A prototype of a robot developed by Beersheva-based Israeli company IBEX Technologies was presented this week at a defense startups competition held by the i-his.com website. The robot is used to photograph and scan smuggling tunnels and for rescue and evacuation missions.
The company is led by CEO Raphael Moisa and Oleg Popov, who developed the idea for Robosleeve in late 2014. "After Operation Protective Edge," Moisa told "Globes," "we went to the Ministry of Defense with an idea about tunnels. A lot of channels were being employed at the time to find civilian technologies or use them to find solutions for the tunnels. The Ministry of Defense was enthusiastic and we went on from there."
What is special about Robosleeve is its thrust driven by air pressure, in contrast to existing advanced robots in the market, which travel on wheels or caterpillar tracks. The Robosleeve's frontal unit is a platform on which cameras, various sensors, and a right-left and up-down propulsion system can be mounted. Communications between the frontal unit and the operator is through a protected optical fiber within the sleeve.
The company is simultaneously working on a prototype with a smaller diameter for detection and rescue of survivors under the ruins of an earthquake, collapsed buildings, mines, etc. Moisa says that Robosleeve's main advantage is that it can be used to send oxygen and water to survivors, an advantage that distinguishes it from other solutions.
The sleeve itself does not move forward in the usual way like a car or a tank; it is spread, so that it is not torn when it encounters something sharp. As when a nail encounters a tire on a wheel, it can continue operating. The sleeve itself is made out of fabric made of covered and sealed nylon.
Moisa says that the Robosleeve's current potential is in places like the border between the US and Mexico and between North and South Korea. He explains that a month ago, the company received security clearance from the Ministry of Defense allowing it to begin preparing a business plan. In the next stage, the company aims to recruit additional investors and make its prototype "almost operational."
A robot for scanning tunnels or rescuing earthquake survivors, however, is not the only use that Moisa and his partners envision for the technology. "Together with defense uses, we realized that the potential of our idea can be in other uses, such as medical ones, so we founded the Consis Medical company as a spinoff of IBEX.
"We took the core technology in order to develop a medical accessory for colonoscopy examinations. The company has already won a grant from the Israel Innovation Authority amounting to 60% of NIS 2.5 million - for every shekel the company brings, it gets a NIS 0.60 grant from the state," Moissa adds, commenting, "we are just now finishing animal trials and are starting a financing round in order to pass the next milestone of a human trial. We're raising $1 million for the purpose."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on July 25, 2018
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