Tag Archives: innovation

The Atlantic goes full speed ahead on digital, internet – gives up on print, magazines

Only a few print magazines understand the internet – and The Atlantic is one of them. Now in their third year of profit, after spending a decade losing millions, the magazine is ready to expand. And the next step is to let the print magazine die and expand with more websites. From the N.Y. Times:

“It’s become very, very clear to me that digital trumps print, and that pure digital, without any legacy costs, massively trumps print,” David G. Bradley said.

And digital is where The Atlantic is going, with three successful sites - TheAtlantic.comAtlantic WireAtlantic Cities - and one more launching this week, Quartz.com. A business news site focused on a global audience – from the Editor’s Note:

We’ve assembled a team of digital journalists and developers to create a new kind of business news offering that is global, digitally native, and designed for the mobile and tablet devices.

Full speed ahead on digital, mobile, and social. And while this sounds like just another website, the team has some interesting insights that may give them an advantage. “Data is ubiquitous while real insight on the news is a rare commodity.” I would agree. When everybody reports the same news, if you can consistently provide better insight – that’s an advantage.

“Any good blog or magazine has defining obsessions, and we’ll structure around the ones that we think smart, globally minded people will be interested in.” Don’t you love how he interchanges the words blog and magazine – as if they are the same thing.

Finally, the site will be free – no paywalls or subscriptions – instead showing ads from sponsors in the news stream. It’s the newest digital model that avoids big banner ads – and the company already has four paid sponsors until the end of the year.

And we shouldn’t be surprised they’re adopting the latest digital innovation. The company is diving into digital and giving up on it’s print roots. Something that few print publications will ever do.

 

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Pocket microscope – turn a cellphone into a microscope for $10

The #1 innovation of 2011 - the pocket microscope – is a marvel of the cellphone age. For $10 a phone can be turned into a laboratory and offer poor areas – with no hospital – access to sophisticated medical tests. From The Scientist:

Diagnosing malaria or other blood-borne illnesses used to require analyzing cell slides under a bulky, costly light microscope—which can be difficult to find in impoverished, remote locations. Enter LUCAS (Lensless, Ultra-wide-field Cell monitoring Array platform based on Shadow imaging), an easy-to-use, pocket-size holographic microscope that weighs less than 50g, uses inexpensive, off-the-shelf parts.

The parts attach to the camera and can analyze blood and saliva samples; testing for diseases like HIV and malaria and discovering water quality problems. Listen to Professor Aydogan Ozcan – the same one who discovered the 3D motion of sperm cells – explain it himself:

 

 

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To build the artificial river for the Olympics, designers used large lego-like blocks

Did you have a chance to see the white water sports at the Olympics, like kayaking and canoeing?

If so, you probably noticed that the entire venue was artificial. The Lee Valley White Water Centre in the north of London was created out of a vast expanse of flat land. The designers, including a firm from Colorado, S20, had to build it all from scratch, including the high-powered water pumps and the speedy, treacherous river.

It made for a fantastic set of competitions and, it turns out, a lasting site for Londoners. The venue is going to stay open for both recreational activities and as a training site for future Olympians.

And, the Smithsonian blog wrote about an intriguing innovation used in the building of the rapids. They used what looks like Lego blocks to create the river bottom:

Since the earliest whitewater slalom competitions in the 1930s, most artificial courses have been constructed primarily of concrete, with static forms inserted to mimic boulders, logs…S20′s design turns the static features into adjustable plastic modules—a bit like underwater Legos—which can be positioned with a high degree of precision, and moved at no cost, essentially creating a new stretch of river each time.

 

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ARPA-E – a new federal agency created to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies

ARPA-E: A Good Beginning for U.S. Energy Innovation

By Bill Gates

Clean energy and innovation are two areas that I’m passionate about, so I’ve been looking forward to investigating some interesting new energy technologies at the ARPA-E Energy Innovation Summit this week.

ARPA-E is a new federal agency—the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy—created in 2009 to fund research of promising, but unproven, energy technologies. It was modeled after DARPA—the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency—which was established in the late 1950s to accelerate development of U.S. satellite technology to keep pace with the Soviet Union. Research at DARPA led to a number of fantastic breakthroughs, including GPS technology and the Internet.

The idea behind ARPA-E is to help the U.S. fast-track development of innovative energy technologies that wouldn’t typically be funded by traditional energy companies. If just a fraction of the projects are successful, they could reduce greenhouse gas emissions contributing to climate change, help the U.S. decrease its dependence on foreign oil, , and keep the U.S. competitive in advanced energy technologies.

I’ve been quite impressed with the people running ARPA-E. In less than three years, they have evaluated hundreds of proposals and made $521 million in grants to support 180 projects.

Keep reading – Bill Gates from The Gates Notes

 

 

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The Innovation Whiteboard – get your idea published in the New York Times

What innovations have you made in your daily life? Whether it’s a gadget you’ve fashioned, or something less tangible, we want to hear about it. Your submissions will be published on nytimes.com and may be featured in the New York Times Magazine if our judges — Martha Stewart, James Dyson, Paola Antonelli and Ben Kaufman — select your idea. Submit now:

Innovation Whiteboard

For a special issue on June 3, we invite you to share an innovation that you have made in your daily life. Maybe you’ve figured out a way to make waking up more pleasant by jury-rigging your alarm clock. Or maybe you’ve invented a foolproof method for shining your shoes, or for finding time to exercise. It could be a gadget you’ve fashioned, or something less tangible. We want to hear what you’ve come up with.

To be published in the June 3 issue.

Submissions will be accepted until May 7 at 9 a.m. Eastern time.

 

// Thx to Neville Hobson, Photo – Seth1492

United Nations has gone mobile – so many apps for world peace and development

The United Nations has gone mobile…in a big way. In just a few clicks I found more than 10 iPhone apps covering everything from news to statistics to global photos.

Plus, a very cool short video about the apps from Jess3:

 

I’ve just downloaded all these apps and haven’t yet played with them, so no recommendations yet. Let me know if you have any suggestions or tips:

 
 
Pieces of Peace

The app makes it easy to get involved and includes some innovative (and fun) ways to learn about the work of the United Nations. An interactive photo-scramble game, “Pieces of Peace,” gives users the ability to have fun while they learn by unscrambling photos taken around the world that are related to the work of the UN. The game includes ways for users to learn as they play, helping build awareness and knowledge about international issues. Integrated social media options also allow users to organically share this content with friends, brag about their photo-unscrambling prowess, and encourage them to get involved.
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"Everything is connected" – Ban Ki-moon urges the developed world to innovate sustainably

Speaking at Davos this year:

The Secretary General of the UN has told industrial leaders they have a social and moral duty to innovate, in the drive to turn around the global financial crisis.

Ban Ki-moon said that many countries were calling for the economy to be revitalised, social inequality to be addressed and the planet to be saved.

Mr Ban said that sustainable development would be a priority for the UN in addressing these issues.

via BBC

An earlier speech on sustainable development in September of 2011:

 

“Everything is connected” – Ban Ki-moon urges the developed world to innovate sustainably

Speaking at Davos this year:

The Secretary General of the UN has told industrial leaders they have a social and moral duty to innovate, in the drive to turn around the global financial crisis.

Ban Ki-moon said that many countries were calling for the economy to be revitalised, social inequality to be addressed and the planet to be saved.

Mr Ban said that sustainable development would be a priority for the UN in addressing these issues.

via BBC

An earlier speech on sustainable development in September of 2011:

 

And the Oscar goes to…Researchers, computer scientists, and photographers

Just a few days ago the Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical Achievements were announced. The 8 awards go to a wide range of professionals in areas such as computer software, high-speed cameras, aerial cameras, and laser film preservation.

In many ways these descriptions are beyond our understanding, but they do, at the very least, bring into your mind the constant innovation in the film business.

These awards will be handed out on February 11, 2012, with the main awards show going on two weeks later.
 

Mantra Software

Invention and integration of micro-voxels in the Mantra software. This work allowed, for the first time, unified and efficient rendering of volumetric effects such as smoke and clouds, together with other computer graphics objects, in a micro-polygon imaging pipeline.

By Andrew Clinton, Mark Elendt
 

Phantom High-Speed Cameras

Design and engineering of the Phantom family of high-speed cameras for motion picture production. The Phantom family of high-speed digital cameras, including the Phantom Flex and HD Gold, provide imagery at speeds and efficacy surpassing photochemical technology, while seamlessly intercutting with conventional film production.

By Radu Corlan, Andy Jantzen, Petru Pop and Richard Toftness
 
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The Steve Jobs washing machine from Miele – innovator approved!

In the biography of Steve Jobs from Walter Isaacson, a few pages are dedicated to Steve’s habits at home. One of them was the desire to discuss and research every decision to make sure it was perfect.

This happened on everything ranging from baby names to the type of washing machine they use. When they did settle on a name or product, they loved it, and that is exactly what happened with their laundry appliances.

It turns out that the Americans make washers and dryers all wrong. The Europeans make them much better – but they take twice as long to do clothes!

It turns out that they wash them with about a quarter as much water and your clothes end up with a lot less detergent on them. Most important, they don’t trash your clothes. They use a lot less soap, a lot less water, but they come out much cleaner, much softer, and they last a lot longer.

The company that Steve found was called Miele, and is similar to Apple in many ways. They care more about quality and user experience than they do about price or convention. So it’s no wonder Steve said the following about his new washer and dryers, “I got more thrill out of them than I have out of any piece of high tech in years.”

I did some research and it appears that a Honeycomb design is the key component of these washers.

This intricate design on the inside of the washing machine allows for an “80% reduction in the number of water exit holes and the skillful development of a water channel network that provides a thin water layer that actually cushions your clothes while the drum rotates.”

An independent study found that clothes washed using this method can last up to four times longer.

The washing machines start at $1,300.

Comparison of a traditional washing machine drum (left) and the honeycomb drum (right) while a towel is being washed.