How Will Israel Hack Our Brains?


With merely 70 years since it was founded, Israel is one of the youngest countries in the world. Spanning a little over 10,000 miles, it is also among the 50 smallest countries in the world; not to mention the fact that most of that land is desert, making agriculture nearly impossible. While some view Israel as a small and inexperienced country, I see it as one of the most brilliant and thriving nations. Through innovation, Israelis took advantage of the few natural resources they had and created one of the world’s top economies.

Over the past seven decades, Israel is credited with many inventions such as the USB flash drive, drip irrigation, Waze navigation and the Iron Dome. Yet, these modernizations do not seem to compare to Israel’s latest project: “Brain Hacking.” In 2013, Israel hosted the first Hackathon of its kind called “Brainihack.” The conference was designed for people to develop products focused on brain-computer interface (BCI), which can detect brainwaves and use them to interact with computers. Many interesting ideas were thought of—a device to allow people to drive cars with nothing but their minds, a link between an artist’s mind and a 3D printer and a system to block incoming phone calls by sensing that the user was busily concentrating. While some might think that these ideas are impossible to create, or that the engineers behind them are thinking too far into the future, the Hackathon served as a sophisticated brainstorm towards making viable products that link our consciousness with a computer.

But the future of brain hacking is what’s really exciting—progress in the medical and neuroscience fields. While there have been many scientific advances, there hasn’t been a non-invasive method for measuring and quantifying our brain health, until now. ElmindA, a company based in Herzliya, uses state-of-the-art BNA™ (Brain Network Activation) to “[revolutionize] the diagnosis, [by] monitoring [the] treatment of brain-related disorders [through] measuring how effectively different parts of the brain are connecting and communicating.” They seek to “hack” human brains and gain an understanding of people’s brain functionalities and measurements, allowing doctors to treat those in need of physical rehabilitation from injuries, psychiatric and neurological problems.

This aspect of brain hacking will completely change the current perspective about human brains, opening amazing possibilities that will help us explore brain capacities and understand its complexity and its power. I think it is really exciting that Israel is making this effort to explore something that previously seemed impossible. While this technology was initially discovered a few years ago, many people today still do not know about Israel’s brain hacking innovations. Hopefully, as knowledge about this new invention spread, so too can the technology.

This innovation is the result of a country with a drive to improve, something that should truly be admired. Perhaps, Israel will not only be called the “Start-Up Nation,” but will be also named “Brain Nation” in a very near future.

Daniel Romano is a senior at Colegio Hebreo Tarbut in Mexico City, Mexico.