Israel Science and Technology: August

Pocket Printer image
Pocket Printer

Is that a printer in your pocket? 

(Abigail Klein Leichman)

The tiny PocketPrinter connects to smartphones and PCs-and prints on paper of any size.

ZUtA Labs cofounder Tuvia Elbaum explains that printers consist of a printhead running on a moving piece of paper. "We asked ourselves, 'Why not get rid of the entire device and just put the printhead on a set of small wheels and let it run across a piece of paper?' By doing so, we allow the printer to really be as little as possible." Elbaum was amazed to find no such solution on the market when he and fellow Jerusalem College of Technology (JCT) student Matan Caspi envisioned the first-ever mini mobile printer last year. 

The 4-by-4 inch PocketPrinter, which recharges though a USB connection, will retail for about $240, with color printing coming soon. "We're also working on apps for iOS and Android that will allow direct printing from your smartphone and tablet," says Elbaum.


Appliances that get the point 

(Ruthie Blum)

It's a snap! At least, it's a pinch, a flick, and wave. With these bare-handed gestures, Israel's PointGrab allows users to control their computers, TVs, appliances, and even simple lamps. 

The gesture-recognition software- available on Android, iOS, Linux, OS X and Windows- communicates with the standard camera of PCs, tablets, smartphones and TVs. Its Hybrid Action Recognition technology can anticipate, detect and analyze hand shapes and movements up to 17 feet away.

There are several variations, like PointSwitch, which allows gestures to control lights, shades, air conditioning and other appliances- poke the air and the lights go on; wave your hand and the fridge door swings open. CamMe, for selfies at more than arm's length, has already been downloaded a million times. There is also a software development kit for creating new gesture- control applications.

Fujitsu, Acer, Lenovo , and Samsung have already begun to integrate PointGrab into their devices. So far, more than 20 million devices are equipped with PointGrab. The firm, which now has 60 employees, was founded in 2008 by Haim Perski and Amir Kaplan, who earlier developed integrated pen and touch technology for smartphones and tablets. 


"I do" plan weddings digitally 

(Ruthie Blum)

Planning a wedding can be happy, but also headache-y. HoneyBook, developed in Israel by newlyweds, is here to help.

Naama and Oz Alon planned their wedding during her studies at Tel Aviv's Shenkar College of Engineering and Design. Oz already had years of experience planning huge events for his production company. But they were "struck by the huge gap in the market between existing technology and the kind of product we would have benefitted from," he said. "All event planners, photographers, florists, DJs, caterers- and the bride and groom- have smartphones. So the coordination process shouldn't be so complicated and clumsy." He listed "contracts, emails, phone calls, paper checks, hard copies, and spreadsheets" as just some of the things the wedding needed to have coordinated.

In response, the newlyweds birthed HoneyBook, a technological hub for professional event planners and the contractors they hire. There, brides and grooms can comfortably manage all facets of their event from any web-enabled device. The tools on HoneyBook provide a cyber-office for booking and contracting with vendors, as well as an aesthetic cyber-home for memorabilia. 

The event-planning industry in the US is massive, and HoneyBook filled an immediate and widespread need. But its technology eventually could be employed for any endeavor-  such as home renovations-that requires coordination among many different people or-parties.


~All stories from Israel 21c

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