An empathic robot responds to your call

Israeli startup Voca.ai develops automatic voice assistants for call centers using natural language and artificial intelligence. Robots handle most mundane calls, freeing up humans for the more complex scenarios (see video).  Voca.ai has just raised funds from American Express Ventures.

Predicting machine failures

There are several Israeli startups that can detect faults in machinery or predict when critical industrial equipment is likely to breakdown (e.g. Augury and 3DSignals). Another was Presenso, whose algorithms anticipate industrial machine failures. However, it has just been acquired by Sweden’s SKF.

Are you sitting comfortably

Israeli startup Seatback develops a device that helps users correct their posture and avoid other sitting-related side effects. Its 70 sensors are embedded in a chair and detects if the sitter slouches or sits asymmetrically. A gentle vibration alerts them to stand up or to change their sitting posture.

Israel’s “failed” Moonshot is a winner

Despite SpaceIL’s Beresheet lunar module crashing on the moon, the Israeli company was awarded a $1 million Google Lunar XPRIZE for its efforts. Beresheet is to be the model for the Firefly lunar lander, chosen by NASA. And the crash site is now on National Geographic’s Moon map.

Printing animal-free meat in outer space

Israel’s Aleph Farms recently produced cultivated slaughter-free beefsteak aboard the International Space Station.

An ecologically friendly vineyard

The Galil Mountain Winery on Israel’s border with Lebanon requires no irrigation as the roots of the vine are very deep. Wastewater is treated and recycled. It uses solar energy for power, sustainable packaging and microbiology to generate healthy soil. It even has a green “living” roof.

New vegan baby formula

Israeli startup Else Nutrition develops an almond and buckwheat-based baby formula designed to serve as another alternative to the familiar cow milk and soy-based formulas.

An electric jetski

Tired of hauling a heavy regular fuel & oil jetski to the beach, Israeli Amir Shahar designed and produced an all-electric jetski. His Skivolt prototype runs on a lithium battery, reaches speeds of 70km/hour and fits into the boot of a standard car.

Brazil-Israel projects

Four projects involving companies from both Israel and Brazil will receive a total investment of $7.5 million from the countries’ innovation agencies. The projects involve crop substrates, thermal energy, power sensors and vehicle analytics.

A cyber PhD in Tulsa

The private research University of Tulsa in Oklahoma and Israeli cybersecurity foundry Team8 have partnered to a joint 4-year PhD program focusing on cyber research and development. The course will accept 10 students a year, funded by the University and Tulsa’s George Kaiser Family Foundation.