Innovative Technology and Design Prototypes from Israel’s miLAB

“The best way to predict the future is to invent it”. Alan Kay

miLAB is a research and prototyping lab that explores the future of media, technology, and human-computer interaction. Launched in the Interdisciplinary Center Herzliya (IDC), possibly the top Israeli college (and my alma mater), the lab’s ambitious vision is to empower students to create and invent, by bridging media and technology as well as academia and industry.

Each year miLAB has 20-25 student in the class. They started with seniors who are CS and Interactive communications majors, and this year added Psychology majors to the group. The students work in mixed groups of 4-5.

miLAB is run by an experienced mix of academics and practitioners from the industry. Co-Director Dr. Oren Zuckerman, holds Masters and Ph.D degrees from the MIT Media Lab and Dr. Guy Hoffman, co-Director of miLAB, holds a Ph.D. from the MIT Media Lab and an M.Sc. in Computer Science from Tel Aviv University, run the lab, mentors and advisors including: Meir Brand (head of Google Israel), Eden Shochat (partner at Genesis and founder of Face.com), Yair Goldfinger (entrepreneur and angel investor) and additional experts in user experience, through industrial design, algorithms, mobile technologies and more.

IDC is quickly making a name for itself with its incubator/lab academic prorgams. IDC is also the host of the Zell Entrepreneurship program, which has recently caught the spotlight for the three exists it has produced in a matter of months: Wibiya (sold to Conduit for $45 million), PicScout (sold to Getty Images) and PicApp (sold to Ybrant), LabPixies (sold to Google) as well as first round raised by GiftsProject (from Gemini and Index Ventures).

VC Cafe is proud to bring you a selection of this year’s media and innovation lab’s final projects which were presented this week as part of the lab’s innovation day.

Below are the final projects of the miLAB 2011 graduates

Info Fridge

Students: Assaf Mashiah, Udy Brill, Liri Halperin, Tamar Tabak
Advisors: Dr. Guy Hoffman and Noa Morag
Mentor: Itai Preis

Infofridge milab project

A smart refrigerator shelf that registers and presents data regarding the products it holds in a way that fits the needs and desires of users, in order to encourage healthy nutritional choices. Products are scanned into the fridge by barcode and saved in a database with their specifications. Every time the fridge is opened, using a color scheme displayed by an array of LEDs, the shelf shows the user the most recommended products for him or her, based on their personal nutritional requirements. The fridge shelf also detects picking up a less-than-optimal choice and can give real-time feedback when it matters most: at the decision point.

STUI

Students: Alon Shakked, Ben Klipper, Yoav Dori, Mor Shani
Advisors: Dr. Guy Hoffman and Noa Morag
Mentor: Yael Nathan


STUI_prototype milab

A children’s game connecting between the physical and virtual worlds. The game encourages children to shift their focus from screens back to the exploration of physical objects in their environment and builds on their natural curiosity about their surroundings. The child is requested to find objects of different forms, colors, and materials to solve the riddles of the game. Selected objects are placed on the table and influence the digital world projected on it. For example, round shapes made of wood could influence the movement of a digital ball differently than a sharp metal object. The system is based on 3D scanning technology by PrimeSense, which is also integrated into Microsoft’s Xbox Kinect product.

How2UDo

Students: Omri Baumer, Dror Ayalon, Hilan Navot. Yoni Elbaz, Moolie Puterman
Advisors: Dr. Guy Hoffman and Noa Morag
Mentor: Arnon Yaar

How2UDo prototype milab

This system is aimed to help users learn how to activate home appliances using their smart phones and a new kind of “talkback” from the appliance. It makes use of custom electronics and novel mobile device features. Using an NFC (Near Field Communication) sensor, the phone identifies the home appliance and presents a series of questions and instructions to the user. After selecting the required action, the phone detects each physical action performed on the appliance, and presents either the next required step for completing the task, or corrective feedback based on the user’s real-world activity.

PBI

Students: Avinoam Shafran, Elad Dahabany-Levy, Jonatan Giron, Max Harpunsky,  Ronny Van Den Berg
Advisors: Dr. Guy Hoffman and Noa Morag
Mentor: Omer Pomerantz

PBI_prototype milab

In the natural environment, our physical distance from an object allows us to study different aspects of the object. Drawing closer reveals more details and moving away provides a wider context. This prototype transfers this experience to the digital world using tablet devices, and demonstrates this principle on objects such as museum exhibits and Subway maps. As the user moves closer to a painting on the wall, for example, the distance is detected using the tablet camera and the onscreen information on the painting provided to the user becomes more detailed.

4T2

Students: Orr Gotlib, Keren Kalev, Rony Kotek, Shachar Landshut, Assaf Mashiah
Advisors: Dr. Guy Hoffman and Noa Morag
Mentor: Amiel Shapira

4t2_prototype_milab

4T2 prototype milab
A t-shirt that serves as a platform for content sharing in a physical, dynamic, social way. The wearer of the shirt encodes a text, image or link that they would like to share using a personally designed barcode shaped as a pattern of LEDs on the shirt. Anyone else who sees the shirt can use their smart phone camera and a decoding application to discover the message, react to it or copy it to their own t-shirt. This platform creates an innovative discourse around content sharing in the real world.

Plick

Student: Gabriel Paciornik (Industrial Design student from Shenkar College of Engineering and Design)
Mentors: Dr. Guy Hoffman, Noa Morag

Plick_prototype miLAB

Plick_prototype_2

A play kit which enables the animation of common, physical objects from the child’s environment. The kit includes components such as a motor, light and sound sensors, and unique elastic bands that connect between these components and the child’s physical objects. The components communicate and operate continuously with no need to program them. Using the kit, a shoe box, for example, can quickly and easily become a sound activated car.

miLAB Studio:

Mooderator

Students: Ofir Weinstock, Uri Zer Aviv, Gil Sanderovich, Hadar Orlanov, Noa Ashkenazi, Idan Segal, Keren Kaufman, Shir Binyamin, Shiri Ashkenazi
Advisor: Ofer Shani
Development: Hamutzim Studio (design), Opentech (development)
Partners: the Shari Arison Center for Awareness communication

Mooderator_prototype milabAn Internet platform and mobile application designed to raise our awareness to moments of happiness in our daily lives. Mooderator enables tracking the personal level of happiness over time. A user periodically receives a reminder to grade his/her current level of happiness, and the reported level is saved in a database. Over time, the user can get a precise and personal picture of his or her happiness and also compare with that of other users based on intelligent classifications. In addition, it is possible to upload a photo of a happy moment to the website. This helps create a mosaic of location based happy moments.

Moozot

Students: Daphna Abulafia, Tal Holander, Yarin Izak, Yael Burin, Nait Shemesh, Oded Levy, Inbal Rivlin, Shirel Gafni
Advisor: Giora Farber
Development: Hamutzim Studio (design), Opentech (development)
Partners: the Shari Arison Center for Awareness communication

Moozot_prototype milab

A social Internet platform designed to inspire creativity and serve as a “stage” for inspired creations. “Moozot” (muses) is an editorial website which presents an edited weekly muse and invites users to react and create. All work created and shared by users will in turn become muses themselves and will potentially influence and inspire others.

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What are the plans for commercialization of these prototypes?

during the yearly course we focus almost only on concept, then prototype development based on the identification of human needs and desires in a given area. We hardly pay attention at all to business aspects or any other potential constraints to encourage creativity. However, we do encourage students to take the next step towards business execution following their graduation, and have designed an IP model that aims to promote this“, said Michal Gilon-Yanai, the Director of the miLAB

What should students do if they are interested to participate?

This October, the Media Innovation Lab is launching a very unique Global MBA program in Innovation & Entrepreneurship. in collaboration with IDC’s Arison School of Business. The program will include core MBA courses and a special I&E track, which is part theoretical but includes mostly hands-on work on product innovation and venture creation. The academic heads of the program are Prof. Yair Tauman (current dean of Arison School of Business) and Dr. Oren Zuckerman, founder and co-director of miLAB.

Eze Vidra
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Eze Vidra

Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote
Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Ezewas a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google's first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He's an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.
Eze Vidra
Follow me

Latest posts by Eze Vidra (see all)

Eze Vidra

Eze is the Chief Innovation Officer at Antidote, a startup helping patients search and match to clinical trial, to accelerate medical breakthroughs. Previously, Eze was a General Partner at Google Ventures Europe. Before GV, Eze founded and led Campus London, Google’s first physical hub for startups, and was the Head Google for Entrepreneurs in Europe. He’s an experienced product manager and startup mentor. In 2012 Eze founded Techbikers, a non-for profit supporting children education in developing countries.