Tech Report

Civic Mapper

When you flush the toilet in Allegheny County, chances are that the waste ends up at a facility just up the Ohio River from the McKees Rocks Bridge.

To track the waste's path from one's toilet to the Allegheny County Sanitary Authority, people can use Flush.It.  This interactive map directs users to type in an address that’s within the ALCOSAN service area. After several seconds, a bright turquoise line appears, tracing a flush's route.

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.

John Altdorfer / Point Park University

Point Park University won’t have to construct a playing field before its newest varsity sports team competes next fall. It will, however, have to invest in computers, video game consoles, headphones and other equipment.

Richard Vogel, / AP

Driving for companies like Lyft or Uber can be a hustle. Once you factor in gas and the cut these companies get from each ride, drivers might even lose money some days.

Entertainment Technology Center / Carnegie Mellon University

A new game developed by Carnegie Mellon University students is helping elementary schoolers understand what life is like for kids on the autism spectrum. 

Jakob Lazzaro / 90.5 WESA

In the movie The Martian, actor Matt Damon's character is stranded on Mars. He’s been left for dead during an evacuation from a dust storm. Unable to communicate with his crewmates, Damon's character is forced to survive alone on the planet for more than a year before he's rescued.

Damon's predicament could have been solved much sooner, however, with help from a new self-healing electrical circut developed at Carnegie Mellon University's Integrated Soft Machines Lab.

Carnegie Mellon University

Outside Kathryn Whitehead’s office at Carnegie Mellon University is a nametag with the words “Nanoparticle Queen” written in black marker. She said a student made it for her at the Department of Chemical Engineering’s weekly happy hour, and she liked it enough to slap it on the wall.

'Scrubba' Designed To Clean Large Buildings, Like Giant Roomba

Jan 5, 2016
Jennifer Szweda Jordan / 90.5 WESA

Small, autonomous, robotic vacuums like Roomba, Botvac and others revolutionized tidying for the average at-home cleaner. Four inventors in Oakland want to do the same with an industrial-scale robotic janitor built to sweep and mop big spaces like malls and airports.

On a recent evening, Discovery Robotics’ inventors gave the boxy, blue, metal prototype a trial run as engineer Naman Kumar looked on. In his hand was a remote garage door opener programmed to start or stop "Scrubba" and its 300-pound heft.