Thursday, November 24, 2011

Inventions On Display

       Early in 2011, the Bloomfield Science Museum in Jerusalem featured an exhibit of important inventions developed by Israelis over the past sixty years of the country's modern existence. Some forty-five inventions were chosen for display, but it should be noted that not all the companies invited to participate did so and not all the important inventions were included. Nonetheless, many of those chosen have made an impressive contribution for the benefit of mankind generally and for Israeli society specifically. 
       An outstanding example is a micro-irrigation process in which water is released in slow drips to provide precise irrigation quantities to certain crops. Developed by Netafim, a kibbutz owned company, it is especially valuable in areas where water is in short supply. The company now operates in 112 countries with thirteen factories around the world. Another company, HydroSpin, is developing a pipe generator that supplies electricity to monitor such water control systems in remote areas where access to electricity is not readily available. In the field of water control, another development has the potential for worldwide change in the coming years. It is the process of extracting air from water, a unique system developed by Like-a-Fish company that will enable scuba divers to operate without air tanks. More important, it will enable submarines to remain submerged for extended periods and it will make possible underwater research habitats for science experiments.
       Several inventions in the field of medicine are included in the exhibit. An optical heartbeat monitor utilizes a revolutionary camera and laser light to view the heart as it beats in order to detect unusual motion. Anyone who has ever undergone surgery and been attached to monitors that record all the various bodily functions that must be measured during the recovery period will appreciate this---a device that can be inserted either into or under a mattress to monitor and display all the necessary vital-sign measurements for the duty nurse, with no annoying or uncomfortable contact points attached to your body. Another device, developed by The Given Imaging Company, is the Pillcam, a pill containing a tiny camera that can view and transmit pictures of the entire gastrointestinal tract as it winds its way through the body. It has already saved lives by disclosing abnormalities from the inside that would never otherwise have been detected early enough to treat successfully.
       Dozens of other innovations and inventions are on display in this exhibit, far too numerous to describe in this limited space. And this says nothing about the remarkable advances made in Israeli medical research in the treatment of various diseases. For example, the disease known as Lou Gehrig's disease, ALS, for which there is no known cure and which usually causes death within five years of its onset, is undergoing a groundbreaking experimental study at the Hadassah University Medical Center in Jerusalem that has the potential for slowing or even stopping the progression of this disease. Patients from all corners of the world come to Jerusalem for treatment of medical problems, a true tribute to Israel's continuing contribution for the betterment of mankind.

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