I’ve been exceptionally busy this week, but there is always time for a Good News Friday post.
Let’s start with Israel’s hi-tech sector for a change.
Given the extremely stormy and cold weather we’ve been having these past couple of days, it’s easy to forget that for more than half the year Israel enjoys (or suffers in the height of summer) plenty of sun and hot temperatures. This may sound lovely while it’s poruing outside, but it’s not a lot of fun when the temperature hits the 30s°C. So it’s great to learn that a revolutionary Israeli-developed paint can absorb the sun’s hot rays and cool buildings down.
Coating materials that protect against fire, water or extreme temperatures are nothing new. But an Israeli high-tech paint doesn’t just protect surfaces from the sun. SolCold actually uses the sun’s power to activate a cooling mechanism, effectively providing air conditioning without electricity.
You read that right: This double-layered coating absorbs the hot rays of the sun and re-emits that energy in the form of cold. The hotter the solar radiation the more the coating cools down, making SolCold’s paint a potentially game-changing electricity-free solution for intensely sunny climates such as Africa and Central and South America.
The Herzliya-based startup is raising funds and plans to begin trials within 18 months of closing the Series A round in the first quarter of 2018. Two commercial and one residential building in Israel and Cyprus are waiting to get the trial SolCold treatment.
The “anti-stokes fluorescence” technology behind SolCold was invented by electrical engineer Yaron Shenhav, who became cofounder and CEO of SolCold. The IP is owned by the company.
“We are not afraid someone will copy us,” says Grottas, “because the technology is very complicated and not familiar to too many people. We gathered a unique combination of knowledge in the worlds of thermodynamics, nanotechnology and quantum physics and have been working on it for the past four years. We have also registered a PCT patent, which is pending before being published.”
Grottas expects the product to be affordable and to offer a fairly quick return on investment. He explains that the materials used in the coating all exist in the market, are 100 percent “green” and free of carbon emissions, and are activated by free energy from the sun.
When tested in a lab using a sun simulator, SolCold’s double-layered coating cooled an object by 1.2 degrees Celsius (2.2 degrees Fahrenheit) using the equivalent of only 1% of the sun’s energy.
“The paint could decrease electricity consumption by up to 60 percent and is expected to last for 10 to 15 years before needing a new coat,” says Grottas.
Watch this interview for an explanation of how the system works:
What a brilliant idea! Both in its conception and in the simplicity of its application. Kol hakavod to founders Gadi Grottas and Yaron Shenhav. I look forward to a layer of their paint being applied to my building!
Another Israeli development with a much more life-saving potential, is an MRI device which can scan premature babies right in the NICU:
In early November 2017, an Israeli TV news crew was on hand at Jerusalem’s Shaare Zedek Medical Center’s neonatal intensive care unit as the parents of a premature baby stood next to the Embrace Neonatal MRI system in which the baby’s brain was being imaged.
At their side were nurses, doctors and Uri Rapoport, the inventor of Embrace, the world’s first MRI machine especially for the NICU.
“It was the first time ever that parents and staff could stand around an MRI machine with no restrictions. I will never forget the hug the mother gave me,” says Rapoport, the founder, president and CEO of Israel’s Aspect Imaging.
MRI scans of newborn preterm babies can identify any brain injury that might affect their development and tip off parents to the need for early intervention. However, it’s tricky to transport fragile preemies to the MRI room and to get an accurate scan.
Embrace was designed to solve these problems. Approved by the FDA for the United States in July 2017 and by the CE for Europe in October, the system produces diagnostic clinical-quality images of neonates without moving them from the NICU.
Embrace operates without the scary banging sounds of regular MRI machines. It’s self-shielded from radiofrequency waves and emits an extremely low-level external magnetic field, so staff and parents can be present and there’s no danger from magnetic items in the room as there is with a standard MRI machine.
The medical staff can even use a cellphone right next to Embrace, says Rapoport.
The infant is swaddled to reduce movement and allow for tubes and monitoring leads to stay in place. The integrated incubator-like bed enables continuous temperature control and monitoring of vital parameters.
Watch this video to see the MRI in action:
Kol hakavod to Uri Rapoport, the inventor of the Embrace MRI. He said he wants to develop a similar MRI for cardiac patients. I am sure with his resolve and talent he will do just that.
And now to a slice of life story from Israel, via journalist Irit Linur:
A rough translation of her story:
On January 18, 1945, David (Dogo) Leitner went on a death march from Auschwitz. He was 14 years old, the temperature was 18 degrees below freezing, and this frozen, starving Dogo dreamed of bread-rolls. And he survived.
Dogo immigrated to Israel and visited the Mahaneh Yehuda market, where he first ate falafel. It was so tasty that he ate another dish and since then, every January 18, he has run to a falafel stand and is glad that he – and the people of Israel – is alive. And not just existing: happy too.
And he also loves falafel.
Dogo lives in Moshav Nir Galim, where there is also a “testimony house”, a museum of the heritage of religious Zionism, which decided to infect everyone who could with this virus the joy of life. People eat falafel, add a sign saying “Am Yisrael is alive and content,” and are photographed with a smile from ear to ear, because what else can we do? Sometimes one has to know the good, and then one has no choice but to be happy. And if you can add falafel, how much more so.
Of course, such happiness is something I wanted to take part in, so I bought some cardboard and the thickest marker, and glitter glue, and glitter for extra emphasis, and I made a sign with glittering hearts to glorify the mitzvah, and I went to buy falafel and take pictures, and the joy was so great – So that more people can rejoice in the joy of Dogo and the entire Jewish people, stam, just for like that, for no other reason, in the middle of January.
This is such a beautiful and heart-warming story, one of survival and thriving and finding the good in every aspect of life, even the smallest thing like eating a falafel with enjoyment. Kol hakavod to David “Dogo” Leitner who has the determination and spirit to survive, thrive and bring his joy of life to all of us.
One last note before I go. Last week we celebrated my 60th birthday. This week we marked my brother and sister-in-law’s 40th wedding anniversary, and tomorrow we are all celebrating their grandson’s barmitzvah!
So heartiest amzal tov to the “anniversarists” David and Rina, to their children Talya and Yuda, and to the Barmitzvah boy Eitan, who I am sure will do the whole family proud. Mazal tov too to our parents, the great-grandparents (!) of the Barmitzvah boy!
May we continue from simcha to simcha, as I wish you all Shabbat Shalom.