A desert state in a modern era, Israel has sparked the way as a world leader in resource allocation with pioneering innovations in solar energy and irrigation development. In fact, contemporary Israel is a major player on the world stage of technology, medicine, and engineering, boasting more scientists, technicians, and engineers per capita (140 per 10,000) than any other country in the world.
For a country so young, and so fraught with turmoil, an astonishing amount of life-enhancing productivity and innovation abounds. Here are just a few Israeli contributions that have made their way into our lives.
More Than a Drop in the Bucket
Credit Simcha Blass for drip irrigation, an invention that has aided agriculture and helped put food on the table in 150countries. His technique, developed in the mid-60s and since refined, has helped the world grow more with less water.
That Israelis are responsible for drip irrigation was no surprise to PJCC Programs Director Stephanie Levin who was first introduced to the concept as a camper at Camp Swig. “We learned about the water-saving system and then made a working model ourselves, which we used successfully in our camp garden,” she recalled. “It stuck with me all these years.
It’s why I was so determined to use a drip system in the PJCC’s Grow Justice Garden.”
This Pill is Easy to Swallow
Technology names and jargon can often come across as complicated, but PillCam (shown below) is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a diagnostic camera that you swallow. Developed by Israel’s Given Imaging, PillCam is commonly used to detect gastrointestinal disorders.
“As an internist, I’m familiar with the PillCam,” said PJCC member and retired Kaiser Permanente physician Jerry Saliman. “The small intestine is an area of the GI tract that cannot be reached by upper endoscopy, which is a tube placed via the mouth, or by colonoscopy. Before the PillCam, patients had to endure four uncomfortable hours drinking barium. This thick, chalky drink would traverse its way through the intestinal tract while x-rays were taken periodically by the radiologist. The PillCam is a remarkable invention!”
Sound Sleep for Worried Parents
For parents who are concerned that their children might have sleep apnea, BabySense allows the entire family to rest without having to take shifts clutching the baby monitor. The system by Hisense operates with a control unit and two sensor pads placed under the mattress that monitor baby’s breathing. Sleep apnea occurs when a person stops breathing for 20 seconds or more and often triggers a slow heart rate in a baby. This product was designed to detect apnea and set off an alarm notifying parents of breathing irregularities.
Did you know these were Israeli inventions?
- The Cherry Tomato - A popular salad fixing that ripens slowly and doesn’t rot in shipment.
- The EpiLady – The first electric hair remover that spares users nasty razor cuts.
- MobileEye – A tiny digital camera with algorithms and a steering system-linked device that sounds an alert when a driver is about to change lanes inadvertently, warns of an impending collision, and detects pedestrians.
- EarlySense – A continuous monitoring solution that allows hospital nurses to monitor patients 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.
- Pythagoras Solar – A solar window that works as, but doesn’t look like, a solar panel. It uses direct light to generate energy, making it an attractive concept to architects and homeowners.
Upcoming Related Events
PJCC Art Gallery exhibit
January 14 – March 23, 2015
Catch a glimpse of Israel’s start-up spirit on display in our award-winning art gallery.
Rube Goldberg Exhibit
January 14 – March 23, 2015
Program Series: Then There Was Light: Jewish Contributions to Advancements in Science, Medicine and Technology
January – March, 2015
Contributor Kimberly Gordon is the PJCC Cultural Arts Director.