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6 Israeli creations get showcased in TIME’s 100 Best Inventions for 2020

Smart beehive, folding booster seat, shrinking electric car, AR headset, sweeter sugar, medical data miner said to change how ‘we live, work, play and think about what’s possible’

Shoshanna Solomon is The Times of Israel's Startups and Business reporter

An illustration of a City Transformer vehicle (Courtesy)
An illustration of a City Transformer vehicle (Courtesy)

Six Israeli tech firms have been named in this year’s annual list of TIME magazine’s 100 Best Inventions “that are changing the way we live, work, play and think about what’s possible.”

The global “groundbreaking inventions” of 2020 published earlier this month include a skill building robot, hydrogen power for airplanes, vodka out of think air, alt-pork, a hands-free tooth-brushing device, and mRNA vaccines to fight COVID-19.

To compile the 2020 list, TIME asked for nominations both from its editors and correspondents around the world, and via an online application process. The jury then evaluated each contender on “key factors, including originality, creativity, effectiveness, ambition and impact.”

Every year, TIME highlights inventions that “are making the world better, smarter and even a bit more fun,” Time said.

The developments that were singled out this year came from the fields of accessibility, augmented and virtual reality, artificial intelligence, connectivity, beauty, consumer electronics, design, education, entertainment, experimental, finance, fitness, food and drink, home health, household, medical care, outdoors, parenting, productivity, social good, style, sustainability, transportation, wellness, and special mentions.

Here are the noteworthy six Israeli technologies and firms:

A couple of bumble bees inspect and pollinate a sunflower on a Gaddis Farms field in Bolton, Mississippi, July 13, 2018. (AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis)

Beewise: The firm’s smart home for bees, the Beehome, helps “bees thrive” at a time when some 40% of them die every year as a result of disease, pesticides, and climate change. “Using precision robotics, computer vision and AI, a Beehome—which costs $15 a month and might host 2 million bees—monitors the insects 24/7. When a hive is exposed to, say, parasites or experiences irregular temperatures, its internal systems respond immediately by applying pesticides, for example,” Saar Safra, Beewise’s CEO, is quoted in the TIME mention, in the Artificial Intelligence category.

The Beit HaEmek, Israel-based startup was founded in 2018 by Safra, Eliyah Radzyner, Hallel Schreier, Yossi Sorin, Boaz Petersil, and has raised some $17 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

TrialJectory: The startup’s software uses AI “to read through thousands of clinical trials and extract information about the sorts of patients the researchers are looking for. Its algorithm then matches users with the clinical trials,” TIME said in its mention, also in the AI category. Since its launch, the startup has expanded its scope to add a bigger variety of trials.

The Tel Aviv-based startup was founded in 2017 by Guy Gildor, Tzvia Bader, Noam Geva, Avital Gaziel, and has raised $3.2 million to date, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

The artificial reality headset developed by Augmedics — the xvision — patient’s CT scan into a 3-D image to help guide spinal surgeons in their procedures (YouTube screenshot)

Augmedics: The firm’s xvision headset uses augmented reality to turn a patient’s CT scan into a 3-D image to helps guide spinal surgeons in their procedures. “The headset superimposes a 3-D image of a patient’s spine over their body, allowing surgeons to (almost) see what’s under the skin without ever looking away from the operating table,” TIME said, in the Augmented and Virtual Reality category. With an FDA nod in December 2019, the device is already being used in US hospitals such as Johns Hopkins and Rush University Medical Center.

The Yokne’am Illit, Israel-based startup was founded in 2014 by Nissan Elimelech and has raised $26.5 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

Mifold’s Hifold is a 10-lb. high-backed booster seat (YouTube screenshot)

Mifold: Formerly called Carfoldio, the firm has developed a compact, easy-to-use, portable child’s booster seat with a design that keeps the seatbelt off the child’s stomach and neck for better safety and comfort. The Hifold is a 10-lb. high-backed booster seat “that has already been adopted by tens of thousands of families,” TIME said in its mention in the Parenting category. The Ra’anana, Israel-based Mifold was founded by Jon Sumroy in 2012 and has raised some $6 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

City Transformer: The company’s folding electric two-seater car can reach speeds of up to 55 miles per hour. “When you’re not traveling at cruising speeds, the vehicle can retract its wheels, pulling them closer to achieve a one-meter width for narrow streets and snug spots—four of them fit into a standard parking spot,” TIME said in the Special Mentions category. The Kfar Netter, Israel-based startup was founded in 2014 by Asaf Formoza and Uri Meridor, and has raised some $2.8 million according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

Jello produced with Israeli startup DouxMatok’s ’precision’ sugar (Naomi Baniel)

DouxMatok: The company’s Incredo Sugar is “a newly engineered form of the sweetener that allows bakers and food companies to reduce sugar content by 30-50% while retaining the same level of sweetness,” TIME said, also in the Special Mentions category. DouxMatok engineers sugar grains so that most of the flavor reaches the taste buds, where the sweetness is felt, in contrast to normal sugar, where 80% of the sugar goes directly into the stomach. Incredo is being marketed to consumer brands, bakeries, and other food manufacturers, mostly in Israel, though the firm has struck a deal with a US sugar supplier to begin selling to the US market, TIME said.

DouxMatok, based in Petah Tikva, Israel, was founded in 2014 by father and son duo Avraham and Eran Baniel and has raised some $30 million, according to the database of Start-Up Nation Central.

In 2019, nine Israeli technologies were ranked by TIME.

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