By: Eldar Ben Zikry
When thinking of innovation, many tend to associate it with Israel and its expansive startup culture. Looking around the world, Israel is seen by many as a shining star in creating some of the world’s most innovative new products. Many of these products—including the cell phone, which was created in Haifa, the first camera chip used in cell phones, and voicemail—change our lives to an extent that we forget what life was like without them. In fact, Israeli citizens hold more patents per person than those of any other nation. In fact, several Israeli startups have innovative products that are just about ready to hit the market.
Imagine not having to carry around a charger, those bulky battery charging packs, or even an extra battery. Israeli startup StoreDot says that using nanotechnology it has developed a battery that can store a charge more quickly, effectively acting as a sponge to soak up and retain power. The company claims that using their technology will enable phones to charge in thirty seconds and an electric car in just a few minutes. These advances could transform two of the world's most dynamic consumer industries.
Their current prototype is too bulky for an official release, but the company projects that by 2016 they will have a sleek and slim battery that will be able to fit into a mobile phone. The technology, discovered in the midst of research related to Alzheimer’s disease, is based around the creation of nanodots, which are described as bio-organic peptide molecules. Nanodots alter the way a battery behaves to allow the rapid absorption and extended retention of power.
StoreDot has raised $48 million in two rounds of funding and has earned backing from a large Asian cell phone manufacturer. Looking at the market for mobile phones, there are projected to be 1.75 billion smartphone users this year alone. StoreDot projects that a fast-charge phone would cost $100-$150 more than current models and would ultimately be able to handle 1,500 recharge cycles - the equivalent of about three years of functionality.
Consumer Physics, another Israeli startup, has created a device called SCiO that can tell you the nutritional content of a particular food, whether or not a plant needs watering, or what substances a pill contains. All you have to do is point the USB-sized molecular scanner at the item in question for a second or two and check the readout on a Bluetooth-linked smartphone. With a goal of creating a digital database of our physical world, SCiO may allow us to one day become hands-on molecular biologists and better understand the chemical composition of objects around us.
According to Consumer Physics, SCiO will initially release apps that can analyze food, plants and medication. In a press release, the company explained, "The food app delivers macro nutrient values (calories, fats, carbohydrates, and proteins), produce quality, ripeness, and spoilage analysis for various foods, including cheeses, fruits, vegetables, sauces, salad dressings, cooking oils, and more. SCiO can also identify and authenticate medication in real-time by cross-checking a pill's molecular makeup with a database of medications. Finally, SCiO can analyze moisture levels in plants and tell users when to water them."
Along with the app they have already created and plan to release with the device, the company also plans to provide an Application Development Kit, so that third-parties can create their own apps compatible with SCiO. These apps could greatly expand the variety of materials that can be analyzed including cosmetics, clothes, soil, jewels and precious stones, leather, rubber, oils, plastics, and even human tissue or bodily fluids. To date, Consumer Physics has raised just over $2 million of funding on Kickstarter. Those who wish can preorder the world’s first pocket molecular sensor right now for $249 and will receive it in July 2015 when Consumer Physics plans to release the product.
These are just two of the many innovative products set to come out of Israel in the near future. On campus, the TAMID club is one great way to gain exposure to the Israeli startup scene. As Israel is ripe with startups, students just finishing college have ample opportunity to get involved.