Technion researchers are accustomed to receiving awards for complex science breakthroughs conducted in their labs. Now they can claim a little piece of Hollywood.
Technion alumni have received an Oscar and an Emmy — announced recently within the span of 10 days.
Global video software company Beamr, whose technological leaders are graduates of the Technion’s Andrew and Erna Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering, won a 2021 Technology and Engineering Emmy® Award for Development of Perceptual Metrics for Video Encoding Optimization. “It’s amazing,” said Technion alumna Tamar Shoham M.Sc. ’09. “I often encounter glossy looks when I say I’m an engineer or try to explain what I do. Buy hey, an Emmy? That’s something everyone knows and understands.”
On the big screen: Guy Dorman M.Sc. ’04 was one of a team of five people at the company Amimon to win a tech Oscar, or Scientific and Engineering Award, for wireless video technology that is now widely used in the global film industry. The technology can transmit high quality video shots from a number of cameras in real-time to monitors on the set, giving a film’s director and crew full control of all shooting angles simultaneously. Mr. Dorman is an Amimon senior executive and the Algorithms Team manager. The American Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science will present the award as part of their Scientific and Technical Awards online ceremony on February 13, 2021.
The Tech Emmy is given to companies that develop groundbreaking technologies promoting the television industries in the fields of recording, production, and broadcasting. Beamr developed a quality metric that enables increased video compression without harming the quality of TV broadcasts. The advancement came about when engineers at Beamr encountered a problem determining when two images, and later video frames, are perceptually identical, a requirement to perform “lossless” optimization, or perfectly reconstructed compression. None of the quality measures available were reliable or efficient enough, so Shoham developed a new one from scratch.
Shoham, who is an Orthodox woman, gave a callout on her LinkedIn profile to girls who are wary of diving into a male-dominated world. “If you have a supportive family and an amazing work team like those I was blessed with, there’s the proof that you can achieve ANYTHING!”
Beamr was founded in 2009 by Sharon Carmel, who then brought in Technion electrical engineering graduate Dror Gill ’88, now Beamr’s CTO. The two asked a colleague at the Technion for a recommendation of an algorithmic specialist. In came Shoham. The team led Beamr to a line of successes including at least 48 registered patents.
The Technion’s role in the story goes deeper still. Gill’s father, Dr. Aharon Gill, is a Technion graduate and former adjunct lecturer who also won the same Tech Emmy. Shoham’s parents, Professor Emeritus Robert Adler and Dr. Joan Adler, are Technion faculty members (in the Viterbi Faculty of Electrical Engineering and the Faculty of Physics, respectively), and her husband and eldest son are also Technion graduates.