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Israeli Startups That Shone at CES 2022

From a virtual bartender who speaks with a Hebrew accent to a high-tech mosquito zapper, Israeli startups were buzzing at CES (Consumer Electronics Show) in Las Vegas, January 3-7. Here are some of the coolest tech items from the startup nation that appeared there.

Part I

1. Aura Air

The Aura Air device is affixed to a wall in homes, schools, offices, hotels, trains and buses. It checks for smoke and dangerous gases such as carbon monoxide, propane and butane, as well as volatile organic compounds such as formaldehyde and acetones. Aura Air then purifies the air, filtering out tiny particles as small as bacteria, mold and fungi. In an independent clinical trial at Sheba Medical Center, Aura Air successfully managed to filter and remove 99.9% of airborne coronavirus.

One $389 device can cover 700 square feet. Alerts are sent to your mobile device. A portable Aura Air Mini can sit next to your computer to purify your immediate airspace, including in a public setting such as a coffee shop.

2. Biobeat

This Petah Tikva-based startup has developed an AI-powered disposable patch worn on the skin to track 14 vital signs including blood pressure, oxidation rate, pulse, skin temperature and sweat.

The company has received U.S. FDA clearance for its cuff-less noninvasive blood pressure monitoring and has developed a wristwatch device for monitoring vital signs at home.

3. Bzigo

No more buzzing. No more itching. Bzigo detects mosquitos in your room and sends a message to your smartphone with the exact location. What happens next is up to your kindness—Bzigo doesn’t zap the mosquitos, it just provides the data.

Bzigo’s smartphone-sized device aims a low-powered laser beam (less intense than a flashlight) at the bug’s location. The device will cost $199 once it’s released later in 2022.

4. Cecilia

OK, so Cecilia, the Israeli robotic bartender, doesn’t really speak Hebrew-accented English. The 8-foot-tall virtual mixologist, created by the GKI Group, has a touchscreen, an interactive image of a mixologist serving up your drinks, and comes preloaded with alcoholic options.

Using a microphone and voice-recognition technology, visitors to the GKI booth at CES ordered and received their cocktails in just 30 seconds. You can tell Cecilia what you’re in the mood for or let her suggest a cocktail tailored for the specific event. She can pour up to 120 drinks an hour.

5. Chakratec

Lod-based Chakratec aims to make battery charging faster for electric vehicles by suspending floating flywheels in mid-air by magnetic levitation. Chaktratec’s flywheels are intended for the charging station, not the car itself. Co-founder and CTO Ilan Ben-David compared Chakratec’s kinetic storage technology to a Hanukkah dreidel. The flywheel stores electricity until it’s ready to be transferred to a vehicle, which could help keep the grid from overloading if too many cars plug in at once.

6. CityTransfomer

You’ve been circling for 30 minutes searching for parking when you finally spy an open spot. But it’s too tight for your family sedan. That’s about the time you might wish you had a CityTransformer, the Israeli-built foldable electric car that fits into just 25% of a regular car’s parking requirements.

The vehicle has a range of up to 180 km and a top speed of 90 km/h. United Hatzalah has signed on as an early client, reportedly purchasing 1,000 CityTransformers for emergency medical services in a deal worth $22 million—although passenger vehicles are still the ultimate goal with commercialization reportedly coming in 2025. The vehicles, displayed at CES 2022, can be pre-ordered for $14,500.

7. Cybellum

If you’re going to get into a car—autonomous or otherwise—you’ll want to make sure it’s immune from hackers. That’s one reason Korea’s LG Electronics acquired Israeli vehicle cybersecurity startup Cybellum for $140 million in September 2021. Cybellum exposes vulnerabilities without needing access to a vehicle’s software code. Manufacturers can then proactively eliminate their cyber risk in the development and production phases before any harm is done on the roads.

8. Deeyook

Deeyook’s technology brings navigation via your mobile phone to indoor spaces like the local mall, where GPS is notoriously poor. Deeyook doesn’t rely on satellites; rather, the company’s software measures the angles of wireless transmission around you, which is what allows it to work indoors. Deeyook can tell you where you are within 10 centimeters.

Deeyook’s technology is not just for navigating the mall; it can help retailers more precisely target visitors’ phones, so they get the most appropriate ads.

9. DriveU.auto

Autonomous vehicles are on their way, but sometimes you’ll need a human operator—for example, when the vehicle’s self-driving smarts are confused by something unexpected on the road or by poor weather conditions.

DriveU.auto taps into the cameras and sensors already on the vehicle to enable a remote technician to drive. It’s also for autonomous delivery robots that bring lunch and groceries to your home or office. When the robot encounters a blocked sidewalk, it just stops. A human operator can help. Ditto for forklifts and “yard equipment.”

10. Imagry

Most autonomous vehicle software relies on generating maps to guide driverless cars around town. Haifa-based Imagry says we’d be better off ditching the maps and pushing the limits of AI, computer vision and deep learning so that autonomous vehicles can “see” the road and learn in real time using cameras and sensors such as Lidar and Radar.

Imagry’s neural network mimics and imitates human performance and reactions, while the AI-powered cameras provide constant situational awareness—all without maps. Imagry’s software extrapolates generalizations by drawing on learned behavior to navigate new locations. Imagry can work with almost any self-driving car, shuttle, industrial vehicle or sidewalk delivery robot.

11. Indoor Robotics

A carton is teetering on the edge of its warehouse shelf, high up enough that it could hurt a worker walking nearby if it fell. Enter Tando, a drone from Israeli startup Indoor Robotics, which monitors for dangerous changes (a screw out of place, a defective shelf) in warehouses and sends an alert to factory managers.

The drones have 360-degree cameras and can fly for 10 minutes before requiring a 30-minute charge. Tando is faster than a human worker—if the fire alarm blares in the middle of the night, Tando can get there in a jiffy.

Stay tuned for the rest of this list in an upcoming issue.

By Brian Blum/Israel 21C

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