Israel is home to some of the world’s most brilliant minds and by now is well-known as the “Start Up Nation”. Despite its short history, tiny size, and turbulent political situation, the country has produced a staggering number of remarkable inventions and innovations. From technology to agriculture, defence to TV shows, here are 11 of these that are helping to make the world a better place.
Israel is a country of great contrasts. It’s about as large as the state of Mizoram, in terms of land mass, and its population is less than half of Mumbai’s. But in terms of technology achievement, Israel’s head and shoulder above India. No exaggeration.
Just take a look at the following technology breakthroughs that have come out of Israel, and you’ll truly marvel at the achievements of this tiny Middle-eastern nation.
“Sensing the Future” is the mantra of Mobileye, a $10 billion valued Israeli company that uses algorithms and images from a tiny camera placed in cars to alert the driver of potential hazards, such as pedestrians or steering out of lane. More than 25 global automakers use Mobileye technology to make their vehicles safer, and over 15 million vehicles worldwide are equipped with its technology. Who knows how many lives this invention has saved?
2.World’s smallest camera inside an endoscope
The world’s smallest live video camera measures just 0.99 mm was made by Israel-based company Medigus, and the camera was used on an endoscope to provide a breakthrough in the medical world.
3.USB flash drive
The birth of the quintessential USB flash drive is disputed by three different companies, but one of the earliest working samples of flash storage media slapped onto a USB interface emerged from Israeli company M-Systems in December 2000 (in collaboration with IBM at the time). The first USB flash drives sported 8MB, 16MB and 32MB storage capacities.
Yes, the mini portable storage device that we all use was made in Israel by M-System, a company that renowned Israeli entrepreneur Dov Moran went on to sell to SanDisk for $1.6 billion.
4. Intel 8088 microprocessor
The world of personal computers wouldn’t have kicked off if it weren’t for the IBM PC, which was powered by the Intel 8088 microprocessor. Sporting close to 30,000 transistors, the Intel 8088 was clocked at 8 MHz — lightning quick by 1979 standards. It was created by Intel’s Haifa lab, forever changing the world of computing.
This processor laid the foundations for the modern computer. Made by Intel Israel in the 1990s, it revolutionised the computing world. Referred to as “the brain” of the first PC, it was later developed into the MMX chip and then to the processors that most of us have in our computers today.
If you remember Skype, you know how it allowed anyone to call any telephone in the world — right through your Internet connected microphone. For voice to be transmitted from one computer terminal to another telephone anywhere in the world needed some techno wizardry, which came about in the form of Voice over Internet Protocol (or VoIP), developed by an Israeli company called VocalTec. It did what Skype did much before Skype came about.
6. RSA public key encryption
One of the cornerstones of securing digital communications in a public setting is the RSA public key — most widely used encryption keys for data transmission. It wouldn’t have been possible without the joint effort of Israeli cryptographer, Adi Shamir.
Whatsapp maybe one of the most popular chat applications right now, but at the dawn of the Internet there was only ICQ. Created by Israeli company Mirabilis in 1996, ICQ was the first stand-alone instant messenger of its kind, and also the first online instant messenger service — which allowed you to sign up and create accounts, have private conversations and more. No doubt, ICQ was the blueprint of other popular instant messaging services like AIM, Yahoo Messenger and Google Talk.
With 800 million registered users by December 2016, Viber’s another online chat, voice-calling and video-calling app that’s developed by two ex-Israel defense servicemen — Talmon Marco and Igor Magazinnik.
9.World’s 1st commercial drip irrigation system
Invented in the 1960s, Israeli engineer Simcha Blass pioneered the smart drip and micro-irrigation system called Netafim — used for better utilizing the amount of water in agriculture. A classic case of necessity is the mother of invention, since Israel has large swathes of barren land. This pioneering irrigation technique now operates in 112 countries with 13 factories spread across the world.
Waze is the number one application for drivers. The community based travel and navigation app is a staple in over 50 million cars around the world due to its live traffic updates and maps (and it’s free!). Founded in 2007, Waze was snapped up by Google for a healthy $1.1 billion in 2013.
Simply put, ReWalk helps severely physically disabled people walk. They have developed an exoskeleton “walking assistance system” that can enable quadriplegics to walk and even run marathons. What makes this remarkable invention particularly inspirational is the fact that the CEO, Dr. Amit Goffer, is himself quadriplegic.
12. World’s 1st DNA computer
All computers that you see around you run on silicon-based microprocessors. But what about computers that run on DNA? Sounds crazy, right? But according to the Guinness Book of World Records, “the smallest biological computing device” to have ever been built runs completely on enzymes and DNA molecules doing basic math. All thanks to the efforts of Israeli professor Ehud Shapiro, and his team, from the Weizmann Institute of Science for achieving this phenomenal feat in 2003.
13. Face and eye-tracking technology
Israeli company Umoove was the first in the world to create a fully software-driven face and eye-tracking technology that courted interest from Samsung and Apple to be integrated in their respective smartphones.