TIME Google

This Is What Google Learned from the Department of Defense

Robotics Competition Held In Florida
Joe Raedle—Getty Images

The famously innovative search company has taken a page from the Pentagon’s radical ideas factory

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This post is in partnership with Fortune, which offers the latest business and finance news. Read the article below originally published at Fortune.com.

By Miguel Helft

Regina Dugan loves to tell the story of how she got her current job. It was a little over two years ago, and Dugan, a mechanical engineer by training and an expert in counterterrorism, was finishing a three-year stint as director of DARPA, the Defense Department’s prodigious technology research organization that gave birth to things like the global positioning system, the stealth fighter, and the Internet. During her tenure, she sharpened its focus in areas like cybersecurity and new forms of manufacturing and on delivering tangible results. “DARPA is a place of doing,” she told Congress in 2011. It’s an attitude that earned her praise among the tech elite—including veteran venture capitalist John Doerr, who sums her up in four words: “She’s an impressive leader.”

Among Dugan’s many fans was Eric Schmidt, Google’s chairman, who suggested she go on a two-day visit of the Googleplex in Mountain View, Calif. The idea was to see if there might be a fit between Dugan and some project or other at the sprawling search and advertising giant. After making the rounds of various groups, Dugan sat down with Dennis Woodside, then the CEO of Google’s Motorola unit, who was charged with turning around a brand that was once synonymous with cellphone innovation but that had lost its way in the smartphone era. Woodside said that with a renewed focus on innovation, Motorola could leapfrog rivals like Apple and Samsung. His plan was to hire a mobile-industry veteran to lead an advanced-technology group that could deliver the inventions that would restore Motorola’s status as a pioneer.

What, he wondered, did Dugan—whose job had been to nurture DARPA’s decades-long streak of breakthroughs—think? “It’s a great strategy for not losing and a lousy strategy for winning,” she answered. A week later the Motorola innovation gig was hers.

For the rest of the story, please go to Fortune.com.

TIME Careers & Workplace

9 Ways to Become More Creative in the Next 10 Minutes

Creativity is developed; it's not a birthright

This post is in partnership with Inc., which offers useful advice, resources and insights to entrepreneurs and business owners. The article below was originally published atInc.com.

By Larry Kim

Modern culture often labels creativity as natural gift. Artists get showered with praise and proclamations of “you’re so talented,” but truthfully, talent has little to do with it.

Creativity is a skill to be learned, practiced, and developed, just like any other. Juggling takes practice, as does surfing, coding, and driving a car. Creativity is no different. The more you make creativity part of your daily life, the more it will grow.

So how do you make creativity part of your daily life? Here are 9 suggestions–and guess what? You can get started on them all in the next 10 minutes.

1. Doodle Something

Although we may have been reprimanded in school to “stop doodling and pay attention,” it’s time to bring back the doodle. Doodling, contrary to popular opinion, does not demonstrate a lack of focus. In fact, doodling can help you stay present and engaged during an activity in which you might otherwise find your mind drifting.

Suni Brown, author of The Doodle Revolution, notes that some of the greatest thinkers–from Henry Ford to Steve Jobs–used doodling to jump-start creativity. Doodling can enhance recall and activate unique neurological pathways, leading to new insights and cognitive breakthroughs. Some companies even encourage doodling during meetings!

9 Ways to Become More Creative in the Next 10 Minutes

2. Sign Up for a Class in Something You’ve Never Done Before

Creativity flourishes when you push yourself outside of your comfort zone and learn something new. Many communities offer evening adult education classes. These classes are often very casual, with plenty of beginner offerings. Try painting, pottery, or woodworking. How about learning a new language, picking up a new instrument, or taking a cooking class?

3. Create the Right Environment

The truth is that every single individual (yes, even you) can be creative. You simply require the right environment, stimulus, and support. Kids are awash with creative energy in part because they have not yet learned to fear the criticism of their peers or experienced embarrassment from failure. This is now why failure is lauded in adults–it reflects creative, risk-taking endeavors. Though not all creative ventures will work out, ultimately some will (and be very, very successful).

This is why Google goes to great lengths to provide employees with fun perks such as beach volleyball courts and free beer, a setup almost resembling an adult playground. The goal is to create an environment that lets employees feel relaxed and comfortable with vocalizing creative, even wacky, ideas. Businesses that value creativity need to do their best to foster a creative, safe space where unusual ideas are celebrated and where creativity is nurtured.

4. Pause the Brainstorming and Move Your Body

Though old-school business practice dictates group brainstorming as a powerful way to generate creativity, modern research has found that the group collective isn’t always all it’s cracked up to be.

Instead, try new approaches to creative problem solving. Go for a walk. Physically move your body and consider your project problem from different locations. Physical movement has been shown to have a positive affect on creative thinking, just as theater pros suggest practicing lines in different poses and positions to generate new character approaches.

5. Start a Sketchbook

Sketching is a great way to preserve memories and make constructive use of time that might otherwise be spent fiddling on a phone. Buy a small, lightweight sketchbook that can easily fit in your bag. Start sketching whenever you have even a few spare minutes–draw the salt and pepper shaker on your table while waiting for your coffee, or the crumpled pile of newspaper on the subway.

Though you may be disappointed in your sketches at first, the more you draw, the better you’ll get. Don’t overanalyze your results–simply draw for the enjoyment of the process, not the end piece. Creativity seeps across activities, so sketching just a few minutes a day can result in a major boost of workplace creativity.

6. Keep Toys on Your Desk

Many creative design companies encourage employees to keep toys on their desks–from Legos and Lincoln Logs to Play-Doh and origami paper. Building something physically with your hands, as opposed to typing on a keyboard, can be just the creative jolt you need.

7. Engage in Flash Fiction

Flash fiction is a form of writing consisting of extremely short pieces. There are many flash fiction writing groups online in which members write 100-word stories based on a provided prompt. That’s right, just 100 words. No one can say that’s out of their league.

Have your own try at flash fiction writing. Join a community online, or start your own at work. No pressure, no need to share; it’s just a chance to get those creative juices flowing!

8. Try the 30 Circles Test

This great creative exercise comes from researcher Bob McKim, and is featured in Tim Brown’s TED talk Creativity and Play.

Take a piece of paper and draw 30 circles on the paper. Now, in one minute, adapt as many circles as you can into objects. For example, one circle could become a sun. Another could become a globe. How many can you do in a minute? (Take quantity over quality into consideration.)

The result: Most people have a hard time getting to 30, largely because we have a tendency as adults to self-edit. Kids are great at simply exploring possibilities without being self-critical, whereas adults have a harder time. Sometimes, even the desire to be original can be a form of self-editing. Don’t forget–good artists copy, great artists steal.

9. Role-play Away

Role-playing isn’t just for the geeks at Comic-Con (no judgment; we love you guys). Role-playing can help you develop new solutions to existing problems by putting yourself in the shoes of a client or customer.

Even if you’ve already made efforts to enter the client’s mindset, physically role-playing situations with co-workers can generate powerful revelations and project solutions. As children, role-playing is how our imaginations thrived, from baking mud pies and playing house to fighting off baddies and exploring the jungles in our own backyards. It’s time to bring back the power of play.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 13

1. True rehabilitation: We can reform prisons and reduce recidivism if we treat prison labor less like modern-day slavery and more like on-the-job training.

By Beth Schwartzapfel in American Prospect

2. Drones are a powerful military and civilian tool. Reforms are desperately needed if the U.S. wants to stay at the top of the drone food chain.

By Missy Cummings in Wired

3. Liberia’s fragile democracy may fall victim to the Ebola virus outbreak.

By Ashoka Mukpo in Al-Jazeera America

4. Mayors need the partnership and protection of a UN for big cities to test new solutions and spread innovation.

By Richard Florida in Citylab

5. The biggest barrier to nonprofit innovation isn’t the lack of money. It’s knowing the right way to scale up and spend big infusions of cash.

By Mathu Jeyaloganathan Ivey Business Review

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

TIME Innovation

Origami-like Robot Folds Itself Into Shape and Walks Away

+ READ ARTICLE

As a writer, the path of least resistance would be to frame this piece along the lines of small robots assembling themselves, then building bigger robots, then taking over the world. The old robot-overlord routine.

But these MIT- and Harvard-developed self-folding robots — cool as they are — don’t look all that menacing quite yet. For starters, one of the key ingredients is polystyrene, which is the same stuff used in Shrinky Dinks. That’s adorable. Second, it takes around four minutes for the things to assemble and start walking away. And third, the assembly has to be pre-programmed, so there’s still some human intervention.

Thirty years from now? That might be a different story. I’ll be retired (or homeless) on a beach somewhere, though, so I’ll just head for the water if these things start getting uppity. They can’t swim, can they? Can they?!!

In the interim, the researchers envision self-assembling structures that could be used in dangerous places like space or battlefields.

[ExtremeTech]

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 12

1. Forty lost years: the case for one six-year term for U.S. presidents.

By Lawrence Summers in the Financial Times

2. Hashtag activism may not change the world, but #Iftheygunnedmedown highlights its power as media criticism.

By James Poniewozik in Time

3. Decoding the malaria parasite – at the genetic level – could give us a shot at beating the disease.

By Anne Trafton at MIT News Service

4. Trade short-haul air for high-speed rail and help the climate.

By Jacob Anbinder and Neil Bhatiya in the Fiscal Times

5. We must deepen our investment in development and diplomacy to address the roots of the crisis at our border.

By Lt. Gen. Norman R. Seip (Ret.) in the Tennessean

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

TIME Innovation

Ultra High-Resolution Satellite to Snap Better Photos for Maps

worldview-3 satellite sensor
The WorldView-3 satellite sensor will launch August 13 to capture high-resolution photos DigitalGlobe

The sensor can capture features as small as roughly a foot in size

One of my favorite features of Google Maps (aside from the killer turn-by-turn directions with lane assist) are the included satellite images. It’s both fun and useful to see the world from a bird’s eye view. The only downside: old government restrictions on just how good those satellite photos could be added unnecessary pixelation and blurring.

But as technology has changed and improved, so too have the rules. In June, the feds updated their satellite privacy requirements to allow for far more detailed aerial photos. On August 13, DigitalGlobe will launch its WorldView-3 Satellite Sensor to take full advantage, allowing the company to capture features as small as 31 centimeters (just over 12 inches).

The new satellite will be capable of collecting “key features such as manholes and mailboxes,” the company explains.

The WorldView-3 will bring higher resolution satellite photos to Google and Microsoft, both of whom rely on DigitalGlobe for images. Best of all, it shouldn’t take long to see those new images – according to DigitalGlobe, the new satellite is capable of capturing 680,000 square kilometers of photos per day. That would allow the satellite to capture detailed shots of the entire United States in just over two weeks.

To learn more about the next-gen WorldView-3 satellite and the technology behind it, you can visit the Satellite Image Corporation website.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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TIME Innovation

Microsoft Fixes Shaky Time-lapse Videos with Hyperlapse Technology

Not unlike the elderly, time-lapse videos can be boring and shaky.

Microsoft has cobbled together technology that can smooth out the jittery, choppy first-person video footage you’d normally see captured and sped up from the likes of a wearable GoPro camera.

The feature is called Hyperlapse and it’s being demonstrated at the SIGGRAPH media conference in Vancouver on Tuesday. I could sit here and try to explain in words how it all works and how the end result looks, but you and I both know that I’m going to drop a video into the middle of this post riiight… abooout… here:

Couple thoughts: A) It looks pretty great and B) I need to do more outdoor activities. These guys are rock climbing and riding bikes in their spare time. I just binge-watched a bunch of Love It or List It Too episodes that I’ve already seen before.

There’s a great money-quote from Microsoft’s blog post on the project as well:

Standard video stabilization crops out the pixels on the periphery to create consistent frame-to-frame smoothness. But when applied to greatly sped up video, it fails to compensate for the wildly shaking motion.

Hyperlapse reconstructs how a camera moves throughout a video, as well as its distance and angle in relation to what’s happening in each frame. Then it plots out a smoother camera path and stitches pixels from multiple video frames to rebuild the scene and expand the field of view.

Put another way, it’s akin to the human brain’s ability to fill in blind spots by “hallucinating” on the person’s behalf.

See? You learn about the technology and then you’re rewarded with some hallucination.

As for when people like you and me might be able to get our hands on this Hyperlapse technology in order to cut together our own sweet time-lapse videos — imagine watching me watch 10 hours of Love It or List It Too in amazing Hyperlapse — the researchers say they’ve managed to streamline the rendering process so that it can be done on a single computer. There’s no hard-and-fast timeframe for its release, though the researchers say the goal is to “eventually” release it to the public.

[TechCrunch]

TIME Gadgets

Navdy Projects Apps Onto Your Car’s Windshield

My car’s in-dash navigation system did me wrong a few months back, sending me on a wild goose chase around the greater Boston area.

In a fit of despair, tears and anger-sweat, I finally relented, pulled over and used an ever-updated GPS app on my phone, which pointed me in the right direction in less than a minute.

Not long after, my car was due for one of its 10,000-mile checkups, at which point I asked the dealership to update the GPS software with the newest routes. Should be free, right? It’s not. They wanted $200. Give me an hour and I can make you a list of 100 things I’d rather spend $200 on.

What I could do is spend a measly $20 or less on a smartphone mount for my car, but that solution feels equal parts inelegant and unsafe, with all the docking and unlocking and app poking and whatnot.

I’ll admit to being intrigued by upcoming efforts from Apple and Google to more deeply integrate my phone into my car’s infotainment system, but this Navdy doodad looks pretty interesting as well. It’s basically a projection system that sits on your dash and beams a transparent interface onto your windshield.

 GPS system
Navdy

It’s compatible with Apple and Android phones, and taps into Google’s Maps app to display turn-by-turn directions near your line of sight. You can also make and take calls and respond to notifications — tweets, text messages and the like — with simple gestures (thumbs up to answer a call, left and right swipes to navigate) and voice commands. It lets you control music apps as well, and there are no monthly fees to use any of the features. The GPS system is always updated, in other words.

It’ll be available early next year, with pre-order pricing set at $299 until early September of this year. The regular price will be $499. That’s expensive, yes, but I like the idea of being able to take it quickly from car to car (I have 13 cars*). And just a quick note that the company is using a Kickstarter-like pre-funding system wherein it collects the money from pre-orders to help fund the production of the product. The whole “early next year” thing could be a moving target.

Here’s a demonstration video of the Navdy in action:

*We actually only have one family car, and my wife drives it most often. But imagine if we had 13!

TIME Big Picture

Intel Promises Faster, Lighter and Thinner with Its New Processor Line

Intel
Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Intel looks to prove that Moore’s law is alive and well almost half a century later.

In 1965, Intel co-founder Gordon Moore stated that the number of transistors per square inch on integrated circuits had doubled every year since their invention. The doubling of transistors and chip performance about every 12-18 months became known as Moore’s law and is one of the laws that has guided the innovation in computers and technology for almost five decades.

Over the years, however, Moore’s law as come under some heat, with detractors saying that Moore’s law will soon run out of steam, mostly due to basic physics arguments. These detractors can’t see how you can cram more and more transistors into such tiny silicon wafers, so they expect Moore’s law to peter out. The only problem is that the engineers at Intel scoff at these detractors and continue to drive Moore’s law forward year after year.

This is highly evident in the company’s newest processor line, code-named “Broadwell Y.” Broadwell Y uses a 14-nanometer manufacturing process and is poised to change the power and size of all types of mobile devices. It will be branded “Core M.”

Intel’s Recent Processor Technologies

Intel’s major journey to extend Moore’s law, especially to mobile computers, started in 2010 with the introduction of its Core i3, i5 and i7 line of processors. The first generation of some of these processors was codenamed “Westmere” and used Intel’s 32-nanometer manufacturing process to produce ultra-low-voltage processors for mobile devices.

The lower the voltage of a processor, the longer the battery life can be. However, while people want long battery life, they also want powerful processing and great graphics. By using a 32-nanometer manufacturing process and doubling the amount of transistors found in previous Intel processors, the company made it possible to deliver lighter and more powerful laptops with longer battery life.

The next year, Intel introduced its next 32-nanometer chips, code-named Sandy Bridge. These processors were even faster and more power-efficient than Westmere chips, with graphics integrated onto the chips themselves. These chips drove Intel’s “Drive to Thin” campaign, with Intel and its partners bringing out even thinner and lighter laptops.

In 2012, Intel moved to 22-nanometer processor manufacturing technology, introducing Ivy Bridge chips. The transistor count basically doubled, giving us even faster processors with lower power draw and even thinner and lighter laptops. This chip also included integrated 3D graphics and support for Direct X11, making imaging laptops even better and paving the way for laptops with modern touchscreens. In 2013 Intel, still using the 22-nanometer manufacturing process, introduced a chip code named Haswell, which extended the battery life mobile computers by 2X, and had a 20X idle power reduction and very low latency idle states. This allowed for even thinner and lighter ultrabooks and the introduction of what Intel and partners call two-in-ones.

Today: Broadwell Y

Now enter Broadwell Y chips and the Core M brand name. This will mark the next big leap in manufacturing process, using 14-nanometer technology. By using the 14-nanometer manufacturing process, Intel again basically doubles the amount of transistors on a chip, yet delivers a processor that runs only at about four to five watts and uses very low voltage. This again extends battery life further on these products and at the same time makes them thinner, lighter and more powerful.

For our geekier readers, Broadwell delivers the following:

  • 14-nanometer, second-generation Tri-Gate transistors
  • Thermal reduction that enables nine-nanometer-and-smaller fabless designs
  • System-optimized dynamic power and thermal management
  • Reduction in system-on-a-chip idle power and increased dynamic range operating
  • Next-generation graphics, media and display features
  • A lower-power chipset, voice features and faster storage

This means that hardware makers can create even more efficient devices using Intel’s newest x86 semiconductor designs. During this journey to extend Moore’s law aggressively to mobile that started in 2010, these new processors have enabled Intel and its partners to bring down the thickness of a laptop from 26 millimeters to 7.2 millimeters. They have reduced heat dissipation by 4X and increased graphics by 7X. Intel’s core architecture has doubled while battery size has been halved, yet Intel is promising that the battery life of the laptops and tablets that use these new 14-nanometer Broadwell Y processors will double.

The Not-Too-Distant Future

What’s amazing to me is that Intel has no intentions of slowing down the progress of Moore’s law anytime soon. I spoke with Intel chairman Andy Bryant recently and he assured me that Intel will not stop innovating with the 14-nanometer process. In fact, he said that engineers are already working on next-generation processors using 10-nanometer technologies, and have plans to create chips using seven- and even five-nanometer manufacturing processes over the next 10 years. It seems to me that given the accomplishments Intel has achieved with its 14-nanometer Broadwell Y chips, the company clearly has the capability of extending Moore’s law for at least another decade.

So why would anyone want a processor with more transistors that uses lower voltage to power them? The simple answer is to create laptops and tablets that are even thinner, lighter, last longer and still have enough power to handle any task we throw at them. However, a bigger reason is that while we’re used to navigating these devices via keyboards, trackpads and touchscreens, these new processors will eventually let companies create new devices that add greater 3D imaging, voice navigation, real-time translation, and new types of games and applications. In other words, the more power we have on these devices, the less we’re limited by what they can do for us.

Intel is shipping these new 14-nanometer Broadwell chips to their customers in volume now, and we should see the first generation of laptops and two-in-ones with these processors around the holidays. Imagine having a MacBook Air that is even thinner, lighter and faster than the ones out today. Or a two-in-one that’s ultra thin and ultra light, making today’s Surface Pro 3 seem large.

And all of them will have even better battery life than those on the market today. That’s what people can expect once Broadwell Y/Core M laptops and two-in-ones hit the market, showing that Moore’s law is alive and well almost half a century later.

Bajarin is the president of Creative Strategies Inc., a technology industry analysis and market-intelligence firm in Silicon Valley. He contributes to Big Picture, an opinion column that appears every week on TIME Tech.

TIME Innovation

Five Best Ideas of the Day: August 11

1. Increasing access to education is the best way to close the employment gap between black and white males in America.

By Rory O’Sullivan, Konrad Mugglestone and Tom Allison in Young Invicibles

2. New tools are making secure communication with journalists – and whistleblowing – possible.

By Sarah Laskow in Columbia Journalism Review

3. Disconnect: Americans have long believed stopping genocide was a core interest for our nation. They’re wrong.

By Dhruva Jaishankar in Foreign Policy

4. America should use our law protecting victims of human trafficking to manage the border crisis and grant asylum for migrant children.

By Kathy Bougher in the Denver Post

5. Gamify the Environment: Instead of a binding global treaty on climate change, let’s make it a “race to the top” competition among nations.

By Timothy Wirth and Tom Daschle in Yale Environment 360

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

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