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.

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Chuck Quirmbach

During the COVID-19 pandemic, more hospitals and doctors are promoting telemedicine, or telehealth. That typically means connecting with a physician or other medical personnel by phone or through an online video connection.  

Medical facilities are trying to discourage people without COVID-19 symptoms or other risk factors from swamping medical facilities already busy with COVID patients. Or, from putting health care workers at greater risk by possibly simply spreading the virus.

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Lots of people are isolating themselves these days due to the COVID-19 pandemic. But isolation and loneliness have long been concerns for some seniors as they grapple with the death of loved ones, health problems or retirement.

Chuck Quirmbach / WUWM

A health warning related to the coronavirus comes from the Milwaukee-based Versiti Blood Center of Wisconsin: Officials say blood drives are being canceled and the impact of possible blood shortages on hospitals and patients could be severe.

Versiti says it’s the exclusive provider of blood and blood products to more than 50 hospitals in 29 counties. Hospitals in the Milwaukee area include St. Luke’s, Children’s and Froedtert. The center says it provides more than 230,000 units of blood every year. A unit is roughly one pint.

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One disease killed 2,453 people in Wisconsin in 2018, and projections are that number could increase in the coming years. It's Alzheimer's — a type of dementia that mainly affects the elderly through altered thinking, memory and behavior.

To meet future care needs, the Alzheimer's Association says changes are needed in the medical community.

Chuck Quirmbach

The quality of health care for veterans may be closely watched this election year due to frequent presidential promises to take care of those who served in the military.

Some doctors at the Zablocki Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Milwaukee say they're proud of the cancer treatment they're able to offer, and satisfaction at Zablocki apparently remains high. But a nurses union says a recent announcement threatens to weaken services for vets who may be in crisis.

David Ryder/Getty Images

State of Wisconsin health officials are promising more outreach about the novel coronavirus to nursing homes and other long-term care sites for older Wisconsin residents.

Several of the COVID-19 victims in the state of Washington lived at an elder care facility. Health officials say the virus may be a greater risk to seniors, because of their age and potential underlying health problems.

Chuck Quirmbach

Some entrepreneurs see profits in renewable energy and energy efficiency products. But early-stage companies often need money to keep innovating. An annual competition held in Milwaukee Tuesday night gave seven firms a chance to show off what they do and meet more potential investors.

Chuck Quirmbach

A top Foxconn executive says his company continues to work on projects in Wisconsin and may start making a product in about two months.

Brand Cheng is CEO of Foxconn Industrial Internet, which provides equipment for communication, cloud computing (data storage and computing power) and other ways for firms to develop smart, or more efficient, manufacturing. He spoke Friday afternoon at an engineering research conference at UW-Milwaukee.

Chuck Quirmbach

The automotive industry is talking about a major shift to electric and gas-electric hybrid vehicles over the next 20 years.

To see if drivers are ready for the potential change, we went to an area called The Electric Zone at the Car & Truck Show underway in downtown Milwaukee.

The zone is a first floor hallway in the Wisconsin Center, containing a half-dozen plug-in electric or hybrid vehicles. Just like at the rest of the show, or at an auto dealer, people get behind the wheel, look under the hood and slam doors.

Michael Flippo / Getty Images

The Evers administration has started asking the public for advice on how and where to spend up to $10 million for electric vehicle charging stations in Wisconsin. 

Electric vehicles, or EV, still only make up a tiny fraction of automobiles in the state. But analysts say the number will grow if there are more places to recharge the cars.

READ: Push For EVs Predicted To Continue In Wisconsin Amid Questions

Chuck Quirmbach

When it comes to the local economy, there’s some good and bad news. It' on the venture capital front — the money provided by investors that often helps businesses get underway or grow.

The good news is that economists say more venture capital dollars are flowing to the Milwaukee area, and the Midwest. The bad news is that some other parts of the U.S. are faring much better.

About half the money in U.S. venture capital deals goes to California. New York gets 14%. Six other Great Lakes states, including Wisconsin, get a combined total of 4%.

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If you post about this year's elections on a blog or on social media like Facebook, you may wind up being a tiny part of new Milwaukee-based study. Researchers at UWM and Marquette University hope to use data science to learn more about voter priorities.

Political polls, usually done by telephone, already tell us some things about potential voters. But UW-Milwaukee marketing professor Purush Papatla says polls have shortcomings.

"Polling can only done at certain times. And, polling takes time to get the data back, and analyze and find the results," Papatla said.

Bill Ingalls / NASA

A rocket scheduled to go to the International Space Station on Sunday will carry a Wisconsin experiment that could help in the fight against bacteria that resist antibiotics. The research may also assist future astronauts and other space travelers.  

Courtesy of Pouya Mirzaei

Teaching often means using creative ways to get through to students about complex subjects. For example, at Marquette University, an assignment has led one undergrad to create a children's comic book about chemistry. 

Art has often been used to teach, including about science. Even very commercial art. For example, in the 1966 science fiction film Fantastic Voyage, a submarine crew was made tiny and sent inside a man. A trailer from the film boasted, "Off on a fantastic voyage, actually entering, inside, the human body, exploring an unknown universe!  Unknown danger!"

Chuck Quirmbach

The regional economic development partnership known as Milwaukee 7, or M7, says it has brought a lot of jobs to the area, or kept them here. But that may not be true in some low-income neighborhoods. 

M7 was launched in 2005 as a cooperative economic platform for Kenosha, Milwaukee, Ozaukee, Racine, Walworth, Washington and Waukesha counties. The partnership has just completed its third, five-year job recruitment effort, funded by about $9 million in public money and private donations.