Israel puts you in control

If you sometimes feel that you don’t have control over events, then don’t despair. Read through the dozens of articles in the JPost “Just look at us now” archives and you will come across thousands of innovative solutions that Israel is developing to put you firmly back in the driving seat.
A serious medical condition can turn your life upside down, but thankfully Israeli devices, drugs and therapies frequently are the first choice of physicians treating these ailments. Some that I describe may not be available on prescription yet, but clinical trials are already showing positive results. For example, OrSense’s new non-invasive blood monitor for anaemia screening and haemorrhage detection in pregnant women. Another medical device from Israeli-Arab owned Alpha Omega has just won a US award for its ability to control neurological disorders like Parkinson’s disease.
Medical news comes in constantly. Recently, a diabetic friend refuted my assertion that Israeli biotechs were developing relevant solutions for her condition. Two minutes later I received an email stating that Israeli biotech Orgenesis had announced a therapy called autologous cell replacement which transplants a patient’s own cells into their liver where they secrete insulin. To stay really in control, however, you must get hold of one of the first of its kind medical smartphones. Israel’s LifeWatch Technologies has unveiled the LifeWatch V, which measures ECG, heart rate, body temperature, blood sugar levels, body fat percentages, blood oxygen saturation and an index for measuring stress. It’s mainly for people who are at risk – and for those who may think that they are.


These next two news items are almost in the realm of science fiction. Firstly, Israeli scientists have learnt how to control insects. A robotics professor and an aerospace engineering scientist at Israel’s Technion have decoded the movement of insects. Replaying the electronic signals makes the insects move. Whereas I would like them now to program all mosquitoes to drown in the Mediterranean, the scientists aim to use this “biomimicry” to help produce small controlled vehicles. And the other fantasy that has become reality is straight out of the movie “Avatar”. Israeli student Tirosh Shapira has become the first person to meld his mind and movements with a robot surrogate. Situated inside an fMRI scanner in Israel, Tirosh controlled a humanoid robot 2000 kilometers away, in France, just by using his mind. 
Israel’s TaxiBot has been demonstrating its ability to control aircraft on the runway at the Farnborough Air Show. Israel Aerospace Industries’ semi-robotic vehicle, controlled by a plane''s pilot, tows the plane from the terminal gate to the takeoff point without the need to operate the plane''s engines. It can save 1000 litres of fuel for a Boeing 747. 


Development of fuel-saving technology has been one of Israel’s areas of expertise and focusses on controlling natural resources. For example, methane gas is released during the mining for copper at Timna, north of Eilat. The Lesico Company is connecting a huge torch to a generator and will turn this greenhouse gas into energy. Turning to solar energy, researchers have been trying for the last forty years to develop double-sided solar cells that can capture both direct and reflected sunlight. Israeli startup BSolar showcased their bifacial solar cells at a trade show in Germany. Their cells could produce up to 20% more energy than conventional cells. And although it took a while, Kibbutz Yahel, 60km north of Eilat, has recently become the first solar kibbutz in Israel. Solar panels have been installed on 45 roofs - about 70% of the buildings – to give kibbutzniks full control of their electricity costs. While on the subject of photon energy from the sun, I should mention that quite a number of Israeli scientists were involved in that controlled experiment in Cern, Switzerland that discovered the nuclear particle responsible for most of the mass in the universe.


We now flow seamlessly from energy to water, as Israel’s marine-technology developer SDE Energy announced that Ecuador is looking to install its power systems, which are controlled by the hydraulic pressure from ocean swells to produce clean electricity. During these hot summer months, however, most of us are drinking water to control our internal body temperatures. Israel’s Strauss Group has convinced UK entrepreneur Richard Branson that the rain-drenched British will love its tabletop water filters. Mr Branson is now marketing them in the UK as “Virgin Pure”.
Finally, not even Israelis can control the weather, but it doesn’t always have to control them. The residents of Kibbutz Tirat Tzvi may live in the 9th hottest place on the planet, but that fact hasn’t prevented them from becoming Israel’s largest producer of dates. The Kibbutzniks cultivate 18,000 palm trees in temperatures reaching over 50 degrees centigrade. For them, “it’s hot – but so what?”
So rather than just sitting around waiting for a problem to resolve itself, why not follow Israel’s lead. Try to make a difference and
Get back in control.
Michael Ordman writes a weekly newsletter containing Good News stories about Israel.
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