Innovation Reporting

It seems like every day there are breakthroughs in science, medicine and technology. But what do those advancements mean for you? WUWM’s Innovation Reporter Chuck Quirmbach will answer your questions, and make the difficult easier to grasp.

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Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Jan. 18, 2019

Wisconsin Gov. Tony Evers is promoting renewable energy in the state. But a Republican legislator says any expansion of electricity generation from sources like solar and wind should be market-driven.

Evers spoke Thursday to an annual conference held by the group RENEW Wisconsin. He's the first Wisconsin governor to do so.

Chuck Quirmbach

Researchers are trying to make guns safer, partly through devices that limit who can fire a weapon. The science and financing still have a ways to go before many gun owners have a so called "smart gun." But a southeastern Wisconsin activist group is optimistic enough about gun innovation that it sponsored a Firearm Safety Expo on Wednesday.

The local activist group Common Ground sponsored a Firearm Safety Expo Wednesday at MATC-South Campus in Oak Creek.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin investors are starting to use a relatively new federal program called Designated Economic Opportunity Zones that aims to help what the government says are economically-distressed areas. Several cautions remain, but start-up technology firms are among the businesses that could benefit if the program succeeds.

Scott Olson/Getty Images

Gov.-elect Tony Evers has named five more Cabinet appointees, most of whom would face sizable policy challenges in Southeastern Wisconsin. 

Evers has promised to try to expand federal Medicaid funding in Wisconsin, a move that could help cover thousands of more low-income people in the Milwaukee area. He says he also wants to help those with pre-existing medical conditions maintain their insurance coverage.

Chuck Quirmbach

One science and technology area expected to keep rolling toward reality this year is driverless cars (also known as autonomous vehicles). But industry experts say much work is needed before we see many such vehicles in Southeastern Wisconsin. Still, a lot of time and money are being spent on the concept, including elsewhere in the Midwest.

Chuck Quirmbach

Wisconsin Gov.-elect Tony Evers will be sworn into office Jan. 7, and dealing with a slew of the state's problems will soon be on his list. The Democrat says innovation will be part of his approach.

First though, a look back. When asked during the fall 2018 campaign about his innovative accomplishments, current Gov. Scott Walker mentioned the Foxconn LCD panel factory being built in Racine County, and the many millions of dollars Foxconn and other corporations have jointly promised to invest in the state. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Typically, meteorologists can accurately predict what the weather will be like within a week. Beyond that time frame, the weather is too variable for forecasters to be all that confident.

But a recent federal law may bring some help to farmers, other business owners and anybody else who counts on reliable mid-or longer-range predictions —and a large Wisconsin computer may be part of the improvements. 

Weather forecasters make their predictions sound simple. But, of course, it’s not that simple.

Courtesy of BenShot

A Wisconsin manufacturer that gave guns to its employees as a Christmas present is reporting a good holiday sales season. But a local group that worries about gun violence says the gift was a potentially bad idea.

The conflict shows the debate over guns is far from finished, and views may partly be based on where people live.

BenShot is the company that gave guns to its employees. It operates a small factory southwest of Green Bay, Wis., in the village of Hortonville. The firm makes drinking glasses — with a unique twist.

Chuck Quirmbach

Chronic wounds like foot or leg ulcers can take months or years to heal. They can be uncomfortable and sometimes lead to amputations. But a recent graduate is helping lead research that aims to do a better job of healing these chronic wounds.

Christina Megal just earned a doctorate of nursing practice from Alverno College, one of the first graduates of Alverno's new doctorate program. Megal's already been working at the Medical College of Wisconsin as a nurse practitioner, specializing in chronic wound care.

Victor Moussa/Fotolia

The number of Wisconsin deaths caused by drug overdoses is expected to be well into the hundreds again this year, after totaling more than 900 last year. Health officials say most of those deaths were due to opioid abuse. Some businesses and medical experts say they have innovative ideas for reducing the opioid crisis.

More than 40 percent of the people who die of opioid-related deaths in Wisconsin are from Milwaukee County. The Medical Examiner estimates the number of local deaths will be down this year, but only about 5 percent from 2017.

Chuck Quirmbach

During ice storms or heavy snowfalls, many people often worry about their power going out. But for a nature preserve near Appleton, that's less of a concern because its headquarters is part of what's called a microgrid.

The 700-acre compound generates its own power and stores it for use, greatly reducing the preserve's reliance on electricity provided by the local utility WE Energies.

Chuck Quirmbach

A national study of concussions suffered by football players and military cadets will move into a second phase, with the Medical College of Wisconsin continuing to play a major role. Findings from part one of the massive study appear to have brought some safety improvements to football. But the new round of research could bring more changes.  

Chuck Quirmbach

Thousands of people will leave from, or arrive at, Milwaukee General Mitchell International Airport during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend. Getting through a crowded terminal is tough enough at peak times, but imagine if you were blind or with low vision. 

At Mitchell, there's now free technology to help those individuals move through the airport. And, more Milwaukee County buildings may soon have the same service. 

The service is called Aira.

Eduardo Munoz Alvarez/Getty Images

With Veterans Day on Nov. 11, the Medical College of Wisconsin is highlighting its recent research into concussions suffered by military cadets at the nation's service academies. The college and partner universities also looked into concussions among college football players.

startup-wisconsin-milwaukee-week-2018
Chuck Quirmbach

It's StartUp Wisconsin Week, with dozens of events around the state highlighting entrepreneurs in technology and other businesses. A newly released analysis finds the state of the startup is mixed here. 

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