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July 1, 2016 / 25 Sivan, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Tel Aviv University’

16 International NGOs Condemn Israel’s Refusal to Support BDS Founder’s World Travels

Monday, May 30th, 2016

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities refused to renew the travel documents of Omar Barghouti, a founding committee member of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel (PACBI) and co-founder of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement.

Barghouti was born in Qatar, grew up in Egypt and later moved to Jaffa and then to Acre in Israel as an adult, but he insists on counting himself as part of the indigenous people, as when he told the AP back in 2007, that the “Palestinians cannot possibly observe the same boycott guidelines as asked of internationals” and that the “indigenous population” is entitled to all services they can get from the system.

After marrying his wife, an Israeli Arab, Barghouti, was granted permanent residency in Israel, which he has enjoyed for the past 23 years. He holds a master’s degree in ethics from Tel Aviv University, and is pursuing a PhD. A petition drew more than 184,000 signatures asked the university to expel him, but he was never expelled.

Interior Minister Aryeh Deri (Shas) has threatened to revoke Barghouti’s residency on the grounds that “he is using his resident status to travel all over the world in order to operate against Israel in the most serious manner.”

Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz (Likud) called for a campaign of “targeted civil elimination” of BDS leaders with the help of Israeli intelligence.

Minister of Public Security, Strategic Affairs and Information Gilad Erdan (Likud), who is in charge of the fight against the BDS, said that activists including Barghouti should “pay the price” for their work.

Well, the Israeli system this month decided to deny the BDS leader one vital service: they will not renew his travel papers. Barghouti told the Arab press in response: “I am unnerved but certainly undeterred by these threats. Nothing will stop me from struggling for my people’s freedom, justice and peace.”

They could take away his Internet connection, of course.

Sixteen organizations from American, Asian, and European countries are demanding that Israel make it possible for Barghouti to travel around the world to sabotage Israeli commercial and national interests. But rather than addressing Israel’s foreign ministry (which is currently headed by PM Benjamin Netanyahu), these NGOs sent their protest to the foreign ministers of 14 countries and international organizations, including, naturally, John Kerry of the USA, Federica Mogherini, High Representative for the European Union, Margot Wallström of Sweden, and Charles Flanagan of Ireland.

After relating Israel’s repressive attitude against its enemy within, the NGOs demanded that the foreign ministers “use the power and influence that resides in your office to impress on the Israeli government the absolute necessity of ceasing its repressive measures against Palestine’s civil leaders, and in particular to permit Omar Barghouti to play his full role, both inside Israel and without, in representing the aspirations of the Palestinian people.”

Incidentally, any one of the 14 countries addressed by those NGOs could offer Omar Barghouti residency or citizenship and travel papers galore. There must be a reason why they haven’t so far.

David Israel

Israeli Scientists Create Robo-Locust at Tel Aviv University

Wednesday, January 6th, 2016

A team of Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University are inventing the Robo-Locust.

No, really.

Lead researcher Professor Amir Ayali of the Department of Zoology at Tel Aviv University’s Faculty of Life Sciences told Reuters he was inspired by the locust’s jumping mechanism.

“The locust, being a large insect that has wonderful jumping performance, offered itself as a wonderful inspiration for this specific idea of a jumping miniature robot,” Ayali explained.

The little robot could possibly be used in the future for surveillance, and maybe for emergency response systems. But additional funding is needed for further development; the research team began the project with just $200,000 USD. More is needed to move ahead.

Made with steel springs, carbon rods and new three-dimensional printed plastic pieces, it is only four inches long (10 cm) and weighs less than one ounce (23 gr). But despite its tiny size, this robot can jump 11.5 feet (3.5 meters) into the air, for 1,000 jumps, due to its lithium battery.

Its motor, structure and energy storage all combine to create the capability of withstanding the long jump, and high acceleration, Ayali said. Because the parts are relatively inexpensive, he estimates the cost per robot at about $100 USD.

The researcher is hoping to develop mechanisms of swarming capabilities in the robotic systems. He is being encouraged by Hungarian-born Dr. Gabor Kosa of TAU’s Faculty of Engineering, who also dreams of a swarm of robo-locusts.

Kosa has a broader vision — a swarm installed with GPS navigation systems, cameras and solar panels for renewable energy – a swarm that can enter enemy territory for surveillance operations.

Kosa is hoping to build a robotic system capable of multiple jumps, with a robo-locust that can spread its wings, and fly.

Hana Levi Julian

Harvard, Stanford, MIT top 2015 Shanghai Ranking, Hebrew U 67th, Technion 18th in CS

Sunday, August 16th, 2015

(JNi.media) Harvard University is still number one in the world, for the 13th year, in the 2015 Academic Ranking of World Universities (ARWU) released on Saturday by the Center for World-Class Universities at Shanghai Jiao Tong University.

Harvard is followed by Stanford, MIT, Berkeley, Cambridge, Princeton, Caltech, Columbia, Chicago and Oxford. The Hebrew University of Jerusalem ranks 67th, after having dropped in 2014 from 59th to 70th place.

The Technion-Israel Institute of Technology is ranked 18th in the world in computer science in 2015.

Starting in 2003, ARWU has been presenting the world Top 500 universities annually, based on a set of objective indicators and third-party data. It is considered a trustworthy source, using six objective indicators to rank world universities, including the number of alumni and staff winning Nobel prizes and Fields medals; the number of highly cited researchers; the number of articles published in journals of nature and science; the number of articles indexed in Science Citation Index – Expanded and Social Sciences Citation Index, and per capita performance.

More than 1200 universities are ranked by ARWU every year and the best 500 scores are published.

The Technion is in 77th place on the list of world academic institutions. Tel Aviv University ranks between 151-200, alongside Weizmann Institute of Science. Ben-Gurion University of the Negev ranks between 401-500.

Haifa University did not make the top 500 institutions.

Yeshiva University was ranked between 201-300. Yeshiva’s ranking has been on a steady decline in the Shanghai ranking, down from the 100-200 band in 2003-4. The only area where Yeshiva has retained its 151-200 ranking in 2015 is clinical medicine and pharmacy.

The top world academic institution in natural sciences and mathematics in 2015 is the University of California, Berkeley, followed by Harvard, Princeton and Stanford Universities. The Technion ranks in the 51-75 band, together with Hebrew University and the Weizmann Institute of Science. Tel Aviv University ranks in the 101-150 band.

The top world academic institution in computer science in 2015 is Stanford University, followed by MIT, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Princeton, Carnegie Mellon, the University of Texas at Austin, Cornell, UCLA, and USC.

The 18th ranked Technion is followed by Tel Aviv University which ranks 20th in computer science, and the Hebrew U and Weizmann which are in the 76-100 band in the same category. Ben-Gurion is in the 101-150 band. Bar-Ilan University is in the 151-200 band in computer science.

JNi.Media

Israeli Eye Surgery Breakthrough Uses Stitch-free Cornea Transplants

Tuesday, July 7th, 2015

An Israeli scientist at Tel Aviv University has developed a new optical fiber that can seal incisions in the eye without using stitches.

The procedure will radically change the way cornea transplants are performed, cutting short the long, drawn-out painful recovery period.

Professor Avraham Katzir, head of the Applied Physics Group at the university’s School of Physics and Astronomy, suggested a new technique called “temperature-controlled laser bonding” for use in sealing the incisions in eye surgery. The technique is described in a recent issue of the Journal of Biomedical Optics.

Using optical fibers made of silver halides to deliver an infrared laser beam, the surgeon can carefully heat spots on the edges of an incision where an infrared detector helps monitor the temperature, keeping it between 140 to 150 degrees Farenheit. This creates a strong bond without causing thermal damage, according to the researchers.

Katzir has already received approval to conduct experiments with the procedure on live animal models.

Medical science is moving towards the least invasive model, he says. This technique can be used – and he has tried it – in endoscopic surgery as well. Using thin and flexible optical fibers inserted through the endoscope to facilitate laser bonding within the body, healing is faster and more successful, with “almost no scar tissue.”

There is a broad future ahead for this technique, Katzir pointed out. Fiber optic laser surgery can be used in endless applications.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Researchers: Smartphone App May Help Parkinson’s Patients [video]

Thursday, June 25th, 2015

Many patients in the latter stage of Parkinson’s disease are at high risk of dangerous, sometimes fatal, falls. One major reason is the disabling symptom referred to as Freezing of Gait (FoG) — brief episodes of an inability to step forward that typically occurs during gait initiation or when turning while walking.

Patients who experience FoG often lose their independence, which has a direct effect on their already degenerating quality of life. In the absence of effective pharmacological therapies for FoG, technology-based solutions to alleviate the symptom and prolong the patients’ ability to live independently are desperately being sought.

CuPID is a project three years in the making and the product of an eight-member European Union-funded consortium including researchers at Tel Aviv University. It strives to provide personalized rehabilitation for patients with Parkinson’s disease who experience FoG or other gait disturbances.

CuPID is a home-based, personalized rehabilitation tool in the form of a Smartphone app that harnesses wearable sensors, audio biofeedback, and external cueing to provide intense motivational training tailored to each patient. The results are monitored remotely by medical professionals, who provide quality care while enhancing patient compliance.

The CuPID app just completed its pilot run and is being fine-tuned for more widespread use. It utilizes small sensors placed on a patient’s shoes that measure a person’s gait in “real-time.” If certain deviations from a pre-set norm emerge, an audio message alerts the patient to change his or her walking pattern immediately to avoid a dangerous situation.

Tel Aviv University Prof. Jeffrey Hausdorff said:

FoG is a leading cause of disability in patients with Parkinson’s disease. It often occurs during ‘walking transitions’ associated with turning, starting, stopping, and moving in open spaces. It can also occur when people approach narrow spaces, such as doors or elevators, and in crowded places. Recognizing such situations is a very powerful key for prevention — and this is one of the features of this program.

Prof. Hausdorff and his team at Tel Aviv Medical Center conducted a pilot study on 40 subjects: 20 patients with Parkinson’s disease who used the CuPID app and 20 patients who carried out conventional exercises and did not use the app. The results are promising and the investigators are currently exploring the possibility of a larger follow-up study to further demonstrate the app’s efficacy. Tel Aviv University Dr. Anat Mirelman, who co-directed the project, explained that FoG episodes resemble a short-circuit in the brain, rendering it unable to generate the appropriate stepping pattern, often leaving the patient in an untenable and frustrating situation. The app is designed to circumvent that difficulty. She said:

FoG reduces patients’ independence. Patients become afraid of walking by themselves and this leads to self-imposed restrictions in mobility. When their feet get stuck to the ground, their bodies lunge forward — it’s very frightening. People often end up in wheelchairs, and this is a vicious cycle, as it places more reliance on the assisted-living infrastructure.

“The program now integrates the expertise of a patient’s physical therapist, who establishes what is considered a patient’s ‘normal’ or ‘strong’ walking pattern,” said Prof. Hausdorff. “It’s unobtrusive and has the potential to reduce dependence on Parkinson’s medication that has detrimental side effects. How much or how often the app is used depends on how advanced the disease is, but since the system is so small and non-invasive, it can be used just about anywhere.”

Jewish Press Staff

Israeli Scientists Start to Bring Star Trek Tricorder to Life

Thursday, April 2nd, 2015

Israeli scientists at Tel Aviv University’s School of Electrical Engineering are in the process of bringing the iconic Star Trek “tricorder” to life.

The essential multi-functional tool used on board the Starship Enterprise as it explored new worlds on its five-year mission in space was used to sense, compute and record data in a non-threatening manner.

So too is a new optical component and imaging processing software developed by Professor David Mendlovic and his doctoral student Ariel Raz.

Mendlovic states the obvious: “A long list stands to gain from this new technology. We predict hyperspectral imaging will play a major role in consumer electronics, the automotive industry, biotechnology and homeland security.”

The two men came together with a team of researchers at the Unispectral Technologies firm and patented an optical component based on existing microelecctromechanical (MEMS) technology that can be used in mass production and is compatible with standard smartphone cameras. The combination of the optical component and newly designed software, however, go further than the current smartphone cameras by offering superior imaging performance and hyperspectral imaging capabilities, Mendlovic said.

“The optical element acts as a tunable filter and the software – an image fusion library – would support this new component and extract all the relevant information from the image,” he said. It works both in video and still photography,” he added.

Ramot is the tech transfer company for Tel Aviv University, and acted to consolidate key intellectual properties. It financed the engineering team to go ahead with the research and development phase of the project, as well as the business development.

Funders for Unispectral include Momentum Fund, backed by Tata Group Ltd and Temasek, based in Singapore. SanDisk also has an interest in the project.

Unispectral is already moving forward to advance discussions with smartphone makers, automotive companies and wearable device manufacturers.

The future is near; closer than one might realize.

Hana Levi Julian

Israeli Foundation Awards $1 Million Prize to Wikipedia Founder

Thursday, February 12th, 2015

The Israel-based Dan David Foundation has awarded this year’s Dan David Prize for scientific, technological, and cultural accomplishments to Wikipedia founder Jimmy Wales, among other prominent honorees.

The three annual $1 million prizes are administered by Tel Aviv University and named for late philanthropist Dan David. In the past, it has been awarded to former U.S. Vice President Al Gore, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, and filmmakers Joel and Ethan Coen.

In addition to Wales, who is being honored for founding the world’s largest online encyclopedia, the foundation is spreading this year’s prizes among historians Peter R. Brown and Alessandro Portelli as well as scientists Cyrus Chothia, David Haussler, and Michael Waterman.

The award ceremony will take place in May.

JNS News Service

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/israel/israeli-foundation-awards-1-million-prize-to-wikipedia-founder/2015/02/12/

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