TIME Law

FAA Grants Drone Permits to Agriculture and Real Estate Companies

FAA Drone Agriculture Real Estate
Jeff Chiu—AP In this May 8, 2014 file photo, a Parrot Bebop drone flies during a demonstration event in San Francisco. The government is issuing the first two permits to agriculture and real estate companies to monitor crops and photograph properties for sale.

It's the first time the FAA has given drone permits to companies in these two industries

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued Tuesday its first-ever drone permits for use in the agriculture and real estate sectors.

Exemptions to the ban on commercial drones were made for Advanced Aviation Solutions in Spokane, Wash., for “crop scouting,” and to Douglas Trudeau of Tierra Antigua Realty in Tucson, Ariz., for enhanced aerial footage of buildings, according to an FAA statement.

Advanced Aviation Solutions will use a 1.5-pound eBee drone to take photographs of farm fields for measurement and inspection purposes, while Trudeau will use a Phantom 2 Vision+ quadcopter to “enhance academic community awareness and augment real estate listing videos,” the FAA said.

Among other rules, the permits require commercial drones to have an on-the-ground “pilot” and an observer, and that the drone must not leave the operator’s line of sight.

Previously, the FAA had granted drone permits to 11 companies in filmmaking, oil and gas and landfill industries, according to the Associated Press. Congress has pressured the FAA for years to establish guidelines permitting commercial drone use, and has mandated the agency to integrate drones into U.S. airspace by September 2015.

TIME apps

These 6 Apps Will Help You Tell Amazing Stories With Just Your iPhone

iPhone Photography
Jordan Siemens—Getty Images A woman dayhiking in Arches Park.

Go beyond Facebook and Instagram this year

You’ve just come back from holiday vacation, and you’re looking for an easy way to share your incredible trip with all your friends. Sure, there’s Facebook and Instagram — but these six iPhone apps, recently highlighted by Apple, are purpose-built for the task and create beautiful-looking photo and video stories to boot.

Replay

Essentially, if you want to be able to make a multimedia Facebook album to share with your friends, Replay allows you to assemble photos, videos, music, and a variety of different fonts, and edit it into a single, sharable file. It’s about as nostalgic as you can get while using an iPhone.

Replay is free in the App Store.

Steller

A storytelling app that puts a lot of emphasis on the elegance of a final product. Steller allows users to piece together photo essays and make use of various cropping tools as well as a large number of headers and classic fonts. It makes it easy and even fun for someone else to sit through your vacation photos. Steller can make looking through an album feel a lot more like thumbing through a great coffee table book.

Steller is free in the App Store.

Storehouse

If you’re someone who likes to use a variety of photo sharing and editing clients, but prefers ease of use and simplicity, then Storehouse is a great app to download. It takes a page out of Snapchat’s story-telling function by allowing you to put together a timeline or a collage of photos with linearity in mind. Storehouse also allows you to explore content put together by other users.

Storehouse is free in the App Store.

Heyday Photo Journal

Users play a far less hands-on role with Heydey Photo Journal, and interact with it simply by using their phone as they normally would. Heyday takes the locations you visit and pairs them with the photos taken that day in order to reproduce an editable album. Instead of making you think more about how to keep track of memories, Heyday does most of the work for you.

Heyday Photo Journal is free in the App Store.

1 Second Everyday

If you’re more into the Boyhood-Richard-Linklater style of storytelling, 1 Second Everyday is probably the app you’ll want to use. Instead of having users make involved photo albums or tell stories with video clips and text banners, this app allows users to film one second of their day, which can be revisited by day or edited into a single reel. It’s a sweet way to look back on a year, if not a slightly melancholic one.

1 Second Everyday is $0.99 in the App Store.

Lightt

Lightt is everything you wish Instagram were and everything Vine and Snapchat will never be. It allows users to edit photos and video clips using a huge number of filters and settings and then share the finished product on social media (Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter) or even email it. There’s something heartwarming about how simple it is to share clips of your life on Lightt.

Lightt is available for free in the App Store.

TIME Media

This Is the Craziest New Feature YouTube Has Added in Years

Gangnam Style Psy Breaks YouTube Counter
Kim Jae-Hwan—AFP/Getty Images South Korean singer Park Jae-Sang, also known as Psy, speaks during a press conference after returning from a US trip, in Seoul on September 25, 2012.

A totally new way to watch stuff may be on its way

Online video is about to become a lot more immersive. YouTube has plans to add 360-degree videos in the coming weeks, according to Gizmodo. The Google-owned video site isn’t yet divulging details on how the videos will work, but 360-degree videos on other sites operate similarly to panoramic photographs, allowing the user to click and drag across an image to pivot the camera angle as the video plays.

No word yet on whether this new feature will be compatible with the growing number of virtual reality devices headed to market. Google has its own low-tech VR device called Google Cardboard that could help YouTube’s 360-degree videos spring to life.

[Gizmodo]

TIME Smartphones

There’s a Whole New Way to Buy Yourself an iPhone 6

Apple iPhone 6 No Sim
Bloomberg via Getty Images An attendee displays the new Apple Inc. iPhone 6, left, and iPhone 6 Plus for a photograph after a product announcement at Flint Center in Cupertino, Calif., on Sept. 9, 2014.

Long-awaited version is now available

Apple’s SIM-free versions of the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus are finally here.

The iPhone 6 without a SIM card—an unlocked iPhone 6—allows users to activate their devices on the carrier of their choice, AT&T, Sprint, Verizon or T-Mobile, 9to5Mac reported Tuesday. Apple normally releases unlocked versions of the latest iPhone a few months after launch, but the iPhone 6’s unlocked version was delayed, presumably due to high demand for the devices.

A SIM-free 16 GB iPhone 6 and 6 Plus start at $649 and $749 respectively, and are available in-store and online.

[9to5Mac]

TIME ces 2015

There’s a Crazy Futuristic Washing Machine Taking CES by Storm

LG Washing Machine CES 2015
Robyn Beck—AFP/Getty Images LG Electronic's David VanderWall introduces the LG front loading washing machine with the new Twin Load System allowing the consumer to do two separate washing loads at the same time, at the LG press conference at 2015 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Nevada on Jan. 5, 2015.

Innovation isn't dead

LG has a simple idea for revolutionizing your laundry experience—letting you wash two loads at once.

The electronics company revealed Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show its brand-new TWIN Wash System for its front loading washing machines, according to an LG press release. The system is an add-on, pull-out washer beneath your main machine, and it’s ideal for washing your delicates that require a different wash cycle than your normal clothes.

The washing machine also comes with TurboWash 2.0, LG’s high-speed washing process that uses differently pressured nozzles to quickly rinse your clothes—and once they’re clean, the TurboSteam function allows for faster drying times, up to 50% speedier than previous LG machines.

The machine’s also connected to Wi-Fi, so you can operate it remotely and receive notifications when your clothes are ready. Naturally.

Read next: The Science of Why Your Kids Can’t Resist ‘Frozen’

TIME ces 2015

This Gadget May Change Parenting Forever

BlueMaestro The Pacif-i Smart Pacifier

A smart pacifier that tells you where your kid is

If the Pacif-i Smart Pacifier does all it promises to do, it’s going to take a lot longer for parents to wean their kids off their pacifiers.

Blue Maestro’s Bluetooth-connected smart pacifier, on display at CES this year, beams data to your Android or iOS device, measuring your kid’s temperature and recording when medication was administered. With an app on your smartphone, Pacif-i timestamps and graphs your kid’s temperature. Perhaps most importantly, the $40 smart suckable allows parents to monitor the pacifier’s location, so you can be alerted when your kid wanders away with the pacifier in his mouth.

Pacif-i has a battery life of more than one year. But if you find yourself replacing the battery, maybe it’s time stop giving your kid a pacifier, even if you don’t want to. It’s scheduled for early 2015 release.

Read next: The Science of Why Your Kids Can’t Resist ‘Frozen’

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TIME
TIME curiosities

The Original CES: See Crazy Photos from the 1958 Gadget Show

Reading upside down. The flying sprinkler. See the gadgets and their big-thinking inventors who predated the crowd in Vegas this week

Since its inception in 1967, the Consumer Electronics Show has witnessed the debut of such technological essentials as the VCR, the CD and the Xbox. But for every multinational company premiering the Next Big Thing at CES, there are countless lonely inventors, tinkering with gadgets that may never see the light beyond the walls of a run-down garage.

An article in the May 12, 1958 issue of LIFE titled “Have Invention, Need Angel” featured a handful of these innovators, entrepreneurial enough to bring their inventions to that year’s International Gadget and Invention Show in New York. The show, according to the article, was “a sort of lonely hearts club where misunderstood inventors can meet with understanding investors and perhaps make a match.” In the photographs, shot by Ralph Morse, the creators demonstrate the creations they hope investors will deem worthy of their cash.

And though, as the author writes, “their families often think they are crazy and sometimes they are,” a few of these Edison wannabes ended up with early versions of inventions that would later be produced en masse: an automated card-dealer, an early version of the treadmill and a disposable umbrella (predecessor to that $5 piece of junk that goes from your hand to the trashcan within ten city blocks). But that lady drinking milk upside down should probably get up before all the blood rushes to her head.

Liz Ronk, who edited this gallery, is the Photo Editor for LIFE.com. Follow her on Twitter at @LizabethRonk.

TIME ces 2015

Here’s the $200 Competitor Oculus Should Worry About

Razer

You can even build one yourself if you're so inclined

Imagine a world in which virtual reality standards weren’t dominated by mega-billions corporations with sometimes controversial agendas. It’s not the world we live in, but PC peripheral-maker Razer wants us nudge us in that direction with something it’s dubbed OSVR, or open-source virtual reality.

On paper, OSVR is just what it sounds like: an idea for a standard that’s still just a proposition. Razer says it wants to “push the the VR gaming experience forward,” meaning it wants to plant its flag on challenge that matters most when you’re after winning hearts and wallets by delivering experiences and not just overhyped promises: developer support.

Razer

Here’s Razer’s take:

OSVR stands for Open Source Virtual Reality. It is an ecosystem designed from the ground up to set an open standard for Virtual Reality input devices, games and output with the sole goal of providing the best possible game experience in the Virtual Reality space. Supported by Industry Leaders and focused on gaming, the OSVR framework rallies gamers worldwide together to push the boundaries of VR-Gaming.

Razer’s basically pitching OSVR as an initiative to get the ball rolling on the software side, the idea being to support a flourishing ecology of hardware and software components in a harmonious VR ecosystem that even works hand in glove with Oculus Rift. If Oculus wants to be the iOS of VR, Razer’s positioning OSVR to be the Android.

Razer

If Razer’s pitch were just another rhetorical PR flourish, you might write it off as wishful thinking from a niche power player. But Razer appears to be doubling down with what it’s calling its OSVR Hacker Dev Kit, a bona fide wraparound VR headset accompanied by open-source software “that enables programming for any variety of VR technology.” What’s more, priced to move at $200, it could be $100 less expensive than Oculus’ Rift when it ships this year in June.

On paper, the headset sounds compelling: Razer claims it’s managed to work out an optics solution that reduced distortion to less than 13%, providing what the company calls “an almost perfect image.” You’ll view that image through a 5.5-inch 1920 by 1080 panel with a 100-degree field of view running at 60Hz (thus 60 frames per second)—a step down from the Oculus Rift DK2’s 75Hz. Standard features like an accelerometer, compass and gyroscope are present, but lacks positional tracking hardware (the DK2 has this), though you could remedy this with a hardware plugin.

Razer

Want to build one yourself? In keeping with open-source principles, Razer says it’ll support that, too, allowing intrepid DIY’ers to freely download the device’s 3D files, to be printed and assembled into a working headset. (In fact, the plans are available for request from osvr.com right now.)

Note that Razer isn’t the first to pose an open-source VR standard: a group called the Immersive Technology Alliance announced yesterday that it, too, wants to see open-source standards emerge for VR and beyond–the ITA’s scope sounds like it may be broader, encompassing everything from VR devices to related peripherals like cameras, sensors, phones, motion controls and so forth, though as noted by Tom’s Hardware, the ITA, like Razer, intends any such standard to be complementary to what Facebook and Oculus VR are up to, not adversarial.

TIME ces 2015

This Is the Audi That Is Driving Itself 550-Plus Miles to CES

550 Meilen pilotiert vom Silicon Valley nach Las Vegas: Langstrecken-Test im Audi A7 Sportback piloted driving concept
Audi's driverless A7 at the start of the 550 mile piloted drive from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas. ?Start zur 550 Meilen langen pilotierten Testfahrt vom Silicon Valley nach Las Vegas: Ricky Hudi, Leiter Entwicklung Elektrik/Elektronik, (links) und Ewald Goessmann, Excecutive Director Electronic Research Lab California (ERL), (Dritter von rechts) schicken den Audi A7 Sportback piloted driving concept auf die Strecke.?

Audi's car goes it alone to CES—sort of

Audi’s A7 Sportback may not be what Jack Kerouac had in mind when he envisioned the freedom of the open road. But the self-driving car is still probably the coolest way to get to CES, a stunt the German carmaker is pulling this year by letting the bold test-drive the car more than 550 miles of highway from Silicon Valley to Las Vegas.

The A7 Sportback uses five radars, a laser scanner, and a number of 3D cameras as part of Audi’s “piloted driving” tech, which can drive on highways (but not city streets) without human interference. It can reach speeds of up to 70 miles per hour on highways, Audi says, and can change lanes and adapt to the speeds of surrounding vehicles. The car warns drivers to take control when a city is approaching with an “acoustic warning indicator.”

When the technology will be commercially available is not yet known. But Audi says its piloted driving technology is “production ready.” This particular model could be an important move in testing the waters of the self-driving market, though Audi has been openly working on the technology for several years. At CES in 2013, the company debuted limited self-driving technology that allowed cars to park themselves.

Audi is presenting the A7 Sportback at CES beginning Tuesday.

Read next: The Science of Why Your Kids Can’t Resist ‘Frozen’

TIME ces 2015

Your Favorite Google Feature Is About to Get Way Better

GAO Report Data Usage
Bloomberg via Getty Images An iPhone 5 streaming video from Netflix during a demonstration of the new Google ChromeCast at an event in July 2013.

Listening to music is about to get a lot easier

Google seemingly struck gold with Chromecast, the simple streaming dongle that lets users fling video content from their phones to TV screens. Now the company is adapting the same technology to audio with Google Cast, a new initiative announced Monday at the Consumer Electronics Show.

With Google Cast, users will be able to control the audio of compatible speakers using their smartphones, tablets or via the Web. This is not quite the same as simply hooking your phone up to regular wireless speakers via Bluetooth, though. The Google Cast speakers will stream music from the cloud—the phone, computer or tablet acts more like a remote control through which users can pick songs or playlists. Even if you turn your phone off or boot up a different app, tunes will keep playing.

The Google Cast speakers will work with music services such as Google Play Music, Deezer and Pandora. Speaker manufacturers Sony, LG and HEOS by Denon will launch the initial compatible devices in the spring.

Music isn’t the only entertainment sector where Google is expanding. The company also announced that Sony, Sharp and Phillips will launch new smart TVs powered by Android this spring. Video game company Razer is also launching a new gaming console powered by Android that will let users stream PC games onto their television sets.

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