In our day and age, we hear a lot about Israel in the News. But most of that News covers the political and military aspects of the country. We often also hear criticism of Israel from college campuses across the U.S. and Canada. I personally saw this quite a bit while I was in college, and what I also saw quite of bit of was a response of “But look at all the start-ups and innovations that Israel creates!” That wasn’t always an effective response, but if we are using it to show a strong side of Israel, let’s break it down a little bit more than there is a lot of innovations in Israel.
Innovation and start up is part of the DNA of Israeli society and culture. Just like we need to understand Israeli literature and movies to understand the culture we need to understand Israeli innovation to understand Israeli culture.
There are a lot of different ideas to why Israelis are so innovative, and why so many start- ups begin in Israel.
Rewalk is changing lives around the world.
It is a technology that allows paralyzed people physically walk. It seems like a miracle and an incredible life changer. The process began with the goal to help people who became paralyzed during their military service. But it is slowly expanded to people who have become paralyzed through other circumstances.
How does it really work? According to its website it is a “wearable robotic exoskeleton that provides powered hip and knee motion […] to stand upright, turn, and climb and descend stairs”. People’s lives have completely changed by this amazing invention.
Azilect- a drug for Parkinson’s
We all know the pain the Parkinson’s Disease can cause to those diagnosed with the disease and their families. And of course, we would all love to find a cure for Parkinson’s. Medical care start-ups have worked to find that cure—Azilect. It works by acting on the nervous system and works to increase the levels of dopamine. This is a huge achievement in Israeli innovation development.
Mobileye has been a life saver on the roads.
It is an application that detects the movements of a car in it’s own lane. If the car begins to drift out of its own lane for whatever reason, mobileye will start to beep to alert the driver. This has been for several reasons and for several groups people:
- In bad weather, like heavy rain, it can help let drivers when visibility is bad. With bad weather, you can’t always see where the lanes aren’t always clear. The same is the case with the edges of the street. This can make sure you don’t swerve out of your lane by accident.
- Truck drivers and bus drivers can, and should, use Mobileye when driving long hours. With all of their long hours on the road, they can get tired while working. This can alert them when they begin to drift off.
- Really, anyone who spends a lot of time driving and, in the car, should have this device. Mobileye really just provides a preventative measure while driving.
Many of the bus drivers I have worked with when I am guiding have had a Mobileye gadget, as do many taxi drivers. Another Israeli innovation on the roads you can see in Israel is a sort of grated side on the highways. When drivers drive on it, it makes a loud noise. It’s goal is, similar to that of the Mobileye, to alert drivers when they are drifting toward the side of the road.
Akol- low income farmers receive top level info from professional sources
It’s no secret that the face of the world is changing. With global warming and all of its affects, it is becoming harder for farmers to keep up. With Akol, low income farmers can find ways to maintain their income while staying in the business of agriculture. What Akol does to help these farmers has established an online database with information for those farmers. In a nutshell, it provides assistance for farmers who need it.
Despite the fact that Israel is half desert, the country is at the forefront at agricultural innovation. Akol is a part of those innovations.
WaterGen- from air to a cup of water
This is one of my favorite Israeli innovations that I have learned about so far. What it does is it takes the humidity, or the water, out of the air, and turns it into a glass of water. Israel has very water. Israelis are always consciensous about the water levels and working to save water. With that motivation, WaterGen was born. So many places throughout the world are in need of water—the water levels in their countries are too low. But these countries do have humidity in the air. This invention could go really far for those countries, and the world.
You can see how one WaterGen works at the Innovation Center in Tel Aviv. And it is really cool!!
Iron Dome has literally saved the lives of thousands of Israelis.
The Iron Dome is an anti- missile defense system that was invented in 2007. When it was first invented, many people didn’t believe that it would be as effective as it is today. However, the Iron Dome is currently 90% accurate, and as has shot down thousands of missiles that are aimed at Israeli civilians.
The technology is so successful that it has been bought by countries like India and South Korea. And Israeli companies are exploring ways to upgrade the Iron Dome technology and make it even more effective.
These are just a few Israeli innovation ideas.
Many of the technologies, agricultural innovations, and cutting-edge items that we use on a day-to-day basis come out of Israel. In fact, I would even argue that the State of Israeli is an innovation. After all, Israel’s founders declared independence against all odds, created the infrastructure, education system, healthcare system, and more, AND created a flourishing, dynamic culture! If we understand the State of Israel as an innovation, then we can understand why we have so many innovations coming out of Israel!!