Two Israeli companies featured in Time's 100 Best Inventions

The GENNY by Watergen cuts down on plastic waste, as the machine takes water directly from the atmosphere.

A WATERGEN DEVICE takes the air, produces the water, purifies and mineralizes it, then serves it as pure clean drinking water. (photo credit: Courtesy)
A WATERGEN DEVICE takes the air, produces the water, purifies and mineralizes it, then serves it as pure clean drinking water.
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Two Israeli companies have had two of their products featured among Time Magazine's Best Inventions 2019.
The Genny by Watergen, leading the field in water-from-air technology, looks like a standard water cooler but is able to filter up to 27 liters a day of clean, drinkable water directly from ambient air. The company, based in Rishon Lezion, says their invention will help cut down on domestic plastic waste by allowing families to ditch water bottles. All the unit needs to work is a source of electricity or solar power.
The Genny harvests water using patented heat-exchange GENius technology by collecting water vapor in the air and cooling it to its dew point. The water then undergoes physical, chemical and biological treatments followed by a mineralization process to produce safe, clean and fresh-tasting drinking water.
Designed to operate even in high air pollution conditions, the unit's air filtration system then vents ultra-dry clean air back into the room, making it suitable for domestic use.
Although Time opted to feature the Genny, which is designed for domestic or small-scale use, the company's focus is geared more toward water-technology solutions for disaster relief or impoverished communities.
By making the process markedly more energy efficient in comparison to its competitors, Watergen can produce four liters of water for every kilowatt of energy at a cost of 2-4 cents per liter – "a renewable solution that costs less than local purified packaged well water," the company says, allowing them to provide an economically viable product. 
In October, the company signed a memorandum of understanding with the government of Uzbekistan to roll out large scale water generators in towns and cities across the country to relieve the water shortage being suffered there. Uzbekistan is double land-locked, forcing it to rely on rivers as a water source, but damming projects in neighboring countries have compromised its supply in recent years.
The company has also donated systems to authorities in Brazil, Vietnam and India, as well as assisting with relief efforts during the last year's California wildfires. It provided clean water to residents hit hard by the devastating impact of hurricanes Harvey and Irma.
Watergen even has mobile water generating emergency response vehicles: fully customized heavy-duty trucks housing units with the capacity to generate 900 liters of water, taking fresh drinking water directly to where it's needed the most.
“Our main target is to save and improve people’s lives all around the world,” company chairman Mikhael Mirilashvili told The Jerusalem Post in March. “We also aim to remove plastic from earth, to reduce the global carbon footprint, and of course make our planet cleaner and safer,” he added.
Another Israeli invention also made the notable list in second place.
OrCam Technologies, a Jerusalem-based start-up that develops advanced technology to help the visually impaired, created MyEye2, which is expected to be available to the public in 2020. The device is described as "talking glasses," and uses artificial intelligence to understand and read text aloud. It is equipped with a camera and can be attached to any glasses frame. The technology was even used in the Israeli elections to help the visually impaired cast their ballots.
"We are truly honored that TIME has distinguished OrCam MyEye 2 as one of the Best Inventions of 2019, in the Accessibility category," Prof. Amnon Shashua, OrCam Technologies Co-founder, Chairman and CTO wrote in a statement. "We deeply appreciate the recognition by TIME of OrCam's wearable assistive technology's ability to transform people's lives. We pioneered this innovation to function as 'AI as a companion', to directly benefit people who are blind, visually impaired, or have reading difficulties, including dyslexia.
The company's original MyEye and MyReader aimed to help the blind and visually impaired "see" the world around them by not only acting as a text reader, but also as a facial recognition device. What sets the MyEye 2 apart from its predecessors is the users' ability to request the device read specific things, such as a particular section of a newspaper or menu.
MyEye users will be able to get the updates included in the MyEye 2 via WiFi, according to a company statement.
Eytan Halon and Ezra Taylor contributed to this report.