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Another Israeli Medical Miracle

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If the video above doesn’t have you marveling at the creativity of humanity, we feel for you: the 21st century is going to be rough.

The Israeli company OrCam offers the latest proof that the tiny, embattled Middle Eastern state is a leader in world-class technology. OrCam has created a pair of eyeglasses that allows blind and visually impaired people to “read” labels as they shop, navigate city streets, and read the newspaper. But, as the NYT reports, it’s even more impressive than that:

“What is remarkable is that the device learns from the user to recognize a new product,” said Tomaso Poggio, a computer scientist at M.I.T. who is a computer vision expert and with whom Dr. Shashua studied as a graduate student. “This is more complex than it appears, and, as an expert, I find it really impressive.” […]

[T]he OrCam technique, which was described in a technical paper in 2011 by the Hebrew University researchers, offers a reasonable trade-off between recognition accuracy and speed. The technique, known as Shareboost, is distinguished by the fact that as the number of objects it needs to recognize grows, the system minimizes the amount of additional computer power required.

OrCam carries a hefty $2,500 price tag, but the dividends it will pay are hard to fully tabulate. If it works as well as it does in the promotional video, it could drastically increase the quality of life of the world’s nearly 350 million visually impaired adults.

All over the world today millions are able to grow food despite acute water shortages, thanks to precision Israeli drip irrigation technology. Paraplegics are walking thanks to an Israeli-built exoskeleton. Self-driving cars are making large strides toward becoming affordable thanks to Israeli ingenuity.

This is what Israel has produced while fighting for its life. We hope to live long enough to see what the Jewish state, at peace and able to devote even more of its resources to research and civilian science, can someday accomplish for itself, for its neighbors, and for people all over the planet.

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  • jeburke

    Israel a “leader in world class technology.”

    Exactly! Which is why I maintain that there is no chance that Israel has NOT developed and produced its own super “bunker buster” bombs and is not dependent on the US for that critical military resource, as it has faced the prospect of an Iranian nuclear bomb over the past decade. I’d say it’s not rocket science but a big deep penetration bomb is much simpler technology than rocketry (and Israel is reported to have some snazzy ballistic missiles, and cruise missiles too).

    • Thirdsyphon

      There’s very little point to Israel building a 15-ton bomb unless they’ve also acquired a way to deliver the thing. And unless they have a ballistic missile the size of the Space Shuttle, a hypersonic cruise missile the size of a 747, or a B2-class stealth bomber that they haven’t seen fit to mention yet, Israel lacks any such capability.

      (Come to think of it I suppose the IDF could theoretically gut an *actual* 747 and turn it into a cruise missile, but unless they have a VERY clever way to hide something that big from Iran’s air defenses they’d have better luck trying to mail the bomb to Natanz in a giant box labeled “Chocolates”).

      • jeburke

        This weapon can be delivered by any of the 16 C-130s now flown by Israel’s air force (in fact, the “bunker buster” dropped on Tora Bora was delivered by a C-130). Wouldn’t get through Iran’s air defenses? Maybe. But the effectiveness of the air defenses of Middle East states has often been overestimated. When Israel destroyed the Osarik reactor in 1981, its eight attack planes and six fighter escorts flew both ways unchallenged through the airspace of three Arab states. Iran may be a tougher nut, but my point is a simple one: just because they don’t announce it is no reason to imagine that Israelis have been passively sitting by depending in the US as an enemy has been working its way up to an existential threat — and certainly, there is no reason to suppose they are hampered by lack of technology expertise. Indeed, that’s why I mentioned ballistic and cruise missiles (not to suggest there are any such missiles that might deliver a bunker buster). Israel has developed its own such weapons systems, again because it has the know how.

        • f1b0nacc1

          Actually no.
          First of all the bombs used in Tora Bora that you are referring to were Fuel air munitions, not deep penetrators. The former are actually dropped on parachutes to slow their descent, while the latter are designed to fall very fast in order to penetrate deep into the target before detonating. Fuel-Air munitions are very easy to build, and yes they can be delivered by large slow VULNERABLE transport aicraft (like the C-130), but they are absolutely useless against a hardened target like the various Iranian nuclear facilities. Deep penetrators, on the other hand, are extremely challenging to build, and require fairly complex delivery procedures that while well within the range of the Israelis to master (they have numerous smaller bunker-busters), also require very large bombs to take out superhardended sites.
          With this said, these Iranian facilities do have their weak spots, and I don’t think that they are invulnerable to creative tactics, the sort that the Israelis excel in using. Knocking out thermal and ventiliation systems, for instance, or entrances and power lines, would disable these facilities without destroying them, and multiple precision strikes, though extremely difficult, could knock out a facilities that was proof against a signle bomb.
          Then their are Israel’s nukes, but lets hope it doesn’t come to that….
          My point is that you don’t need to rely on some “Jewish magic” to solve the problem of Iran’s facilities, good old mundane creativity will do the job

  • ljgude

    If Carolyn Glick of the J Post is right we are going to see some of that technology in action in a 3 front war in the near future. What the Israelis have in store for their hate obsessed neighbors is one of those juicy Rumsfeldian ‘known unknowns’.

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