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.
“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?
The Syqe Inhaler
Israel is dominating the medical cannabis industry largely due to its technological expertise and culture of innovation. A perfect example of this is the Syqe Inhaler, a first-of-its-kind pocket-sized inhaler that gives the user precise and optimum doses of medical cannabis.
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.
Undoubtedly one of Israel’s greatest inventions, Netafim introduced the world’s first dripper in 1966 – a solution to the lack of quality water for food production – which has revolutionised agriculture. Currently the world’s leading irrigation company, their mission is to “drive mass adoption of smart irrigation solutions to fight scarcity of food, water and land” and “revolutionize irrigation globally for a sustainable future”.
The USB flash drive
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.
Perhaps the greatest military invention to come out of Israel, this air defence system has saved thousands of Israeli lives. Developed by Rafael Advanced Defense Systems Ltd, the Iron Dome intercepts short-range rockets and mortar shells. When these are fired towards Israel, the Iron Dome uses its radar and cameras to track them and shoot them down before they land on Israeli territory. It was first deployed in 2011 in southern Israel to intercept rockets from Gaza, and it has an incredible 90% success rate.
The 8088 processor
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.
PillCam is the most widely used method for visualizing the small bowel of patients to monitor and detect disorders. Patients swallow a tiny camera hidden inside a pill that the body does not break down, and it sends data to a computer which can then create a picture of the patient’s insides. More than two million people have used PillCam, which was sold to Covidien for $860 million in 2013. So long, colonoscopies!
For a country where the next war never seems too far away, this is an extremely important innovation that can literally save lives. These bandages stop bleeding in minutes: made from cellulose (plant cells), they absorb the blood and boost the natural clotting process, before dissolving on their own within a day.
Israeli innovation and creativity are by no means limited to technology or medicine: its entertainment industry has also experienced a boom in recent years. In 2017, The Economist wrote about how Israeli spy shows ‘are conquering the world’, and one of these is Fauda, a hugely popular spy drama available on Netflix. If you haven’t watched it already, cancel your plans, gather your snacks, and set out for a night of binge-watching!