Digital Crave

Five awesome Israeli start-ups you haven’t heard of

Marc Saltzman
Digital Crave

View photo

.

In case you haven't read the book, Start-Up Nation, Israel — a tiny sliver of a country with just 7.5 million people — is only second in the world, behind the U.S., in both the number of start-up companies (more than 3,000) and in venture capital funding.

On a recent cross-country trip across the country — where I visited more than 20 high-tech companies in five days — I got  chance to play with a number of innovative products and services currently in development.

Here's a brief look at five of them.

Parko

Available in Tel Aviv by year-end and in the U.S. "a few months" after that, Parko is an iPhone and Android app that connects people leaving a street-level parking spot with those looking for one.

While walking back to their parked car, the driver of the vehicle taps the Share button in the app to say they're leaving the spot, and when — such as in 2, 5 or 10 minutes — and drivers in the vicinity who've tapped the Find button will see there's a space about to be available, and where. The first one to accept the offer closes it off for everyone else. They'll see the spot on a map and at that time can chat with the person leaving inside the app — via text or voice (VoIP) — if both parties are up for it.

When you first set up the app, you're asked to choose what your car looks like, such as a blue Mercedes, and the size of the car (very small to very large, etc.) so an extended Escalade won't be notified if a Mini is leaving a tight spot.
There's an incentive for sharing your parking spot when you're done with it: Parko credits. That is, the app is free to download and has a few Parko credits to start, but you need to have Parko coins to use the service.

Just like other crowdsourcing apps like Waze (also developed in Israel), Parko automatically sends location and speed information. But the company wasn't forthright with what wireless technology is used to provide this information — not GPS, they said, as it could drain the battery, therefore it's probably through cellular data.

Likely U.S. cities Parko will like debut in early 2013: New York, San Francisco, Chicago and Boston.

More on Parko:

uMoove

Developed in Jerusalem by a company of the same name, uMoove is a technology that tracks the movement of your eyes and head — via the front-facing camera of a smartphone or tablet — in order to interact with content on the device's screen.

For example, a uMoove-powered iPad could let you scroll up and down a Yahoo! article, perhaps while holding a subway pole with one hand and the tablet in the other. Or control a game on an Android phone instead of using your fingers, such as aiming by looking at targets and blinking a couple of times to fire. If you look away from the smartphone or tablet, the app or game is automatically paused.

Similar to Kinect for Xbox 360 — which was also developed in Israel, by a company called PrimeSense — the front-facing camera lets you interact naturally and intuitively with content, which can enrich the experience, says uMoove, and aid those with physical challenges. In fact, one of the founders had a relative with ALS and while there were machines that could help someone interact with digital content — such as sending an email or browsing the web — they cost $50,000 and up and take a long time to train, says uMoove.

uMoove says the technology can be paired with voice commands, as well, just like Kinect. But the eye and head tracking is meant to compliment a touch interface and not replace it for most users.

The camera uses very little CPU power, between 2 to 5 percent, and is also fairly good on the battery, at 7 to 12 percent, says uMoove. But because this app runs in the background, it's recommended to be turned off if not needed.

While promising, there's no word yet on when uMoove will be available.

More on uMoove:

Wibbitz

Instead of reading this article, imagine you could watch a video clip that summarizes it.

This is the premise behind Wibbitz, a free text-to-video platform that makes a 90-second video with material from a website.

Simply visit Wibbitz.com, paste a URL into the address window and within a couple of seconds you'll begin to see photos, videos and text, and hear audio — as if the article was a story on your favorite news network. It's amazing how fast it can create a multimedia experience out of the text from the website.

If you paste a blog or website's main page, you'll get a summary of the top stories — that is, headlines read like news bulletins. While I was shown what a specific article or blog post looks like, there is no demo for this yet on Wibbitz.com to try out.

Currently in beta, the developers of this platform explain they wanted to create a "lean back" experience instead of a "lean forward" one — especially for those who don't have a lot of time on their hands. When you hear a summary of an article or blog post that sounds interesting, you can click to review the full thing.

When the video is created, you can share the video made via link or embed code, Facebook, Twitter or Google +.

Wibbitz didn't talk much about its business model but said it was in talks with broadcasters, smartphone device makers and various companies to create exclusive tools and/or content for them.

More on Wibbitz:

Apparent

Now available at the App Store, Apparent is free iOS app designed to help mom or dad plan their kids' play-dates with other parents. An Android and Windows Phone version will be "coming soon."

Consider it a social network, of sorts, created to simplify get-togethers for the young 'uns — including a calendar, contact names and numbers for other parents and caregivers, lists of child allergies and a map that shows you who's around you.

The first step is to sign up for the free service with an email address, or you can log in with your Facebook ID. Then, add each of your children to your account, including their name, gender, birthdate, allergies, and other optional info, such as nanny name and number, grade, school, teacher and more. You can also add a photo of yourself and one for each of your children.

Once this completed, invite other parents to use Apparent, which is critical to get the most out of the app. You're prompted to invite people by importing names from your Contacts, but oddly you cannot type in an email address of someone not already in your Contacts.

Using Apparent to book a play-date is as easy as creating one by giving it a name (e.g. "Movies with Maya" or "Play-date with Jacob"), where the play-date will take place (address), the start and end time, if it's a drop-off or not and any other details you might want to add.

Once it's created, tap the Invite Kids tab and select the kids' names invited to the play-date. Those who use Apparent will get the notification, which they can accept or decline, plus they can ask questions, too. The event is automatically populated in the integrated calendar for all parties and synched between all parents whose kids are invited. That's the gist of it.

This Jerusalem-based app also lets you capture and share photos of kids while on play-dates so parents (of the kids there) can see them. Parents must consent to this feature.

If you're not sure what to do with your kids, tap the Around Me tab to bring up a Google Maps screen that shows your location — via your iPad, iPhone or iPod touch's location via GPS, cellular or Wi-Fi technology — and you can see if any of your kids' friends are nearby.

With everyone's consent, the app also lets you create and manage class contact lists to avoid the endless search for parents in your kid's class.

Apparent is an interesting idea to simplifying play-dates.

Interlude

Finally, the last start-up is called Interlude, co-founded by an Israeli pop star, Yoni Bloch.

Perhaps it's no surprise, then, the Tel Aviv-based company fuses entertainment with technology to create interactive videos.

Imagine you're watching a music video on YouTube but instead of watching one linear story, you get to choose what happens next via small pop-up options — and the song doesn't stop for you to make the decision. As long as you select an option within a few seconds, the video smoothly continues on as if it were supposed to be that way. This is the idea behind Interlude's videos — and yes, music videos like the ones Yoni Bloch stars in have these interactive elements.

In one example of a video shown at Interlude's offices, the music video with branching storylines shows a camera following people at a house party — and you get to choose who to follow. You can choose a girl or a boy, a workaholic or alcoholic, black or white outfit and what to do in the middle in the video during the guitar solo: air guitar, robot, jump around or weird dance moves. If you don't choose anything at all, the Interlude plug-in will select an option for you.

Once the video is completed you can share your particular experience with friends via email or social media. And maybe you'll watch it again and make different choices.

Interlude says there's 90 percent engagement — that is, 9 out of 10 people will watch the video until the end to see what happens — which is much higher than linear, non-interactive music videos, says Interlude. Some of their studios found 250 percent retention because people watch it 2 to 3 times. This is obvious great for musicians and advertisers, and will also tell you what people want to see more (e.g. an acoustic or electric solo).

Interlude has used its technology for interactive advertisements -- Madewell fashion, Intel processors, Old Navy and Big Brother Israel — as well as movie trailers and even an interactive discussion with Israeli President Simon Peres, where you choose what he should discuss views on; there are more than 100 different conversation trees you can select.

Interlude's "choose-your-own-adventure"-like approach was very cool, and you can expect many more music videos and other online content to feature this technology in the coming months and years.

Sorry you didn't like this comment. Please provide a reason below.

Are you sure?
Rating failed. Try again.
Request failed. Try again.
We will promote constructive and witty comments to the top, so everyone sees them!
Sorry, we can’t load comments right now. Try again.

    Recommended for You

    • 'Angel of Death' serial killer dies after attack in prison

      TOLEDO, Ohio (AP) — A serial killer known as the "Angel of Death" after he admitted killing three dozen hospital patients in Ohio and Kentucky died Thursday, two days after investigators said he was attacked in prison, Ohio's prisons department said.

      Associated Press 56 min ago
    • Dear Abby: Family thinks ill husband is faking it

      DEAR ABBY: My husband has been sick and unable to work for several years due to a debilitating illness. He has been home taking care of the kids while I have been working full time. We have lost everything because of the financial burden of his illness. I am very grateful to my parents for helping us financially during this tough time. Unfortunately, I believe some of my family think my husband is faking his illness. This is hurtful since they have known him for a long time (we’ve been married 12 years). My sister recently asked him in a rather nasty way why he doesn’t just go get a job, and I’m beginning to think that my parents share her sentiment. He already feels guilty and worthless for

      Chicago Sun-Times q
    • An American Airlines co-pilot died during landing, and this is scary

      American Airlines issued a statement yesterday explaining a tragic medical mystery that happened in the cockpit. On Wednesday, an American Airlines co-pilot…

      Hello Giggles
    • Cosmo
    • This divorced couple gets together every year to take a family photo with their son (4 photos)

      Adam Dyson and Victoria Baldwin may no longer be married, but they will always be parents. “We are not in love, we don’t always agree, we’re not best friends, sometimes we don’t even like one another. But you know what we are? We are forever connected because of our beautiful, smart, kind, compassionate, funny son,” writes Baldwin in a Facebook post that was shared by Love What Matters . The couple got divorced shortly after their son turned two, and even though they live in completely different states (Baldwin is serving in the military in Alaska while Dyson is ex-military and attending school in South Carolina), they make an effort to get together with their son for a family photo every 12 to 18 months. “Adam and I are not perfect co-parents, but we made a deal when we got divorced, to put our son first and to value the richness that we each bring to his life, for different reasons,” she writes. “We both need to be there, we both deserve quality time and quality memories with him. Neither of us blame one another for the direction our relationship took. We do not place blame on one another, and we certainly don’t place blame in the presence of our son.” ALSO SEE:  When it wouldn’t stop raining, this family did a muddy maternity photoshoot instead The almost-annual family portraits started before the divorce when Baldwin, who was a professional photographer herself, would get photos taken of the her husband and herself. When Bruce came along, Baldwin wanted photos “to capture milestone and the growth of our son.” “There wasn’t a huge discussion about it,” Baldwin tells Yahoo Canada . “I asked Adam if he would like to come, so he could get photos will Bruce as well. He agreed that was a great idea, and we naturally decided a family portrait was part of that session, in addition to our individual photos with Bruce. After our first post-divorce professional photo, we decided to continue it for the foreseeable future.” And so began an adorable tradition, one that Bruce looks forward to. “[Since] our divorce was finalized shortly after his second birthday, Bruce doesn’t have memories of mom and dad being romantic together,” Baldwin says. “He loves it when we are all together!” But Bruce isn’t the only one loving the family portraits, Baldwin’s photos on Facebook received thousands of likes, with hundreds of commenters sharing their own experiences. ALSO SEE: We divorced to save our relationship “Good for you guys! It truly is an act of selflessness to do this for your son! My ex husband and I remain friends and respect each other and get along great. Not only for our four kids, but for us as well!” writes one. “This is so important. Growing up, I had family photos with “both” my families. Everything was kept so separate that it made me feel like two different people,” says another. “We want Bruce to know families don’t have to fit a specific mould to be a family even when things may seem like they are falling apart. We want him to know it’s possible to come back together in a different way, and still have happiness and joy in your heart,” Baldwin says. “The ending of a romantic relationship didn’t mean the ending of a relationship all together, it meant we needed to find a new way to love and parent our son together, just no longer together.  Two homes, twice the love, I always say!” What do you think of Baldwin’s family photos? Let us know by tweeting us @YahooStyleCA .

      Yahoo Canada Style
    • Gordon Ramsay Reveals the 1 Place You Should Never Eat

      Sure, Gordon Ramsay has high standards, but is there really anything he would never eat? Turns out it's more of a place where he would never eat rather than one specific food — and that's on a plane. In an interview with Refinery29, Gordon revealed his feelings about airplane food and why those feelings might be justified. "There's no f*cking way I eat on planes," he said. "I worked for airlines for 10 years, so I know where this food's been and where it goes, and how long it took before it got on board." Yikes. The man has a point — there's no denying that airplane food is not the best. So what's a traveler to do to avoid midflight hunger, according to the world-renowned chef? If you're like

      PopSugar q
    • Drugged-out dog will make you melt right along with him

      Australian golden retriever Oscar had to get minor surgery. This is decidedly bad news, but his post-surgery bliss says otherwise. His owner, Sarah, posted this picture of Oscar on the way home from surgery, while he was still on sedatives, showing that he might have not had too bad a time.  And people could not get enough of it. doggo went under for surgery and now he is DRUGGO pic.twitter.com/ZTJpqapbGq — hot librarian (@smack__that) March 27, 2017 That smile! You can practically see the big doggy spa he's imagining in his head, brought on by whatever the vet used to put him under.  SEE ALSO: Meet the dog who's basically a saint If there was ever a time to use the phrase "blissed out," it's here. The very picture of bliss.  At home, Sarah had help of a feline friend in making sure he got better: @JackLScanlan his lil mate's looking out for him pic.twitter.com/CipxihNeXJ — hot librarian (@smack__that) March 27, 2017 Now, Sarah says that he's recovering just fine. @aimeeclarke he's fine!! Being well looked after pic.twitter.com/6hwub6jCvE — hot librarian (@smack__that) March 28, 2017 Even without the sedatives he's still a pretty peaceful pup. But how is he dealing with all this newfound attention now that he's gone dog viral?? he's hired security to deal with his newfound celebrité pic.twitter.com/lfKlECZe58 — hot librarian (@smack__that) March 30, 2017 Phew. Sleep easy folks, Oscar is taken care of. Perhaps the best part of all this is the follow up: people replying with pictures of their own dogs after surgery. The doggy drowsiness is real.  @smack__that awwww your doggo got much happier drugs than mine!  pic.twitter.com/85cQQn61zh — Nikki (@nikki_isabel) March 27, 2017 DOG TONGUE ALERT: @nikki_isabel @smack__that omg pic.twitter.com/3CwiqXzbex — Sydney Taylor (@stayl0r2) March 28, 2017 All in all, a really adorable corner of the internet. Get well, all you pups! [H/T]: Buzzfeed WATCH: Finally, you can vacuum clean your dog

      Mashable
    • Dwyane Wade's Baby Momma, To Join Cast Of Basketball Wives LA

      I can still remember the office conversations we had when the world learned that Dwyane Wade had fathered a child with another woman while he and Gabrielle Union were on a break. Dwyane held a press conference calling his son a blessing. Wade’s son Xavier was quickly dubbed the “break baby,” Union was questioned by paparazzi in airports and many of us wondered what we would do in a similar situation. Well, Gabby and Dwyane worked it out, got married and seem to be enjoying their marriage. Afterward, unless you were following Aja Metoyer, Xavier’s mother, we didn’t hear too much more about the little boy. But all of that might be changing now that Xavier’s mother is going to be joining the cast

      MadameNoire q
    • 7 Drugstore Moisturizers That Will Work Wonders for Your Skin

      Instead of spending tons of money on luxury skin care, we suggest using drugstore products that work amazingly well for a reasonable price.

      The Cheat Sheet q
    • 'Angel of Death' Donald Harvey critical after savage prison beating

      A notorious serial killer known as the "Angel of Death" is in a critical condition after being beaten up in his Ohio prison cell, according to authorities. Donald Harvey killed at least three dozen people while working as a nurse's aide in the 1970s and 80s.

      International Business Times
    • Woman Survives Vicious Attack by Her Husband

      The following material contains graphic images that may be disturbing. Parents are advised that these images may not be suitable for young children.

      The Doctors TV
    • Dallas-based first officer dies after collapsing on American Airlines flight from DFW | American Airlines

      A Dallas-based American Airlines first officer died Wednesday after collapsing in the cockpit during a flight. Flight 1353 from DFW International Airport was preparing to land Wednesday afternoon in Albuquerque when the captain declared a medical emergency, the Albuquerque Journal reported.  Medics quickly boarded the plane but were unable to revive the first officer, WFAA-TV (Channel 8) reported.  The first officer has been identified as William "Mike" Grubbs. "American Airlines is deeply saddened by Grubbs's death," American Airlines spokeswoman Polly Tracey said. "We are taking care of first officer Grubbs' family and colleagues, and our thoughts and prayers are with them them during this

      Dallas Morning News q
    • Silicon Valley billionaire used to crash meetings with co-founders of Google

      Top investor Chris Sacca shares his best career tip in Tim Ferriss’ book, “Tools of Titans.”

      CNBC q
    • Love, Marriage – and Babies! How the Property Brothers Finally Settled Down – and Why They Still Live Together

      The Property Brothers Jonathan Scott and Drew Scott stay connected. As the stars of HGTV’s most popular series, Property Brothers, Drew and Jonathan Scott, 38, have spinoff shows, a bestselling book (their second, It Takes Two: Our Story, comes out Sept. 5), their own production company and a collection of furniture and decor. “This is the most humbling, unexpected, fantastic place to be in my life,” Jonathan tells PEOPLE of his relationship with girlfriend, Jacinta Kuznetsov, 28, a development producer at Scott Entertainment.

      People
    • How to lose friends and 'exfoliate' people — Trump's son-in-law, Jared Kushner, is caught between 2 worlds, and his friends are cutting ties

      Signing up to carry out Donald Trump's vision of America has come at a cost to many of the...

      Business Insider
    • Company gets death threats after bidding on border wall

      The Penna Group CEO Michael Evangelista-Ysasaga on his company's bid to work on Trump's wall along the U.S. border with Mexico and immigration reform.

      Fox Business Videos
    • Father Who Shamed Son With Signs at NBA Games Defends the Stunt

      The dedicated dad wanted his sign to be message to an audience of one.

      Inside Edition
    • The New England Patriots

      The New England Patriots have a fairly lengthy history of bending the NFL's rules. Here's a look at the 4 biggest scandals in Patriots history.

      The Cheat Sheet q 27 min ago
    • Dog owner fatally mauled by Staffordshire bull terrier while he was being 'interviewed for BBC documentary'

      A dog owner mauled to death by his Staffordshire bull terrier was allegedly being interviewed by the BBC when the horrific attack took place. The man’s cause of death was recorded as hypovolemic shock and damage to the airway – with the injuries said to be consistent with a dog bite. The dog remains in secure kennels after being seized by police – who have since confirmed that the animal is not prohibited under the Dangerous Dogs Act.

      Yahoo News UK
    • 911 Call Released in 'Make My Day' Home Invasion Killings

      Three teens are dead, and a 21-year-old woman has been arrested.

      Inside Edition