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Photos: Land of start-ups

Technology is thriving in Israel, as the country seeks to become a center for research and development.
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1 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Power Paper

Israel's Power Paper has come up with a way to print batteries. A zinc anode and a manganese dioxide-based cathode are printed in layers on flexible substrates. In the end, you have a 1.5 volt battery on a flexible substrate. A sister company, PowerCosmetics, incorporates them into skin revitalization pads, shown here. Hallmark uses Power Paper's technology in greeting cards. Enhanced RFID tags are another market.

In November, the company raised an additional $30 million from, among others, Apax Partners. Power Paper co-founder and CTO Zvi Nitzan graduated from the Technion and worked in the defense industry for years.

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2 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Pegasus

Pegasus Technologies' pens are pens, but they also capture a digital image of what you write and then send it to a PC or one of the company's portable storage devices. The storage device is pictured here with the pen.

Early electronic pens from other companies required special paper. Pegasus licenses its technology to Pentel, among others.

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Mirage Innovations

Mirage Innovations makes lenses and other components to transform a pair of goggles into a monitor. The LightVu module creates a viewing experience that's similar to watching a 42-inch TV at a distance of seven feet. Pictured (above) is a set of goggles and (below) the goggles with a controller that lets you zoom in and out.

Gemini, one of Israel's leading venture capital firms, has invested in Mirage.

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4 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Corner Shot

U.S.-Israeli company Corner Shot has come up with guns and grenade launchers that can shoot around corners. The system was designed to let soldiers stay ensconced in defensive positions and fire at their enemies.

The technology was devised by Amos Golan, a former officer in an antiterrorism unit, and Asaf Nadel, formerly with the Israeli secret service. The technology was invented in Israel, but corporate offices were moved to the United States, a common arrangement.

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Bio-Petrol

Bio-Petrol is experimenting with a method of extracting oil out of sewage sludge, according to Amit Mor, CEO of Israeli investing and consulting firm Eco Energy. Mor, pictured here, who advises Bio-Petrol, said the extracted oil could be converted into gasoline and natural gas.

"Sludge is a major problem in the world. Cities pay $50 a ton or more to get rid of it," he said. "And it's good-quality light oil."

The company got its start in one of the government-sponsored incubators and is currently trying to raise $1 million, Mor said.

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6 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

CrossID

Israeli company CrossID has devised a way to put a chemical signature into fabrics, labels, inks, boxes and other materials. When a scanner is pointed at an item, the chemical signature--which includes several hundred designer molecules--serves as an ID for the item.

The diagram shows how it works. Electromagnetic energy is directed at the top of the letter "C" embossed on a hypothetical product that has been sprayed with CrossID chemicals. Signals bouncing back tell what chemicals from CrossID's cookbook are missing and which are present. The signals then get translated to 1s and 0s and fed into a computer as an ID.

"The pattern (of the chemicals) is not important. What is important is their presence or absence," said CrossID CEO Moshe Glickstein. "We even talked to a professor who said it would be difficult and time-consuming to come up with forgeries."

As more retailers adopt the approach to combat counterfeiting, the technology could eventually be used as a cheap substitute for radio frequency identification tags, Glickstein said. Putting a chemical signature in an item will cost a fraction of a cent. RFID tags are still priced way above the idealized 5 cent mark, he noted.

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Idesia

"Idesia's technology is based on dynamic electro physiological characteristics of the living body," the company says. What? Basically, the company says that environmental and genetic factors give everyone a distinct cardio pattern. The electrical signals given off by the heart beating can be used in authentication. The company says it is superior to other biometrics--it has a 99 percent accuracy rate in field tests--and readers can be incorporated into notebooks, laptops and other devices. (You touch a sensor with your finger and the cardio information is extracted from there). Aladdin Knowledge Systems will make a peripheral for a PC sometime in 2007.

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8 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

BrainsGate

BrainsGate has come up with an electrode that, when inserted into the mouth of stroke victims, can increase the blood flow to the brain in the crucial early part of the stroke. Additionally, BrainsGate is testing its NeuroPath system to see if it can help ameliorate brain cancer. The company has raised $22.5 million to date.

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Solel

Solel has been around for decades, but it's time may be at hand. The company specializes in solar thermal energy system. Most solar systems are photovoltaic--sunlight hits a panel, which extracts electrons.

Solel's system consists of a liquid-filled pipe in a large mirror. Sunlight strikes the mirror; the mirror heats the liquid; the heat from the liquid creates steam; and the steam powers a generator. It requires a lot of sunlight, but a system installed in the Mojave Desert in California still works. The 350-megawatt facility produces 1 percent of California's electricity. Solel is now seeking contracts in Spain, Portugal and Florida.

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10 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

Mistral Group

"We are the leaders in blast management, from letter bombs to safe removal," explained Mistral Group's Robi Koren. The company specializes in containers for removing or exploding large and small bombs.

Pictured here is one of the company's more recent inventions: a garbage can that can contain a bomb blast. Approximately 10,000 of these garbage cans have been installed in places like Logan Airport and O'Hare Airport and all along the Boston-New York Amtrak line. The idea is that terrorists may try to put a bomb in a trash can someday, but may not realize it's not a standard trash can. Bomb fragments will not come out the sides. The cans cost from $1,000 to $7,000, depending on the strength.

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11 of 11 Bill Detwiler/ZDNet

E.M.I.T.

The Sparrow-N from E.M.I.T. The unmanned aerial vehicle weighs 40 kilograms, far less than the 200 kilogram average, and can fly at 3,000 feet without being detected. Most fly at higher elevations. At 3,000 feet, the camera in the plane can still bring back images that correctly identify individuals. It also costs a lot less and can be launched with a bungee-cord contraption mounted on the roof of an assault vehicle.

The unmanned aerial vehicle was invented in Israel, and the country remains home to many of the leading manufacturers of the machines.

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