Pittsburgh Tech Report

Sabrina Bodon / 90.5 WESA

Jake Williams’ favorite position to play in baseball is shortstop. He can also step in as a right-handed pitcher or play third. His infield throw is 94 miles per hour. He also has a 4.4 GPA and a 1440 on his SAT. All of this information can be found on his sports resume.

Amy Sisk / WESA

 


Some Allegheny County residents use a smartphone app to report foul smells in their communities, and a new version of that app is now available to the rest of the country.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

Buying a car can be a stressful process that requires time, research and money. Online car retailer Carvana aims to make that process a little easier, likening itself to the Amazon of used cars.

Michel Spingler / AP

The nonprofit Women In Cybersecurity, or WiCyS, will hold its sixth annual conference in Pittsburgh this week, starting Thursday.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Matt Michaux used to be a basketball coach at Fox Chapel High School. He said back then, he'd train with students before and after school. However, when he and his wife had a kid, that wasn't an option anymore. 

 

 


Pittsburgh Modular Synthesizers’ Homewood workshop is filled with the whirring sounds of electronic music. Founder Richard Nicol started the company in his basement in 2012. Now, he and his team design and develop synthesizers for creating electronic music that are used all over the world.

Krystal Biotech

A South Side biotech company is working to treat rare skin diseases by delivering gene therapy with a topical gel embedded with a modified version of the herpes virus.

Astrobotic

The people have spoken: a token from Kennywood Park will be sent to the moon's surface as part of Pittsburgh company Astrobotic's first lunar payload, scheduled to launch in the first quarter of 2021.

Skycision

A Pittsburgh-based tech company is using drones and infrared technology to help diagnose diseases and pests in their crops before it's too late.

Carnegie Mellon University

On Friday, the U.S. Army activated its new Artificial Intelligence Task Force, which will have a hub at Carnegie Mellon University and develop military uses for artificial intelligence.

Military representatives who were at the ceremony said U.S. adversaries are already developing AI, and that collaborating with institutions like CMU is necessary to minimize American causalities.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Many people use social media to create community, but a new study from University of Pittsburgh researchers shows that social media is actually more likely to make people feel lonely.

Carnegie Mellon University

Learning coding in schools has become more commonplace, but as kids get older, teaching more complex topics can pose a challenge. Not all teachers have computer science backgrounds, and there are no statewide requirements for what a programming curriculum should look like. 

Richard Vogel, / AP

Driving for companies like Lyft or Uber can be a hustle. Once you factor in gas and the cut these companies get from each ride, drivers might even lose money some days.

Kathleen J. Davis

The very first video game console, the Magnavox Odyssey, is being recreated in an ongoing project that aims to give others the opportunity to play with the system.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

The City of Pittsburgh's Snow Plow Tracker is going back online this month after being on hiatus since last winter. The biggest change will be that people can see when a truck has its plow up or down and its salt spreader on or off.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Mobility is an issue for many senior citizens. The Jewish Healthcare Foundation’s Virtual Senior Academy helps older Allegheny County residents learn and explore without traveling far from home.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

About 90 percent of a forest's plant diversity lies in its understory, a layer of vegetation beneath the main canopy. Too many deer grazing in an area can decimate that plant layer. 

Bizuayehu Tesfaye / AP

A computer scientist at Duquesne University is working to develop software that strips unique words and phrases from a piece writing to preserve anonymity for the author.

Twitter

 

A toaster’s Twitter page turns 10 years old this month. The @mytoaster account joined the site in December 2008 and soon after tweeted its first message: “Toasting.”

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

When the Pittsburgh Cultural Trust announced it would bring the smash hit musical "Hamilton" to the Benedum Center, leadership knew they were in for the biggest sale in their history. But they also knew that Hamilton tickets were among the most lucrative for scalpers: according to the New York Times, resale prices for Hamilton tickets can climb up to $10,090.

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

 


San Francisco-based company Affirm has announced Pittsburgh will be the location of its second flagship office.

Sarah / Flickr

The Peduto administration wants to connect all of Pittsburgh’s roughly 40,000 street lights to the internet, which it says will save money and energy.

Most of the city’s streetlights are high-power sodium bulbs, designed to turn on automatically when there’s a lack of sunlight. The technology is more than 60 years old.

Farm Jenny

More than one million farms in the United States bring in less than $10,000 per year, meaning most of those farmers need a day job to pay the bills. Farm Jenny, a Pittsburgh startup, wants to give farmers a way to monitor their animals while they're away.

Bryanna Johnson / Prototype

Five Pittsburgh nonprofits are banding together for a free workshop series on tech and entrepreneurship skills. The program, called the City as our Makerspace, is specifically aimed at women of color and is a collaboration of Prototype PGH, Black Unicorn Library, A Peace of Mind, Ujamaa Collective and Flower House.

UPMC

Doctors often ask patients to rank their pain on a scale of one to 10, and responses inform prescriptions, diagnoses and help physicians monitor progress. But University of Pittsburgh assistant professor Charles Jonassaint says this isn't a very effective way for doctors and patients to communicate, because there are different types of pain and not everyone has the same tolerance for pain.

Entertainment Technology Center / Carnegie Mellon University

A new game developed by Carnegie Mellon University students is helping elementary schoolers understand what life is like for kids on the autism spectrum. 

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

“We’re still hiring humans” proclaims a billboard situated just east of the 31st Street Bridge near Lawrenceville. On the sign, a coy, Pixar-looking automaton beckons engineers and programmers to apply to nearly a dozen positions at Carnegie Robotics.  

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Every minute, 1 million plastic bottles fly off store shelves and into the hands of consumers. More than 90 percent of these are not recycled, winding up in landfills or waterways. Thread aims to help reduce the amount of cast away plastic bottles by using them to make fabric.

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

In the movie The Martian, actor Matt Damon's character is stranded on Mars. He’s been left for dead during an evacuation from a dust storm. Unable to communicate with his crewmates, Damon's character is forced to survive alone on the planet for more than a year before he's rescued.

Damon's predicament could have been solved much sooner, however, with help from a new self-healing electrical circut developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Integrated Soft Machines Lab.

Schell Games

High school chemistry lab can be a dangerous place. There’s potential for spilled chemicals, fires and broken glass. A Pittsburgh-developed virtual reality game aims to bring chemistry to life in a safer way.

 

HoloLAB Champions is set up as a vibrant, animated game show. Using two handheld controls, players pour liquid, scoop powder and read measurements – skills useful in a real chemistry lab.

 

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