technology

Dan Margolies / KCUR 89.3

Can a sweet treat help narrow a gender gap in the technology field? Today, the founder of Kansas City Women in Technology walks us through how a mother/daughter coding class could get more girls interested in pursuing it as a career. Then, we discuss the upcoming special session that will focus on considering abortion regulations in Missouri. Joining us is Democratic Rep.

Conner Hazelrigg
Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Three years ago, Conner Hazelrigg was a sophomore at William Jewell College, in Liberty, Missouri, when a friend came back from a trip to Haiti. The friend told Hazelrigg that everyone in the island nation—one of the world’s poorest countries—has a cell phone. They just don’t have any way to charge them. Electricity, she learned, was expensive and hard to find.

How do communities come together to share information and solve problems? From searching for a missing child to neighbors cleaning up after a storm, we look at how people take action — and whether changes in technology have affected how they solve problems.

Guests:

Luke X. Martin / KCUR 89.3

Erin Smith doesn’t watch a lot of TV.

Instead, the 17-year-old spends her evenings perfecting an online tool she created. The tool, called FacePrint, can detect Parkinson’s disease years before current diagnosis methods by recording your facial reactions with a webcam at home.

Farmers are used to fixing their own machinery, but without the right software from tractor manufacturers they are effectively locked out of many models.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

A new tractor often costs hundreds of thousands of dollars, but not included in that price: the right to repair it. That has put farmers on the front lines of a battle pitting consumers against the makers of all kinds of consumer goods, from tractors to refrigerators to smart phones.  

Modern tractors, essentially, have two keys to make the engine work. One key starts the engine. Today’s tractors are high-tech machines that can steer themselves by satellite, so there is another key – a software key – to get into the programs that make a tractor run properly.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

The new Bloch Galleries at The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art showcase European art from the 18th, 19th and 20th centuries. This includes masterpieces of Impressionism and post-Impressionism collected by Marion and Henry Bloch — artists such as Edgar Degas, Claude Monet, and Vincent van Gogh.

But visitors to the galleries might also be dazzled by some of the technological upgrades from sound to lighting. 

Peggy Lowe / KCUR 89.3

Looking back, Mira Mdivani says she can now connect the events and put them in context.

“Before the shooting, actually,” she says, “I had a phone call from an Indian national who emigrated to the United States and is a United States citizen.”

Mdivani, an immigration attorney in Overland Park, Kansas, was recalling the Feb. 22 shooting at an Olathe bar in which two Indian men were targeted in what appears to have been a racially motivated attack.

A rural farm in Kansas. A wealthy family with a dark secret. A missing young woman. That's the basis of a new book by a local author. She shares how a real-life small Kansas town — and her background as a criminal defense attorney — helped inspire her novel.

Then, a look at how police department throughout the country (including in KC) are using technology that mines cell phone data.

Xaqt

Kansas City, Missouri, has started sharing data collected from interactive kiosks along the streetcar route.

A website launched Tuesday can tell visitors to downtown how traffic is flowing and if parking is available.

“If I don’t have to search for more than five minutes for a parking spot, I can better enjoy my day during play time. I can make better use of my time while I’m going to meetings,” Chief Innovation Officer Bob Bennett says.

TEDxKC

For the second year running, Up To Date has invited presenters from TEDxKC to fill us in on their work.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

Over concerns about the exclusivity of the local tech scene, one Kansas City man wants to create a startup community near the 18th and Vine District for minority entrepreneurs. We also hear from a former Kansas City Star writer about her life in the Flint Hills and the transition to new work.

Several regional schools have seen intense, sometimes violent protests focused on social and civil divisions, but the UMKC campus has largely been spared. Today, we find out what makes the metro institution different. Then, a futurist shares her strategies for predicting trends in technology, business and more.

When Anthony Ladesich found his father's youthful correspondence with an old Navy friend on a stack of reel-to-reel tapes, he also found so much more: a portal into Kansas City's jazz history, and a way of keeping his dad with him a little longer.

Plus, for the first time ever, a student was admitted to UMKC Conservatory's composition program using the computer as his instrument.

This is an encore edition of Central Standard.

Guests:

Courtesy ShotTracker

Kansas City entrepreneur Davyeon Ross just got the endorsement of a lifetime — from NBA legend Magic Johnson. 

Ross is the co-founder of ShotTracker, a basketball analytics startup and Johnson, along with former NBA commissioner David Stern and other investors, announced they're putting $5 million into the firm's latest product. 

"I grew up watching Magic play, so to be sitting in a conference room with him, and have that relationship is huge," Ross says.

Is nature a place to unplug ... or is it a photo op for social media? (#nature #gettingoutthere)? The relationship between technology and the wilderness.

Plus, a look back at how Leon Jordan and others consolidated black political power in Kansas City.

Guests:

Jarrett Stewart / Flickr-CC

Kansas City officials were disappointed last week when they found out Kansas City will not receive a federal Smart City grant to help pay for enhancements to the planned Prospect MAX rapid bus line.

This is the second time the city was passed over for a Smart City grant

Twitter

In an effort to take advantage of expanding local government data capabilities, the Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kansas, has hired Alan Howze to fill a new position — chief knowledge officer. The role merges public service, government efficiency, and transparency, several things he is passionate about, Howze said in a Facebook post.

Recently, Google Maps started showing "areas of interest" in an orange color on the app. KC's areas of interested included the Plaza and Crown Center. Not included: 18th and Vine or the ruins of Quindaro in KCK.

We explore the ways that computer algorithms could reflect someone's prejudice or assumptions — or perhaps just reinforce our own.

Guests:

Frank Morris / KCUR 89.3

Overland Park, Kansas-based Sprint says it’s set a new record for wireless internet speed in Kansas City, using a technology called three-channel carrier aggregation.

The technology works by bundling data streams, and organizing them to work like one.  Creating one big pipe can handle a lot more information.

For various reasons, victims of sexual assault are often reticent to report crimes. But support systems for them can make a difference in reducing incidents and bringing perpetrators to justice. Researcher, educator, and activist Jess Ladd is attempting to overcome that public health hurdle using a computer system she helped develop, called Callisto.

Composer, artist, software designer ... whatever you want to call him, R. Luke DuBois is a thinker. He's done a portrait of every president using only words from their State of the Union addresses, and employed a real gun and blank bullets to visualize every shooting in New Orleans, all with the aim of helping people better understand the world around them.

If you feel like your smartphone has a mind of it's own, it's not just you. After years of stacking new systems on top of generations of old technology, things have become so complicated no one really understands it. 

Guest:

Everyone hates stale potato chips, but that little annoyance was the inspiration  that got Mark Shaw thinking about how to reseal the bag. Since then, Shaw's been a prolific inventor and innovator whose nanotechnology work has revolutionized several industries. He says the key to unlocking the inventor's mindset is constantly looking for ways to create doors where there once were only walls.

Dan Verbeck / KCUR 89.3

Kansas City is near the top of a list of cities that are growing advanced industry.

That’s the latest from The Brookings Institution – and good news after a 2014 report found some troubling economic indicators here in the metro.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR 89.3

To an observer, Mahlet Yeshitla is sitting in a chair with a large headset covering most of her face, waving her arms at the empty space in front of her.

But from her perspective, she's using cubes to create building blocks.

“It does feel like you’re in a room, at a table, just building things,” Yeshitla said.

Most of the soybeans, like those pictured here, and corn grown in the United States are geneticall modified. Some new varities are not required to undergo federal regulation.
Grant Gerlock / Harvest Public Media

In a brightly-lit lab at the University of Nebraska Lincoln, workers with tweezers hunch over petri dishes scattered with sprouted sorghum seeds. Sorghum produces grain and also a sugary stalk.

But this sorghum has a genetic tweak, explains plant scientist Tom Clemente. Instead of sugar, it’s engineered to make oil, which could be used to make fuel or chemicals.

“You know if we can get oil in a stock of sorghum anywhere greater than 5 percent, that’s a winner,” Clemente says. “That’s a grand slam.”

Wikimedia Commons

Kansas City innovators will have an opportunity to develop business ideas in a new program for people who want to change the energy industry.

Digital Sandbox KC is partnering with GXP Investments, an area energy investor. They’re collaborating to create Energy Sandbox, which will help entrepreneurs take ideas, test their feasibility and develop prototypes.

Few things compare to the satisfaction of building something with your own hands  — making things has always been a fundamental part of what humans do. The maker movement embraces these things, and aims to put high-tech tools into everyone’s hands.

U.S. Department of Transportation

Kansas City lost out to Columbus, Ohio, in a bid to become the first Smart City, but it’ll still get help from the U.S. Department of Transportation to turn its ideas into reality.

On Tuesday, as Columbus media reported their city won the $50 million challenge, the DOT said it would back all seven finalists as they build better-connected cities.

For years, political polling told us who was  likely to vote and how, but the cell phone complicated all that. With fewer people answering — or even owning — land-line numbers, polls became less reliable. A Chicago start-up is changing that tradition, and finding success.

Guest:

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