Technology

Prisons Are Looking To Tablets And Tech To Inspire Orderliness Among Inmates

Jul 25, 2018
Charles Krupa / AP

Allowing inmates to stare at computer tablet screens for hours each day may be just the ticket for creating calm, orderly cellblocks, prison officials say.

But tablets, growing in popularity in prisons nationwide, also can help inmates advance their education, connect with family and prepare them for life in the technology-saturated outside world, officials say.

Sue Ogrocki / AP

A new algorithm created by researchers at Carnegie Mellon University could help geneticists understand the DNA replication process and how it varies from organism to organism. 

Angela Washko

The aesthetic of “The Game: The Game” couples lurid fluorescents with hazy shadows to create the same disjointed feeling of standing in a loud, dark bar.

While the player's character is femme-presenting, the other avatars are all men. The goal of the game is to navigate a bar that's been infiltrated by a group of so-called "pick-up artists."

Gov. Tom Wolf / Flickr

Legislation introduced by State Senators Randy Vulakovich (R- Allegheny County) and Judy Schwank (D- Berks County) would criminalize "sextortion" in Pennsylvania. 

*Warning: This story contains graphic information that some readers may find offensive. 

BLUE COAT PHOTOS / Flickr

The city of Pittsburgh’s technology staff have been closely watching the ransomware attack that rendered Atlanta’s municipal computers useless for nearly a week.

Ketki Jadhav / Wabbit

A mobile game prototyped by Carnegie Mellon University students recently finished as a finalist in a National Geographic competition. The augmented reality app is designed to help patients in stroke recovery complete physical therapy tasks.

brian donovan / Flickr

A new report finds that Pittsburgh tech companies received $687 million in investments in 2017, which is the highest for a single year in the past decade.

Joaquin Gonzalez / 90.5 WESA

It turns out a knitting machine can work a bit like a 3-D printer.

The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh

The Urban League of Greater Pittsburgh is celebrating its centennial. Founded in 1918, part of its mission has been to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance. 

Richard Drew / AP

Amazon has announced plans to create another 125 technology jobs in Pittsburgh, more than doubling its current tech workforce in the city.

Keith Srakocic / AP

It's been nearly two years since Pennsylvania legalized medical marijuana, and this week, a handful of dispensaries began selling it.

University of Pittsburgh

A new biotech incubator specializing in immunology will open in around two years at the site of a former Ford auto plant on Baum Boulevard.

 

Katie Blackley / 90.5 WESA

A 2017 report by the Brookings Institution suggested that Pittsburgh as a whole could realize its economic potential more fully by turning Oakland into a central hub for innovation and technology.

Black Tech Nation

Kelauni Cook wants to address every inch of the pipeline for black technology professionals.

Evan Vucci / AP

In two months, voters will choose a new congressman for Pennsylvania’s 18th District in a special election to replace Tim Murphy, who resigned after admitting to an extramarital affair. 

Sarah Kovash / 90.5 WESA

No one masters a skill without mistakes, but when you’re a health care provider, screw ups can be deadly. 

In 2016, the National Academy of Sciences found that every year up to 30,000 civilian and military deaths of trauma patients could be prevented if the injured people had received optimal care.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

The online fundraiser "Give Big Pittsburgh" was billed as a natural follow-up to the Pittsburgh Foundation's annual Day of Giving, which provided one-day funding matches to donations benefiting local nonprofits, but mixed messages timed with Giving Tuesday may have contributed to less than stellar returns.

Blue Coat Photos / Flickr

If you’ve received a new computer as a holiday gift, it’s important to protect this device from so-called “tech support scams.”

Lorrie Faith Cranor is associate department head of Carnegie Mellon University’s department of Engineering and Public Policy. She’s also the former chief technologist for the Federal Trade Commission.

Cranor tells 90.5 WESA’s Sarah Boden to be wary of  unsolicited messages that claim to come from prominent companies. 

This conversation has been edited for length and clarity.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

With the help of a grant from Google, Obama Academy in East Liberty opened a maker space for students Thursday. It’s an amenity more commonly found in schools in wealthier districts.

Alan Levine / Flickr

The Pennsylvania Turnpike has begun removing more than 1,000 emergency roadside call boxes because too few people use them now that nearly everyone has a cellphone.

The turnpike commission says it will save about $250,000 a year by removing the boxes, which should be gone by the end of the month.

The boxes were installed in 1988 and in the year 2,000 motorists used them more than 18,000 times to call for help. Last year, the boxes were only used 772 times.

U.S. Factory Jobs Are High-Tech, But The Workers Are Not

Aug 16, 2017
John Minchillo / AP

Herbie Mays is 3M proud, and it shows — in the 3M shirt he wears; in the 3M ring he earned after three decades at the company's plant in suburban Cincinnati; in the way he shows off a card from a 3M supervisor, praising Mays as "a GREAT employee."

But it's all nostalgia.

Mays' last day at 3M was in March. Bent on cutting costs and refocusing its portfolio, the company decided to close the plant that made bandages, knee braces and other health care supplies and move work to its plant in Mexico.

WeMake Milano / Milano

The internet and cable company Comcast has chosen Pittsburgh for its new networking platform, MachineQ, which purports to offer quicker and more energy-efficient options for connecting Internet of Things (IoT) devices. IoT technology is the interconnectivity of objects through tiny implanted data-sending machines.

Chris Squier / 90.5 WESA

The general manager of TechShop Pittsburgh is hopeful the community workshop space can stay open beyond the anticipated closing date of Sept. 1.

“I don’t want to set any expectations that we can’t deliver on, but that’s what we’re working on,” said Gadsden Merrill, who was part of the original staff at TechShop Pittsburgh when it opened in Bakery Square in 2013.

San Jose-based TechShop announced June 1 it planned to close its Pittsburgh location.

Damian Dovarganes / AP

Automatic license plate readers – those cameras on police cars and light poles that capture plate numbers – have been in widespread use since the 1990s. But some argue regulations for how and how long police can use and store that information hasn’t kept up with the technology.

CMU via Youtube

Touch screens have become part of our everyday lives, but the technology has its limits. They are always relatively flat and are fixed to another product, like a cell phone or a computer.

But researchers at Carnegie Mellon University have figured out a way to make just about any object into a touch sensitive device.

Noah Berger / AP

At least 15 states have allowed police agencies to pilot surveillance drones in the name of public safety, including one that can carry weapons.

This week on 90.5 WESA’s Criminal Injustice podcast, University of Pittsburgh law professor and host David Harris talks to the Cato Institute’s Matthew Feeney from his office in Washington D.C.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 fm WESA

In 2007, Mike Formica had just sold his tech start up and was looking for something to do when he was approached by a group of scientists from The University of Pittsburgh and Carnegie Mellon University. 

They wanted a device that would detect joint swelling in the hands of people who suffer arthritis. Formica jumped on board and started to look for a solution, but wasn’t happy with what he found.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

Nearly every piece of exposed metal in a consumer product has been electroplated in some way. It's the process of coating a metal with another metal to prevent corrosion. The most common coatings include chrome and cadmium, both of which are heavy metals that can be harmful to the environment.

Mark Nootbaar / 90.5 WESA

In 24 hours, an all-female team of hackers called “Codebusters” created an app allowing people to manage their family finances and health needs all in one place.

They were the winning team at PNC’s second annual employee hack-a-thon.

“Really, when we walked into the door it was kind of a sprint and everything came together a couple of hours towards the end of yesterday and here we are today,” said Codebuster team member Becca Smith. “And now I know some women who want to sleep.”

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