TIME Gadgets

Watch the Evolution of Apple’s iPhone in a Single GIF

Apple; Gif by Joseph C. Lin—TIME

From 2007 to 2014

It seems like ages since Steve Jobs first announced Apple’s first iPhone in 2007. At the time, the heavy, 4GB device seemed like a technology miracle, but today it looks just a little dated compared to the iPhone’s latest iteration — and who knows what it’ll look like compared to the iPhone 6, which is just around the corner.

TIME captured the evolution of the iPhone in just a few seconds.

TIME Innovation

Google Reveals Drone Delivery Plans

The company just started conducting tests after two years of work

Google has begun testing a small number of drones as it explores a possible delivery service powered by the unmanned aerial vehicles, the company revealed Thursday.

Google has been working on Project Wing for two years but only began testing the drones in the Australian outback this month, the Washington Post reports. In trials, the small aircraft have flown between 130 and 195 ft. (well above houses and trees) and delivered items such as a water bottle and a first-aid kit. Google says it conducted more than 30 successful flights, including one that traveled more than half a mile.

While the Federal Aviation Administration is still developing guidelines and regulations for commercial drones, several companies besides Google, including Amazon, Facebook and Disney, have opened up about possible applications for drones, including delivery capabilities and high-speed Internet services. According to Google, it will be years before the company will develop a fully functional delivery service with drones traveling along preprogrammed routes.

“When you can get something near-instantly, it changes how you think about it,” the company said in a statement. “Think of the mom stuck at home with two sick kids, the hiker who’s met a poisonous snake, or the farmer out in the field with a sick animal. It could also open up new models for sharing goods rather than owning them — who needs a power drill for more than eight minutes a year?”

[WP]

TIME Food & Drink

Here’s How Ice Cream Will Look—and Taste—in the Future

Brace yourself for edible shells and 3-D printing.

As the old saying goes, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right? Well, we’re pretty sure that doesn’t apply to ice cream. It’s already, by many accounts, the perfect food, so it certainly doesn’t need “fixing” per se, but we’re completely open to the idea that it could be made even better.

Here, a look at three current projects that are shaking up the ice cream world — and potentially altering the future of everybody’s favorite frozen treat.

  • Ice cream that’s been 3D printed

    When faced with an assignment to develop a new and innovative technology in 3D-printing, a group of MIT students decided to think a bit differently from their classmates.

    “Everyone else was printing composites and resins and none of that was very tasty,” says Kyle Hounsell, now a recent MIT graduate, who teamed with fellow students to think of some edible options for the project. Eventually, he and fellow students Donghyun Kim and Kristine Bunker decided they’d try to 3D-print ice cream — and it ended up working.

    The team took an ordinary off-the-shelf soft-serve ice cream machine and then attached it to a Solidoodle 3D printer.

    “The technology is called fused deposition modeling,” Hounsell explains. “Basically what you do is you put down the first layer of whatever you’re doing, be it plastic or ice cream or chocolate. You extrude your first layer from this nozzle — it’s sort of like if you had a hot glue gun and you put it down on a table and made a ring, and by the time you got around to the start, you’d move the head up a little bit and go around again. And the first ring you printed has solidified, so it’s more structurally stable, but when you go back around, you extrude new stuff which melts to it and becomes part of it.”

    That’s the process you’ll see in the video above. You might notice that the ice cream looks a bit runny, but that’s only because the team had to keep the machine’s door open to capture the video. To make sure the ice cream solidified, the students added a nozzle to sprays liquid nitrogen onto the freshly-printed layers.

    The next step, Hounsell says, is to file a patent and figure out what the future of 3D printed ice cream could hold.

    “Novelty would be a strong factor. I feel like you could just plop one of these down in a Target or something in a glass-walled freezer and sit there and watch,” he says. “Watching 3D printers work is mesmerizing. At least to me.”

  • Ice cream that’s made to order with liquid nitrogen

    A boy observes Smitten Ice Cream's Brrr machine in action. Toni Gauthier / Toni Bird Photography

    In the heart of San Francisco sits Smitten Ice Cream, where every batch of ice cream is made to order, on the spot, using a high-tech machine called Brrr. This apparatus, which took years to develop and patent, produces what Vogue called “arguably the freshest, if not the best, ice cream on earth.”

    The key ingredient? Liquid nitrogen.

    “The gist is that the faster you freeze ice cream, the smaller the ice crystals can be, and the smaller the ice crystals, the smoother the texture,” Smitten founder Robyn Sue Fisher says. “To freeze really fast, you freeze really cold. So liquid nitrogen, being negative 321 degrees Fahrenheit, really fits that bill.”

    Making ice cream this way means you can produce smooth, dense, tasty ice cream — and it also means you can cut out emulsifiers, preservatives and stabilizers, instead using fresh, local ingredients.

    “The whole impetus of me starting the company is just that I was getting kind of of grossed out by looking at the back of ice cream cartons and realizing how many ingredients were in the product that I couldn’t even pronounce,” Fisher says.

    Fisher admits that making ice cream with liquid nitrogen is nothing new — but other ice cream shops tend to do this with a basic kitchen mixer, and without a carefully engineered machine, it’s difficult to get the right texture every time. Plus, customers get to watch the machine in action as it churns their ice cream in a whirring, cloudy haze.

    For now, Smitten has four locations around the Bay Area. While Fisher doesn’t have plans to take over the world, if this ice cream is truly as delicious and fresh as it looks, you never know.

  • Ice cream served inside an edible shell

    WikiPearl ice cream balls WikiFoods

    These golf ball-sized ice cream spheres are designed to be easy to eat, but they’ve also got an eco-friendly purpose: eliminating wasteful food packaging. They’re called WikiPearls and they were developed by Harvard biomedical engineering professor David Edwards, who was inspired by foods like grapes and coconuts that essentially come with built-in packaging.

    But of course, this is still ice cream we’re talking about — so taste is a priority.

    “For a new food form to be really successful, it has to be really good and give benefits that people are looking for in food,” Edwards says. “So the packaging is a great thing but from a consumer point of view, it just needs to be really great.”

    The edible skins are made of natural food particles that are bound together with nutritive ions to form a soft skin that keeps the ice cream inside cold for several hours. You can throw them inside a Thermos and carry them with you throughout the day, popping them into your mouth when you need a snack. (Portion control, anyone?)

    For now, WikiPearls are sold at a little shop in Paris, but Edwards says they’ll soon be available in the U.S. at Cafe ArtScience opening in September in Cambridge, Mass. Flavors are fairly standard (mango ice cream with coconut skin, chocolate ice cream with hazelnut skin) but Edwards says some more eccentric flavors — like foie gras ice cream with an onion skin — are coming this fall.

    Frozen yogurt in WikiPearl form exists too, if you’re into that sort of thing. They’re a bit smaller — about the size of a grape — and can be found at a few Whole Foods locations around New England. (As we all know, though, frozen yogurt is great, but it can’t really replace the true star of the show.)

    While Edwards hopes that WikiPearls will one day be the new normal of ice cream, he’s also got plans to expand this technology into other culinary realms. He’s already created versions including cheese, fruits and vegetables — and while we’re not sure how receptive consumers will be to those, we do think the ice cream balls could be a hit.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 28

1. New Orleans is at the heart of a new HIV epidemic, and only massive health system reform can remedy the situation.

By Jessica Wapner in Aeon

2. From dismantling Syria’s chemical arsenal to hunting down Joseph Kony, America’s military missions abroad far outlast the public’s attention span.

By Kate Brannen in Foreign Policy

3. To look beyond stereotypes and understand the programs and interventions that improve life for young men of color, the U.S. Department of Education invited them to a “Data Jam.”

By Charley Locke in EdSurge

4. Taking a page from silicon valley, incubators for restaurateurs can help get new ideas on the plate.

By Allison Aubrey at National Public Radio

5. So the homeless can work, worship, and transition to normal life, cities should offer safe, flexible storage options.

By Kriston Capps in Citylab

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Innovation

This Is What Europe’s Largest 3D Scanner Looks Like

The 115 sensors scan objects and print 3D figurines of them

In Prague, Czech Republic, a 3D scanner can produce a miniature sculpture of you with remarkable detail.

The largest in continental Europe, the device is designed to scan people, animals and objects, which are placed on a platform as 115 sensors take a 360 degree snapshot. The scanning process takes only five to 15 minutes, after which a computer creates and then 3D prints a figurine between 15 and 35cm tall of the scanned item.

The price of the device is six million Czech crowns ($284,208).

TIME Gadgets

Samsung Gear S Smartwatch Can Make Calls Without a Paired Phone

Samsung

The predominant smartwatch maker introduces yet another wearable, but this one can fly solo.

Smartwatches are notoriously codependent gadgets. If you want to use one to make calls, you need an auxiliary device nearby to do the cellular legwork. Forget smart, they’re like mini-dumb terminals, wrist-bound proxies for another functionally better-rounded piece of technology.

Until now: Meet the Gear S, a curved-screen smartwatch that maker Samsung says can do phone calls all by its lonesome.

The Gear S uses a curved 2-inch 360-by-480 pixel Super AMOLED display attached to a flex band (with changeable straps), and employs a customizable interface that includes views and fonts Samsung says will let you “read messages and notifications at a single glance.”

The IP67-certified (particle and moisture resistant) wearable is powered by a 1.0 Ghz dual-core processor, has 512MB of memory and 4GB of internal storage, and runs Tizen, the Linux-based operating system for embedded devices. It includes both 3G as well as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, charges its 300 mAh Li-ion battery (Samsung estimates you’ll get two days out of “typical usage”) with a USB 2.0 cable, and has a battery of tracking tools, including an accelerometer, a gyroscope, a compass, a heart-rate monitor, an ambient light sensor, an ultraviolet detector and a barometer.

It’ll still sync with or act as a call proxy for a smartphone, of course, if that’s what you prefer, but the big deal — if you care about smartwatches anyway — is that it can get online to check notifications by itself, and you can make and receive calls from your wrist without a secondary device. I see nothing in the specifications about a microphone or speaker, for better or worse, thus ruling out the Dick Tracy angle (meaning, in other words, that you might need a Bluetooth headset to make calls).

Samsung’s covering that angle by simultaneously announcing the Gear Circle, a Bluetooth headset that can pair with smartphones (and while the company doesn’t say as much in the press release, one assumes, the Gear S). The Gear Circle’s extras include a magnetic lock that lets it hang around your neck during downtime, and it’ll vibrate to indicate an incoming call or notification.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 27

1. A reimagined NATO – with rapid response capability – could balance the Putin doctrine.

By David Francis in Foreign Policy

2. Hold the bucket: Focusing on a single disease isn’t a good use of philanthropy dollars.

By Felix Salmon in Slate

3. The Navy’s audacious plan for a new warfighting vessel was too good to be true. The result is a ship that meets none of our needs well. Cancel the Littoral Combat Ship.

By William D. Hartung and Jacob Marx at the Center for International Policy

4. The conventional wisdom is that social media stimulates debate, but self-censorship online actually leads to a ‘spiral of silence.’

By Keith Hampton, Lee Rainie, Weixu Lu, Maria Dwyer, Inyoung Shin and Kristen Purcell at the Pew Research Internet Project

5. Better living through design: Injectable, long-acting birth control will revolutionize family planning in the developing world.

By Heather Hansman in Pacific Standard

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

TIME Innovation

Here’s Why It’s Not All About Your Personal Success

Companies must adapt to see themselves as units within a bigger system

bif10-600-sq-info

This is one of a 10-article series of conversations with transformational leaders who will be storytellers at the BIF10 Collaborative Innovation Summit in Providence, RI, on Sept. 17-18.

Keith Yamashita vividly remembers one smoggy school day from when he was eight years old. He and fellow classmates at the local elementary school in Santa Ana, California, spent their recess corralled in the indoor gymnasium to watch a movie.

“That film stuck with me for the rest of my life” Yamashita later recalled while sharing a tale of personal transformation onstage at the Collaborative Innovation Summit, a storytelling event hosted annually by the nonprofit Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence, RI.

The 9-minute film, “Powers of Ten” by Charles and Ray Eames, begins with an overhead view of a couple lounging on top of a checkered picnic blanket in a park. The camera zooms out and appears to rise into the atmosphere, marking off the distance from the picnic blanket in powers of ten, until it is far outside our galaxy. Then it zooms back in, ending at the atoms in the husband’s hand.

“Up to that point,” he said, “I had no idea that anything existed beyond my house and school, existed outside of what I knew.”

+++

Yamashita is the chairman of SYPartners, a fast-paced consultancy whose work has realigned the visions of numerous corporate titans.

SYPartners encouraged Nike to make a greater commitment to corporate responsibility. General Electric, a company with a 20-year track record of acquisitions, was helped to welcome internal growth. That SYPartners took Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz on a field trip, visiting artisanal businesses and food shops to rethink the meaning of connoisseurship, remains an industry legend. Shortly after, Starbucks closed all of its U.S. locations for a day to retrain its staff.

“Companies that get the most stuck are often ones that have been very successful at doing something,” Yamashita observes. “It’s always easier to perpetuate what is, rather than to invent the new.”

In his talk at the BIF Summit, Yamashita used the Eames film to demonstrate the importance of collaborative perspective. From different viewpoints, the sun may be a mere pinpoint, while a proton may be a critical force.

It is no longer enough to aim for personal success, Yamashita tells his clients. Companies must adapt to see themselves as units within a bigger system; they must collaborate while being able to articulate what unique part they play.

Yamashita started his career at Apple, as Steve Jobs’ writer. “My job was to get on paper the things that were floating around in Steve’s mind,” says Yamashita. He credits Jobs to teaching him his first lesson on business innovation: “the power of galvanizing vision. Steve had this wonderful capability of permitting himself to see what the rest of the world did not yet see, and holding steadfast to that as a compass.”

Keith Yamashita founded SYPartners with Apple’s former creative director Robert Stone. The firm, headquartered in a sunny loft in San Francisco’s warehouse district, boasts an eclectic team of strategists — “designers and technologists, poets and MBAs.” They navigate their practice through a compass of innovation, devised from their collective experience. The compass has the following points: “See, Believe, Think, Act.”

“What we permit ourselves to see affects and challenges what we believe, which changes what we’re willing to think about,” Yamashita explains. Consequently, “what we’re willing to think about builds confidence and courage to take action.”

To Yamashita, “the process of innovation is going around that circle dozens of times to come up with something that disrupts and that’s valuable.” He adds, “They’re super simple words, but the practice of it goes deep.”

+++

Though Yamashita spoke to a rapt audience at BIF’s Collaborative Innovation Summit, he claims his most meaningful experience there did not come from sharing his vision, but from sharing the visions of others.

“I remember eating lunch with three remarkable individuals — BIF storytellers” he says. Their table started a “round-robin conversation,” letting each person forecast the future of their industry.

Yamashita recalls that Carmen Medina, a former director within the CIA, predicted, that “in several years, open systems will be closed systems.”

Another luncher, Ben Berkowitz, founder of SeeClickFix, an app that enables citizens to report community problems to the local government, anticipated “an increase of people mobilizing not through structure or hierarchy, but by the will to contribute on their own terms.”

To the right of him sat Fast Company founder Alan Webber, (“my life-long mentor,” says Yamashita), who stressed the idea that our most pressing problems cannot be solved without better integration of government, business resources and public initiative.

“Over the past four years, all of those predictions have turned out to be true,” says Yamashita. “To me, that’s such an emblem of what the BIF Summit is about — convening with others to be able to see things that none of us could see on our own. I’m thrilled be to able to go BIF10 this year.”

The BIF Collaborative Innovation Summit combines 30 brilliant storytellers with more than 400 innovation junkies in a two-day storytelling jam, featuring tales of personal discovery and transformation that spark real connection and “random collisions of unusual suspects.”

Saul Kaplan is the author of The Business Model Innovation Factory. He is the founder and chief catalyst of the Business Innovation Factory (BIF) in Providence and blogs regularly at It’s Saul Connected. Follow him on Twitter at @skap5. Nicha Ratana is a senior pursuing a degree in English Nonfiction Writing at Brown University and an intern at The Business Innovation Factory. Follow her on Twitter at @nicharatana.

 

TIME Innovation

Ralph Lauren Debuts Biometric Shirts at the U.S. Open

Fashion-Wearable Tech
Ralph Lauren's new garment offers smart technology to send heartbeat, respiration, stress levels and other data to tablets and smartphones AP

But don't get excited. You won't be able to buy them until early 2015

Fashion guru Ralph Lauren has sought to morph fashionable sportswear into wearable technology with the launch of the Polo Tech smart shirt, which is being worn by some ball boys at this year’s U.S. Open tennis tournament.

The compression garment comes with technology from a Canadian firm, OMsignal, that feeds detailed information about a wearer’s heart rate, breathing, activity and so on directly to a smartphone or tablet.

Silver-yarn-based sensors gauge athletic performance by measuring the expansion and compression of the wearer’s chest along with electrical changes associated with heart rate. The information is collected in a small black-box-type recorder, which can be removed when the garment needs to be thrown into the washing machine.

While the Polo Tech shirt is making a splash at the U.S. Open, the public won’t be able to purchase it until the spring.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 26

1. “This is a reflection of long-standing and growing inequalities of access to basic systems of healthcare delivery.” –Partners in Health co-founder Paul Farmer on the Ebola outbreak.

By Democracy Now!

2. Despite commitments to the contrary, elite colleges are still failing to bring poorer students into the fold.

By Richard Pérez-Peña in the New York Times

3. #ISISMediaBlackout: Tuning out Islamist rhetoric and taking out their powerful propaganda weapon.

By Nancy Messieh at the Atlantic Council

4. What makes income inequality so pernicious? The shocking odds against moving up the income ladder for some Americans.

By Richard Reeves at the Brookings Institution

5. The specter of Iraq’s looming collapse is inflaming concerns about Afghanistan’s electoral crisis. But the two countries are very different.

By The Editors of Bloomberg View

The Aspen Institute is an educational and policy studies organization based in Washington, D.C.

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