ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 142

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Volunteer group of Israeli developers raising $2m to fortify defense tech amid war

Group of 200 volunteers develops generative AI and computer vision-based applications and life-saving technologies to shore up Israel’s national security and civil resilience

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Israeli developers volunteer joining together to develop technologies to bolster Israel's defenses and civil resilience in wake of war with Hamas terror group. (Courtesy)
Israeli developers volunteer joining together to develop technologies to bolster Israel's defenses and civil resilience in wake of war with Hamas terror group. (Courtesy)

A group of 200 volunteers from the Israeli tech community that has teamed up to pool their expertise in artificial intelligence and computer vision-based technologies is seeking to raise $2 million to continue to rapidly develop battlefield solutions that address new challenges posed by the war with the Hamas terror group.

Formed in the wake of the October 7 atrocities, which saw 3,000 Hamas terrorists storming through the border with Israel, killing at least 1,200 people, most of them civilians, and taking some 240 hostages, Israel Tech Guard describes itself an “army” of citizen volunteers with a goal to develop and deploy cutting-edge technology for critical, life-saving solutions to Israel’s security agencies and defense forces, as well as to first responders.

The not-for-profit organization was co-founded by serial tech entrepreneur Mor Ram-On, VP R&D at Beaconcure, who has expertise in machine learning, complex software architecture and defense technologies; Ron Balter, software engineer and team leader at Cybereason; and senior programmer Lior Mizrahi, co-founder and CTO of Maveriks.

Among its solutions, which is used by the Israeli military, is Last Seen, an application tailored for gathering details of missing persons and abductees and obtaining information, including pinpointing geographic origins — longitude, latitude, altitude — of various media content. The app seeks to help with precise location identification.

“Over the last few years, there has been an explosion in the development of technologies such as computer vision and GenAI, some of which have not been fully absorbed into the army,” said Ram-On. “Feedback from our clients and in the field has been phenomenal so far as, on average, each solution has taken a week to develop as we meet the fast-changing needs of this new level of warfare.”

“Unlike most homeland security projects that are managed in waterfall methodology, we take an agile approach, ensuring ultra-rapid development and deploy cycles for newly operational requirements,” he added.

Volunteers at Israel Tech Guard. (Courtesy)

The organization is now seeking to raise $2 million in funding to hire management and mid-management level personnel that is currently volunteering in addition to acquiring SaaS software services and office space — currently donated — and some physical machines and equipment.

The group of 200 volunteers brings together Israeli developers, AI specialists, tech founders, project managers and coders who have led and worked in successful start-ups and were trained in elite technology units in the Israel Defense Forces. They work in small teams of 2 to 20 developers and operate as internal startups within the organization, in the areas of software and fullstack engineering, image processing, data science, machine learning and project management.

In the first week of the war, the tech group launched an AI-based automated media analysis system for social networks that detects faces and objects and correlates them with known databases for matches to help identify and find missing persons.

Another project already developed by the group is a blood donation bot, which works as a mobile web app designed to check eligibility prior to going to give blood, saving donors time, while also helping the staff at Israel’s national blood and medical emergency service, Magen David Adom, better manage resources.

They are also working on an app that helps hospitals track the location of patients during their rehabilitation to support their physicians treating them throughout the recovery process, as well as a platform for the detection of drone-based attacks occurring during warfare, and a software solution using generative AI and natural language processing technology to detect toxic content that violates terms of use on social media.

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