from the March 2011 issue

$300m procurement deal in Israel

Intel Corporation (Nasdaq: INTC) has signed a new reciprocal procurement deal in Israel. Intel Israel general manager Maxine Fassberg signed the five-year $300 million agreement with Industrial Cooperation Authority director general Bina Bar-On.

The agreement comes after the Investment Center agreed to grant Intel $200 million for a new center at its Fab 28 in Kiyrat Gat. Bar-On will oversee Intel's reciprocal procurements in 2011-16.

Bar-On said, The great news emerging from this new agreement touches on Israeli vendors who will be recognized by giants like Intel. This announcement creates immense added value for these vendors and service provides, because it will open doors for them all over the world. This is Intel's third reciprocal procurement agreement with the Industrial Cooperation Authority since 1996. The Ministry of Industry, Trade and Labor says that, during this period, Intel has certified 500 Israeli vendors which service the company in Israel and internationally.

It is to Intel's credit that it has complied with all its reciprocal procurement commitments, and actually made much greater procurements beyond its commitments. Since the first agreement was signed in 1996, Intel has led in reciprocal procurement and vendor certification, making over $5 billion in procurements in Israel, said Bar-On.

Noble Energy to invest $650m in Israel
Noble will invest the money in offshore gas field development projects in 2011.
10 February 11 16:54, Koby Yeshayahou
In its financial report today for the fourth quarter of 2010, Noble Energy Inc. (NYSE: NBL) stated that it will invest $650 million in Israeli offshore gas field development projects in 2011.

Noble reported revenue of $783 million in the fourth quarter of 2010 compared with the analysts' consensus of $790 million.

Noble Energy owns 39.66% of the Leviathan field and 36% of the Tamar field as well as major holdings in the smaller Yam Tethys and Dalit fields.

Researchers use the common cockroach to fine-tune robots of the future Locusts like these in Eilat, Israel, are inspiring future robotic advances.

Ask anyone who has ever tried to squash a skittering cockroach -- they're masters of quick and precise movement. Now Tel Aviv University is using their maddening locomotive skills to improve robotic technology too. Prof. Amir Ayali of Tel Aviv University's Department of Zoology says the study of cockroaches has already inspired advanced robotics. Robots have long been based on these six-legged house guests, whose nervous system is relatively straightforward and easy to study. But until now, walking machines based on the cockroach's movement have been influenced by outside observations and mainly imitate the insect's appearance, not its internal mechanics. He and his fellow researchers are delving deeper into the neurological functioning of the cockroach. This, he says, will give engineers the information they need to design robots with a more compact build and greater efficiency in terms of energy, time, robustness and rigidity. Such superior robotics can be even used to explore new terrain in outer space. This research was recently presented at the International Neuroethology conference in Spain as well as the Israeli Neuroscience Meeting in December.

Roach control systems as the ideal model
According to Prof. Ayali, it's clear why robotics have been inspired by these unsavory insects. A cockroach is supported by at least three legs at all times during movement, which provides great stability. Not only do cockroaches arguably exhibit one of the most stable ways to walk, called a tripod gate, he explains, but they move equally quickly on every kind of terrain. Their speed and stability is almost too good to be true.

In their lab, Prof. Ayali and his fellow researchers are conducting a number of tests to uncover the mysteries of the cockroach's nervous system, studying how sensory feedback from one leg is translated to the coordination of all the other legs. Their analysis of the contribution of each leg is shared with collaborating scientists at Princeton University, who use the information to construct models and simulations of insect locomotion.

Insects, says Prof. Ayali, utilize information from the environment around them to determine how they will move. Sensors give them data about the terrain they are encountering and how they should approach it. How this information transfers to the insect's legs is central to understanding how to mimic their locomotion.

Reprinted from the Israel High-Tech & Investment Report March 2011

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