The eight Israeli start-ups everyone is talking about

Face tech firm takes starring role at international festival of technology in Jerusalem


More than 8,500 entrepreneurs and investors from 80 countries descended on Jerusalem last week for the festival of technology that is OurCrowd, an event that exemplifies why Israel is the original start-up nation.

1. The undisputed star of the conference was D-ID, the Israeli firm at the cutting edge of face technology which can take any photograph of a person and animate it with strangely realistic and sometimes unsettling results.

In fact, when the genealogy website MyHeritage bought D-ID’s tech and people found they could animate old photos of deceased family members, it caused a viral sensation. Suddenly people didn’t have to wonder what their ancestors were like – they could actually see how they might have moved and looked.

“Analysts are looking at this kind of AI and saying it is going to be as big as the iPhone or the internet,” ID creator Gil Perry told the JC. “People are developing incredible things with our technology and it’s very exciting.”

In Israel, those people include the team who ran a campaign to promote last year’s International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women. ‘Listen to my voice’ showed avatars of women who had been killed by their partners, imploring women in abusive relationships to seek help.

“Right now, the technology isn’t quite good enough to replace actors in films, but it is only a matter of time,” said Mr Perry.

2. It sounds like something out of science fiction, but thanks to Holoscope, the world’s first medical holographic system, surgeons can view and touch a hologram of their patient’s heart before they start operating on it. The image, created from scans and other data, floats in space in front of the surgeon.

3. Fruit-pickers may soon be a thing of the past thanks to Tevel’s flying robots that hover next to the tree and pluck an orange, pomegranate or nectarine with a gentle twist of their suction arms.

4. When his date was late because her nails weren’t dry, Omri Moran started thinking about ways to shorten the traditional nail shop manicure. The result is Nimble which uses laser technology to scan, paint and dry nails in 40 minutes – in your living room, without lifting a finger.

5.MedAware was founded in 2012 following the death of a nine-year-old boy after he was given the wrong prescription by his doctor. Its AI software checks for human error by combing through a patient’s electronic health records before medicine is administered. In one study, more than 3,700 prescription errors were flagged up.

6. lt looks like a table lamp but Intution Robotics’ ElliQ can tell jokes, recite a poem and comment on the weather. The robot is a bit like Amazon’s Alexa, but more proactive – it doesn’t wait for instructions. Most important perhaps, the AI companion eases the solitude many experience in their autumn years. One study showed it reduces the loneliness of eight in ten of its users.

7. Non-profit start-up Leket Israel uses cutting-edge technology to locate cooked food which is about to go to waste at IDF army bases, hotels and restaurants, the Knesset and other organisations on its database, and then delivers it to more than 220,000 hungry Israelis every week.

The company’s sophisticated network of delivery trucks and volunteers also collect surplus fruit and vegetables from farms across the country and delivers them to those in need.

8. Remilk creates milk that tastes like the white stuff, which contains all of its nutritional benefits, but which is produced without involving a single cow. Instead, the company manufactures milk proteins via a yeast-based fermentation process that renders them chemically identical to those in dairy products.

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