach significant milestones within the implementation period and the ability to undertake a realistic R&D program during the implementation period. Quality of personnel - knowledge and experience of applicants in the relevant field, personnel available for attaining the program's goals. Scalability - the existence of a clear plan to implement R&D products to solve health challenges in developing countries on a commercial scale within a reasonable amount of time, including the possibility of fundraising and/or finding compatible partners for continued development and commercialization; and Integrated innovation - combining technological innovation with social and business innovation in a way which can maximize the effect of R&D on health challenges, including cooperation with relevant social initiatives in developing countries.
Applications are welcome from researchers, entrepreneurs, small and medium sized businesses (up to 100 employees), research institutions and NGOs. Submissions found compatible will receive funding at up to 90% of the initiative's approved budget, to a maximum of NIS 500,000 - for proof of concept.
Additional data is available at http://www.grandchallenges.org.il