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

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.

‘We built this for us’: Device can help protect young women

Jul 26, 2016
Courtesy of Revolar

  As parents prepare to send their children off to college this fall, many are concerned about their kids' safety. One in four female college seniors has experienced sexual assault on campus, according to a recent survey by the Association of American Universities.

Fire-starting drones could keep ranchers safer during burn season

May 28, 2016
Ariana Brocious/Harvest Public Media

Every spring, farmers and ranchers intentionally burn their fields to jump-start the natural process of renewal. But those fires can be dangerous. That’s why researchers in Nebraska are designing a new drone to start fires that may help protect people and the environment.

On a warm spring morning, a big burn crew dressed in yellow and green flame-resistant clothing gets ready to set 26 acres of tallgrass prairie on fire at Homestead National Monument of America near Beatrice, Nebraska.

Mark Engler, park superintendent, said today’s prescribed burn is special. A team from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln is trying out a new tool: a fire-starting drone.


An all-female car racing team from Rochester Institute of Technology finished third place in the electric category in its first global event. In early May, Hot Wheelz took part in the Formula Hybrid at the New Hampshire Motor Speedway.