Innovation Trail

Innovation Economy & Technology news

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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.

YOUMAGINE.COM

Jon Schull is transforming lives for young people in need of limbs. The RIT research scientist is the founder of e-NABLE, an organization that uses 3-D printing to create limbs for children at no cost. While kids would outgrow traditional prosthetic arms that cost around $40,000, e-NABLE can make them for less than $20 each. Watch Schull’s Innovation Trail story from PBS NewsHour.

(Video after the jump)

BUFFALO GAME SPACE FACEBOOK

Creating a video game is a daunting, yet rewarding task. Along with countless hours of research, design and testing, teams can spend a great deal of time putting the pieces together. And being able to walk into a place and get instant feedback on your prototype can only enhance the experience.

“I wanted to find something where I could fit in and belong and I found them online, showed up one day and never stopped coming again,” says Joe Wilson, a video game designer.

Innovation Trail

Every year colleges send a representative group of students to compete to be the most effective cyber-security team in the United States. Playing the part of network defenders students must prove they can safe guard a pretend business from cyber attacks.

After the competition students meet with recruitment managers from Amazon, Raytheon, and the Department of Homeland Security. They discuss job openings based on the students performance in the competition. (Video after the jump)

Center for Disability Rights

One of the things that the Obama Whitehouse and the First Lady Michelle Obama jumped on was the challenge of getting more Women and Girls into Science, Technology, Engineering and Math or STEM. Less than 2 percent of women make it into the IT workforce, despite the fact that about 12 percent graduate with IT degrees.

Minority communities are also underrepresented in science fields according to the National Science Foundation. In our first hour we’ll talk with a graduate of the StepITUpAmerica initiative, a Rochester woman who’s out to make waves in the IT field.

SASHA-ANN SIMONS/WXXI NEWS

Business owner, Richard Deys, and his roughly 20-person staff are breathing easier these days.

Deys is the founder and co-owner of Sandman’s Sandblasting and Coatings. The Manchester, New York company specializes in blasting, spray coating, and fabrication. Blasting is a general term used to describe the act of propelling very fine bits of material at a high speed to clean or etch a surface.

And it’s dirty work. Sand used to be the most commonly used material, but since that causes the incurable lung disease silicosis, blasters like the Sandman’s team are now using other materials in its place.

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Proponents of the optics and photonics institute that Vice President Joe Biden will formally announce during a visit to Rochester Monday have been working for years to achieve this result.

They can be forgiven then, if they sometimes get into the weeds when it comes to explaining what optics and photonics are all about. So here's a quick elevator speech to help.

Optic and photonics technologies drive computer and smartphone displays and are used in virtually every sector including medical research, engineering, aerospace and the automotive industry.

(Watch the great video explainer after the jump.)

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