Innovation Trail

Innovation Economy & Technology news

Over two million American workers are exposed to silica dust in industries like construction, mining, road repair and sand blasting. WXXI’s Michelle Faust reports the Occupational Safety and Health Administration - OSHA - is now pushing for tougher limits on how much silica dust they can be exposed to in the workplace. But the proposed rules will come too late for many workers who’ve already contracted the potentially fatal lung disease, silicosis. 


When President Obama named Michelle Lee as Director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, she became the first woman to hold that position in the agency’s 225-year history.

Lee, is working to make sure she’s not an anomaly and bring more women and minorities into STEM careers.

The Innovation Trail’s Jenna Flanagan recently met up with Director Lee in New York City.

“Any goal of the United States Patent and Trademark office at the highest level is to promote innovation. That’s in men women, boys and girls.”

Ryan Delaney/WRVO

It takes several tries for the medical transport van to back up the snow-covered driveway and onto the frozen front yard. The tires spin in the snow, which crunches in the cold air. The van has to get close enough for the ramp that slides out the back to bridge the gap from the van to the porch, rising over the three steps to the door.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI

“There aren’t many accessible homes for people with disabilities. And when they are accessible, they’re usually too expensive or segregated,” says 24-year-old wheelchair user, Jensen Caraballo.

It’s been 25 years since the Americans with Disabilities Act established a mandate that five percent of all federally assisted housing developments must be accessible for persons with mobility disabilities.

Reporting in upstate New York from Innovation Trail reporters indicates that many New Yorkers living with disabilities still face challenges accessing services and difficult choices balancing quality of life and affordability.

(Videos after the jump)

One big health care challenge, and two days to solve it

Mar 22, 2015
Spynalign presentation_Katelyn Block

The engineering and design students on stage presenting their concept have been working on this prototype for a grand total of two days. The whirlwind workshop, requires student teams to comprehensively understand medical problems, come up with viable ideas, and create real solutions, all in less than 36 hours.

“This is a deep dive,” says Amos Scully, a professor in the Industrial Design program at RIT who is serving as the team’s faculty coach.

ELLEN ABBOTT WRVO

 

Onondaga County Executive Joanie Mahoney and New York State Fair officials have Gov. Andrew Cuomo squarely in their corner as they advance plans to make dramatic changes at the fairgrounds in Geddes.  

Jenna Flanagan/WMHT/Innovation Trail

New York Library’s Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture mixed technology with activism to increase the searchable content on Wikipedia.

Billed as an Edit-a-Thon, the downstairs research room of the Harlem branch of the library filled up with people eager to learn how they can become a Wiki-Editor.

“There is a lack of people of color involved in creating for Wikipedia and as the subjects found in Wiki-Searches.”

A bad flu virus continues to spread through the community, as flu cases in Onondaga County are up five-fold from this time last year.

The flu is coming early and often for much of the United States, according to health officials, and central New York has not been spared.

Photo: Lakeworther, Creative Commons, some rights reserved

Malt barley is a temperamental little plant. It needs to be brought up in very specific conditions in order to yield a quality beer. Adverse weather can destroy entire harvests, like this past season in Idaho, where heavy rains took 80 percent of their crop.

That’s why Senator Schumer is pushing for insurance for New York malt barley farmers.

“There are just too many obstacles, risk, and cost standing in the way. And our job here will be to get federal crop insurance for malt barley here in New York state, and then malt barley will take off.”

First time farmers gather at the Stone Barns Center, a teaching farm in rural Westchester County for the Young Farmers Convention. The 3-day conference provides supportive classes and networking opportunities to new businesses in agriculture.

The Stone Barns Center helps young farmers build the foundation they need to for successful, sustainable farms.

“For me one of the things I get from coming to the young farmers conference is the chance to talk to really experienced farmers about more in-depth topics.”

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