from the July 2009 issue

Israel ranked 9th most innovative country

According to an updated ranking of an Economist Intelligence Unit report called "the world's most innovative countries," Israel is rated the ninth most innovative country globally in 2008, and is forecast to rise further to win the eighth position sometime between 2009 and 2013. The innovation index ranks 82 countries based on their innovation capacity and forecasts their performance through 2013. The new rankings largely confirm the forecasts of the original research done in 2007. The forecast for 2009-13 takes into consideration the severe business downturn and the global economic crisis, which will have a negative impact on countries' long-term ability to innovate. According to the Economist, the current financial turmoil is expected to affect innovation worldwide through a reduction in significant drivers of innovation such as investment in research and development (R&D), spending on training and education and the quality of information and communications technology (ICT) infrastructure. The crisis will also have a negative impact on other aspects of the environment that enable innovation globally, including access to finance for firms, conditions for entrepreneurship, and economic and political stability. Recent data shows, however, that Israeli innovation continues to be boosted by a steady flow of foreign direct investment, which reached a near-record high of over $10 billion in 2008. The Israeli market also continues to be a highly favored destination for some of the world's most successful companies. According to the Israeli media, in June alone visits were made by among others Hewlett Packard CEO Mark Hurd, Oracle President and CFO Safra Catz, Dell CEO and Founder Michael Dell, and chief software architect at Microsoft Ray Ozzie.

Unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies unveiled at Paris
Israel is highlighting its world leading unmanned aerial systems (UAS) technologies with a number UAVs making their debut at the 48th Paris Air Show. The total annual sales of Israeli UAVs and related systems are soon expected to reach $1 billion.

Israeli military develops robotic battlefield serpent spy
A robotic camera snake that mimics the actions of the actual reptile has been developed by the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology for surveillance use on the battlefield

When it comes to battlefield surveillance, why walk, when you can slither past your enemy unseen? Animals, reptiles and insects are set to take new roles on the battlefield - and all without a trainer in sight.

Now, with a bit of help from Israeli researchers at the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, a robotic surveillance camera disguised as a snake can be controlled remotely by soldiers to seek out enemy insurgents hiding in tight spaces, where airborne drones aren't as useful.

According to press reports, the camera snake looks more like a cuddly Jim Henson puppet than the latest battlefield robot.

The machine gains its movement from a series of interconnected joints that help pull it along the ground, in a method similar to that of the way a snake moves. Rough surfaces that would normally be too difficult for bots on wheels are perfect for this all-terrain cyborg snake.

In an earlier Ben Gurion University project, researchers experimented with a slew of robotic machines, each with unique animal talents and each modeled carefully after the real thing.

It's thought that the robot snake will be most adept to climbing through holes, tunnels and bunker spaces too difficult for soldiers to pass. It's also likely to have considerable humanitarian roles for use in locating survivors in earthquake and bomb debris.

Man's best friend? BigDog gets the nod as the strangest battlefield dog in the US military
However, it's not the first time military units have experimented with robot animals in the battlefield. A robot dog that walks just like man's best friend (named BigDog for its bulky size), has been unveiled by military research group DARPA in recent times, while autonomous insect bots are being developed with micro cameras on board as the ultimate in covert surveillance.

In a case of art imitating life, the latest Terminator Salvation film also features a bunch of robotic serpents. Is that what the military ultimately have in mind?

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report July 2009

Click HERE to request further information.
Click HERE to go BACK.