Aura Air launched a factory in Florida

Aura Air company, developer of technology for detecting and purifying air pollutions, to include COVID-19 viruses, completed the establishment of its USA production line earlier this month. The factory is located in Sunrise, FL, and is intended to manufacture the company’s products to the American market. Aura Air, listed few months ago at the Tel-Aviv Stock Exchange, started to market its products in 4Q 2020. Company’s sales revenue reached $6.3 million at the first half of 2021.

The factory, which was built together with an American subsidiary of Beth-El group, is capable of producing 180,000 units annually. Aura Air says this is a strategic step, aimed to expand its activity in the American market. By manufacturing at the USA, the company will be able to take part at government tenders which require short delivery times. In addition, the products will be defined as USA-produced products, providing the company with higher competitive edge and better marketing advantage.

A bubble of clean air

The company was founded by the two brothers Aviad and Eldar Schneiderman, after the completion of a long army service and is currently employs about 12 people. Last month it raised $3 million. AY Electronics, the owner of Shiratech Solutions, is a major investor in the company and is also responsible for the production of the systems. Their final assembly is done in the company’s new production line that opened last month in Caesarea.

This month Aura Air introduced a unique mobile personal air purification system:  It looks like a small portable device such as a mobile phone – but it is big enough to purify a full 10 cubic meters “air bubble” around the user. It includes the filter that destroys the COVID-19 and allows people to protect the air they breathe while they are in heavily populated areas, such as planes, buses, etc.

Cloud-based Software Platform Reduces Robots Development Time by 80%

To join the tidal wave of new robotic systems, one needs easy to use high-level plug and play solution with ready made proven libraries. Cogniteam from Petach Tikva (near Tel Aviv), said its new Nimbus Operating System, announced this week, answer these needs. “Nimbus Delivers a seamless user experience from development, to deployment, and in-field maintenance.” Said Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah.

During the last 11 years Cogniteam has developed artificial intelligence technologies for mapping, navigation and autonomous decision-making, working with companies like Mitsubishi, Intel, and others. This experience is the basis of Nimbus: A cloud-based platform with all the artificial intelligence you need to develop, analyze and manage robot fleets remotely and in real-time. It contains a library of proven algorithms for mapping, navigation and is able to auto-configure these algorithms for quick set-up.

Nimbus offers pre-developed drivers and software packages in a drag n’ drop environment, making it easy to incorporate advanced sensors and complicated features. It also integrates with the open-source Robotic Operating System (ROS) and other 3rd party resources. Now, as hardware engineers develop the physical aspects of the robots, they can upload the blueprints into Nimbus and allow software teams to program the robot in a simulated environment.

Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah
Cogniteam co-founder and CEO, Dr. Yehuda Elmaliah

“By allowing hardware and software teams to work in tandem, instead of having one team wait for the other, teams can cut the time needed to bring their product to market 80% faster,” said Dr. Nachum Kaminka, CFO of Cogniteam. “In the past, hardware-focused teams would focus their resources on developing the physical aspects of the robot. They become tied down by the unexpectedly complex nature of robotic software development,” said Elmaliah.

“Nimbus cloud-based platform makes it possible to share robot access through multiple teams, allowing software and hardware developers to work together during development and even troubleshoot in-field challenges, remotely.” The company said that Nimbus platform has already been adopted by partners such as AAEON and Adlink.

On September 2021, Cogniteam raised $4.2 million in a private investment equity round led by Seabarn Management’s Founder & CEO, Andrew Owens and an investment group from the UK-based Panthera private office. “Our recent funding round has allowed us to extend our product to new companies around the globe,” said Kaminka.

Open-source Robots

In fact, Nimbus is part of a wider move. aimed to bring open-source resources into the robotics industry. Cogniteam’s blog provides this context: “Most of the robots created today are still closed boxes; the OS cannot be updated, and they are not ROS-based. iRobot, for example, discussed their intention in 2019 to move away from a proprietary operating system to a ROS based one, and is currently using ROS only for testing its infrastructure in AWS Robomaker.

“This is just one example. If you take a look at the robots around you, most of the issues they face will never be solvable and their behavior will not change greatly. Today’s ROS-based robots will be replaced by a whole new OS with a full-blown new ROS release in a new robot. Now ROS has come into the picture, making data visualization, SLAM algorithms, and navigating robots something that anyone with some free time and a step-by-step tutorial can follow through, test, and customize.”

The technologies behind the operation to separate conjoined twins

About a month ago, a unique surgery to separate head-conjoined twins was performed at the Soroka-University Medical Center in Beer-Sheva, Israel. The twins that were born at Soroka in August 2020, jointed at the occipital part of their heads. This condition cause them to be almost handicapped, preventing them from freely move their body, crawl and normally developed.

An operation aimed to separate head-conjoined twins (medically called Craniopagus Twins) is considered highly rare and complex, and as of today – only 20 operations of this kind has been carried out. In this specific case, additional level of complexity was added, as some of the blood vessels at their cerebral cortex were coiled in each other, and some were even been used by both twins. In order to overcome this challenge, the medical team had to perform a detailed, precise mapping of the interfacing points between the babies.

The preparation process for the operation included many tests, trainings and simulations, and continued for several months. The team involved in this operation included neurosurgery, plastic surgery, pediatric anesthesia, pediatric intensive care and brain-imaging specialists. Dr. Mickey Gideon, director of pediatric neurosurgery at Soroka, was the manager and coordinator of the operation and was the one to build the “Standing Operating Procedure”. In recent conversation with Techtime he described the deep complexity of this operation, and the usage of technologies provided by the Israeli companies Surgical Theater, Stratasys and 3D4OP.

CAD files of the brain

Mickey Gideon: “This case is about twins, conjoined not only with their head, but also with the Craniospinal compartment, the meninges and brain blood vessels. The main challenge was to understand which blood vessels are important to which twin – and to preserve them”. The learning and mapping processes were based on two types of three dimensional models: a physical one, printed with a 3D printer, and a virtual model – created by virtual reality (VR) technology. Both models were based on images from MRI, CT and angiography scans that simulated the complexity of the connection of the blood vessels, meninges, skull bones and skin of the twins. “Technology had central role in this operation. It provided us with the ability to merge the data and build 3D models which, in turn, enabled us to see the interface between the twins”.

The physical 3D model was built using 3D4OP technology and a 3D-Printer manufactured by Stratasys. 3D4OP was established and managed by Limor Haviv. This company developed technology to support the process of operation planning, using CT and MRI imaging to build a detailed CAD model of the target area, to include exporting CAD files in order to later print the models from polymer. This technology also supports the planning and printing of orthopedic transplants and even designated facilities tailor-made for a single patient. Those virtual models were transferred to medical printer developed by Stratasys, using polymer materials mimic the physical characteristics of tissues such as skin, bones, muscles, blood vessels etc.

The doctors used the physical models to plan the process of the surgery, and furthermore: they used it to practice their actions such as drilling and cutting. In parallel, the doctors were assisted in the virtual model created by Surgical Theater’s technology. This technology utilizes VR algorithms to construct a virtual model of the area based on CT and MRI imaging. This model provides the capability of better planning the procedure in a VR environment, where the users can enlarge specific areas, change watching angles and achieve clear insights regarding critical aspects such as optimal position and order of activities.  

Watch: The virtual model created by Surgical Theator:


Technology and medicine should cooperate

The model created by Surgical Theater’s technology made it possible for the surgeons to exactly map the routes of the coiled blood vessels in the interface area between the twins, something that otherwise was impossible to be achieved using standard imaging technologies. This virtual model was even in use during the operation itself, assisting them to navigate precisely within the joint area.

Gideon: “Using the virtual model we were able to observe the blood vessels from various angles, plan the procedure ahead and train ourselves in a VR environment. For instance – by using this VR technology we came to the decision that the procedure should begin when the twins are lying on their back”.

“The Israeli technology companies are groundbreakers, and the cooperation between them and the doctors should be tightened. Currently, we experience some break between these worlds. It is important for the companies to consult the doctors early in the requirement characterization, development and proof of concept phases. As the final users – joining the doctors with the processes will assist in deploying these technologies in the operating rooms.

AI Chipmaker Hailo Raised $136 Million

The Tel Aviv-based AI (Artificial Intelligence) chipmaker Hailo announced it has raised $136 million in a Series C funding round led by Poalim Equity and Gil Agmon. The round brings Hailo’s total funding to $224 million. Techtime has learned that during this raising, Hailo achieved $1 billion valuation – eight times larger compared to its value during March 2020 capital raising of $60 million. In addition, Mooly Eden, former Senior VP at Intel, will join Hailo’s board of directors, and Eyal Waldman, Co-Founder and former CEO of Mellanox Technologies, will join its advisory board.

Hailo has developed the specialized Hailo-8 Deep Learning Processor delivers up to 26 Tera Operations Per Second (TOPS). The chip is built with an innovative architecture that enables edge devices to run sophisticated deep learning applications that could previously only run on the cloud. It typically consumes power of up to 2.5W.

On October 2020 Hailo launched its Hailo-8-based M.2 and Mini PCIe high-performance AI acceleration modules for empowering edge devices. Hailo reported that it has doubled its customer base to more than 100 clients over the last two fiscal quarters of 2021. Over the last year, Hailo opened offices in Tokyo, Taipei, Munich, and in the Silicon Valley. Recently it announced a partnership with Macnica, a leading global semiconductor distributor in Japan.

AI is Make or Brake

“In the coming years, AI will become the defining feature for creating new business value and reshaping user experience as we know it. The ability to bring AI-based features to market will be the deciding factor over whether companies succeed or fail,” said Mooly Eden. “Hailo’s hyper-efficient processor architecture addresses the growing demand for a new kind of chip to handle these new types of workloads, challenging traditional computing solutions.”

This round was joined by existing investors, including prominent Israeli entrepreneur and Hailo Chairman Zohar Zisapel, Swiss-based ABB Technology Ventures (ATV), London’s Latitude Ventures, Israel’s OurCrowd, and new investors, including Carasso Motors, Comasco, Shlomo Group, Talcar Corporation Ltd., and Automotive Equipment (AEV) [Machshiri Tnua]. “We are honored by this milestone round for an edge AI chip company,” said Orr Danon, CEO and Co-Founder of Hailo. “We look forward to empowering even smarter and swifter devices.”

Cellebrite to Acquire Digital Clues

Above: CEO of Cellebrite Yossi Carmil (right) and Yossi Ofek, CEO & Chairman of Digital Clues. Photo credit: Shay Shviro

Cellebrite has signed a definitive agreement to acquire the assets of open-source intelligence firm Digital Clues, in order to strengthens its Digital Intelligence platform. Located in Petah Tikvah, near Tel Aviv, Cellebrite provides Digital Intelligence Platform that collects data from wide range of digital devices and sources for investigative analytics by law enforcement agencies and public organizations.

The start of an investigation is time-sensitive, and information must be gathered as quickly as possible. Digital Clues’ open-source intelligence solutions kickstart law enforcement intelligence and investigation efforts when there are no targets and very few clues. It collect and connect data from many dynamic sources including the surface web, deep web, and dark web. Israel-based Digital Clues has a team of more than 20 persons.

Its technology is available both as a SaaS offering and as on-premise software. Their solutions enable the collection of large amounts of data from various sources, leveraging artificial intelligence to draw valuable insights on suspected persons or entities while enriching other digital evidence with valuable information from open sources.

Yossi Carmil, Cellebrite CEO, said that open-source intelligence capabilities provide law enforcement agencies with critical tools to capitalize on those crucial early hours of an investigation. “The team at Digital Clues has built up a strong reputation in this space and we look forward to welcoming them into the Cellebrite family.”

Yossi Ofek, CEO & Chairman of Digital Clues, will lead the open-source intelligence business efforts at Cellebrite. He said: “The demand for cloud-based and on-premises open-source intelligence solutions is driven by the increasing need for automated systems to help public safety agencies sift through the tidal wave of information hosted on the web.”

Cellebrite is traded in NASDAQ at a capital value of  $1.86 billion. Its Q2 2021 revenues totaled $59.2 million, up 29% year-over-year. The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2021 and is subject to customary closing conditions.

IAI to Develop Digital Technologies for Future Armored Fighting Vehicle

Above: IAI concept of digital cockpit for the Carmel program

Israel Aerospace Industries (IAI) has been selected by Israel’s Ministry of Defense (IMoD) as the prime contractor and integrator for developing the concept and technologies for the future armored fighting vehicle (AFV) for the IDF – the Carmel. IAI competed against Rafael and Elbit. At the conclusion of a live demonstration of a two-man, closed hatches AFV, IAI was selected by the IMoD to develop the next phase of the Carmel.

The innovative AFV introduces a step change in the operational capability of combat vehicles. This is underpinned by applying autonomous capabilities and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to accelerate decision making and facilitate target engagement with dramatically increased rapidity and accuracy. The two crew members operate a range of systems alongside integrated autonomous, air, and land platforms, enabling significant improvement in maneuverability.

IAI President and CEO, Boaz Levy, said that Carmel brings to the world of land combat the concept of system of systems. “Carmel will enable complex ground operations with less risk to human lives, which will transform ground combat strategy as we know it today.” IMOD plan to demonstrate this concept on board IDF’s first wheeled APC, the “Eitan”. The Eitan is an 8-wheeled armored combat vehicle capable of carrying 13 combat soldiers. It was developed in Israel and is expected to replace IDF’s veteran M113 APCs.

Eitan, IDF's first wheeled APC
Eitan, IDF’s first wheeled APC

Carmel concept is based on automatic and autonomous systems that complement the two-man team, and operate the central subsystems – the vehicles’ mission planning and management, situational awareness, driving and lethality. The system has the ability to locate and destroy time-sensitive targets with small footprints, through quick acquisition and effective engagement of targets.

During the evaluation tests, IAI presented a technology concept based on its autonomous systems and robotic vehicles. It consists of a panoramic display and a game-like control system, and an autonomous and combat management systems enhanced by Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence. IAI’s CARMEL also includes target acquisition systems, radar system, a passive multi-spectral sensor system and an active protection system.


NeuroBlade Raises $83 Million in Series B Funding to Accelerate Data Analytics

NeuroBlade, the next generation of data acceleration solutions, announced today that it has secured $83 million in Series B funding, bringing total invested capital to $110 million. The investment was led by Corner Ventures with contribution from Intel Capital, and supported by current investors StageOne Ventures, Grove Ventures and Marius Nacht. Additionally, technology companies including MediaTek, Pegatron, PSMC, UMC and Marubeni also provided funding during this round. The financing will be put to work as the company expands its engineering teams in Tel Aviv and builds out its sales and marketing teams globally.

NeuroBlade has developed a new data analytics architecture that eliminates major data movement bottlenecks by integrating the data processing function inside memory, better known as processing-in-memory (PIM). PIM has been a pipe dream for decades, and according to NeuroBlade, it is the first company to successfully bring this innovation to production. NeuroBlade accelerates data analytics and unclogs traditional bottlenecks by integrating its technology into a full system-level easy-to-deploy appliance.

With more than 100 employees and growing, NeuroBlade has begun shipping its data accelerator to leading-edge customers and partners worldwide. This has seen these partners starting to integrate and deploy NeuroBlade into the world’s biggest data centers.

“We invented a new building block in computer architecture so organizations can quickly answer critical problems facing society and vastly improve business opportunities,” said Elad Sity, CEO and co-founder of NeuroBlade. “Our team is at the core of this success. Together, we built a data analytics accelerator that speeds up processing and analyzing data over 100 times faster than existing systems. Based on our patented XRAM technology, we provide a radically improved end-to-end system for the data center.”

Existing system architectures show that the constant shuffling of data between storage, memory, and central processing is the primary cause of poor application performance and slow response times. NeuroBlade recognized that current architectures cannot scale to meet future data analytics needs, which led them to build a computational architecture that eliminates the data movement requirements and massively speeds data analytics performance.

“Despite being tested like never before this past year, the data center kept the world operating at a critical time. We think that this market is poised for explosive growth and NeuroBlade looks to have a promising journey ahead,” said Lance Weaver, vice president and general manager of Data Center & Cloud Strategy at Intel. “Intel is proud to power NeuroBlade’s platform with our portfolio of products. We look forward to our continued collaboration with NeuroBlade to optimize end-to-end performance.”

“SAP looks forward to continuing to work with NeuroBlade on their new PIM-based data analytics acceleration solution,” said Dr. Patrick Jahnke, head of the innovation office at SAP. “The performance projections and breadth of use cases prove great potential for significantly increased performance improvements for DBMS at higher energy efficiency and reduced total-cost of ownership on-premises and in the cloud. Through this exciting collaboration with NeuroBlade, SAP will unlock new possibilities to build the data center of the future.”

“Organizations run at the speed of their data. NeuroBlade is here to alter the pace of the race. Such is the impact that this technology will have on the global data center market. We fully expect NeuroBlade to be a major player in a very short time and why we are excited to join them at this critical moment in their growth,” said Corner Ventures partner Jonathan Pulitzer.

“In an increasingly digitized world, data empowers businesses to make more informed and precise decisions than ever before,” said Roi Bar-Kat, Head of Intel Capital Israel. “With NeuroBlade’s scalable solution, organizations are better equipped to quickly extract insights needed to make key decisions. Intel Capital is looking forward to supporting the NeuroBlade team as they work to bring increased efficiency and scale to data processing.”