technology

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Sound and lighting designers at Kansas City's Unicorn Theatre are pulling out all the stops for the world premiere of the play The Ghosts of Lote Bravo. Thanks to a six-figure grant, the Unicorn has been able to upgrade to the latest technology the theater world has to offer.

Pixabay

I remember getting rid of my cassette tapes.

Through the early 2000s, when my journalism career was just beginning, I drove a beat-up used car built in 1991. The bonus was, it had a tape deck. And I had a great collection of music on tapes.

commons.wikimedia.org

1992 is calling and it wants its cassette tapes back: a local record store can't keep tapes in stock, a St. Joseph pawn shop sells tape decks as quickly as they come in, and a Springfield-based cassette manufacturer just had its best year since 1969. Sounds like a cassette-tape revival to us.

Guests:

Mike Licht/Flickr -- CC

We explore how technology has changed our relationships with our homes ... and society.

Guests:

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

When Jim McKelvey started his company Square in St. Louis, he noticed a big problem. 

Every time he would hire a new engineer, he would get an angry phone call from their previous company accusing him of stealing their best programmer. 

"By the time I got the fourth call, it was obvious that the only way we could grow our company was at the expense of other firms in town," McKelvey says.  

As heartbreaking as it was to leave his hometown, McKelvey and his co-founder closed their St. Louis office.

Forget what you've seen on CSI or Law and Order.  Take a look at what really goes into solving crimes through DNA analysis and how the process differs from what we see on TV.

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South By Southwest has a reputation for being on the cutting edge of technology and startup trends, and Kansas City had a strong showing at this year's Interactive festival.

Guest:

  • Bobby Burch is the editor-in-chief of Startland News. He attended this year's SXSW Interactive festival. 

Social media can be a place where middle schoolers feel like they can develop relationships. But the dangers of sharing information on the Internet can be frightening. We talk about navigating a complicated online world. 

Guest:

  • Dr. Wes Crenshaw is board certified in couples and family psychology. He writes the Double Take column for the Lawrence Journal World.
Peggy Lowe / Harvest Public Media

The Western Farm Show in Kansas City, Missouri, is a long way from Silicon Valley.

But here in a huge arena, set in what used to be the Kansas City Stockyards, the high-tech future of agriculture is for sale.

Casey Adams and Scott Jackman, co-owners of Fly Ag Tech, have their large yellow and white drone sitting at center stage in their booth at this huge annual trade show.

“It’s got a GPS, so it knows where it’s at, underneath here you’ll see an autopilot, its an onboard computer,” he said.

MINDDRIVE

 If you go to the 2016 Kansas City Auto Show at Bartle Hall, you may spot among the shiny new SUVs and tricked-out sports cars something more incongruous. It's squat and narrow, resembling a more advanced version of a Soapbox Derby car. 

Look again: that car was printed by a 3-D printer and designed by high school kids in Kansas City. 

Undecided on your candidates this election? There's an app for that. On this edition of Up To Date, we talk voter "matchmaking" apps, new technology and how candidates are using different platforms to reach citizens.

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Students from MINDDRIVE, a project-based learning organization, will unveil an experimental 3D-printed vehicle at the Kansas City International Auto Show. The electric car, designed by high schoolers, is 12 feet in length and looks like a formula race car. 

Guests:

Dan Hesse on Up To Date
Brian Ellison / KCUR 89.3

Dan Hesse retired after seven years as CEO of Sprint in August 2014, he vowed to take at least a year "completely off."

The year has come and gone — and Hesse is busy again ... but it's a different kind of busy.

"I'd been accused by many people of being a serial workaholic," Hesse says. "I tried to have a balanced life, but I really focused on being the best leader and mentor I could be. I wanted to take some time to be the best father, husband, son and friend that I could be."

New business creation in the United States is half of what it was in the 80s. There is reason for optimism, though, as a wave of millennials enters the peak age for business creation. The question is: Will public policy support or interfere with this new wave of entrepreneurship?

Guest:

  • Dane Stangler is the vice president of research and policy at the Kauffman Foundation.

The University of Kansas is taking a bold step into the fight against cybercrime. It recently announced a $4.7 million, five-year grant from the National Science Foundation to train a new generation of cyberdefense experts who will be dedicated to public service.

Guest:

  • Bo Luo is an associate professor of electrical engineering and computer science at KU and the program leader of CyberCorps.
Jay Flatland / YouTube

Have you ever just given up on a Rubik’s Cube? That’s what Paul Rose did as a kid. 

“I was around for the original phase in the early ‘80s, and had a puzzle back then, and messed around with it, and put it down,” says Rose.

When his daughter got one, a few years ago though, Rose cracked the code, and he got pretty fast, for a mortal. He can tackle a scrambled Rubik’s Cube in about a minute and a half. 

Now Rose and another enterprising Kansas City programmer have built the world’s fastest Rubik’s Cube-solving robot.

Courtesy photo / Cerner Corp.

Neal Patterson, the CEO and co-founder of health technology giant Cerner Corp., says he has cancer.

He made the announcement Monday in a letter to shareholders and employees, which the company filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission

Swipe left or swipe right, mobile dating apps have gotten traction with the younger crowd but do they lead to lasting connections? We ask how young people are using them: as a path to a relationship, or to find sex?

Guests:

  • Wes Crenshaw is board certified in couples and family psychology and the author of I Always Want to Be Where I'm Not: Successful Living with ADD and ADHD.
  • Lauren is an architectural engineer in her early twenties and Tinder user.

A few weeks ago, the White House held a STEM education workshop for 27 cities across the United States, and five representatives from Kansas City were invited to attend. On this edition of Up to Date, Steve Kraske finds out what they learned and how it could change local approaches to STEM.

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Courtest Photo / Blooom

It’s been a big year for Blooom, the Leawood, Kansas, based finance-tech company.

In addition to taking home a $50,000 grant from LaunchKC during Techweek in September, the company has just been crowned the first-ever winner of the "One in a Million" startup competition, presented by the Kauffman Foundation's 1 Million Cups program.

The grand prize — $10,000.

In a time when the internet and computers have drastically changed the way the world works, many classrooms look just as they did 25 years ago. But that is changing as artificially intelligent software that adapts to a student's learning level begins to appear in schools.

Guests:

Plexpod

In recent years, Kansas City has emerged as a startup hub. Now, the metro's burgeoning tech community will soon have a centerpiece space in which to do its work. 

Sam Zeff / KCUR

Most people know by now that it's pretty hard for women to land a high-tech job.

In fact, while 57 percent of all professional jobs are held by women in the United States, only 26 percent of computing jobs go to women, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

But, it turns out, landing that high paying tech job is even harder for women who go to Midwestern universities.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Engineering firm Burns & McDonnell has received Federal Aviation Administration approval to fly drones for commercial use.

The Kansas City-based company celebrated the new certification with a test flight Wednesday over the new campus being built in south Kansas City.

Steve Santovasi says using unmanned aerial vehicles, or UAVs, to complete inspections presents a significant time savings over having to obtain permits to bring in heavy equipment.

Mike Foster
Julie Denesha / / KCUR

Some innovators develop something completely new. Others take something that everyone thought was working fine and make it better.

Too often in the face of disaster, needed supplies and equipment are bogged down by transport difficulties and red tape. Dara Dotz is working to transform the humanitarian process — by incorporating 3-D printing to make tools on the spot.

Dara Dotz is one of the presenters at TEDxKC, which takes place from 5-11 p.m. on August 29 at the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts. For information, visit www.tedxkc.org.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

Technology has transformed farming, one of the Midwest’s biggest industries, and while fewer people are now needed to actually work the farm field, new types of jobs keep many office workers tied to agriculture.

Beyond operating a tractor and a combine, today’s farmers need to manage all kinds of information. From information technology to web development, the skills that have changed our economy have transformed the agriculture industry as well.

Courtesy Photo / KC STEM Alliance

The White House has made it a point to urge girls to get involved in math, science and engineering.

In 2013, President Obama said, "We’ve got half the population that is way underrepresented in those fields and that means that we’ve got a whole bunch of talent … not being encouraged the way they need to.” 

Despite that, KC STEM Alliance director Laura Loyacono says that females are actually a shrinking percentage of the computer science workforce.

Hacked

Jul 30, 2015

In light of the data breach that has compromised thousands of Kansans' health records, we discuss how individuals and businesses can protect personal information from being hacked. 

Guests:

  • Dustin Jacobsen is the chief strategy officer for Flat Square Technology Group, Inc.
  • Brandon Holley is the business development manager for Network Technologies Inc.

Kansas City, Missouri is in the midst of hiring a new Chief Innovation Officer, but what exactly does that job entail? The position, which is common in tech firms, is a relatively new trend in local governments. 

Guests:

  • Chris Hernandez is the Director of Communications for Kansas City, Missouri.
  • Jeffrey Stinson covers the business of government for Stateline, which reports on trends in state government for the Pew Charitable Trusts.

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