Technology

A Fitbit
Carina D. / Pexels

Google is buying Fitbit for about $2.1 billion, enabling the internet company to step back into the hotly contested market for smartwatches and health trackers.

Goodwill offers the free training at its "Opportunity Campus" on Wilkinson Boulevard.
Goodwill Industries of the Southern Piedmont

Goodwill's efforts to expand free technology training in Charlotte got another boost Tuesday — a $1.5 million grant from a big tech services company. 

In October, Charlotte Area Transit System added slogans to buses saying "Hey Amazon! #CLTisPrime"
David Boraks / WFAE

Amazon has given local business recruiters a bit of feedback on why Charlotte didn't make the list of 20 finalists for the company's planned $5 billion second headquarters. One key reason: a shortage of tech talent. 

This is the first story in an NPR series, "Take a Number," that will explore problems around the world and the people who are trying to solve them.

Elisheva Adler was 20 years old, sitting in pajamas in her childhood bedroom in Long Island, the first time she saved someone's life via text message.

WFAE file photo

The Beacon technology blog is offering k-12 teachers a chance to compete for six grants that they can use to buy supplies and materials for technological-related classroom instruction. The grant awards range from $500 to $1,000.

Ben Bradford

About two years ago, Salisbury improved the download speed of its city-owned internet service to 10 gigabits per second, making it one of the fastest systems in the country. By comparison, Google Fiber is one gigabit. Salisbury officials predicted that Fibrant would create jobs and attract new businesses. But Fibrant is losing millions of dollars annually and city officials are considering a way out.

Google Fiber Debuts In Highland Creek Neighborhood

Jul 12, 2016
Ana Lucia Murillo / WFAE

Google announced its plan to offer Google Fiber in Charlotte more than a year ago. Tuesday the super high-speed internet service opened for business in one corner of the city – Highland Creek.

It’s easy to record video using a smart phone, but where do you send it if you believe it’s proof of someone’s rights being violated? The ACLU of North Carolina says a new app will take care of that. 

All video that’s taped using the Mobile Justice NC will be sent directly to the ACLU of North Carolina.

Carolyna Manrique is a staff attorney for the group. She says the app makes it easy for users to upload video, no matter the situation.

"Perhaps the person is ordered by the police to stop recording and they’re very quickly being put in handcuffs or something like that. Well, once the person shakes the phone or clicks on stop, it will immediately send the video to us without them having to do anything else," says Manrique.

Manrique says the automatic upload when they shake the phone is important, because the ACLU will get the video immediately, even if the bystander’s phone is confiscated by the police.

North Carolina’s ACLU office is the seventh chapter to offer the app.

Tasnim Shamma

Since it first opened, UNC Charlotte's football stadium has had a zero-waste initiative. That means almost no trash. Everything that can be … is recycled or composted.

Part of that initiative is a three and a half feet-tall robot called RecycleBot. Ten engineering students worked on the robot this spring.  


RST Fiber

Google is still considering if it will bringing its ultra-high speed internet to cities like Charlotte. But if you don’t want to wait, you may not have to. This week, a small North Carolina Company announced it has already built a similar fiber optic network across the entire state. The company is called RST Fiber and we take a look at what they offer and one of the men behind it.


Google

The city of Charlotte was recently given a bit of homework. How the city answers a series of questions will determine if neighborhoods like South Park, Uptown and Dilworth will be Google’s next fiber-hoods. So what could Google Fiber in Charlotte mean for consumers and businesses alike?  

Ben Bradford / WFAE

3/11/14 Update: The FAA has appealed the judge's decision to the full National Transportation Safety Board. The appeal also has the effect of staying the judge's decision.

Some unmanned flying vehicles, or drones, can be used commercially in the U.S., after a federal judge ruled that the Federal Aviation Administration cannot enforce its current policy. The agency has banned commercial drone use.

More changes are coming in regard to how standardized tests are scored.

Union County's school board is accused of sneaking through a controversial redistricting vote.

Third-party election cash is flowing into North Carolina's U.S. Senate race.

Plus, breaking news on drones.

Greg, Lisa and Ben discuss all these issue on the latest edition of WFAE Talks.

Michael Tomsic

NASCAR, the NFL and other pro sports are combining high-tech data analytics with old-school public relations. They've built what are basically tech command centers where employees engage with fans and monitor trends on social media. The centers have been popping up over the past five years or so, and one of the newest ones is in Charlotte.


Amplify

The educational software and technology company Amplify announced it will issue 19,240 new tablets to Guilford County middle schools. The company says these tablets are durable and will feature "Gorilla Glass" screens and spill-resistant "rubber bumpers."

This is the company's second attempt to serve Guilford County Schools. The school district last fall leased 15,000 tablets as part of a $30 million federal Race To The Top grant. But one month into the program, more than 10 percent of Amplify tablets had cracked or broken screens. One student's tablet charger overheated and melted.

Amateur radio operators have been around for a long time. In fact, this week HAMS - as the operators are known - are celebrating amateur radio's 100 year anniversary. In cases of emergency events or weather, HAMS are called upon to help larger media outlets and the National Weather Service. There are over 20,000 of these folks in North Carolina and another 9,500+ in South Carolina. We talk with two HAMS and learn about their craft. Then we get an update from Vani Hari, known as the 'Food Babe' about her latest endeavors, including encouraging the restaurant Subway to remove a chemical additive from their bread.

Mooresville Graded School District

Everyone knows that we are living in a digital world but if you visit that average classroom you’ll likely see more pencils, paper, books and chalkboards than monitors or keyboards. There is a school system changing all that and some educators have called them the best school system in America. That school system is right in our backyard. The Mooresville Graded School District introduced a 1 to 1 laptop initiative meaning that every child in their system learns through digital media, from 1st and 2nd graders with digital learning tools to laptops in the hands of every student from 3rd—12th grade. And the results are amazing. We’ll find out how the digital conversion is transforming learning in Mooresville and what the future might be for school kids everywhere.

Artificial Intelligence - machines that work like the human brain - computers that can think. It's the stuff of science fiction, but it's also very real and developing faster than you may realize. Just this week, tech giant Google announced the purchase of an artificial intelligence firm - the company's ninth robotics oriented purchase in a little over a year. From asking your smart phone for directions to self-driving cars to robots programmed to act like humans, AI is everywhere and it's certainly uncharted territory. What does it mean when we create computers that are potentially smarter than people? Our guest today warns, if we don't tread lightly, it could mean the end of the human era. A panel of experts joins us to explain how artificial intelligence works and discuss the practical applications and ethical considerations of this controversial technology.


NC Venture Capital Slow To Return Post-Recession

Jan 22, 2014
Ben Bradford / WFAE

Venture capital investment is best known for funding technology start-ups, including, once upon a time, Google and Facebook. The amount of venture capital funding is also an indication of how many start-ups or early stage companies a region is producing. The latest numbers in North Carolina show the state still has not recovered from the recession.


Banks Try To Save Big With 'ATMs Of The Future'

Jan 1, 2014

There's a drive-thru ATM in Charlotte, N.C., that looks pretty standard, but it has an extra function: a button that says "speak with teller."

The face of a woman wearing a headset sitting in front of a plain blue background flashes onto the ATM screen. "Good afternoon," she says. "Welcome to Bank of America. My name is Carolina. How are you today?"

She's one of a cadre of Bank of America employees in Florida and Delaware call centers, where they remotely control ATMs across the country. I ask for $26.

"Just a $1, a $5 and $20," I say.

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