TIME Innovation

Raspberry Pi Unveils Newer, Faster $35 Computer

The credit-card sized computer will also get Windows 10 at no additional cost

Technology and bargain lovers alike are in for some good news: The Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the release of a newer and faster model Monday called the Raspberry Pi 2. And like the original, it only costs $35.

For the uninitiated, the Raspberry Pi is a credit-card sized, single-board computer that be hooked up to a monitor, keyboard, and mouse.

While the original model helped children learn basic programming skills, CEO Eben Upton told The Register that the Raspberry Pi 2 is “a usable PC now. It was always the case that you could use a Raspberry Pi 1 as a PC but you had to say ‘this is a great PC in so far as it cost me 35 bucks.’ We’ve removed the caveat that you had to be a bit forgiving with it. Now it’s just good.”

The British charity behind the technology says the new model is six times more powerful than the previous version. It has 1GB of RAM, double that of the prior model. Its new 900MHz quad-core processor means it’s faster, too.

But one of the cooler announcements is that Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 operating system is coming to the Raspberry Pi 2 at no additional cost. It will be shipped to makers free of charge once the software is available.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 30

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

1. What if football helmet safety ratings are measuring the wrong hits?

By Bryan Gruley in Bloomberg Business

2. If France wants fewer radicalized Muslims, it must clean up its prisons.

By Michael Birnbaum in the Washington Post

3. They 3D-printed a car.

By Umair Irfan in Scientific American

4. The low price of meat doesn’t reflect its true cost.

By the New Scientist

5. Lesser-known cities and young architects are perfect for each other.

By Amanda Kolson Hurley in CityLab

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

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 29

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

1. The homeownership safety net may be unraveling for the next generation of seniors.

By Taz George and Ellen Seidman in MetroTrends

2. As we try to understand what draws Americans to ISIS, one judge hopes we can slow radicalization by putting recruits in halfway houses instead of jail.

By Dina Temple-Raston at National Public Radio

3. Phones for farmers: With a mobile phone, a developing world farmer can learn best practices, get weather data, follow crop prices and even access financial services.

By Gates Notes

4. A new food studies program at a Bronx community college will look at healthy eating and obesity in one of the city’s poorest neighborhoods.

By Winnie Hu in the New York Times

5. A new initiative is pushing to get more women into the debate on global issues. Meet Foreign Policy Interrupted.

By Micah Zenko at the Council on Foreign Relations

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 Airline Is Giving Passengers Virtual Reality Headsets

Virtual Reality
Patrick T. Fallon—Patrick T. Fallon An attendee during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Tuesday, Jan. 6, 2015.

Some Qantas passengers will get Samsung's Gear VR headset

Your next in-flight movie could be a lot more immersive.

Australian airline Qantas is partnering with Samsung to bring the electronics company’s virtual reality headsets to some of its passengers. First-class fliers will soon be able to use Samsung’s Gear VR headset during flights to explore virtual reality worlds. The headsets will let customers digitally explore the Qantas airport, visit the top of the Sydney Harbor Bridge and travel through the Australian wilderness.

In addition to in-flight VR, Qantas fliers will be able to use the headsets in first-class airport lounges in Sydney and Melbourne.

In a press release, a Qantas executive also promised that passengers will be able to access “the virtual worlds of their favorite Hollywood blockbusters,” though there are currently very few films release in a VR format. For now, the headsets are being offered in a limited three-month trial.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 28

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

1. As pressure builds for U.S. military attention to Boko Haram in Nigeria, that nation’s political situation and past abuses complicate planning.

By Kevin Baron and Molly O’Toole at Defense One

2. What was once an “artist” is now a “creative entrepreneur.” Marketing and networking have forever changed art.

By William Deresiewicz in the Atlantic

3. Does the rising danger of digital attacks mean traditional warfare is irrelevant?

By David Barno and Nora Bensahel in War on the Rocks

4. Probability forecasts would take some getting used to, but they are a better way to tell the public about major weather events.

By Graham T. Beck in Time

5. Improving the ‘cold chain’ — how food stays fresh from farm to table — could massively reduce waste and carbon emissions.

By Adam Wernick at Public Radio International

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 China

See China’s Internet Dilemma in One Screen Grab

Can the country really hope for entrepreneurial innovation while restricting Internet access?

Chinese state media today announced a plan to lure more “entrepreneurial” expatriates to China. The goal is to get people into startups and promote innovation, according to a site-leading story Wednesday on the English-language edition of the China Daily.

Running just below that article, though, was a piece headlined “VPN Providers Must Obey Rules.” VPN (virtual private network) providers are the companies that help people jump over China’s Great Firewall. In recent weeks, the government has targeted several such firms, slowing or stopping their services altogether.

The thing is, the “innovative” foreign entrepreneurs China seeks will almost certainly want unfettered access to the Internet. You know, crazy stuff like Twitter, Facebook and YouTube (all of which are banned in China). What’s a startup-loving Communist Party official to do?

TIME Innovation

Here’s the One Simple Way To Fix Weather Forecasts

A woman stands in falling snow in front of an electronic sign displaying the weather forecast in Times Square in New York
Mike Segar—Reuters A woman stands in falling snow in front of an electronic sign displaying the weather forecast in Times Square in New York City on Jan. 26, 2015.

Graham T. Beck writes about cities and the natural world.

Probabilistic forecasting would take some getting used to—but it could save us a lot of headaches

Just after midnight on Tuesday morning, Gary Szatkowski, the meteorologist in charge of the National Weather Service’s office in Mt. Holly, New Jersey, took to Twitter for some good old fashioned self-flagellation.

“My deepest apologies to many key decision makers and so many members of the general public,” he wrote to his 14,000 followers. “You made a lot of tough decisions expecting us to get it right, and we didn’t. Once again, I’m sorry,” he added two minutes later.

Szatkowski, of course, was apologizing for his agency’s forecast for a blizzard of historic proportions that — at least in his part of the world and as far north and east as New York City — fell far short of expectations, leaving inches of snow where people were expecting feet.

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio took a decidedly different approach to the miscalculation. “Would you rather be prepared or unprepared? Safe or unsafe?” he asked rhetorically at a post-snow press conference, where his agency heads proudly boasted of their heroic responses to an average winter storm.

So, who’s right? In an age of weather hype, with 24-hour news cycles and superlative-laden click-bait headlines, is it have better to under promise or plan for the worst?

The answer, according to Susan Joslyn, an Associate Professor of Psychology at the University of Washington who studies decision making in applied settings, is complicated.

In a 2015 paper, co-authored with Jared Le Clerc, Joslyn examined how the “cry wolf effect” impacted weather-related decision making. According to her research, increasing false alarms (like over estimating snow totals or issuing unnecessary travel bans) has a negative impact on the quality of decisions down the road, but reducing false alarms doesn’t have a positive impact on the quality of future decisions. Adding an uncertainty estimate to the forecast, however, does.

“My personal feeling about this is it is appropriate to take precaution, even if there’s a small chance, especially if human life is at risk,” Joslyn said during a telephone interview.

“But what authorities ought to do for decision makers and the public is tell them ‘yes, I think there’s a good chance’, and then tell them the probability. What they tend to do is say ‘It’s going to happen or ‘It’s not going to happen.’ Our research indicates that giving the full story has the best results,” she said.

Mike Smith, a meteorologist from AccuWeather Enterprise Solutions and a weather historian, thinks that Joslyn’s work is fine in theory but sees some real challenges to probabilistic forecasts in practicality.

“In this storm, which point do you pick to represent New York City? Is it the west side of Manhattan, the east side of Queens? There’s an 8-inch difference in total accumulation between the two,” Smith said in a telephone interview, adding, “And when you’re on TV, you can’t go on and on about how Staten Island has this likelihood of that amount and Brooklyn has that likelihood of this amount.”

“Perhaps as weather science advances,” he added, “and as the web becomes more ubiquitous, maybe. But with toady’s dissemination technology it’s very difficult to give probabilistic snow forecasts to everyone.”

What’s more, Smith thinks the forecast was just fine.

“The average snowfall in New York was 11”. Did they have had to load the trucks with salt? Yes. Did school have to be called? Yes. Would workers have been told to stay home or telecommute? Yes. Would flights have been cancelled? Yes. Once you reach that threshold it really doesn’t matter how much more snow falls.”

“Was it an excellent forecast for points south and west of New York City? Of course not, but it was useful. For everyone north and east, I’d say that it was lifesaving. To me, that makes it a good day for meteorology.”

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: January 27

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

1. Political differences aren’t the problem in America. It’s our fierce intolerance of political differences.

By Clive Crook in Bloomberg View

2. Instead of burying carbon emissions underground, a new plan converts it to minerals for longer-lasting, safer storage.

By Andy Extance in Slate

3. As more states and communities give ex-cons a fair chance at employment, the momentum is building for action by the White House.

By Lydia DePillis in the Washington Post

4. Games inspire deeper engagement and interaction. Can we gamify the news?

By Lene Bech Sillesen in Columbia Journalism Review

5. It’s time to reimagine youth sports in America with an eye on inclusion and health.

By Tom Farrey in the Aspen Idea Blog

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

Five Best Ideas of the Day: January 26

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

1. We spent more than $170 billion on the wars they fought for us. Can we spend $5 billion to give veterans a guaranteed income?

By Gar Alperovitz in Al Jazeera America

2. A ‘teaching hospital’ model could work for journalism education by making students work collectively to produce professional results.

By Adam Ragusea at Neiman Lab

3. Humans are born with an intimate understanding of pitch, rhythm, and tone. We’re all musical geniuses.

By Elizabeth Hellmuth Margulis in Aeon

4. WarkaWater Towers — which produce up to 25 gallons of water out of fog and dew every day — could change lives in drought-stricken countries.

By Liz Stinson in Wired

5. Private sector investment savvy and funds can help us tackle poverty’s toughest challenges. It’s time for impact investing.

By Anne Mosle in The Hill

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

Medicine’s Augmented-Reality Future Is Just Around the Corner

man-touching-button
Getty Images

How this new technology will change how your doctor treats you

This story was originally published at the Daily Dot.

Augmented reality is still a relatively new and unknown technology. People scoff at Google Glass face computers on the street while the device is being used by doctors as both a diagnostic tool and a way to train medical students.

The hardware and software that bends reality is expected to become a part of our everyday life. But when? In fields like healthcare, it’s already being used to treat patients and improve the quality of life for those suffering from things like mental illness and vision impairments.

Helen Papagiannis, augmented reality specialist and Ph.D researcher, studies practical applications of augmented reality, and at a HealthTech Women event in San Francisco, discussed some of the ways it’s already being used in work and research environments.

OrCam is helping visually impaired people “see” text. The Tel Aviv-based company created a wearable that clips onto a pair of glasses and contains a camera and a pair of sensors. It speaks to the wearer through a bone-conduction earpiece, describing what it sees. OrCam can tell when a person is pointing to a menu, book, or any other text, and can “read” the text to the wearer. This technology has allowed people to enjoy novels before bed, go out to lunch with friends without asking them to read the menu, and look at street signs while walking through a city.

In diagnostic environments, Evena Medical gives nurses and doctors complete vision of vascular anatomy with Eyes-On Glass—by slipping on a pair of glasses, they can see the veins underneath patients’ skin, making it easier to document the best care as well as insert needles quicker and more comfortably.

“In two to five years, the definition of augmented reality is going to extend,” Papagiannis said in an interview with the Daily Dot. “We’re not going to be calling it augmented reality anymore, it really will just be reality. It will be a combination of artificial intelligence, machine learning, big data, all coming together.”

Read the rest of the story at the Daily Dot.

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