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Israeli defense companies are turning radars into coronavirus symptom detectors



Israeli defense companies are turning radars into coronavirus symptom detectors

Two major Israeli defense companies have developed cutting-edge coronavirus symptom detectors that will allow doctors to remotely pick up on suspicious symptoms of COVID-19. The sensors were created by adapting radar and camera technology that come from the defense and homeland security world.

The program, initiated by the Defense Ministry’s Directorate of Defense Research and Development, has seen Israel Aerospace Industries and Elbit Systems rapidly take radars and electro-optic (camera) sensors and convert them into highly sensitive sensors that will enable medical teams to screen patients from another room, thereby greatly enhancing their safety.

In recent days, the Defense Ministry announced that its National Emergency Team, together with IAI and Elbit, have developed the prototypes to measure the vital signs of patients, including pulse, respiratory rate and temperature, and pick out patterns that indicate a likely coronavirus infection.

“I don’t know of any adaption of defense technology or homeland security radars for this purpose until now,” said Yossi Cohen, vice president and chief technological officer at Elbit Systems’ C4i and Cyber Division. “Until now, the civilian world didn’t have this need.”

Now, however, and likely in the near future, there will be a dramatic need for remote sensing that protects medical personnel from the risk of infection.

“This development came as a result of a capability that we want to give doctors at the entrance to Emergency Rooms to distinguish [between] patients that have a respiratory and have a chance of [contracting] coronavirus from patients suffering from other patients,” said Cohen.

Currently, medical teams have to examine patients directly through close contact and at longer intervals, putting them in danger of infection. The remote-sensing solutions give doctors the ability to check patients from more than two meters away or even from another room by viewing the results on a screen.

Once they receive the signs, said Cohen, the doctors can decide whether more comprehensive checks are needed and if so, to move the patient to a more sterile area with the appropriate protective gear to continue the care. “This is a very important requirement,” he said.

Working with the Defense Ministry’s DDR&D and the Rabin Medical Center in Petach Tikvah, Elbit will deliver its first prototype to that hospital before examining ways to expand its program, including installing machines at drive-through test facilities and at the entrances to military bases.

Also read:  Coronavirus: U.S. restaurants seek $325bn of federal aid

The system is based on radar technology that “allows us to identify, in a very precise manner, small changes,” said Cohen.

This ability was modified to allow the radar to detect minute body movements created by the pulse and breath, and measure patterns. The system can even scan for the ratio of inhalations and exhalations, allowing for conclusions to be drawn about the likelihood of a respiratory disease like coronavirus to be involved. The second component of the machine, an advanced thermal camera, can take a highly precise temperature reading and employs advanced algorithms to achieve that precision, said Cohen.

Two successful trials of the prototype have been completed. Elbit is now looking at ways to use artificial intelligence to allow doctors to generate automatic insights based on the readings. “We can let the networks produce insights,” said Cohen. The system will be installed at the Beilinson Hospital in the Rabin Medical Center as of Monday, and doctors will be able to run it without any outside help, as they build up experience in using the sensor.

‘Built to detect slow, small movements’

Meanwhile, IAI has also developed its own prototype using a radar originally designed to protect perimeters and detect people walking or crawling, or vehicles moving. “We took the smallest of our radars and place the ability to measure pulse and breath rates on it,” said Israel Lupa, executive vice president and chief technological officer of Elta, a division if IAI.

The radar uses a very low frequency, meaning that it is safe to use in close proximity to people, he stressed. “A radar of this type was built to detect slow, small movements,” said Lupa. “The system can already detect minor movements. We adapted this to tracking body movements caused by the breath and pulse.”

Within seconds, the system, which also includes an advanced thermal camera for detecting fever, can deliver an alert (though not a final diagnosis) to medical teams of an indication of a possible COVID-19 patient.

The initiative was launched by the Defense Ministry’s National Emergency Team, which is led by DDR&D Director, Brig. Gen. (Res.) Dr. Dani Gold, who was instrumental in the past for setting up Israel’s Iron Dome air-defense system.

“The combination of the technological capabilities of the defense industries and the extraordinary capabilities of the officers in the DDR&D enables us to adapt systems developed for security purposes to fulfill medical needs in light of the coronavirus,” said Col. A, of the DDR&D.

Dr. Yossi Shaya, of the Beilinson Hospital, stated that “the DDR&D turned to us with the idea of monitoring patients using radar. These are systems that we don’t normally work with, but they asked us what our needs are in the hope that these systems may be adapted to fulfill them. They asked what vital signs should be monitored among corona patients at the point of diagnosis and during treatment—and aimed to do so without the involvement of medical staff.

“The idea is that our medical teams are at the forefront of this fight and should be protected,” he continued, “and the way to do so is to reduce direct contact with corona patients. Thanks to the creative thinking of the DDR&D—of using technology that is normally used against enemies—I hope we will be able to win in the fight against the COVID-19 virus.”




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U.S. strikes 2 targets in Syria in response to ‘continued attacks’



The U.S. military struck two facilities in eastern Syria used by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and Iran-affiliated groups in response to “continued attacks” against U.S. personnel in Iraq and Syria, the Pentagon said on Sunday.

The strikes were conducted against a training facility in Abu Kamal and a safe house in Mayadin in the eastern governorate of Deir Ezzor, U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin said in a brief statement.

The U.S. struck similar targets in eastern Syria in October and earlier in November.

Pro-Iranian militias have intensified their attacks on U.S. military bases in Syria and Iraq in recent weeks as a response to the Israeli military campaign in Gaza.

The security situation in the entire region has been particularly tense since Oct. 7, when Hamas militants staged deadly attacks in southern Israel.

Israel is responding with an overwhelming air and ground offensive in Gaza.

As a deterrent, the U.S. has moved more weapons systems, warships and air squadrons to the Eastern Mediterranean, and is deploying several hundred troops to the Middle East to support US units there.

U.S. President Joe Biden had ordered Sunday’s action to make it clear that the U.S. was defending itself, its personnel, and its interests, Austin stressed.

The U.S. is prepared to take further necessary measures to protect its own people and interests.

  • dpa
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Russia writes off $23bn debt for Africa – Putin



Russia sends almost 12m tons of grain to Africa says Putin

…Pledges additional $90 million***

Vladimir Putin, the Russian President, says the Russian Government has written off $23 billion debt burden of African countries.

Putin spoke at the plenary session of the ongoing second Russia–Africa Summit 2023 held from July 27 to July 28.

He said Moscow would allocate an additional $90 million for these purposes.

Putin said Russia was advocating the expansion of representation of African countries in the UN Security Council and other UN structures.

“Russia and Africa strive to develop cooperation in all areas and strengthen ‘honest, open, constructive’ partnership.

“Russia will also assist in opening new African embassies and consulates in Russia,” he said.

According to him, the reopening of embassies in Burkina Faso and Equatorial Guinea is going as planned.

He said sovereignty was “not a one-time achieved state,” and it must be constantly protected.

Putin also offered assistance to Africa in countering threats such as terrorism, piracy, and transnational crimes adding that it would continue to train personnel from African countries.

He assured that Russian businesses have a lot to offer partners from Africa.

Putin said transition to national currencies and the establishment of transport and logistics chains would contribute to the increase in mutual trade turnover.

“Russia is ready to provide trade preferences to Africa, support the creation of modern production sectors, agricultural sector, and provide assistance through relevant international structures and agencies.

“Russia will always be a responsible international supplier of agricultural products,” he said.

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U.S. Coastguard Finds ‘debris field’ Near Missing Vessel



A “debris field” has been discovered within the search area for the missing Titan submersible, the U.S. Coastguard (USCG) said on Thursday.

The agency said a remotely-operated vehicle made the discovery near the wreckage of the Titanic on Thursday.

The hunt for the missing deep-sea vessel is still an “active search and rescue” mission after it lost communication on Sunday.

The vessel was about 700 kilometres south of St John’s, Newfoundland, during a voyage to the Titanic shipwreck off the coast of Canada.

Coastguard officials said they were “evaluating the information” following Thursday’s debris discovery.

A press conference will be held at the Coastguard base in Boston to “discuss the findings” at 8pm (1900 GMT).

Rear Admiral John Mauger, the first Coastguard district commander, and Captain Jamie Frederick, first Coastguard district response coordinator, will lead the press conference.

Founding member of the Board of Trustees of The Explorers Club, Hamish Harding, was on board the undersea craft, alongside UK-based businessman Shahzada Dawood, his son Suleman Dawood, and OceanGate’s chief executive and founder Stockton Rush, as well as French submersible pilot Paul-Henri Nargeolet.

The USCG said the ROV that made the discovery was from the Canadian Horizon Arctic ship – with the debris being found on the sea floor near the Titanic wreckage.

Assistance from the Royal Air Force (RAF) is due to arrive in St John’s on Thursday after it confirmed a request was received overnight for help with the movement of additional commercial equipment.

Two RAF planes, a C-17 Globemaster and A400 Atlas, departed RAF Lossiemouth in north-east Scotland on Thursday.

A British submariner and equipment from a UK firm have been sent to help the search at the request of the U.S. Coastguard, Downing Street said.

Royal Navy submariner Lieutenant Commander Richard Kantharia, who was on exchange with the U.S. Navy, has been seconded to the search and rescue team.

OceanGate Expeditions estimated the oxygen supply on the 6.7 metre-long vessel would last 96 hours, giving rescuers a deadline of around midday on Thursday.

Experts said the chances of finding the sub and rescuing those inside were diminishing.

Former Royal Navy submarine captain Ryan Ramsey told the PA news agency: “The outlook is bleak, that’s the only word for it as this tragic event unfolds and almost the closing stages of where this changes from rescue to a salvage mission.”

The Titan is believed to be about 900 miles east and 400 miles south of Newfoundland.

It is not known how deep the vessel is, with the seabed being around 3,800 metres from the surface. 

– dpa

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