TIME Innovation

Why Religion Isn’t Good for Politics

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

These are today's best ideas

1. Religion in America is disappearing. That’s great for politics.

By Michael Shermer in Politico

2. What should we do if ISIS wins? Live with it.

By Stephen M. Walt in Foreign Policy

3. To get rid of Dengue fever, we’re modifying the mosquitoes that carry it.

By Marc Zimmer in the Conversation

4. Putin’s warlords are slipping out of control.

By Adrian Karatnycky in the New York Times

5. Don’t get a degree in a “hot” field.

By Peter Cappelli in Money

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

How Cell Phones Can End World Hunger

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

These are today's best ideas

1. How cell phones can end world hunger.

By Dan Glickman in National Geographic

2. The sharing economy could be terrible for workers. We can fix that.

By Jeff Spross in the Week

3. The Iraqi Army no longer exists

By Barry Posen in DefenseOne

4. Poor people make better financial decisions than wealthy people.

By Anuj Shah in Slate

5. Soon, your car will avoid potholes for you.

By Martin Anderson in the Stack

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

How to Fit a Medical Lab in Your Pocket

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

These are today's best ideas

1. How to fit an entire medical lab in your pocket.

By Cécilia Carron at EPFL

2. In New Orleans, the future of education is now.

By Richard Whitmire in RealClearEducation

3. The full time job is dead. Welcome to the age of microcareers.

By Kevin Maney in Backchannel

4. Forty-nine states are doing government wrong.

By Charles Chieppo in Governing

5. Tiny injectable electronics will monitor and treat brain injuries.

By Phys.org

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

Everything You Need to Know About Microsoft’s Massive 84-Inch Computer

Can this massive touchscreen computer finally bring brainstorms into the digital era?

Last week, during a press preview at Manhattan’s Westin Hotel, Mike Angiulo, corporate vice president of Microsoft devices, switched on the Surface Hub, a new 84-inch Windows touchscreen that he hopes will kickstart any work meeting. “If you blink, you’ll miss it,” said Anguilo as he tapped the touchscreen. With that single gesture, he flipped on the Surface Hub’s cameras, microphones and digital whiteboard — everything you’d need to get a teleconference going.

The Surface Hub is an all-in-one replacement for the meeting room equipment you’ve come to know and loathe: The projector, that insipid blue screen, those star-shaped speakerphones and eyeball-shaped webcams and endless cords trailing everywhere. If you’ve ever fantasized about cutting through this gordian knot of audio-visual equipment, the Surface Hub is for you.

But odds are you’re not the one who has to write the check. Microsoft unveiled the price of the Surface Hub Wednesday, and it falls well outside of the average worker bee’s budget. The 84-inch model will set an office back by $19,999, the 55-inch model by $6,999. At those prices, the Surface Hub’s sales team will have to aim their pitches high, convincing senior managers and Chief Technology Officers that a massive touchscreen won’t just kickstart meetings, but supercharge the discussions that brought all of those workers together in the first place.

“Fifty-four precent of all meetings have at least one person on a call with them,” says Anguilo. “That person, within 10 or 15 minutes, is just doing a little email, and 10 minutes later is building a ship in a bottle because they’ve lost track of the meeting and it’s hard to hear what’s going on in the room.”

Microsoft_Surface Hub 4153_A
Amos Morgan—Microsoft

The Surface Hub’s multiple sensors aim to get all those wandering workers back in the conversation. Wide angle cameras on the left and right hand side of the screen track the presenter’s face, automatically switching angles as the presenter turns. Microphones aim a concentrated beam at participants near and far, while voice-detecting algorithms scrub out background noise.

But the groundbreaking technology around which all of these sensors are arrayed is the market’s largest capacitive touchscreen, which can detect upwards of 100 fingers on the screen simultaneously. Normally, big touchscreens like the Hub are subject to freezing and jittering. Microsoft ironed out those kinks via its 2012 acquisition of Perceptive Pixel, the touchscreen startup behind CNN’s “magic wall,” which anchors have used to pinch and zoom in on electoral maps. Microsoft immediately sensed broader applications for the technology.

“Meetings are being increasingly driven right from live data instead of a canned picture from last week,” says Anguilo, “so you could have a tool that would let you zoom in on any kind of part or drawing or data.” There are other use cases, too: a Chicago law firm told Microsoft that it wants to roll the screen into a courtroom and play videos of a crime scene, tracing ink circles over key moments in the action. And sales teams could drill down on live, regional data to better focus their calls.

Teleconferencing, in other words, isn’t Microsoft’s only hook for the Surface Hub. Its purpose is to redefine the computer as a workplace social hub, where teams can gather, brainstorm and bounce ideas off of an interactive, 4K resolution display. If the general drift of devices over the past four decades has been towards more personal computing — from the PC to the smartphone to the smartwatch — the Surface Hub marks an about face toward communal computing.

Still, the Surface Hub may only take off among niche users at first. “They’re trying to build essentially a new market,” says Forrester analyst J.P Gownder. “There will be organizations that take to it right away, such as product designers or engineers, but for a broader audience it’s going to take some convincing and that will take some time.”

Microsoft begins taking pre-orders on the Windows 10-running Surface Hub July 1; the first units will ship from a factory in Wilsonville, Oregon to more than 24 countries this September. While you might not find one under the Christmas tree this year, you could spot the gargantuan machine in your meeting room when you’re back from the holiday break.

Read next: This Is Microsoft’s Big Secret Windows 10 Feature

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Innovation

How Rice Could Save Bangladesh From Climate Change

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

These are today's best ideas

1. This rice could help save Bangladesh from climate change.

By Amy Yee at NPR

2. How women provide an ‘invisible subsidy’ to the world’s health care systems.

By Francie Diep in Pacific Standard

3. Can kids really learn as much from ‘Sesame Street’ as from preschool?

By Jim Tankersley at the Washington Post

4. High school graduation rates are soaring — unless you’re a student of color or low-income.

By Alma J. Powell in the Root

5. You can’t drive drunk if your car won’t let you.

By Ashley Halsey III in the Washington Post

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

Why Profits Could Create Peace in Israel and Palestine

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

These are today's best ideas

1. Billions in profit await Israeli-Palestinian peace.

By Jodi Rudoren in the New York Times

2. Even war has laws. Now we need them for cyberwarfare.

By Duncan B. Hollis in Opinio Juris

3. We need better data to reduce police use of force incidents.

By Cory Booker in Medium

4. College students are becoming the new ‘thought police.’

By Edward Schlosser in Vox

5. Xi Jinping is China’s strictest leader since Mao. Is he repeating Mao’s mistakes?

By Willy Lam in Prospect

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 A Year In Space

Watch Live as NASA’s ‘Flying Saucer’ Hurtles Into Space

NASA’s saucer-shaped spacecraft is scheduled to lift off Monday from the west coast of Kauai island in Hawaii.

The launch was delayed from last week amid shifting winds that threatened to push the spacecraft off course. The flight plan begins with a massive, high-altitude balloon that will ferry the ‘flying saucer’ into the stratosphere.

TIME Innovation

Watch the World’s Most Nimble Robots Suffer 15 Spectacular Faceplants

DARPA Robotics Challenge Showcases Cutting Edge In Artificial Intelligence
Chip Somodevilla—Getty Images Fans pose for photographs with Team Kaist's DRC-HUBO robot after its successful run during the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) Robotics Challenge at the Fairplex June 6, 2015 in Pomona, California.

The last one is a doozy

The Defense Department’s research agency awarded $2 million to the world’s most nimble robot on Sunday — but bear in mind that a “nimble” robot is still a bit reminiscent of a “nimble” toddler.

A compilation of slip-ups at the DARPA Robotics Challenge shows that despite the incredible progress robots have made accomplishing a variety of tasks, from opening doors to traversing rubble to turning valves, many are still struggling to stand on their own two feet (or four feet or wheels):

Laugh while you can. DARPA sponsored a similar competition for driverless vehicles in 2004, and there was no shortage of cars making funny U-turns and veering off roads:

In as little as a decade Google had driven down the error rate on driverless vehicles down to 13 minor accidents in six years, all of which it attributes to human error. They grow up so fast.

Read next: The Iron Man Challenge

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Innovation

Feds Unveil Technology to Create ‘World Without Drunk Driving’

Safety advocates promote a dashboard mounted breathalyzer test

Road safety advocates converged on Congress Thursday to promote a new set of blood alcohol sensors that could prevent drivers from operating their vehicles while intoxicated.

The technology was unveiled by a joint research program called Driver Alcohol Detection System for Safety (DADDS), which brings auto manufacturers together with regulators and safety advocates to work on technological solutions to drunk driving.

The sensors promoted by DADDS could be breath-based, pulling in exhaled air from the driver, or touch-based, and could determine the driver’s sobriety in “less than a second,” according to a video released by the organization.

If a driver’s blood alcohol level rises above .08, the nationwide legal limit, “the vehicle won’t move.” Drivers under the drinking age could face a “zero tolerance” system that powers down for any trace of alcohol on the breath or under the skin.

 

TIME Innovation

Why Genocide Keeps Happening

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

These are today's best ideas

1. Here’s why genocide keeps happening.

By Jacqueline Murekatete, Simon Adams, Ellen Kennedy, Ernesto Verdeja, Charles J. Brown, Peter Galbraith in Zócalo Public Square

1. How not to fix airport screening.

By Patrick Tucker in Defense One

2. Our best tool to avoid conflict in the South China Sea is a treaty the Senate won’t ratify.

By Ankit Panda in the Diplomat

3. Teaching them to “think slow” and control their impulses is keeping teens out of trouble in Chicago.

By Andrew Flowers in FiveThirtyEight

4. How not to fix airport screening.

By Patrick Tucker in Defense One

5. Teaching inmates to tame wild horses gives both a better life.

By Melanie Ruiz in Ozy

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.

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