technology

Allyson Limon / Flickr

Oakland County is launching a new initiative to help grow tech companies. It’s part of the county’s larger effort to diversify its automotive-dominated economy.

Irene Spanos directs economic development for Oakland County. She says it's already home to nearly 2,000 IT and communication firms that employ more than 42,000 people.

“Oakland County goes on these trade missions around the world and we talk about some of the work that some of our tech companies are working on globally – they don’t think that it’s coming from Michigan,” Spanos said, “We need to change that.”

With Dutta's technologies, gadgets like Fitbit don't need to be plugged into the wall or need batteries.
User: Ian D / Flickr

 

It's not often you can say without a shadow of a doubt that someone is "brilliant." 

But you can make a good case for Prabal Dutta. He's an assistant professor of electrical engineering and computer science at the University of Michigan.

And he has been named one of Popular Science's 2014 Brilliant Ten, a list saluting scientific innovators who are changing the world as we know it.

Dutta made this list for his work on energy scavenging sensors. He explains that these sensors won't need batteries because they can harvest energy from the world around them.

SST inc.

A Detroit Police Department pilot project is using gunfire detection technology to reduce gun crime.

Police spokesman Sgt. Michael Woody said the ShotSpotter system identifies "gunfire in a specific area wherever the technology is set up." He said it is designed to also pinpoint the location, time, and direction of gunshots.

User: Joseph Xu/Michigan Engineering / Flickr

Imagine being able to wear a small sensor just like a bandage – you don't even know it's there.

That little sensor can detect vapors from your body that could be from anemia, diabetes, or lung disease.

The breakthrough is coming from a team of researchers at the University of Michigan.

Sherman Fan is a professor of biomedical engineering at the university.

Fan says the device is not the same as other wearable technologies like Google Glass, the Apple iWatch, or the FitBit, which conduct blood pressure measurement.

“In our case, we’re measuring vapors, which is a chemical measurement,” says Fan.

markgurman.com

Mark Gurman started his tech journalism career in high school. Now he's a junior at the University of Michigan and he's still making good money by breaking stories about Apple Inc.

Michigan Radio's Kate Wells reported on Gurman last year predicting "We will all be working for this kid someday."

J. Miguel Rodriguez / Flickr

International travelers may soon experience shorter wait times at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

New technology at the airport aims to make the U.S. customs process a little easier.

Thirty new Automated Passport Control kiosks will allow travelers to enter their information at computers, instead of filling out declaration cards.

Kris Grogan is with U.S. Customs and Border Protection. He says the new system will help the agency's officers be more effective at their jobs.

From the mouths of babes – or more like from the imagination of kids dreaming up the next big software application: Dustin Dwyer and State of Opportunity spent the afternoon listening to teens from the West Michigan Center for Arts and Technology's after-school program. They presented their ideas to software industry and community professionals in Grand Rapids.

Today in Tech & Opportunity, State of Opportunity asks educators and parents: what is your school doing to encourage students from all backgrounds to pursue educational opportunities in science, technology, engineering, and math?

user: Dru Bloomfield / Flickr

MSU conducted a study that links productivity to smart phone usage.

Russell Johnson is an assistant professor at Michigan State and conducted the study in collaboration with the University of Florida and the University of Washington.

The study found two big correlations.

First, that the amount of sleep you get is directly related to how much time you spend on your cell phone at night.

If you spend a lot of time on your phone, you'll get less sleep. 

The second big thing has to do with productivity.

Johnson and the other two researchers found that it's harder for people to be focused and engaged at work if they spent a lot of time on their smart phones the night before.

Erik Hersman / Flickr

State of Opportunity's Kimberly Springer tells us how "the specter of an exclusive, our boutique, access internet looms" after the recent U.S. Court of Appeals decision striking down many of the FCC's "net neutrality" rules.

For the privileged, the demise of net neutrality might mean paying even more for broadband access to Netflix or YouTube---no more buffering...buffering...buffering? But for the less privileged, losing net neutrality puts all of the world's information further out of reach and condemning some to "pay to play" deals. 

Go here to read more.

Michigan Engineering / Flickr

Michigan Stadium will be full of college students this weekend. But these students aren't watching a football game -- they're hackers.

A University of Michigan group called MHacks is sponsoring a 36-hour hackathon. It's a competition that challenges participants to use technology to create inventions that solve modern problems.

Thomas Erdmann is a junior at Michigan and the president of MHacks. He says the word hacking gets a bad rap. Erdmann says the hackathon represents what the word hacking really means to engineers.

Wikipedia

Ask any baby boomer who grew up watching science fiction movies after school or The Jetsons on the Saturday morning cartoons: strapping on a jet pack and zipping through the sky seemed like a done deal.

So why are we in 2013 still waiting to fly like a bird? We got astronauts on the moon. We've got an orbiting space station. Where are the jet packs?

That's the question Steve Lehto asks in his new book "The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device" published by the Chicago Review Press.

engin.umich.edu

Engineering and technology touch our lives every minute of every day. As we move into this 21st Century, technology is progressing at rates that are faster than most anyone could have imagined.

But as engineers design this new technology, what's happening at the intersection of "technology" and "ethics?” And what's the price we pay when engineers overlook that "moral compass?"

These are questions Dr. Cynthia Finelli is focused on as she helps train the engineers of the future.

Dr. Cynthia Finelli is the director of the Center for Research on Learning and Teaching in Engineering and she's a research associate professor at the University of Michigan.

And she's part of a team called E3, which stands for "Exploring Ethical Decision-Making in Engineering," a group of engineering teachers from many colleges and universities. These teachers study engineering ethics.

Dr. Cynthia Finelli joined us in the studio.

Listen to the full interview above.

On today's show, we found out why baby boomers seem to be key for the auto industry.

And, the author of the new book, "The Great American Jet Pack: The Quest for the Ultimate Individual Lift Device" joined us to take a look at the history of individual flight.

Also, we took a look into the ethics of technology and engineering with the help of Dr. Cynthia Finelli.

First on the show, one of the cities that has been in the headlines of late is Hamtramck.

Governor Snyder has declared that the 2.1 square mile city within Detroit is under a financial emergency and could come under the control of a state-appointed emergency manager.

But facing tough financial times is nothing new for Hamtramck. And, starting from its beginning as a home for Polish immigrants, the city continues to be one of the most diverse communities in the state.

We wanted to find out more about the unique history of Hamtramck, so we turn to someone who was born in Hamtramck. His family’s roots in the city go back to when his grandfather first arrived.

Greg Kowalski is chairman of the Hamtramck Historical Commission and he joined us today in the studio.

user g7ahn / Flickr

In the aftermath of school shootings, theater shootings, and bombings, the question of security screening has become real and important.

How do we balance privacy concerns and rights with the need to screen for potential threats?

A University of Michigan professor is working on that challenge: building a better security detector.

Dr Kamal Sarabondi is a professor of electrical engineering, and he's the director of the Radiation Laboratory at the University of Michigan.

He's gotten funding from the U.S. Department of Defense and is developing a long-range radar technology as a means to detect a concealed object. He explains what it is and how it differs from what we have today.

Listen to the full interview above.

Mark Gurman / www.markgurman.com

You think your freshman year was crazy? Ha. You never had to balance finals with your part-time job as the “World’s Best Apple Reporter.”

Mark Gurman can't legally buy himself a drink to celebrate his new unofficial title, which BusinessInsider recently bestowed on the 19-year-old University of Michigan freshman.

Actually, Gurman's been painstakingly tracking Apple since high school, when he first picked up an iPod.

Joseph Xu, Michigan Engineering Communications & Marketing

I recently got a chance to hang out with Tom Brady.  

Nope, not the football star. 

But this Tom Brady is working on making a name for himself. Brady just wrapped up his Masters degree. He’s an aerospace engineer, and now he's also the chief financial officer of SkySpecs LLC.

He holds up something that looks half-insect/half-helicopter. It’s an autonomous flying robot. In other words... it has a mind of its own. Brady says it finds its way around with cameras and computer vision.

“Basically, what these things are: they carry sensors to places that an inspector would otherwise have to,” he says.

Say, down into a sewer or up to the top of a wind turbine.

UM3DLab / YouTube.com

Some printers at the University of Michigan can make unusual prints.

Machines  in the University's 3D Lab can produce three-dimensional sculptures, car parts and even model human body parts. A student or faculty member can design a model, take it to the U-of-M's 3-D lab and leave hours later with their object in hand.

Here's how it works:

A student or faculty member designs a model on a computer. Technicians send the design to the refrigerator-sized machine, then a mechanical arm applies layers of material in cross-sections that slowly build up the model.

The machines layer plaster or heated plastic models as large as basketballs.

New York investment firm offers to buy Compuware for $2.3 billion

Dec 17, 2012
Urban Adventures / flickr

A New York-based hedge fund said Monday that it wants to buy Compuware, Michigan’s largest technology company.

Elliott Management Corp. has offered to buy the company for $2.3 billion at $11-a-share. Elliott currently owns 8 percent of the Detroit-based software company.

The Detroit Free Press has more:

Emily Fox / Michigan Radio

If you want to get fit but don’t have equipment, you get a gym membership.

But what if you want to create something but don’t have a workshop or the tools to make it happen?

Well, there’s a place in Detroit called TechShop, and it functions a lot like a gym for carpenters, welders, designers, engineers and the like.

TechShop is a new facility that recently opened up in Allen Park near Detroit.

Members pay about $100  a month to access hundreds of thousands of dollars in tools and equipment. They can also take any of the 100 or so classes offered every month to teach members how to use the tools.

Meritful.com

Founders of a new startup company are trying to help teens create a professional online presence.

The website Meritful.com launched this week. It's sort of a LinkedIn for students.

Social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are among the top sites where teens connect with friends and talk about their lives. But a lot of teenagers also posting embarrassing stories or pictures that can have some unplanned consequences as they apply for colleges, internships, and jobs.

Azarias Reda is one of the founders of Meritful. "In this day in age a digital presence is a very important currency, something that you have to protect and build. And high school really is the time to start," he said.

Listen to full interview above to learn more about the Ann Arbor startup.

J. Pinkston and L. Stern / U.S. Geological Survey

DETROIT (AP) - A Detroit university is playing a role in early but promising efforts to find and extract new energy sources.

A research project at Wayne State University is among 14 across 11 states involved in work on methane hydrates. These are structures that look like ice but have natural gas locked inside.

The project builds on what the U.S. government calls a "successful, unprecedented" test on Alaska's North Slope that produced a steady flow of gas from methane hydrates.

DETROIT (AP) - A media company that hosts conferences on the relationship between technology, economy and social progress is setting its sights on Detroit.

Technonomy Detroit plans to bring together local and national tech leaders September 12th at Wayne State University. The list includes Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey and Steve Case, chief executive of investment firm Revolution LLC and co-founder of America Online.

Topics for discussion include the future of manufacturing and its impact on jobs, and "Is Detroit the Next Berlin?"

Ali Moore / Wikimedia Commins

Schools around the county are considering digital textbooks as a more affordable and modern update to paper textbooks, and a West Michigan school district will pilot an "etextbook" program this year.

The Muskegon Chronicle reports Mona Shores Public Schools' students in select classes will receive their own computers to test how the etextbooks compare to traditional methods.

KN

The Ann Arbor District is thinking outside of the box with a new collection called "Music Tools."

The small collection features quirky instruments and sound processors. It includes items with futuristic names that make sounds like hovering spaceships and funky clicks and clacks.

Pete Markham / Wikimedia Commons

Michigan State University researchers found that vacationers are increasingly staying connected to the office and social media with cell phones, laptops and tablets while away.

From MSU News:

The study showed that people using smart phones have tripled. The study also revealed that wireless use was higher on vacation (40 percent) than at home (25 percent). Also telling, were figures that show that people used the Web more to plan vacations (80 percent) than for work (70 percent).

Yesterday, we posted this question to the Michigan Radio Facebook community:

“When you go on vacation, do you stay connected to work?”

Responses show the wide range of readers' feelings towards technology-filled vacations.

Greg Flinchbaugh / Creative Commons

Steelcase, the world’s largest office furniture maker is celebrating 100 years in business. But sales of the metal filing cabinets Steelcase is named for are declining; same with traditional cubicles and other large pieces of office furniture. Steelcase is changing its identity.

Brian Short / Michigan Radio

Urban neighborhood libraries are on the decline.

Detroit, Flint, Dearborn and other cities have recently had to close some of their library branches in order to save money, which means access to free computers and computer training is becoming more limited.

On today's Artpod, we'll visit a group that's working to close the digital divide.

Brian Short / Michigan Radio

Urban neighborhood libraries are on the decline.

Detroit, Flint, Dearborn and other cities have recently had to close some of their library branches in order to save money, which means access to free computers and computer training is becoming more limited.

But in Detroit, there’s a group working to close the digital divide.

Discothèque vs. Discotech

This story takes place at a "discotech."

Not the kind of discotheque where you flaunt your best dance moves in platform shoes, but the kind of discotech where Google, Twitter and Facebook are center stage.

Here, discotech stands for DISCOvering TECHnology.

It's a traveling technology workshop that looks a lot like a pop-up science fair, with laptops, poster boards, wires and circuits all around the room.

Diana Nucera, one of the Discotech organizers, says the event is about "showing the possibility of technology to make our personal connections stronger."

There is ice on Michigan Radio's WVGR 104.1 West Michigan tower. The ice has reduced the output of the transmitter meaning people in West Michigan may be experiencing bad reception of the station. We apologize for the inconvenience.

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