Long-range 4D Imaging Radar On a Chip

RFISee from Raanana, near Tel Aviv,  revealed a unique Phased Array 4D (3D location and velocity) imaging radar on a chip, capable of detecting cars at a distance of up to 500 meters and pedestrians at a distance of up to 200 meters, with an angular resolution greater than 1 degree. To build the new chip, the company’s engineers have adapted Phased Array Antenna technology used in cutting edge military systems, including the F-35.

RFISee announced that top Tier-1 and automotive OEMs are now evaluating the new radar. The company plans to provide samples of the chip to selected customers in late 2021. Moshe Meyassed, CEO of RFISee, said: “Today’s automotive radars typically provide low resolution and limited detection range. Our ability to combine long range, high resolution and accuracy is vital for high-quality fusion of automotive camera and radar sensors.”

Founded in 2016, RFISee is targeting the automotive industry. According to Yole Research, the global automotive radar market will reach $8.6 billion in 2025, which represents a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of approximately 16% between the years 2015-2025. The company is led by very experienced team:  The Chairman Nissim Hadas is a radar expert and former CEO of Elta. The CEO Moshe Meyassed managed engineering teams at Intel, Amimon, Pebbles and 2Sens. The CTO Nir Mor is an expert in radar software, and the CSO is Prof. Eran Socher from the Tel Aviv University.

RFISee’s patented 4D imaging radar uses a powerful multiple focused beams at frequency band of 76GHz-81GHz, created by dozens of transmitters, and collecting the incoming signals by an array of multiple receivers. The company has raised $2.75 million from Clear Future, Drive, NextGear and the Israel Innovation Authority. The company is planning a Series A funding round that will be earmarked for completing the development of its radar.

Iron Dome to be Produced in the United States

Raytheon Missiles & Defense, a Raytheon Technologies business, and RAFAEL Advanced Defense Systems have signed a joint venture to establish an Iron Dome Weapon System production facility in the US. The new partnership, Raytheon RAFAEL Area Protection Systems, anticipates finalizing a site location before the end of the year.

“This will be the first Iron Dome all-up-round facility outside of Israel, and it will help the U.S. Department of Defense and allies to obtain the system for defense of their service members and critical infrastructure,” said Raytheon Missiles & Defense Systems’ Sam Deneke, vice president of Land Warfare & Air Defense business execution.

The new facility will produce both the Iron Dome Weapon System, which consists of the Tamir interceptor and launcher, and the SkyHunter missile, a U.S. derivative of Tamir. Both Tamir and SkyHunter intercept incoming cruise missiles, unmanned aerial systems and short-range targets such as rockets, artillery, mortars and other aerial threats.

 2,500 successful operational intercepts

Iron Dome is considered the world’s most-used missile defense system with more than 2,500 operational intercepts and a success rate exceeding 90 percent – since being fielded in 2011. Today, 10 Iron Dome batteries protect the citizens and infrastructure of Israel, with each battery comprising 3-4 stationary launchers, 20 Tamir missiles and a radar.

Iron Dome’s Tamir missile knocks down incoming threats launched from ranges of 4-70 km. Tamir missiles feature electro-optical sensors and steering fins with proximity fuze blast warheads. Raytheon and RAFAEL have teamed for over a decade on Iron Dome. In 2019, the U.S. Army announced its intent to buy two Iron Dome batteries to fill a need for an interim capability.

Given interest by the U.S. and several other nations, Raytheon has debuted the SkyHunter system in cooperation with Rafael. Based on Iron Dome, SkyHunter can be produced in the United States to expand availability and capacity for the U.S. and its allies. These systems protect at the lowest layer. Raytheon is also cooperating with Rafael on the David’s Sling System, which defends at higher layers.

An Iron Dome launcher fires a Tamir missile. (Photo: RAFAEL)
An Iron Dome launcher fires a Tamir missile. (Photo: RAFAEL)

Nanox has completed a $110 Million Funding Round

Above: Nanox founder and CEO, Ran Polyakin

Nanox, the developer Digital CT devices and cloud-based diagnostic services from Jerusalem, announced  the completion of a $110 million funding round. Among the prominent investors who participated in the round were Foxconn, Fujifilm and SK Telecom. The company has raised $137 million to date. Nanox developed digitalComputed Tomography technology based on the production of X-rays using a MEMS instead of an incandescent lamp.

According to the company’s estimates, the new technology will make it possible to produce CT systems at a cost of $10,000 per system, instead of approximately $3 million – the current average price of CT scanners. CT scanners perform multiple X-rays from different angles. Following the photography, a computer program is used to fuse all the images into a single three-dimensional file that allows the exploration of the body and its organs.

Business model of Pay-per-Scan

The development was carried out by a team of Israeli engineers and a team of Japanese engineers. The company is headed by the founder Ran Polyakin, former founder and CEO of the wireless charging Powermat. Aside from the lower price and size of the systems, digital CT devices provide higher quality images, and having fewer errors resulting from relative movement between the scanner and the subject.

Also, they enable multi-spectral imaging, and real-time connectivity between the imaging system and the therapeutic devices, thus allows treatment to be performed under CT examination. The first commercial, Nanox.ARC, comes with a cloud platform consists of AI-based assistive diagnostic tools and friendly user interface for the doctor.

The company markets the systems through collaborations with governments and health service organizations, and has signed distribution agreements in 13 countries. Nanox plans to offer the use of its systems in the format of a service: payment is determined according to the number of scans (Pay-per-Scan), thereby reducing the costs of acquisition.

Tower Semiconductor Announced ultra-fast RF Switch

Tower Semiconductor announced a new radio frequency (RF) switch technology with record figure of merit targeting the 5G and high-performance RF switch markets. The company is engaged with multiple customers and partners to bring this technology to market for next-generation products.

This new switch technology demonstrates a record RF device figure of merit: On/Off transition times (Ron Coff) shorter than 10 femtoseconds vs. 70-100 femtoseconds in use today for the most advanced applications. The switch performs over a wide range of frequencies spanning MHz to mmWave, including the frequency bands discussed for 5G.

The switch is also nonvolatile so consumes no energy when in the on-state or off-state, making it attractive for IoT, and other power and battery sensitive applications. Tower has demonstrated the versatility of this patented technology by integrating it with other process platforms such as SiGe BiCMOS and Power CMOS.

Tower Semiconductor will be offering multi-project wafer runs (MPWs) in 2021 for select customers. This model enables new customers to experience the technology in lower costs, by sharing the wafer in production with other interested parties. The new RF switch will be presented at IMS 2020 (International Microwave Symposium).

The abstract of Tower Semiconductor’s presentation in IMS 2020 reveals more details about the new technology: Two different sized layouts of four-terminal phase-change material (PCM) RF switches fabricated in a 200 mm silicon high volume manufacturing environment. Both layouts have with a record high FCO of 25 THz. Layout-A has a RON*C_OFF values of 6.2 fs, and Layout-B has a RON*C_OFF values of 6.3 fs.

Both layouts show minimal changes to RON or actuation voltage when cycled 10 million times. Also, a Layout-A device was cycled 1 billion times, demonstrating the ability of this RF switch to be used in high endurance applications.

Salaries in the Israeli Industry rose by 25%

According to a recent report by the Central Bureau of Statistics, the average salary in the computers, electronic products and optical devices manufacturing industry in Israel amounted to NIS 22,411 per month ($6,580) in 2019. The report covers 2019 data and does not include the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the industry. This constitutes an increase of about 25% compared to 2015, in which the average salary amounted to NIS 19,885 ($5,840).

At that time there was a very small change in the number of workers in the industry: in 2015 it included 68,200 employees, while in 2019 this number reached roughly 69,800. The meaning is that the rise in salaries indicates a shortage of manpower in the industry. In the entire high-tech industry, the average salary amounted to NIS 23,545 per month in 2019 – more than double the national average salary – which amounted to NIS 10,783 per month.

This industry that provides almost a tenth of the employee jobs in the economy: 323,400 jobs out of 3.74 million jobs in the entire economy. The main component of the industry is the provision of software and communications services, which accounted for approximately 227,400 employee jobs in 2019.

In practice, the number of employees in the electronics industry is slightly higher than the CBS’s estimates, since in the official data, the local 49,900 R&D workers are grouped inside the High-tech Services category. In 2019, the Israeli industry employed about 49,900 R&D workers, whose average salary was NIS 28,000 a month.

The main problem is that during that period there was no increase in the industry’s output, and exports even fell slightly. In 2015, Israeli exports of computers, electronicS and optical equipment amounted to approximately $12.59 billion – constituting an all-time Israeli record. Then began a decline that reached a low of $10.5 billion in 2009, and in the following two years exports recovered slightly and reached approximately $11.42 billion in 2019.

The conclusion is that the Israeli electronics industry has reached the year of COVID-19 when it is in a dire situation, facing a decline in output and sales – along with a significant increase in expenses.

StoreDot is Charging Commercial Drones in just 5 Minutes

StoreDote from Tel Aviv announced an automated charging station fully-charging a commercial drone in five minutes. This ultra-fast charging (UFC) wireless station designed to charge drones using StoreDot FlashBattery technology. It overcomes two major barriers disturbing the drone industry: the need for a “man-in-the-loop” to replace battery packs between missions, and restrictions on where charging stations can be located.

Today, it takes between 60-90 minutes to charge a commercial drone, with full charge giving a flight time of approximately 30 minutes. As a result, drones spend far longer in the charging station that in operation. To overcome this problem, additional batteries must be purchased and swapped out between flights. This costly process also requires a ‘man-in-the-loop’ to replace the batteries, making drones operations less autonomous.

The need for a person to be involved in the charging process also limits the range of operation and demands locating charging stations at easily accessible locations. This means that drones currently have to spend much of their limited flight time travelling to and from the nearest charging point, greatly reducing their operational efficiency. It also restricts the use of drones in harsh or dangerous terrains – often where they could bring the greatest benefits.

Dr. Doron Myersdorf, CEO of StoreDot, said that by reducing battery charging time to just 5 minutes and eliminating the need for human intervention, fully-autonomous drone operation is finally being made a reality. “Drones will now be able to spend much more of their valuable flight time engaged in actual missions.”

StoreDot uses organic compounds synthesized in its labs, to produce its instant-charging battery – FlashBattery. The technology is based on novel materials replacing the active graphite with metalloids such as Silicon, combined with proprietary organic compounds that protect the active materials during fast charge. While LiBs are aimed at increasing battery capacity, StoreDot has taken a new approach and redesigned an entirely new Li-ion battery structure in order to tackle the need for frequent charging.

Belkin Laser raised $12.25 million for Non-invasive Glaucoma Laser Treatment

BELKIN Laser from Israel has completed a $12.25M financing round, led by Rimonci Capital and Santen Ventures. The company has developed a 1-second, non-invasive glaucoma laser treatment based on technology invented by Prof. Michael Belkin. The CEO, Daria Leman-Blumenthal, said the capital raised will be used to conduct further trials in GLAUrious project, supported by the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

The European consortium was established to advance Belkin’s technology, which is designed to address a specific problem: glaucoma is a chronic disease that affects about 140 million people worldwide. It causes vision loss to the point of total blindness, usually due to high intraocular pressure. Belkin also plans to initiate trials in Asia.

Automatic treatment, once a year, lasting only one second

Although it cannot be cured, the process can be delayed by treating it with eye drops. The problem lies in the fact that it is a lengthy treatment that requires discipline, and so about half of the patients stop it within the first year. BELKIN Laser employs automated process lasting only one second: a projection of 120 short laser pulses to the border of the limbus, which accelerates the fluid drainage from the eye, thereby reducing intraocular pressure.

The process is performed once a year, automatically and without contact: the laser beam is directed to its target using a camera with image processing algorithm. The technology is protected by two patents: focusing electromagnetic energy at a target area in the eye, and automatic detection and tracking the eye in motion.

Commercial Activity in 2021

2020 is a critical transition year for the company. Belkin Laser was founded in 2013 and has been engaged in technology development ever since. This year the technology reached maturity, and the company began developing a commercial version of the system. Simultaneously, in January of this year, it presented the first results of a clinical trial held among 120 patients, which was conducted in London as part of the GLAUrious consortium.

The next phase of GLAUrious experiments will be used for submitting an FDA approved marketing application, probably toward the end of 2020, as well as for applying for approvals in China in early 2021. Following this, it will start sales.