In October 2023, Professor Emeritus Avraham Shtub of the Technion-Israel Institute of Technology, will offer his course “New Product Development” as a Global Network online course for the ninth time. While the content is similar, the course has evolved over the years. In 2014, “New Product Development” was among the first small network online courses (SNOCs) offered through the Global Network for Advanced Management. In 2019, a version of the course was added to Coursera, and Shtub shifted to a “flipped classroom model” for the SNOC, assigning lectures on Coursera for homework, and then using the virtual class time for discussion. Then in 2021 and 2022, the course added an additional experiential component. Shtub assigned students to projects with early-stage startup founders with whom they collaborated, giving them hands-on experience in product development.

We asked Professor Shtub about his motivation for offering the course as a SNOC and what students can expect from the course.

What made you decide to teach this particular course as a SNOC?
As the head of the project management research center at the Technion I was asked to develop a course focusing on the management of New Product Development (NPD) projects, as part of the new Startup MBA program at the Technion. Today I teach this course at several universities in Europe and the USA using zoom.
During a meeting of GNAM universities in China I presented this course as part of the Technion presentation. Several universities – members of GNAM – were interested in the course. I agreed to teach it as a SNOC as it was a great opportunity to collaborate with other GNAM universities and to teach students how to manage international NPD projects.  
Who should take this course?
The course is designed for students who want to learn how to manage NPD projects and would like to apply this knowledge in the framework of an international team of GNAM students. Specifically, students who consider the idea of founding a new startup can use this course to simulate the development process, including the preparation of a project plan and its execution in a simulated environment.
What does the global virtual environment of a SNOC provide for students in terms of cross-cultural learning, and how can this also help you?
Many NPD projects are performed by international teams. The concept of a Glocal product (Global product with a local adaptation) is based on the understanding of customers’ needs and expectations in different countries. Working with a team of GNAM students from different countries facilitates cross-cultural learning and helps in the development of ideas for Glocal products and services.
What do you hope students take away from your class that they can apply to their careers, regardless of the path they choose?
I hope that the tools and techniques discussed and used in this course will help the students in focusing on the most important issues in the New Product Development process. The opportunity to work with a team of GNAM students from other countries will expose the participants to other cultures and a variety of decision-making processes.
Is there anything I haven’t asked you about that is worth considering or mentioning? 
A paper recently published:

Solan, D., & Shtub, A. (2023). Development and implementation of a new product development course combining experiential learning, simulation, and a flipped classroom in remote learning. The International Journal of Management Education, 21(2).‏
Can help students understand the course content, structure and learning outcomes.

While the micro turbojet engine may be small – weighing only eight pounds – it remains a startling chunk of Inconel. The engine is a single, complete assembly, including all rotating and stationary components.

The turbojet was designed in Creo CAD software, using Inconel as the material and an EOS 3D metal printer as the production machine. “The engine is about the size of a basketball. It would probably be used for drones,” Steve Dertien, chief technology officer at PTC, said during a presentation.

The jet engine project was the brainchild of Ronen Ben Horin, a VP of technology at PTC and a senior research fellow at Technion – Israel Institute of Technology – and Beni Cukurel, an associate professor of aerospace at Technion. The two took their scientific research in jet propulsion and their engineering expertise and designed the engine for additive manufacturing.

When designing the engine, the researchers focused on:

  • A lightweight design: That required sophisticated lattice modeling and generative design for material and weight reduction while maintaining the appropriate strength and performance that could match designs with more material and heavier weight.
  • Self-supporting geometries for 3D Printing: That means the software had to optimize designs for printability. Creo needed to create self-supported formula-driven lattices that can be paired with printability checks and modifiers to adjust the design for printing efficiency.
  • 3D printing equipment interoperability: Creo software is compatible with most 3D printing equipment for printing and post-processing. Creo provides a variety of formats, including 3MF, for sending 3D models to the market’s various printer technologies, while also allowing users to create associative models for machining operations. This micro-jet engine was printed with an EOS printer.

In a statement, Cukurel acknowledged that designing the engine with Horin was the culmination of many years of research that included staying on top of advancements in the supporting technology of 3D printing and design software. He noted that the design offers a viable way of producing micro turbojet engines.

While this machine is not the first 3D-printed jet engine —  Monash University in Australia claimed that title in 2015, and GE claimed it in 2020 – Cukurel and Horin can probably claim bragging rights for doing it as one piece.

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology is teaming up with Toronto University on the use of artificial intelligence in the field of medicine. 

The collaboration sees the faculty and students from Technion’s Artificial Intelligence Hub (Tech.AI) and the Canadian university’s Center for AI in Medicine (T-CAIREM) teaming up to develop working practices for “the medicine of the future,” based on commonly shared challenges.

The new partnership was inaugurated this week in a joint tree-day workshop in Ein Gedi in southern Israel, which was attended by dozens of scientists and research students from the two schools. On the agenda were existing capabilities in the field of AI medicine, avenues for growth, advancing education on the subject and joint projects. 

The partnership was welcomed by the two institutions. 

“The Temerty Centre for Artificial Intelligence Research and Education in Medicine (T-CAIREM) of the University of Toronto is very excited to work with the excellent clinicians and researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology on this highly collaborative and interdisciplinary initiative,” said Prof. Muhammad Mamdani, director of T-CAIREM. 

“Our goal is to advance innovative research in AI in medicine that will serve as the foundation for transforming medicine and delivering the best possible care for the patients we serve.”

Prof. Shai Shen-Orr of the Technion said: “We are laying down another broad foundation for the Tech.AI.BioMed activity that promotes the use of AI in medicine. We are certain that this collaboration will add depth and richness to our toolbox for creating new responses that will shape the medicine of the future.”

Lord Tariq Ahmad of Wimbledon spent time at the Israel Institute of Technology on an official visit to Israel

Minister of State for the Middle East is impressed by Technion visit
PHOTO: Professor Hossam Hayek showing Lord Ahmed his invention

The Technion – Israel Institute of Technology was delighted to welcome the Minister of State for the Middle East to its campus this week.

Lord Tariq Ahmad – a British Muslim politician – was impressed with the proportion of Arab students on campus. 30% of this years new students are from the Arab Community and benefit from the Technion Empowerment Programme which gives them individual attention, supervision and monitoring, particularly in their learning of Hebrew which is one of the biggest challenges for Arab students. 

This educational model has since been copied by other institutions throughout Israel, enabling a growth in Arab university students in Israel of 78% over seven years, according to research by Israel’s Council for Higher Education. 

Lord Ahmad – along with representatives from the British Embassy and the British Council – were welcomed to the campus by the President of the Technion, Uri Sivan, along with several members of the senior team. They learned that 5,000 out of 20,000 students live on campus – the highest number in Israel.

He asked about all the impressive high-tech companies he had driven past on his way to the campus, such as Google and Intel, and learned that they have all come to Haifa because of the Technion and to recruit graduates from the University.

He was also interested to learn that nearly 70% of the founders and CEOs of Israeli start-up companies are Technion graduates and that there are two campuses abroad – one in China and one in New York.

Taking to Twitter following his visit, he wrote: “Fantastic to visit Technion – Israel Institute of Technology University and learn more about the vibrant Israeli innovation scene. I met Professor Uri Sivan and with Professor Hossam Hayek, a BIRAX recipient who created the groundbreaking ‘Alzheimer’s breath test’.”

This invention. which is also used to detect cancer in a matter of seconds was shown to King Charles when he last visited Israel a few years ago. He said that this is a remarkable technological development and an ingenious invention.

The Churchill Awards Gala Dinner was back with a bang after a long hiatus

An incredible quarter of a million pounds was raised for Technion UK during its first gala dinner in three years.

Over 300 people enjoyed a Tony Page catered event at the Royal Lancaster Hotel in London on Sunday night. 

Nobel laureate, Professor Dan Schechtman, who defied critics for his “off-the-wall theory” and the went on to claim the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, delivered the illuminating keynote speech. He spoke about the importance of education and gave examples of his contribution to help the Technion become the powerhouse of Israel’s high-tech society having trained most of Israel’s engineers who helped build the country.

Baroness Ruth Deech DBE, a British academic, lawyer, ethicist and politician received the prestigious Churchill Award and members of the Technion Chamber Orchestra provided entertainment, wowing the room with a violin medley of classical pieces.

For the first time,guests were invited to choose exactly where their donation went: The Program of Excellence for fast-tracked students, the Defence and Aerospace department, the Sustainability and Grand Technion Energy Program and research into Parkinson’s and other neo-generative diseases. 

Baroness Ruth Deech DBE said: “I cannot tell you how delighted I was with the dinner and the award – more than I deserve! It is a great piece of art, and I shall treasure it. The dinner was beautifully organised and conducted and it was a privilege to hear Dan Shechtman.”

CEO of Technion UK, Alan Aziz, said: “I’m delighted that after three long years we have been able to host another big gala dinner with amazing speakers and guests!”

World Sight Day is October 13th.

OrCam Technologies, which has been around since 2010, is continually coming up with new innovations 

As we approach World Sight Day, one Israeli company is ensuring it continues to deliver groundbreaking solutions for the visually impaired.

OrCam Technologies, whose Vice President of Research & Development, Nir Sancho, is a Technion alum, has recently launched OrCam Learn – an interactive assistive solution that empowers students with learning challenges, such as dyslexia. 

The handheld assistive device is compact and wireless with an intuitive point-and-click operation that reads out loud any text that has been captured by a student. It will then listen to and provide feedback on the student’s reading comprehension, using a variety of metrics such as text difficulty level, fluency, accuracy, reading rate and total reading time.  

It works across a range of formats, including books, screens or paper handouts. 

Its technology supports both teachers and schools and results in enhanced comprehension, reading fluency and improvement of overall confidence in an education setting. 

There are currently over 50 schools in the UK currently using OrCam Learn.

The innovation is just the latest in a long line for the award-winning company. At the beginning of the year, it won a CES innovation award for its MyEye Pro device, which aids the blind and visually impaired by reading out printed and digital text, as well as recognising people and helping to identify products.

The MyEye Pro is mounted onto a pair of glasses to communicate visual information. Its new ‘Smart Reading’ feature, which helps users find specific information – much like the Ctrl-F (Find) functions on a computer – helped sway the judges, along with its voice assistant, which “enables control of all device features and settings hands-free, using voice commands.”    

Meanwhile, OrCam Read – the handheld digital reader – won Best Consumer Edge AI End Product at the 2022 Edge AI and Vision Product of the Year Awards.

Launched in 2020, it supports people with mild to moderate vision loss, as well as those with difficulty reading, using a ‘point and click’ function that allows the device to read text from print or screens. 

It was featured in TIME’s Best Inventions of 2021

Technion Is Europe’s top university in the field of artificial at intelligence for the second year in a row calling to an international ranking of computer science institutions globally

The university also placed 16th in the world in the field of AI and 10th in the world in the subfield of learning systems.

The Technion continues to establish its position as the leading research institution in Israel and Europe in the core areas of artificial intelligence, thanks to the unique work environment that exists in this field at the Technion,” said Shie Mannor, a co-director of Tech.AI − Technion Artificial Intelligence Hub.

Around 150 Technion researchers are involved in Tech.AI, applying advanced AI practices to a variety of fields including data science, medical research, mechanical engineering, civil engineering, architecture and biology  

Solidifying the Technion‘s position as a pioneer and world leader in the field of AI and spreading the knowledge acquired in this process to the commercial world in all its aspects are very important national tasks,” said fellow Tech.Al Co-Director Assaf Schuster.

According to Shai Shen-Orr, who leads the biomed activity and AI solutions for the health sector within Tech.AI, the centre has used its advancements in the field of AI to create partnerships with companies such as Pfizer and IBM and leading medical institutions including the Rambam Health Care Campus in Israel and the Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Centre.

The Technion recently announced that it has established a new institute that will focus on applying AI research to create solutions in the field of human health and medicine.

Kidney failure, Multiple Sclerosis and stroke are all being targeted

Two Technion master’s degree students have created a way to accurately predict whether a person is likely to have a stroke.

Working under the supervision of the head of the Artificial Intelligence Laboratory in Medicine, Shany Biton and Sheina Gendelman worked with more than one million ECG recordings from more than 400,000 patients to create a machine-learning algorithm to assess the likelihood of developing an irregular heart rhythm atrial fibrillation (AFib), which causes one in seven strokes.

Only 5% of the 60% predicted to develop AFib did not go on to develop the condition.

It means countless lives could be saved as those at risk are notified in advance, enabling them to make necessary lifestyle changes to either prevent or delay the condition. 

Professor Behar, who led the study, said: “We do not seek to replace the human doctor. We don’t think that would be desirable. But we wish to put better decision support tools into the doctors’ hands.”

Meanwhile, two Technion-led startups are changing the way we treat some of the most common health conditions.

CollPlant Biotechnologies – led by alum Yechiel Tal – is working with United Therapeutics Corporation to manufacture artificial kidneys using a former tobacco plant. The process includes growing small plantlets from the seeds of engineered tobacco plants to create the collagen required for the 3D printing of human organs.

“Organ shortages are an unmet global health need, [and] by partnering with United Therapeutics, we have made significant progress with this pivotal organ manufacturing initiative,” Tal said. “We remain committed to exploring new innovative applications in the fields of medical aesthetics and 3D bioprinting of tissues and organs.”

NeuroGenesis – whose COO is a Technion alum – is another Israeli company making giant strides in healthcare thanks to its stem cell therapy which hopes to regenerate the brain of MS sufferers. 

Of 15 patients who received spinal injections from their own bone marrow, nine experienced a drop in levels of neurofilament light chain – a protein heightened as the disability progresses – and eight went on to have improved disability scores, even after a year.

The peer-reviewed study has been published in the journal Stem Cells Translational Medicine.

The increased demand for sustainable energy sources prompted research groups to focus on battery research in order to store large-scale grid energy in a manageable and reliable manner. In addition, the rising demand of the electric vehicle industry, which mainly relies on current Li-ion battery technology, is expected to strain the current lithium production and divert it from more widespread use as portable consumer electronics. Currently, no technology has proven to be competitive enough to displace Li-ion Batteries.

Now, a team of researchers from the Technion – Israel Institute of Technology has developed a proof-of-concept for a novel rechargeable silicon (Si) battery, as well as its design and architecture that enables Si to be reversibly discharged and charged.

The research was led by Professor Yair Ein-Eli of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering. The team proved via systematic experimental works of the graduate student Alon Epstein and theoretical studies of Dr. Igor Baskin that silicon is dissolved during the battery discharge process, and elemental silicon is deposited upon charging. Several discharge-charge cycles were achieved, utilizing heavy doped n-type Si wafer anodes and specially designed hybrid-based ionic liquid electrolytes, tailored with halides (Bromine and Iodine), functioning as conversion cathodes.

This breakthrough could pave the way towards the enrichment of the battery technologies available in the energy storage market, with the technology potentially easing stress on the ever-growing market and serving the increasing demand for rechargeable batteries.

Silicon, as the second most abundant element on earth’s crust, was left relatively unexplored despite a high energy density of 8.4 kWh kg-1 on par with metallic Li 11.2 kWh kg-1. Silicon possesses stable surface passivation and low conductivity (dependent on the doping levels). Until now, no established rechargeable cell chemistry comprising elemental Si as an active anode has been reported outside LIB alloying anode.

In the past decade, several publications reported the incorporation of active silicon anodes in primary, non-rechargeable air-battery designs. Thus despite its high abundance and ease of production, the possibility of using Si as an active multivalent rechargeable anode was never explored until the team’s recent breakthrough.

A team of researchers from the Technion–Israel Institute of Technology has developed a proof-of-concept for a novel rechargeable silicon (Si) battery, as well as its design and architecture that enables Si to be reversibly discharged and charged.

Led by Professor Yair Ein-Eli of the Faculty of Materials Science and Engineering, the team proved via systematic experimental works of the graduate student, Alon Epstein and theoretical studies of Dr. Igor Baskin, that Si is dissolved during the battery discharge process, and upon charging, elemental Si is deposited. Several discharge-charge cycles were achieved, utilizing heavy doped n-type Si wafer anodes and specially designed hybrid based ionic liquid electrolytes, tailored with halides (Bromine and Iodine), functioning as conversion cathodes.

This breakthrough could pave the way towards an enrichment of the battery technologies available on the energy storage “super-market” technology, providing an ease on the ever-growing market and demand for rechargeable batteries.

Developments leading to this breakthrough

The increased demand for sustainable energy sources prompted the scientific community to focus on battery research capable of storing large scale grid energy in a manageable and reliable manner. Moreover, the rising demand of the EV industry, which mainly relies on current Li-ion batteries (LIBs) technology is expected to strain current Li production and divert it from more widespread use as portable consumer electronics. Currently, no technology has proven to be competitive enough to displace LIBs. Metals and elements capable of delivering multi-electrons during their oxidation process have been the focus of the research community for a long time due to their associated high specific energy densities.

Magnesium, calcium, aluminum and zinc received much attention as potential anode materials with varied levels of progress; yet none has managed to revolutionize the energy storage industry beyond LIBs, as all of these systems suffer from poor kinetic performance to lack of cell stability, and therefore, much is left to be explored. Silicon (Si), as the second most abundant element on earth’s crust (after oxygen) was left relatively unexplored despite a high energy density of 8.4 kWh kg-1 on par with metallic Li 11.2 kWh kg-1; Si possesses a stable surface passivation, low conductivity (dependent on the doping levels) and until now no established rechargeable cell chemistry comprising elemental Si as an active anode has been reported, outside LIB alloying anode.

In the past decade several publications (initiated originally in 2009 by Prof. Ein-Eli) reported the incorporation of active Si anodes in primary, non-rechargeable air-battery designs. Thus, despite its high abundance and ease of production, the possibility of using Si as an active multivalent rechargeable anode was never explored, until the team’s recent breakthrough.