TIME Innovation

This Woman Can Sing Two Notes at Once and It’s Eerily Beautiful

Watch German vocalist Anne-Maria Hefele demonstrate the technique

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

In this video, German vocalist Anne-Maria Hefele demonstrates a technique called ‘Overtone singing’, wherein she simultaneously sings multiple notes at once. Having practiced this technique for more than 10 years now, Hefele manages to sing a low note and a high-pitched scale at the same time, even moving the notes in opposite directions.

The sound she makes is eerie – kinda like the music you hear in sci-fi movies – except this one has no special effects! Prepare to be blown away!

(via io9)

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 9

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

1. Like Pakistan, Turkey nurtured a militant movement next door. Will ISIS enter Turkey as the Taliban made a new home in Pakistan?

By Michael M. Tanchum and Halil M. Karaveli in New York Times

2. Look homeward: America should form a new North American partnership with Canada and Mexico to tackle global challenges.

By Nicholas Burns in the Boston Globe

3. Protestors in Hong Kong and around the world can bypass government censorship with “mesh networks.”

By Gareth Tyson in the Conversation

4. Early childhood development can dramatically change a child’s life and future. Massively scaling up investment in youth could close the income and skills gaps, and accomplish much more.

By the Brookings Institution

5. Rural America has the nation’s fastest rising child poverty rate. To overcome it, we must confront the weaknesses in our economic recovery.

By the Rural Family Economic Success Action Network

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

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Watch a Swarm of Drone Boats Protect a Larger Vessel

The Navy tests a new way to protect ships

Here’s a unique solution to piracy… autonomous swarms of drone ships to “overwhelm” the enemy. According to the report from IEEE Spectrum, “The system not only steered the autonomous boats but also coordinated its actions with other vehicles—a larger group of manned and remotely-controlled vessels.” No humans were on the boats.

(via IEEE Spectrum)

 

 

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

A $300 Yoga Mat Wants to Teach You a Proper Warrior Pose

Yoga
Getty Images

SmartMat, a tech-infused yoga mat developed by three entrepreneurs, is raising thousands of dollars

Can a nearly $300 yoga mat help improve your downward dog? A tech startup is saying yes, it can.

SmartMat, a tech-infused yoga mat developed by three entrepreneurs, is raising thousands of dollars by claiming to be the world’s first mat that can help users achieve that perfect pose with audio and visual cues sent via a smartphone, or tablet.

Here’s how it works: The SmartMat has a layer of thin pressure sensors embedded within a traditional yoga mat — sensors that link with a smartphone or tablet to provide vocal feedback about your poses. The mat will work best if users input some basic details, such as gender, height and weight, as well as arm span measurements and other details that can help the mat get a better sense of the yogi’s body type. SmartMat’s founders claim the mat can be used effectively by both enthusiastic yogis and beginners.

“It isn’t just a matter of plotting points on the mat and saying ‘This is where your feet go for downward dog,’ we are actually in the process of creating a learning engine,” co-founder Neyma Jahan told Fortune. “It learns about the user and tailors its practice to the needs of that user.”

Jahan said the SmartMat won’t replace teachers, but it can help improve the yoga practice.

“Tracking your fitness is part of the equation, having intuitive coaches can never be replaced with the computer and a person’s own drive,” Jahan said. “SmartMat is adding a tool to the tool belt.”

The fancy yoga mat would cost a consumer $297 if they back the Indiegogo campaign today, a price that could increase to as high as $447 as more orders come in. Launched in late September, SmartMat has already raised over $187,000, more than the stated $110,000 goal. The campaign on the crowdfunding website, which has already courted over 700 funders, ends on Oct. 30. SmartMat is hoping to ship the mats in July 2015.

SmartMat’s price is far higher than that of a traditional yoga mat. Yoga mats generally retail for under $40, and even premium-priced mats sold by Lululemon retail for less than $100.

But the SmartMat is a bet that tech-loving athletes are willing to open their wallets for the latest athletic-focused gadget. More than 20 million Americans practice yoga, with millions more involved in the practice internationally, so there are already a lot of consumers that participate in the activity. And athletes are known to embrace fancy and often pricey tech gadgets to enhance their technique and improve their performance — devices such as GPS-enabled watches, and mobile apps such as Nike+ to track their progress and keep tabs on how well they are performing.

The SmartMat isn’t just generating interest in the media, retailers are also hoping to get on board.

“Everybody you can think of has already contacted us,” Jahan said. “Everyone except Apple.”

Jahan founded SmartMat with Sam Marks, who previously worked at an e-cigarette company that was acquired by Lorillard, and former Yahoo executive Maziar Sadri. The entrepreneurs are hopeful the mat is the first of many fitness-focused advancements they hope to bring to market.

“The ultimate goal for our company is to go and create a personalized fitness experience,” Jahan said. “We are measuring output and helping [people] make incremental improvements in their performance.”

This article originally appeared on Fortune.com

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 8

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

1. Quotas can cause lasting change. Rwanda’s new parliament is more than 60% female.

By Eleanor Whitehead in This Is Africa

2. With open communication and smart procedures, we can contain Ebola.

By Atul Gawande in The New Yorker

3. A simple plan to begin saving for college at kindergarten helps families thrive.

By Andrea Levere in the New York Times

4. Teach For America is sewing seeds for education reform in unlikely places – by design.

By Jackie Mader in Next City

5. How Bitcoin could save journalism and the arts.

By Walter Isaacson in Time

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

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

This is How Much Desks Have Changed in 30 Years

Technology has helped un-clutter the desks of today

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

30 years ago, work desks around the world were cluttered with calculators, encyclopedias, calendars, fax machines, corded phones, corkboards, and other vintage items. Fast-forward to 2014, you’ll see all of those things as apps on a smartphone. In the video below, a team at the Harvard Innovation Lab visualizes each item’s eventual transformation into an app and how technology has helped un-clutter our desks of today.

“We wondered what it would be like to recreate the desktop from the 1980′s and then emulate its transformation through the computer age,” the team from Harvard Innovation Lab explains. “We wanted to illustrate how technology has changed our world, un-cluttering our desks and simplifying our lives. While gradual change from year to year is often hard to perceive, a longer snapshot gives us a much more dramatic view of the technological progression we have experienced.”

(via Design Boom)

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: October 7

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

1. Learning from our mistakes: Global response to the current Ebola crisis should improve our handling of the next outbreak.

By Lena H. Sun, Brady Dennis, Lenny Bernstein, Joel Achenbach in the Washington Post

2. A blueprint for reopening the tech industry to women: be deliberate, build a new pipeline that is openly focused on women, and attack the archetype of tech success.

By Ann Friedman in Matter

3. We need to change what’s taught in business schools and the narrative about business success that dominates boardrooms.

By Judy Samuelson in the Ford Forum

4. A health system that learns from its experience through data analysis can change medicine.

By Veronique Greenwood in the New York Times Magazine

5. A long overdue move to align our international development with climate reality could trigger sweeping policy changes around the world.

By Charles Cadwell and Mark Goldberg in the Baltimore Sun

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

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME

How Bitcoin Could Save Journalism and the Arts

The Innovators

Walter Isaacson is the author of “The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution.” Isaacson, the CEO of the Aspen Institute, has also been chairman of CNN and the managing editor of Time magazine.

Micropayment systems have the potential to reward creativity and exceptional content—on a realistic scale

The rise of Bitcoin, the digital cryptocurrency, has resurrected the hope of facilitating easy micropayments for content online. “Using Bitcoin micropayments to allow for payment of a penny or a few cents to read articles on websites enables reasonable compensation of authors without depending totally on the advertising model,” writes Sandy Ressler in Bitcoin Magazine.

This could lead to a whole new era of creativity, just like the economy that was launched 400 years ago by the Statute of Anne, which gave people who wrote books, plays or songs the right to make a royalty when they were copied. An easy micropayment system would permit today’s content creators, from major media companies to basement bloggers, to be able to sell digital copies of their articles, songs, games, and art by the piece. In addition to allowing them to pay the rent, it would have the worthy benefit of encouraging people to produce content valued by users rather than merely seek to aggregate eyeballs for advertisers.

This is something I advocated in a 2009 cover story for Time about ways to save journalism. “The key to attracting online revenue, I think, is to come up with an iTunes-easy method of micropayment,” I wrote. “We need something like digital coins or an E-ZPass digital wallet–a one-click system with a really simple interface that will permit impulse purchases of a newspaper, magazine, article, blog or video for a penny, nickel, dime or whatever the creator chooses to charge.”

TIME, February 16, 2009

That was not technically feasible back then. But Bitcoin has now spawned services such as ChangeTip, BitWall, BitPay and Coinbase that enable small payments to be made simply, with minimal mental friction or transaction costs. Unlike clunky PayPal, impulse purchases can be made without a pause or leaving a trace.

When reporting my new book, The Innovators, I discovered that most pioneers of the Web believed in enabling micropayments. In the mid-1960s, Ted Nelson coined the term hypertext and envisioned a web with two-way links, which would require the approval of the person whose page was being linked to.

Had Nelson’s system prevailed, it would have been possible for small payments to accrue to those who produced the content. The entire business of journalism and blogging would have turned out differently. Instead the Web became a realm where aggregators could make more money than content producers.

Tim Berners-Lee, the English computer engineer who created the protocols of the Web in the early 1990s, considered including some form of rights management and payments. But he realized that would have required central coordination and made it hard for the Web to spread wildly. So he rejected the idea.

As the Web was taking off in 1994, I was the editor of new media for Time Inc. Initially we were paid by the dial-up online services, such as AOL and Compuserve, to supply content, market their services, and moderate bulletin boards that built up communities of members.

When the open Internet became an alternative to these proprietary online services, it seemed to offer an opportunity to take control of our own destiny and subscribers. Initially we planned to charge a small fee or subscription, but ad agencies were so enthralled by the new medium that they flocked to buy the banner ads we had developed for our sites. Thus we decided to make our content free and build audiences for advertisers.

It turned out not to be a sustainable business model. It was also not healthy; it encouraged clickbait rather than stories that were so valuable that readers would pay for them. Consumers were conditioned to believe that content should be free. It took two decades to put that genie back in the bottle.

In the late 1990s, Berners-Lee tried to create new Web protocols that could embed on a page the information needed to handle a small payment, which would allow electronic wallet services to be created by banks or entrepreneurs. It was never implemented, partly because of the complexity of banking regulations. He revived the effort in 2013. “We are looking at micropayment protocols again,” he said. “The ability to pay for a good article or song could support more people who write things or make music.”

These micropayment protocols still have not been written. But Bitcoin may be making that unnecessary. One of the greatest advocates of using Bitcoin for micropayments is the venture capitalist Marc Andreessen, who as a student at the University of Illinois in 1993 created the first popular Web browser, Mosaic.

Originally, Andreessen had hoped to put a digital currency into his browser. “When we started, the first thing we tried to do was enable small payments to people who posted content,” he explained. “But we didn’t have the resources to implement that. The credit card systems and banking system made it impossible. It was so painful to deal with those guys. It was cosmically painful.”

Now Andreessen has become a major investor in companies that are creating Bitcoin transaction systems. “If I had a time machine and could go back to 1993, one thing I’d do for sure would be to build in Bitcoin or some similar form of cryptocurrency.”

Walter Isaacson, a former managing editor of Time, is the author of The Innovators: How a Group of Hackers, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution, out this week.

TIME Ideas hosts the world's leading voices, providing commentary and expertise on the most compelling events in news, society, and culture. We welcome outside contributions. To submit a piece, email ideas@time.com.

TIME Innovation

This Innovative Flower Pot Moves To Follow the Sun

This flower pot helps plants grow more efficiently

lost-at-e-minor_logo

This article originally appeared on Lost at E Minor.

It only took us a few thousand years to create the efficient flower pot design. Inspired by how sunflowers follow the sunlight, Barcelona-based industrial design company, Studio BAG Disseny, created a flower pot that can roll to face the direction of the sun, giving plants a more efficient way to grow.

Handmade in La Bisbal d’Emporda, Spain, the terracotta pots can whirl by simply moving the base. According to its designers, by adding movement to traditional static pots, it allows the plants to “follow the path of the sun, to sway in a breeze or grow at will.”

(via Design Taxi)

Your browser, Internet Explorer 8 or below, is out of date. It has known security flaws and may not display all features of this and other websites.

Learn how to update your browser