Pittsburgh Tech Report

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Outside a home in Moon Township last Thursday, Walmart InHome Delivery associate Nick Burmaster unloads groceries from one of the company's branded cars. Dressed head-to-toe in a blue InHome uniform, Burmaster puts surgical booties over his tennis shoes, and turns on a small camera that's strapped to his chest, which begins a livestream to the customer.

Carnegie Mellon University

In the United States, about a quarter of computer scientists are women. One dozen countries have better representation in the field, a fact that's explored in the book "Cracking the Digital Ceiling," published last month by Cambridge University Press and edited by two Carnegie Mellon University professors.

Charlie Neibergall / AP

A new app aims to enlist Pennsylvania's outdoors enthusiasts in identifying and cataloging invasive species.  

KATIE BLACKLEY / 90.5 WESA

People are increasingly turning to technology for ways to improve their lives, from saving money with budgeting apps or counting steps with fitness trackers. For people who need help dozing off, the mindfulness company Headspace offers so-called “sleepcasts,” which aim to help listeners wind down for bed with narrated tours of peaceful landscapes, including Pittsburgh.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Some Giant Eagle grocery stores are employing a unique method for monitoring inventory: a shelf-scanning robot named Tally. The slender, white, five-foot-tall machine, developed by San Francisco-based Simbe Robotics, has been gliding the aisles of the Aspinwall Giant Eagle for nearly a year now.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Telecommunications companies are putting a lot of energy into promoting 5G, the wireless service purported to be faster and better than what customers have ever had before. 

Jessica Pachuta / Ethics MVP

Discussions about ethics in technology have made headlines this year, with large companies including Facebook and Google battling scandals over data protection and privacy.

Allvision

The city of Pittsburgh and East Liberty-based startup Allvision IO are embarking on a mission to track down the city’s streetlights.

 

The city's PGH Lab program, a startup incubator, recently named Allvision as a member of its latest cohort. The team will be working with the Department of Innovation and Performance to create a database of the city’s streetlights for Pittsburgh's Department of Mobility and Infrastructure, or DOMI.

 

Women in Tech PGH

Women make up about one-quarter of technology workers in the U.S., and women of color are underrepresented to an even greater degree. An online community, Women in Tech PGH, aims to support and uplift women working in tech by compiling information about job opportunities, resources and events all in one place.

On Tuesday, 16 universities across the United States and United Kingdom held #NoTechforICE events, urging the company Palantir to drop a contract with Immigration and Customs Enforcement. 

Carnegie Mellon University

College students have access to an abundance of data to track their progress in classes, from test scores to grades on projects and assignments. Professors, however, often have to rely on subjective evaluations once a year to get a sense of how they are doing. A system developed by a Carnegie Mellon University team aims to give educators more data to work with so they can improve their teaching techniques.

University of Pittsburgh

Coaches are tasked with helping their athletes improve, but when those athletes are underwater, in the case of competitive swimmers, it can be hard to actually see if what they're doing is right. A University of Pittsburgh invention, called Impulse, helps coaches visualize a swimmer's form under water. 

RedFlash Group

For first responders, communication is key to saving lives, but technology for these professionals has lagged behind traditional consumer products. A traveling codeathon coming to Carnegie Mellon University this weekend aims to encourage the development of apps for firefighters, EMTs and other public safety personnel.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

More and more people are working from home; one in 20 Americans worked remotely in 2018. Developing the skills, however, to find a remote career can be tricky, especially when you have children. This problem is what local company Moms Can & Co. aims to solve. 

Wilfredo Lee / AP

Airplanes are expensive to build, and relatively few are made each month. A Boeing press release from January touts the company has a seven-year order backlog for the Boeing 737, and is increasing production of the model to 52 airplanes each month.

Whitethorn Digital

In an industry flooded with shooter games and adventure titles, one Erie company is branding itself as an oasis for stressed out gamers. Video game publisher Whitethorn Digital aims to give a platform to independent, chilled-out games.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Inside the Star Lab for sensor development at the University of Pittsburgh, professor Alexander Star holds a black box, about the size of a remote control. It's a breathalyzer developed to measure tetrahydrocannabinol, or THC, the psychoactive component in marijuana.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

Children aren’t always taught how to cope with stress, and their experience can look very different from what adults find stressful.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Sammia Eutsey’s son, Chadd Jr., was born 10 weeks early, due in part to her pre-eclampsia, a condition related to high blood pressure.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Local financial technology company Honeycomb Credit is encouraging people to invest in Pittsburgh businesses through crowdfunding, a departure from donation-based sites like Kickstarter or GoFundMe.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

Heart disease is the leading cause of death in the U.S. and for those who need a transplant, the wait list is long. A Carnegie Mellon University bioengineering lab is on its way to achieveing a lofty goal: 3-D printing the human heart.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

It's a truth we can't escape: human beings have biases, and those biases can seep into computer programs and algorithms based on who is creating them.

Thrival Festival

Technology, education and music will come together next month for the seventh annual Thrival Festival,  Sept. 18-20 in Oakland. This year's event has a local theme: "By Pittsburgh, For Pittsburgh, For the World."

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

On a warm, sunny day, Humane Animal Rescue's director of volunteer and foster services, Monica Garcia, takes a beagle named Shadow out for a walk. In especially hot weater, the rescue requires dog walkers to test the temperature of the pavement with their fingers or bare foot. Like human feet, dog paws are sensitive to heat.

Purple Air

Graduate students in Santa Monica, Calif. are collecting hyperlocal air quality data -- in Pittsburgh. The hope for the project, run out of the Pardee RAND Graduate School, is that the data collected from at-home sensors will inform public policy. Pardee RAND is an extension of the RAND Corporation, which has an office in Pittsburgh.

Gene J. Puskar / AP

Earlier this month, Sheetz made headlines when it announced it would be adding bitcoin ATMs to five of its Pennsylvania stores. However, bitcoin ATMs aren’t new to the Pittsburgh area, or to Pennsylvania.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

The field of cyber security needs people.

Across the country, there are more than 300,000 unfilled jobs in the sector. A five-day summer camp at the University of Pittsburgh aims to teach high school students the ropes and get them interested in a cyber security career.

Sarah Boden / 90.5 WESA

Regular computers, including smart phones, can do a lot of cool stuff, but some datasets are so big that normal PCs just don’t cut it. When that’s the case, many researchers turn to the Pittsburgh Supercomputing Center, which is planning to construct a faster, stronger machine next year.

Jessica Hill / AP

new study is looking to artificial intelligence to address the opioid crisis by identify people who may be at risk for opioid overdose.

Kathleen J. Davis / 90.5 WESA

In December, the Pittsburgh Water and Sewer Authority installed a solar-powered smart valve at Panther Hollow Lake as part of a pilot project to manage storm water. Seven months later, the engineers behind the project say it's been a success. 

The lake is a man-made body of water in Schenley Park; on a normal day it holds 1.3 million gallons of water. The valve system created by Boston-based company Opti, essentially turns Panther Hollow Lake into a natural holding tank for stormwater, increasing its water volume capacity by about 70 percent.

Pages