"While we can choose to turn off our technology, there is no turning back from the new expectation that we are available anytime, anywhere," DeGraff writes.
Public Domain /

The Next Idea

If you listen to the World Economic Forum, we are now in the Fourth Industrial Revolution. The WEF calls this “a fusion of technologies that is blurring the lines between the physical, digital, and biological spheres.” Just as mass production launched an era of large-scale centralized organizations at the turn of the 20th century, the Internet and smartphones in the 21st century are ushering in new forms of collaboration — and conflict.

Technologies are replacing the fundamental missions of organizations. They are moving from scale — creating something once and distributing it everywhere — to scope, creating an infinite variety of offerings. Everything from your made-to-order sneakers to the medications you take for your unique ailments are being mass customized. That is, companies are using integrated technologies and supply chains, along with complex information from diverse sources, a.k.a. Big Data, to create a product or service just for you, just in time.

Crowds of "Pokémon GO" players gather for some late night monster hunting in this park in Vancouver.
flickr user Peter Kudlacz /

If you wandered past any landmarks or took a stroll through a public park this summer, you may have noticed a lot more foot traffic than usual. But instead of walking and talking together, these large groups of new guests basically just sit around and stare at their smartphones. 

Yes, "Pokémon GO" players are everywhere.

For many, the game has become a core part of day-to-day life. 

Alexander Weinstein's new book of short stories takes the idea to the extreme, exploring a future full of dangerously immersive virtual reality games. 

Trevor Mays tells us Intermitten is all about bringing tech-savvy and creative types together.
Courtesy of Trevor Mays

Technology and creativity are not mutually exclusive. They go hand-in-hand.

That's the message of Intermitten. It's a conference happening this Friday and Saturday in Ann Arbor.

The conference will be exploring all the ways that successful business efforts contain a healthy mix of creativity and technology.

Thomas Phillips presenting his plan for the Aspire Tech Bus at the Hack the Central District Cultural Innovation Conference in Seattle last month.

The Next Idea

Over and over again, we've heard that tech jobs in Michigan are going unfilled.

We've heard that there just aren't enough students graduating with the tech know-how employers want, and that students in Detroit just don't get many of the same opportunities as kids from other school districts.

Thomas Phillips thinks he's hit on a way to help solve these problems, and he's calling it the Aspire Tech Bus.

A new report from Global Detroit emphasizes the importance of keeping international student graduates for Michigan’s economy.
Flickr user University of Michigan's Ford School/Flickr

Michigan’s economy should stop wasting the brainpower it already has by retaining more international students, a new report says.

Steve Tobocman is the director of Global Detroit, a non-profit that studies what makes Michigan attractive to international populations. He told Stateside that their research fights a widespread belief.
The Center for Sexuality and Health Disparities, University of Michigan

The Next Idea

Rob Stephenson, professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Health Behavior and Biological Sciences at the University of Michigan School of Nursing, admits that he is "obsessed with HIV."
Joseph Xu, University of Michigan Office of Communications and Marketing

The Next Idea

In a past life, Sile O'Modhrain edited audio for BBC radio.

"At the time I was working," she says, "I could edit using a razor blade and tape" to physically piece different sections of a recording together. But when audio editing processes switched from tactile to digital, she found herself out of a job.

The riverfront in Traverse City
Iulia Ascanius / Public Domain

The Next Idea

Most anyone would agree that Traverse City is one of Michigan’s crown jewels. It’s a beautiful location and a great place to live, visit and retire.

But one thing Traverse City has lacked is a strong central point for the area’s tech industry.

Russell Schindler is a Traverse City geologist and entrepreneur. He basically got sick and tired of driving nearly four hours to Ann Arbor for tech meet-ups, so he started a new group, called TC New Tech.

ford, dash board, car
antefixus21/flickr /

The march of technology continues, bringing us closer to the day when owning your own car may be less important than on-demand transportation services.  And closer to the day when we expect our cars to be super-connected to just about everything.

Automakers are laying the groundwork for this new era, as seen in some  announcements this week at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas.

Glenn Fleishmann / Flickr Creative Commons /

Some Michigan jails are introducing technology to inmates, and jail officials say it creates a safer environment and improves productivity.

Last month, Sanilac County began a pilot program in cooperation with Securus Technologies – the company that provides the jail's video visitation and phone – to provide inmates with tablet computers for their use.

With the devices, inmates are able to access resources such as a library of approximately 10,000 readable items, some radio stations or music and job search tools.

MSU helps to fight crime with CSI-style technology

Dec 7, 2015
West Midlands Police / Creative Commons

Crime fighting is starting to look more and more like the show CSI, thanks to developers at Michigan State University.

The instant DNA match technology CSI's forensic investigators use isn't here quite yet, but MSU researchers have developed several other systems that aren't far off.

Last week, MSU licensed a facial recognition search system that matches images from surveillance footage with photos of potential suspects.

MSU has also licensed technology that matches up forensic sketches with mug shots.

Screen grab

Material that repairs itself after being shot? Sounds like something out of a sci-fi movie, but what practical applications could this have?

Researchers at the University of Michigan have teamed up with NASA to develop a material that solidifies once it's exposed to the atmosphere and could help make space travel safer. 

Marcie Casas

Update 2:30 p.m.: Judge Christopher Yates has ruled Hewlett-Packard must hand over the source code to Michigan.

Original post:

Michigan is squaring off with technology company Hewlett-Packard over source code for an unfinished computer system upgrade.

The state hired HP in 2005 to replace the Secretary of State's computer system. The $49 million project was supposed to be finished by 2010. 

Michigan terminated its contract with HP in August, on grounds that the company had missed deadlines and failed to deliver a complete project.

Sportsman Tracker / Facebook

The app Sportsman Tracker was developed in Grand Rapids by Jeff Courter, the company's CEO.

"A lot of times you just want to know what’s going on in your area," he says. "If it’s fishing, you want to know what’s biting, what’s going on, what are people catching around you.”

Flickr user Mike Gifford / Flickr

One of the realities of spring in Michigan is dicey weather, and May marks the beginning of tornado season in the state. But there's a way for authorities to let us know if severe weather threatens.

It's right there on your smartphone: Wireless Emergency Alerts, or WEA.

This service came about through an agreement between cell phone providers who voluntarily signed up for this service, the U.S. Dept. of Homeland Security, and a few other federal agencies.

Arborlight hopes to replace harsh indoor lights like the ones pictured above with natural lighting that simulates sunlight.
Ari Sandberg / Michigan Radio

For many of us lacking the fortune of an office with a window, harsh indoor lighting has become an accepted staple of workplace life. This reality might be changing in the not-so-distant future.

Ann Arbor-based technology company Arborlight has been awarded a $1.7 million venture capital investment to further commercialize its "daylight simulator."

Midland could see 300 new jobs this year

Mar 25, 2015
XALT Energy

A multi-year export contract will bring more than 300 new high-tech and manufacturing jobs to Midland, according to XALT Energy, a Midland-based developer and manufacturer of lithium batteries.

XALT announced this week that it has agreed to supply its lithium titanate batteries to HK Group, a Chinese manufacturer of all-electric buses. 

Overdrive Interactive

Senior technology writer for Slate, Will Oremus, has a hard time “getting” Snapchat. He says the app makes him feel old, and recently wrote an article about his struggle.

Oremus is 32 years old.

Snapchat is one of the fastest-growing social apps in the world. So this raises the question: Are newer apps trying to keep older users out of the loop?

Kimberly Springer, Michigan Radio’s social media producer, doesn’t think so.


As much as we seem to love checking our Facebook feeds, the result may not be what you’d expect.

Ethan Kross from the Institute for Social Research at the University of Michigan recently published some of his findings involving Facebook in the Journal of Experimental Psychology.


Matt Green said that Grindr, perhaps the best-known location-based gay dating app, is not only about looking for love or hookups. It can also be a platform for finding spiritual, or even religious connections.

Hailing from Ann Arbor, Green is a second-year rabbinical student at New York City’s Hebrew Union College. He’s known as “The Grindr Rabbi” and uses Grindr to reach out to gay Jews in New York City.

Green said it all started when he came back from rabbinical school in Israel last year. He downloaded Grindr and posted to his profile that he was on his way to becoming a Rabbi.

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.

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.

Spies, chemical weapons, and zombies in West Michigan?

Mar 19, 2014

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.

How kids self-select out of technical careers

Jan 24, 2014

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.