Nanotech, biotech, energy, transportation, infrastructure and innovation stories from across upstate New York.

Rochester Institute of Technology

Robert Schapire, senior research scientist at Microsoft Research, will speak about machine learning from 3 to 5 p.m. March 31 at Rochester Institute of Technology.

He will present the free lecture, “The Contextual Bandits Problem: A Fast, Simple and Optimal Algorithm,” in RIT’s Chester F. Carlson Building, room 1125.

Schapire is a leading figure in artificial intelligence. According to RIT, his research led to the machine learning algorithms known as “boosting.”

STEM coaches volunteer their time to help kids

Jan 30, 2017
Denise Young/Innovation Trail

It’s a big day in Karen Grann’s eighth-grade technology class at Integrated Arts and Technology in the Rochester School District.

Students have learned how to build air skimmers — a paper vehicle of sorts that, if successfully built and launched, will glide across the classroom’s floor.

Grann said a lot of work led up to launching day.

Drones may improve agricultural practices, increase efficiency

Jan 10, 2017
Jesse Howe/Harvest Public Media

The use of drones has evolved from a hobby to military use and now to agriculture. Farmers are using drones to inspect their crops, detect diseases and deliver chemicals.

Using solar tech to clean pollution

Aug 3, 2016
Focal Technologies

A Portland, Oregon, company has received state backing to perfect using a solar technology to clean farm and factory pollution.     

State research investors with Oregon BEST believe Focal Technologies has a promising technology based on using the sun’s rays to clean up contaminated water.


On a cloudy summer morning, Rochester Institute of Technology professor Carl Salvaggio and a student from the school’s Center for Imaging Science stood in an open Pittsford field, eyes fixed on the sky. They were flying an unmanned aircraft system — also known as a drone — with the help of a longtime pilot. 

The trio took the DJI S900 n-copter on a series of 20-minute test flights, to check how well its sensors and six high-definition cameras can provide aerial imagery for precision farming. Salvaggio moved to a table off to the side, using a computer loaded with data-tracking software. He set up a small monitor on a tripod next to him to get a closer look at the airborne drone. Its short voyage would help the researchers assess the health of the vegetation.