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Innovation Trail

Innovation Economy & Technology news

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

On a cloudy summer morning, Rochester Institute of Technology professor Carl Salvaggio and a student from the school’s Center for Imaging Science stood in an open Pittsford field, eyes fixed on the sky. They were flying an unmanned aircraft system — also known as a drone — with the help of a longtime pilot. 

The trio took the DJI S900 n-copter on a series of 20-minute test flights, to check how well its sensors and six high-definition cameras can provide aerial imagery for precision farming. Salvaggio moved to a table off to the side, using a computer loaded with data-tracking software. He set up a small monitor on a tripod next to him to get a closer look at the airborne drone. Its short voyage would help the researchers assess the health of the vegetation.

SHUTTERSTOCK

 

You may not notice it at first, but atop the roof of the wine press building at Lakewood Vineyards is something that marked the beginning of change in the region.

The 47-kilowatt solar energy system has been invaluable to the Watkins Glen, New York winery, according to president and winemaker Chris Stamp. If he has his way, workers will install more panels once the building’s expansion is complete this summer.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

The addicting effect of video games is one an avid gamer can certainly describe. Once the controller hits the tips of their fingers, they are transported into a world of challenge and excitement.

The pastime is often criticized and accused of contributing to inactivity, and sometimes for having a violent influence. Studies have shown, however, that gaming can actually provide therapeutic value.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/ WXXI NEWS

David Swerzenski couldn't even read the first time his family brought him to the State Fair, but he was already doing his research. The fun outing quickly became exhausting for the adults, as the then-toddler asked a barrage of questions about the rides and how they actually worked. Little did David know he would one day get the opportunity to put his inquisitive nature to good use. 

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Barry Culhane is counting the days until he can finally walk unassisted again.

“I walked into a herniated disc surgery and woke up paralyzed, never expecting that,” says Culhane, who has only gained back some feeling in his legs since then.

Given his positive outlook over the last three years adjusting to life mostly in a wheelchair and decades-long involvement with the Al Sigl Community of Agencies, it comes as no surprise to his peers that Culhane has handled the physical setback so well.

SHUTTERSTOCK

 

 

Just one minute into the first round of a sparring match at Aquinas Institute, and Michael Robertson has already thrown and ducked dozens of punches. The young boxer has been hit a number of times, too. In the second round, his opponent takes control at times, backing Robertson into a corner and landing continuous jabs. Coach Dominic Arioli stands inside the ring, pacing quickly.   

“Don’t rush, don’t rush.”

“Bend over like this. Get down like this,” says Arioli.

PBS.ORG

More women are adding terms like “coder” and “game developer” to their résumés, but the industry still has a long way to go to reach gender parity.

Last year, women made up 22 per cent of the game developer workforce, double the 11.5 per cent of females in the field in 2009, according to a recent study by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

But for women like Elizabeth Canas, the road to a career in technology was less traveled when she was growing up.

“I didn’t even know what technology was!” says Canas.

CASE

Since the introduction of bitcoin in 2009, the digital currency has received a lot of attention: some good, some bad. From both technical and social perspectives, it has become an often-complicated phenomenon.

Bitcoin has begun gaining traction recently, and in the future, it could play a major role in how consumers and businesses pay for goods and services. But first, it has to solve its security issues. It has been associated with numerous scams, thefts and reported loss of bitcoin wallets, which store the private keys that you need to access a bitcoin address and spend your funds. 

One proposed solution is Case, a bitcoin wallet that emphasizes security and ease of use, according to the company’s CEO, Melanie Shapiro.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

 

A small company in Ithaca, led by a 19-year-old entrepreneur, has a robot they say can clean floors and will make beds. The robot is still in prototype stage, but the team behind Maidbot is hoping to bring the “Rosie” from The Jetsons-type machine onto the market within the next year.

ITHACASH

 

In a quiet second floor office on the Ithaca Commons, Ithacash founder Scott Morris and staffer Béline Falzon sit on opposite ends of the table with laptops open as they fold sheets of paper into thirds. The two are preparing maps for “The Holiday Hunger Game”-- a treasure hunt created by the regional currency start-up and designed for shoppers to support downtown Ithaca businesses during the holidays.

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