WUWM: 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.

Submit your questions to Chuck below.


Chuck Quirmbach

A newly-released study says instead of bringing a lot of money to Wisconsin, Foxconn could depress economic activity in the state by tens of billions of dollars over the next 15 years.

Chuck Quirmbach

Amtrak is projecting a new record for ridership on its Hiawatha trains between Milwaukee and Chicago. Looking ahead, some modest changes to the service are expected in the next few years, but it isn't clear exactly when.

Chuck Quirmbach

Sensory rooms are quieter spaces where people can go if they're overwhelmed by crowd noise, light or other stimulation.

They're found in some schools, and other public venues are starting to add them. The Fiserv Forum in downtown Milwaukee now has two sensory rooms. Advocates for people with special needs would like more buildings in southeast Wisconsin to add the spaces.

Drew Angerer / Getty Images

Updated at 1:43 p.m. CT 

Vice President Mike Pence visited a northeastern Wisconsin shipbuilding company on Wednesday. He went to Fincantieri Marinette Marine, a firm that already has two major deals with the U.S. Navy and is competing for a third. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Updated Thursday at 3:47 p.m. CT 

A Public Service Commission spokesperson says the PSC Thursday rejected a proposal to let We Energies' residential customers get a rebate if they install an electric vehicle charger. The rebate would have been for up to $1,000. The vote was 2-1 against the plan, with PSC Chairperson Rebecca Valcq the only commissioner to support the rebates.

Chuck Quirmbach

Startup businesses often need private financial help called venture capital to get going and grow. Milwaukee doesn't draw the investor dollars that Chicago, the Twin Cities and other parts of the country do. But some venture capitalists say the scene is improving here.

Screenshot / U.S. Army Research Laboratory

Three Milwaukee institutions — Marquette University, the Medical College of Wisconsin, and the VA Medical Center — are continuing their work on a "blast-test" dummy. The dummy could help reduce harm to U.S. armed forces caused by explosions under their military vehicles. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Cybersecurity and the need for more information technology (IT) workers who are trained in security are global concerns. And some southeastern Wisconsin universities are responding.

One person who studies cybersecurity problems is Walter Schilling, a professor in the software engineering program at the Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE).

He says as more people automate their home, including devices like Internet-connected thermostats and coffee makers, some are using older and potentially vulnerable operating systems (like Windows XP or Windows 7) on their computers.

Chuck Quirmbach

Another snowfall this week has reminded people of the challenge of wintertime driving. Plus, there are still plenty of accidents not related to the weather.

Chuck Quirmbach

Milwaukee needs to take some bold steps if it's going to make gains in creating jobs and scientific breakthroughs related to clean water. That was the recommendation of several experts at a forum at Marquette University on Tuesday.

Courtesy of We Energies

State regulators have given preliminary approval to a deal pertaining to the closed We Energies coal-fired power plant in Pleasant Prairie. That action could drive down a proposed utility rate hike

But the Public Service Commission (PSC) of Wisconsin says Thursday’s ruling doesn't lock in how the state will handle additional coal plant shutdowns that are expected in coming decades. 

Milwaukee Jewish Federation

The Federal Reserve cut interest rates on lending by a quarter percentage point on Wednesday. Many analysts predicted another rate cut to spur business growth and head off a potential recession. But a national economist told hundreds of people in Milwaukee Tuesday that consumer spending should be able to keep the U.S. economy going anyway. 

Chuck Quirmbach

A new study says there would be substantial health benefits in the Upper Midwest if more electricity from solar and wind power is added and coal-fired generation is cut back.

National Academy of Medicine webcast

A national study co-led by a Wisconsin researcher indicates burnout among doctors, nurses and other health care personnel is a significant problem. The report released Wednesday by the National Academy of Medicine also outlines some ways to prevent and reduce burnout. 

Chuck Quirmbach

Construction is underway on a large solar energy farm 90 minutes north of Milwaukee, and state regulators are considering approval of a second farm nearby. These projects, along with one approved this year for southwest Wisconsin, would be the first so-called utility solar developments in the state. That's because they are large and electric utilities like WE Energies are closely involved. 

But as with controversies over more traditional power plants, some neighbors aren't sold on big solar.