We started talking about Zionism and the establishment of the State of Israel this week. I wanted to take advantage of this and write something interesting about Israel. I was going to write about the debated relationship between anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, but given that it is an extensive debate I preferred to write about something concise and fascinating. Since we are all at Georgia Tech and we are all nerds (don’t try to deny it), I considered that writing about several of the technological advances Israelis engineers have come up with would be cool.
For those of you who are Environmental Engineers or are just into the ‘make the World Greener’ stuff, agriculture in Israel (~60% desert) is one of the most developed in the world. The modern day drip technology irrigation method was invented over there. Basically the old drip irrigation method released water through tiny holes but these were easily blocked by tiny particles. This video decently summarizes Israeli’s technologies in the water field, and explains the new irrigation method (skip the first minute of the video, it’s annoying propaganda)
For those of you that are into computers, hardware and software, the first flash drive was invented by the Israeli company “M-Systems” (1998). Also, Mirabilis (another Israeli company) developed the first instant messaging service over the Internet. This was back in 1996. Its name was ICQ (believe me, I never got to use it either). “Checkpoint” developed the first commercial Internet firewall and its technology is now installed at more than 250,000 sites around the world. Big global companies have opened R&D centers in Israel – Intel, IBM, Cisco, Google, Microsoft, Autodesk and even Apple. They call it the “Silicon Wadi” (mocking the way it sounds like when an Israeli tries to say “Silicon Valley”. It’s pretty funny actually). Two major innovations came out of Intel’s Israeli labs: the dual-core processors (probably a descendent of it is included in the computer you are using right now) and the Centrino chip.
For those of you who are Biomedical Engineers or enjoy anything medicine related, the capsule endoscopy method was developed over there as well by “Given Imaging”. Basically, you swallow a pill-shaped camera and doctors get to see what’s going on inside of you. It was actually developed in 2001 but approved by the US Food and Drug Administration ten years later. Here’s a brief video that shows how it works:
If you dig disgusting medical videos, you can watch this one as well (don’t do it):
One of the Israeli innovations I find fascinating is Babysense (1992). It’s a movement monitor for babies designed to prevent crib death. It screens the baby’s movement and breathing through the mattress. If breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds, an auditory and visual alarm is activated.
A couple of months ago actually, orthopedic surgery was revolutionized in Israel. The doctors at Hadassah University Medical Center (Jerusalem) started using gyroscopes and Wi-Fi in knee surgeries. Here’s the entire story: http://www.jpost.com/Health/Article.aspx?id=305345
For those of you who are Mechanical Engineers or are into sustainable energy stuff, solar power is HUGE in Israel. And let me tell you, if there is something in Israel that is not naturally scarce, is sunlight. It gets annoyingly hot. This is one of the innovations Israeli Engineers with the help of American Engineers came up with (skip to 1:30). It’s amazing!!
For those of you who are Aerospace Engineers, or wanted to be astronauts when you were a kid, check this out: the Iron Dome. Probably some of you have heard about it. Its mobile all-weather air defense system designed to intercept and destroy short-range rockets and artillery shells fired from distances of 4 to 70 kilometers away and whose trajectory would take them to a populated area. It was vastly used last year during the Operation “Pillar of Defense”, to counter some of the 1500 rockets that were fired into Israel. During the operation, Iron Dome made 421 interceptions. CNN relayed an estimate that Iron Dome’s success rate in Pillar of Defense was about 85%. Here’s an impressive video where you can see some of the interceptions (I can translate what they’re saying in the video on Friday).
How it works:
The last innovation that I want to show you guys is a very random one I came up with while researching for this blog: Dog TV. “A new Israeli production being test-marketed on pets in San Diego, ahead of a US rollout by Time Warner and Cox Communications. The new channel is scientifically programmed to keep dogs happy, stimulated and comforted when they’re home alone.” Here’s a sample episode:
Yes, it’s an actual thing.
Well, these are just some of the technological advances I thought were interesting to share. The fact that impresses me the most is that even though Israel has been constantly under terror attacks, involved in wars every decade and under constant threat, its society keeps going forward. They don’t just stop and wait to see these problems getting solved. People are motivated, and they get out of their way to solve complications in unimaginable ways. And it’s a state that is only 65 years old, in the middle of the desert.
Hope you enjoyed!