Originally published in Israel 21C.
The war with Hamas and the global economic downturn, explain why the number of Israeli startups slated to present at the Israel Export Institute’s pavilion at the annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas from January 9-12 is down by more than half.
We see that as a glass-half-full kind of thing, transforming these few brave companies into bigger fish swimming in a slightly smaller pond.
ISRAEL21c takes a look at what will hopefully not be staying exclusively in Vegas in 2024.
Apple is due to release its highly-anticipated Vision Pro augmented reality (AR) glasses soon. These high-tech goggles will allow wearers to watch 3D movies, take video calls, record movies and interact with their computers without a keyboard and mouse.
ARTI is jumping on the AR bandwagon with tools to add 3D graphics to a video stream – no hardware or design skills needed. ARTI combines live video with its 3D cloud rendering to create a real-time mixed reality scene that the company says: “will make any webinar, Zoom call, Twitch stream, sales or training video three times more engaging and 70% more memorable.”
When San Francisco banned most of Cruise’s self-driving car tests in October 2023, with the local DMV calling them “not safe for the public’s operation,” it highlighted a dirty secret in the tech space: Full Level 5 autonomy is not ready for primetime yet… and may not be for at least 10 to 15 years. Less than a month later, Cruise voluntarily restricted its vehicles to “closed course training environments.”
That decision fits into Israeli autonomous vehicle startup Carteav’s mission statement: promoting low-speed vehicles to transport people and goods in regulation-free, privately run areas such as resorts, retirement villages, airports, gated communities, university and hospital campuses, and car-free zones (such as dedicated busways).
Carteav’s hardware and software turns electric golfcarts into self-driving LSVs (“low speed vehicles”) which you can order using a mobile app. The service is being tested in senior communities in Israel and soon in Turkey, too.
You’ve had too much to drink. Or maybe you didn’t sleep the night before. Both represent cognitive states of impairment that should prevent you from getting behind the wheel. But who’s going to stop you?
Israeli startup CorrActions enables the car itself to state, “Sorry, mate, tonight you should take a taxi home.”
CorrActions can determine cognitive states such as fatigue, inattention and anxiety, as well as alcohol or drug influence, by monitoring data from the motion sensors already in the car – starting with the steering wheel.
Our bodies generate micromotions we’re not even aware of, CorrActions CEO Ilan Reingold told ISRAEL21c. These come from electrical brain activity that affects the motor cortex. These same electrical signals can “leak” out, resulting in unconscious micromotions that sensors, like those in a steering wheel, can detect.
The company already has partnerships with Volkswagen and Hyundai.
Growing food at home used to be complicated. Not anymore. EZinGrow has developed a controller that, when attached to the bottom of an off-the-shelf pot, turns it into a “smart habitat” that can control a plant’s growing parameters. A remote phone or tablet application helps home farmers tweak each pot’s growing plan.
The service runs in the cloud, so EZinGrow is able to compare your pot with all other pots it’s seen; home growers don’t need to have any horticulture experience or prior knowledge. The pot controller, which runs on rechargeable batteries, operates irrigation and lighting according to the growing instructions.
EZinGrow says its patented product is “currently in the final stages of product development.”
Hailo develops specialized AI processors that enable high performance AI applications on edge devices — cameras and other types of hardware that operate on the “edge” of your computer network and in autonomous vehicles, smart homes, retail environments and security, among other sectors.
The Hailo-8 edge AI processor, for example, is blazingly fast, at 26 tera-operations per second. Yet the processor itself is smaller than a penny. The Hailo-15 is a full system-on-a-chip for smart cameras and AI vision processors.
When the company was founded in 2017, AI was only available in expensive data centers. Hailo’s mission is to move that computing power out of the data center and onto the edge. Significantly, the company raised a $136 million Series C round in 2023.
You’re watching a movie and it starts to rain on screen. Wouldn’t it be great if you could smell the wet leaves? Or you’re shopping for perfume online – is there a way to get a whiff of the scent without visiting the perfume counter at the closest mall?
Israeli startup iRomaScents, which is returning to CES for the third time, has developed a device loaded with up to 45 fragrances that can be released on demand. Each device can store over 5,000 “whiffs” — iRomaScents’ terminology for the odors it emits.
The iRomaScents tech can be “pencil-beamed” so that the smells reach a specific viewer. For creators, an “editor” lets you add scents to a video.
It’s not just for the movies or the mall: A home device could help consumers enjoy a cooking program in a delicious new way.
Your nails are looking ragged, but you have no time to get to the salon. Israeli startup Nimble Beauty brings the nail salon into your home. Using robotics and AI algorithms, the Nimble Beauty system scans, paints and dries your nails autonomously.
It’s a huge market – worth $60 billion globally. In the United States alone, 100 million women paint their nails on a regular basis.
During Nimble Beauty’s 2021 Kickstarter campaign, some 5,000 devices were ordered generating $2 million in the first month.
Operation is relatively simple: insert three capsules into the machine, put your hand inside and push the start button. A tiny robotic arm applies a base coat, two layers of color and a topcoat. Warm air dries each coat. The robot completes each hand in about 10 minutes. Suggested retail price for the unit is $399 with a set of three polish capsules costing another $10.
Mark Zuckerberg has bet big on the metaverse – even rebranding the parent company he runs from Facebook to Meta. But will Meta’s future focus be able to staunch the flight of young users to other social media platforms? That depends in part on what content the company will offer in its version of the metaverse.
And for that, Meta is going to need Israeli startup Resight. Resight is “building a visual index of the world, linking users, apps and augmented reality (AR) content to physical locations.” Resight calls these replicas “digital twins.”
Resight crowdsources data from its users to build a 3D map of the physical world onto which can be embedded AR images, text and video. Resight allows creators to overlay 3D virtual “objects” on the scene – say, a bouncing blue monster — that will still be there when the next user enters the metaverse in the same location.
Do your phone or camera photos look poor in low light or at night? Whether from a home camera or a professional application, images and video have always appeared worse when there’s not enough light available.
Enter Israeli startup Visionary.ai, which applies computer vision and artificial intelligence to improve the quality of images and videos. That should help with facial recognition, too – for example, when you try to unlock your iPhone in the dark. Visionary.ai’s product features blur and noise reduction, improved HDR performance and enhanced object recognition.
Visionary.ai’s partners include Qualcomm, Synopsys, Cadence, NVIDIA, and CEVA. Initial target markets include transportation (cameras on buses and bus stops), drones and mobile devices.
As companies amass sprawling databases of images and video, exploring, visualizing and curating such a large amount of non-text data requires unparalleled speed.
That’s what Visual Layer does. Its software can automatically understand your data; bring to the surface possible negative events; and fix data quality issues.
Visual Data started by offering a free open-source tool, fastdup, which signed up more than 320,000 users in its first year alone and has now processed more than 50 billion images.
Visual Data says that by using its software, customers can save up to 95% of the labeling costs for billions of images and videos and can accelerate development by up to 20%. Visual Layer customers include Honeywell, Jerusalem-based Lightricks and Meesho.