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NCPR News Staff: Innovation Trail

The Innovation Trail is a collaboration between five upstate public media outlets, reporting about New York's innovation economy.

Stories filed by Innovation Trail

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An International Climbing Machine. Photo: icm.cc
An International Climbing Machine. Photo: icm.cc

Robots monitor wind tower damage

An Ithaca-based company called International Climbing Machines makes small robots that can climb wind turbines to check for damage. As the Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports, workers on the ground might enjoy having these mechanical friends in high places.  Go to full article
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu meeting with President Obama. Photo: Charles Watkins, White House photographer
Secretary of Energy Steven Chu meeting with President Obama. Photo: Charles Watkins, White House photographer

Energy Secretary gives a nod to state's broad-based policy

U.S. Energy Sectretary Dr. Steven Chu was in Albany recently, just a few weeks after President Barack Obama visited the capitol.

Chu told The Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick New York is on the right track with its broad energy policy.  Go to full article
Workers at a Cabot Oil & Gas drilling site in Susquehanna County, Pa. Photo: Matt Richmond, Innovation Trail
Workers at a Cabot Oil & Gas drilling site in Susquehanna County, Pa. Photo: Matt Richmond, Innovation Trail

New fracking method uses propane, not water

In the debate over whether hydraulic fracturing should be allowed in New York State, the need for millions of gallons of water at each well is a major concern.

A Canadian company called Gasfrac has developed a fracking method that eliminates the need for all that water. But as the Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports it's still too early to tell whether it will make a dent in a crowded industry.  Go to full article
It's the private sector that's leading the way in job creation, as the public sector is dragging.

Upstate leads NY jobs gains

New York State is on the brink of returning to pre-recession job levels, largely thanks to upstate. That's according to a new analysis from IHS Global Insight. The Innovation Trail's Alex Crichton has more.  Go to full article
The Capital Region has become a hub of research, innovation and manufacturing for the semiconductor industry. Photo: jurvetson / via Flickr
The Capital Region has become a hub of research, innovation and manufacturing for the semiconductor industry. Photo: jurvetson / via Flickr

Chip CEOs in Saratoga

Computer chip company executives from around the globe are in Saratoga Springs this week.

As the Innovation Trail's Marie Cusick reports, it's yet another sign of the Capital Region's growing importance in the world of advanced manufacturing.  Go to full article
Nik Wallenda is joined on stage at the Seneca Niagara Casino by Bello Nock, a "comic daredevil." (Photo: Daniel Robison, WBFO)
Nik Wallenda is joined on stage at the Seneca Niagara Casino by Bello Nock, a "comic daredevil." (Photo: Daniel Robison, WBFO)

Wallenda brings an eclectic mix to Niagara Falls

Over the last week, tightrope walker Nik Wallenda's been in Niagara Falls, practicing for his June 15th walk over the famous Falls. The Innovation Trail's Daniel Robison joined hundreds of people at the scene and found Wallenda's presence inspired an eclectic, carnival atmosphere in the hard scrabble city of 50,000.  Go to full article
Watson demoed by IBM employees. Photo: Raysonho@Open Grid Scheduler
Watson demoed by IBM employees. Photo: Raysonho@Open Grid Scheduler

IBM wants to put "Watson" to work

IBM's Watson already has "Jeopardy!" under its belt. Now the computer giant is turning to the University of Rochester for ideas on what to do next. The Innovation Trail's Zack Seward explains.  Go to full article
Drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale region. Photo: Laurie Barr
Drilling rig in the Marcellus Shale region. Photo: Laurie Barr

Vestal: a hot spot in the debate about hydrofracking

Hydraulic fracturing involves the high-pressure injection of water and chemicals into the ground to split rock apart and release natural gas or oil. It's being used extensively in the rapidly expanding natural gas industry in Pennsylvania, but has been blamed for a range of environmental and health problems.

Just across the border, the Town of Vestal, near Binghamton, is well-placed for natural gas development. It's in one of three counties in New York considered to be in the sweet spot of Marcellus Shale development. And as the Innovation Trail's Matt Richmond reports, its location is what makes Vestal a hot spot in the larger debate about hydrofracking.  Go to full article
NY's senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand
NY's senators, Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand

Senators seek transition support for vets

New York's senators are looking to reduce unemployment among recently retired veterans. They unveiled three new bills at a joint press conference Monday. The Innovation Trail's Ryan Delaney reports.  Go to full article
Computers ready for recycling in Olympia, WA. Photo: Bluedisk at en.wikipedia
Computers ready for recycling in Olympia, WA. Photo: Bluedisk at en.wikipedia

E-waste recycling: from bytes to bits and pieces

When the town of Canton opened a drop-off site this week for old electronics, it was not only giving St. Lawrence County residents a convenient way to dispose of unwanted TVs, computers, and cellphones, it was also helping them comply with the law.

This month marks the one-year anniversary of the New York State law that requires old electronics be recycled instead of simply thrown in the trash. Under the law, manufacturers have to collect and recycle the products they create when consumers are done with them. But a new report by the Natural Resources Defense Council finds the law is having mixed results.

Reporter Tracey Samuelson of New York Public Radio followed one discarded computer through the recycling process.  Go to full article

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