Saturday, June 22, 2013
Tuesday, June 4, 2013
Israel’s Top 45 Greatest Inventions Of All Time
Posted on 5/28/2013 by admin
By Abigail Klein Leichman: Israel21c
A new exhibit pays homage to Israeli ingenuity behind gadgets like the Disk-on-Key, PillCam, solar windows and a space camera.
One of Israel’s sources of pride is the enormous number of inventions and innovations that have taken root on its soil over 63 years — despite challenges of geography, size and diplomacy. The ever-churning Israeli mind has brought us drip irrigation, the cherry tomato, the electric car grid, the Disk-on-Key and much more.
Through December at the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem, 45 indispensable Israeli inventions are being displayed and demonstrated. Curator Varda Gur Ben-Sheetrit tells ISRAEL21c that hundreds of ingenious inventions were considered for Inventions, Inc., which offers visitors a chance to learn more and try their own hand at coming up with something new.
She emphasizes that many other Israeli inventions are deserving of being included. “We were, of course, constrained by space limitations, and also not every company we invited to exhibit responded,” she says.
Another feature of the exhibition is the Transparent Studio, where graduates of the Bezalel Academy of Arts and Design conduct a course on innovation in the area of light and lighting design. Visitors can observe their work-in-progress and share their ideas and suggestions with the designers.
Here, ISRAEL21c gives Israel’s top 45 inventions highlighted at the exhibition, in no particular order.
1. Given Imaging, a world leader in developing and marketing patient-friendly solutions for visualizing and detecting disorders of the GI tract, is best known for its PillCam (aka capsule endoscopy), now the gold standard for intestinal visualization.
2. Netafim is a worldwide pioneer in smart drip and micro-irrigation, starting from the idea of Israeli engineer Simcha Blass for releasing water in controlled, slow drips to provide precise crop irrigation. The kibbutz-owned company operates in 112 countries with 13 factories throughout the world.
3. Ormat Technologies designs, develops, builds, owns, manufactures and operates geothermal power plants worldwide, supplying clean geothermal power in more than 20 countries.
4. Pythagoras Solar makes the world’s first solar window, which combines energy efficiency, power generation and transparency. This transparent photovoltaic glass unit can be easily integrated into conventional building design and construction processes.
5. Hazera Genetics, a project of two professors at the Hebrew University Faculty of Agriculture, yielded the cherry tomato — a tasty salad fixing that ripens slowly and doesn’t rot in shipment.
6. BabySense is a non-touch, no-radiation device designed to prevent crib death. Made by HiSense, the device monitors a baby’s breathing and movements through the mattress during sleep. An auditory and visual alarm is activated if breathing ceases for more than 20 seconds or if breath rate slows to less than 10 breaths per minute.
7. EpiLady, the first electric hair remover (epilator), secured its leading position in the international beauty care market and since 1986 has sold almost 30 million units.
8. 3G Solar pioneered a low-cost alternative to silicon that generates significantly more electricity than leading silicon-based PV solar modules at a lower cost per kilowatt hour.
9. MobileEye combines a tiny digital camera with sophisticated algorithms to help drivers navigate more safely. The steering system-linked device sounds an alert when a driver is about to change lanes inadvertently, warns of an impending forward collision and detects pedestrians. MobileEye has deals with GM, BMW and Volvo, among others.
10. Leviathan Energy innovated the Wind Tulip, a cost-effective, silent, vibration-free wind turbine designed as an aesthetic environmental sculpture, producing clean energy at high efficiency from any direction.
11. Rav Bariach introduced the steel security door that has become Israel’s standard. Its geometric lock, whose cylinders extend from different points into the doorframe, is incorporated into doors selling on five continents.
12. BriefCam video-synopsis technology lets viewers rapidly review and index original full-length video footage by concurrently showing multiple objects and activities that actually occurred at different times. This technology drastically cuts the time and manpower involved in event tracking, forensics and evidence discovery.
13. GridON makes the Keeper, a three-phase fault current limiter developed at Bar-Ilan University. The device, which blocks current surges and limits the current for as long as required to clear the fault, won an Innovation Award from General Electric’s Ecomagination Challenge and is of interest to major utilities companies around the world.
14. Better Place electric car network, Israeli Shai Agassi’s brainchild, is implementing the Israeli pilot that will provide a model for a worldwide electric car grid.
15. Intel Israel changed the face of the computing world with the 8088 processor (the “brain” of the first PC), MMX and Centrino mobile technology. Israeli engineers at Intel in the 1990s had to convince skeptical bosses to take a chance on MMX technology, an innovation designed to improve computer processing. It’s now considered a milestone in the company’s history.
16. Disk-on-Key, the ubiquitous little portable storage device made by SanDisk, was invented by Dov Moran as an upgraded version of disk and diskette technology through the use of flash memory and USB interface for connection to personal computers.
17. TACount real-time microbiology enables the detection and counting of harmful microorganisms in a matter of minutes, rather than the conventional method of cell culture that takes several hours to a few days. The technology applies to the fields of drinking and wastewater, pharmaceuticals and food and beverage production.
18. Solaris Synergy innovated an environmentally friendly and economically beneficial way to float solar panels on water instead of taking up valuable land, generating energy while protecting and limiting evaporation from reservoir surfaces.
19. HydroSpin is developing a unique internal pipe generator that supplies electricity for water monitoring and control systems in remote areas and sites without accessibility to electricity.
20. The Volcani Research Center of the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development aims to improve existing agricultural production systems and to introduce new products, processes and equipment. Basic and applied research is conducted at six institutes and in two regional research centers by more than 200 scientists and 300 engineers and technicians.
21. Rosetta Green, a 2010 spinoff of the agro-biotechnology division of Rosetta Genomics, develops improved plant traits for the agriculture and biofuel industries, using unique genes called microRNAs.
22. Mazor Robotics’ Spine Assist and other surgical robots are transforming spine surgery from freehand procedures to highly accurate, state-of-the-art operations with less need for radiation.
23. The optical heartbeat monitor developed by Bar-Ilan University’s Prof. Ze’ev Zalevsky is a revolutionary medical technology using a fast camera and small laser light source.
24. Elya Recycling developed and patented an innovative method for recycling plastic based on a specialized formulation of natural ingredients. Making the new raw material for handbags, reusable totes and lumber products requires 50 percent less energy than current recycling methods and 83% less energy than virgin manufacturing.
25. Like-A-Fish unique air supply systems extract air from water, freeing leisure and professional scuba divers, as well as submarines and underwater habitats, from air tanks.
26. Itamar Medical’s WatchPAT is an FDA-approved portable diagnostic device for the follow-up treatment of sleep apnea in the patient’s own bedroom, rather than at a sleep disorders clinic.
27. Zenith Solar developed a modular, easily scalable high-concentration photovoltaic system (HCPV). The core technology is based on a unique, proprietary optical design to extract the maximum energy with minimal real estate.
28. AFC (Active Flow Control) was developed at Tel Aviv University as an intelligent gas-air mixing system to replace all existing mixing technologies.
29. The Space Imagery Intelligence (IMINT) unit of Elbit Systems makes a “space camera,” a compact, lightweight electro-optic observation system for government, commercial and scientific applications.
30. Turbulence, the world’s first hyper-narrative, interactive movie, is also the name of the company developed by Prof. Nitzan Ben-Shaul of Tel Aviv University. The technology allows the viewer to choose the direction of the film’s plot by pressing buttons on the PC, Mac or iPad at various moments in the action.
31. Decell Technologies is a global leader in providing real-time road traffic information based on monitoring the location and movement of phones and GPS devices. Swift-i Traffic, Decell’s premium product, is incorporated in leading navigation systems, fleet management services, mapping operations and media channels in several countries.
32. NDS VideoGuard technology is the pay-TV industry’s advanced suite of conditional access (CA) solutions. It protects branded service from piracy and ensures that consumers will have the choice and flexibility they demand in broadcast and on-demand content.
33. PrimeSense revolutionizes interaction with digital devices by allowing them to “see” in three dimensions and transfer control from remote controls and joysticks to hands and body. It is the leading business provider of low-cost, high-performance 3D machine vision technologies for the consumer market.
34. Takadu provides monitoring software to leading water utilities worldwide. The product offers real-time detection and control over network events such as leaks, bursts, zone breaches and inefficiencies.
35. Hewlett Packard (HP)’s Indigo digital printing presses for general commercial printing, direct mail, photos and photobooks, publications, labels, business cards, flexible packaging and folding cartons print without films and plates, allowing for personalized short runs and changing text and images without stopping the press.
36. Cubital’s solid rapid prototyping machines craft 3D models of engineering parts directly from designs on a computer screen. They’re used in the automotive, aerospace, consumer products and medical industries, as well as engineering firms and academic and research institutions.
37. The Zomet Institute in Jerusalem is a non-profit, public research institute where rabbis, researchers and engineers devise practical solutions for modern life without violating Sabbath restrictions on the use of electricity. Zomet technology is behind metal detectors, security jeeps, elevators, electric wheelchairs and coffee machines that can be used on Shabbat, as well as solutions requested by the Israeli ministries of health and defense, Ben-Gurion Airport, Elite Foods, Tnuva Dairies, Israeli Channel 10 Television and others.
38. The EarlySense continuous monitoring solution allows hospital nurses to watch and record patients’ heart rate, respiration and movement remotely through a contact-free sensor under the mattress. The system’s built-in tools include a wide range of reports on the status of patients, including alerts for falls and bedsore prevention.
39. TourEngine significantly reduces fuel consumption and harmful emissions by common engines through a sophisticated thermal management strategy. It can also be easily integrated with future hybrid engines, further improving their efficiency and environment-friendly attributes.
40. The superconducting fault current limiter (FCL), designed for limiting short currents, comes out of a $2 million project developed over two years by RICOR Cryogenics and Vacuum Systems with the Institute of Superconductivity at Bar-Ilan University.
41. Heliofocus led an industry trend to provide solar-energy boosting for existing coal or gas power plants, reducing carbon emissions and overall costs.
42. Transbiodiesel makes enzyme-based catalysts (biocatalysts) used in the production of biodiesel.
43. SolarEdge makes a module that optimizes every link in the solar PV chain, maximizing energy production while monitoring constantly to detect faults and prevent theft.
44. The 3D tethered particle motion system developed by three professors at Bar-Ilan allows for three-dimensional tracking of critical protein-DNA and protein-RNA cell interactions in the body.
45. Panoramic Power provides a current monitor solution that enables enterprises and organizations to reduce their operational and energy expenses using a breakthrough power flow visibility platform.
Sunday, June 2, 2013
Some Say the Spelling of a Winning Word Just Wasn’t Kosher
The national spelling bee spelled it wrong.
Or so say mavens of Yiddish about the winning word, knaidel, in the widely televised Scripps National Spelling Bee on Thursday night. Knaidel is the matzo ball or dumpling that Jewish cooks put in chicken soup.
But somebody may have farblondjet, or gone astray, the Yiddish experts say.
The preferred spelling has historically been kneydl, according to transliterated Yiddish orthography decided upon by linguists at the YIVO Institute for Jewish Research, the organization based in Manhattan recognized by many Yiddish speakers as the authority on all things Yiddish.
The spelling contest, however, relies not on YIVO linguists but on Webster’s Third New International Dictionary, and that is what contestants cram with, said a bee spokesman, Chris Kemper. Officials at Merriam-Webster, the dictionary’s publisher, defended their choice of spelling as the most common variant of the word from a language that, problematically, is written in the Hebrew, not Roman, alphabet.
“Bubbes in Boca Raton are using the word knaidel when they mail in their recipes to The St. Petersburg Times,” said Kory Stamper, an associate editor at Merriam-Webster in Springfield, Mass. The dictionary itself says the English word is based on the Yiddish word for dumpling: “kneydel, from Middle High German knödel.”
If nothing else, the dispute is a window into the cultural stews that languages like Yiddish, not to mention English, become as people migrate and assimilate. The word was spelled on Thursday — correctly, according to contest officials — by Arvind V. Mahankali, 13, an eighth grader from Bayside, Queens, who is a son of immigrants from southern India and New York City’s first national champion since 1997. He has never eaten an actual knaidel. (It is pronounced KNEYD-l.)
While many people think of Yiddish as a seat-of-the-pants patois, it is in fact a finely structured language with grammar, usage and spelling rules, said Samuel Norich, publisher of The Jewish Daily Forward’s English and Yiddish editions, and director of YIVO from 1980 to 1992.
While most languages were formalized by national governments and their sanctioned language academies, Yiddish had no country and so relied on organizations like YIVO, which is the Yiddish acronym for Yiddish Scientific Institute and was based before World War II in what is now Vilnius, Lithuania. Experts like YIVO’s Max Weinreich and his son, Uriel, who compiled a Yiddish-English dictionary, set clear guidelines about how the language should be transliterated into English — though in that famously disputatious Jewish world those instructions were not always appreciated or obeyed.
For instance, rather than the “ch” in words like chutzpah and challah, the YIVO wordsmiths preferred “kh” because the “ch” could lead someone to a softer pronunciation, as in choice or chicken. YIVO uses the “kh” in words like khutspe (chutzpah), but most Yiddish speakers prefer the more popular variants.
“The argument is whether we make things comprehensible to the public or insist on the purity of the language,” said Anita Norich, a professor of English and Judaic studies at the University of Michigan, who in the close-knit world of secular Yiddish speakers also happens to be Samuel Norich’s sister. She noted wryly that her efforts to slip the YIVO spelling of the writer Sholem Aleichem’s last name — Aleykhem — past publishers have always failed.
In the United States, the experts have gradually relented on the spelling of words like Hanukkah, which they would prefer to spell Khanike. Even Leo Rosten’s “The New Joys of Yiddish,” whose earlier edition is used by many as an authority on spelling Yiddish words commonly used in America, throws its hands up in surrender: “The proper transliteration of this festival’s name remains one of the great mysteries of modern Jewish life,” it says.
The book spells knaidel in YIVO fashion as kneydl though it says that the late author himself preferred knaydl.
The Second Avenue Deli, in Midtown, which has printed T-shirts and wallpaper with the Yiddish names of some of its signature foods, spells the dumpling yet another way, as kneidel, said the owner, Jack Lebewohl. On its menu, it avoids conflicts by calling the dumpling a matzo ball.
“There’s no real spelling of the word, so who determines how a word is spelled?” said Mr. Lebewohl, whose parents spoke Yiddish in their hometown outside of Lvov, in what was then southeastern Poland.
On Friday in the Bronx, a great knaidel debate was in full swing during lunch at the Riverdale Y Senior Center, where many of the 60 diners had already heard about the young spelling whiz from Queens. As they munched on brisket and kasha varnishkes, most everyone agreed on pronunciation, but there was wide discussion on how to spell it, how to make it and who makes the best one.
“K-n-a-d-e-l,” said Gloria Birnbaum, 83, whose first language was Yiddish. She teaches a class at the center in “mamalushen,” the mother tongue of Yiddish, to seniors who want to better understand “the things you heard your mother say.”
“I wouldn’t have spelled it with an ‘i,’ ” she added.
But Aaron Goldman, a former accountant and sales manager in a blue baseball cap, jumped to his feet and banged on the table as plastic wear bounced.
“That would be ‘knawdle,’ not knaidle!” he said.
May Schechter, 90, told Claire Okrend, who is in her 80s, that she did not learn the word until she came to America from Romania in 1938. But, she said, she did not think any of the variants were wrong. “You can spell it any way you want,” she said.
“As long as it’s understood,” Ms. Okrend agreed.
Mr. Norich expressed a note of frustration that knaidel was spelled that way in a nationally televised contest. “Since the whole world seems to have heard about this spelling as the one that won Arvind Mahankali the national spelling bee, it has gone that much further to becoming recognized and accepted as the standard spelling,” he wrote in an e-mail. “That’s how it works.”
Spelling it knaidel, experts said, could lead to pronouncing it KNY-del, which would be wrong, or maybe just informal, since Jews in some parts of Poland did pronounce it that way.
Arvind, who attends Nathaniel Hawthorne Middle School 74 in Bayside, is no rebellious word-changer. Starting in the fourth grade, he said, he began memorizing words that his father had collected from the dictionary and, when he started winning spelling bees, browsing the dictionary himself for uncommon words. He researched their derivations and language of origins as a way of better implanting the correct spelling in his mind. Arvind has always had a knack for languages, and in addition to English speaks Telugu, a southern Indi tongue, Spanish and some Hindi. This year was his fourth trip to the national contest; he finished third in 2011 and 2012.
Although he has never tasted a knaidel or a kneidl, he will soon. He said his seventh-grade science teacher, Carol Lipton, had promised to bring one to school on Monday.