Israel Science and Technology: April

Tech moon image
SpaceIL’s mission is to land the smallest, smartest spacecraft ever on the moon, and transmit video and data back to Earth by the end of 2015.

Moonshot! (Ruthie Blum, Israel21c)

SpaceIL ("IL" for Israel) is Israel's response to Google's X-Prize competition: to land a robotic spacecraft on the moon. "SpaceIL" was chosen as the name the project and a nonprofit that aims to interest young Israelis in science and technology. SpaceIL - with 20 full-time staff members and more than 250 volunteers - is considered, even by NASA, to be a frontrunner in the challenge. The $20 million X-Prize only covers part of the tens of millions it will take to create the most commercially viable craft to date-and the smallest; the dishwasher-size craft weighs just over 300 pounds, 80 percent of which will be fuel. Although it will be largely preprogrammed, the craft will be remotely controlled from a town near Tel Aviv. Everyone from the Israel Space Agency to Israel Aircraft Industries, and from to The Weizmann Institute of Science to Amdocs founder Morris Kahn pitched in, along with 33 competing groups civilian that ultimately unified. The Ramon Foundation, headed by Rona Ramon-the widow of Israel's first astronaut, Ilan Ramon, killed in the 2003 Columbia space shuttle disaster-is one of SpaceIL's many educational partners.


An eye in the "cloud" (Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c)

What began as an advanced baby monitor in 2010 has evolved into an everything-monitor for homes. Evoz technology will launch this summer that can monitor housebound seniors, detect and send alerts about safety issues in the house, evaluate electricity usage, and even suggest the best workout regimen based on its ability to crunch data. The applications are potentially limitless, but home monitoring is the main focus.

Avishai Shoham, the app's developer, painted this scenario: "At work, you receive an alert that your home smoke detector is buzzing. The Evoz-powered system gives you a map of who's at home and where they are, and lets you speak to family members, remotely turn off appliances that could be causing the smoke, find the phone number of the closest neighbor, or alert authorities."

Initially, Shoham and his wife wanted to keep monitoring their napping baby while attending a neighbor's barbecue, but their monitor's signal didn't reach all the way. So they called one of their cell phones from the other's, left it in front of the monitor, and carried the other their friend's yard. This set-up gave them an idea for an app that turns an iOS device into a smart monitor that tracks, stores, and graphs baby's cries and analyzes the information to provide parenting tips.

Now the father of three-ages 10, six and 10 months-Shoham benefits from his own technology. He and his wife even used data from their monitor to track her contractions during labor. "We have the early version of the home-monitoring solution launching this summer, and I've already used it for watching the kids and for watching the house when we were on vacation. I definitely use this as part of our life," Shoham says.


Spotting a (parking) spot (Abigail Klein Leichman, Israel21c)

Three new technologies can help driver find and pay for parking, worldwide: Pango, Parko, and Anagog.

Pango is an app based in Kadima that lets you book and pay for on-street and lot spots via iOS, Android or Blackberry. If you won't make it to your car before the time runs out, you get a reminder to "feed the meter" from your phone. If you're done early, you can use the "unpark" option to be billed only for the time you've been parked. There is even a version for a fleet of cars.

Parko uses crowdsourcing and GPS to steer drivers to spots that other users are about to vacate. Integration with Pango users aims to give drivers the most accurate info possible. Like Pango, it is expanding to the US and Europe. Plans are to integrate the tech with GPS navigation which can take you right to a spot.

Meanwhile, Anagog is a software development kit that provides crowdsourced parking data to partner companies such as navigation system and cellular operators, map providers, car manufacturers and municipalities looking for tailored parking solutions. Anagog has an internal beta version of an app for real-time parking solutions in Tel Aviv. The company's partnership with Parx allows EasyPark mobile app subscribers in more than 130 cities worldwide to receive automatic push notifications of a relevant parking spot about to be vacated. And they have a related app to help you get back to your space and head home. It's called "FindMyCar."



Connect with us

Sign up for our weekly newsletter featuring issues and events in the Jewish world.