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Blue River Technology

Let’s face it farmers are usually slow to change their practices for a couple reasons. Change usually comes with a high price tag – a new tractor can cost a half million dollars. And farmers want to minimize risk by only investing in things that have been successfully tested and in the end don’t reduce profits. But robots are slowly changing that perspective.

Laura Tsutsui / KVPR

Most smartphone users are used to an immediate internet connection in their pocket, thanks to improved phones and carrier coverage. But increasing use of data and unlimited data plans mean wireless carriers are struggling to meet the demand for a faster, better connection. To address this issue, the next generation of wireless technology has state and local lawmakers at odds.

Teresa Douglass / Tulare County Sheriff's Office

Technology like Facetime and Skype has made talking face-to-face over long distances as easy as opening an app. Now even jails are offering video calls to connect inmates and their families. But some civil liberties groups say the new technology shouldn’t replace in-person visits.  

Before this year, if you wanted to visit an inmate in the Tulare County Jail, you would go to the facility, sit on opposite sides of a glass partition, and speak through a phone.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

People love seeing black bears when they visit places like Yosemite National Park. They’re powerful creatures that can be docile or ferocious depending on the encounter. In such a highly visited place incidents with bears are bound to happen, and as FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports the park has come up with a new plan to keep bears and people safe.

It’s Fresno State student Quiang Chang’s fifth time to Yosemite National Park. He and his friends are walking along the Lower Yosemite Falls Trail. He still hasn’t seen a bear yet, but if he does he says he has a plan.

Ian Oliver / Lindsay Unified School District

As we approach 2017, smartphones and Wi-Fi networks may seem practically universal. But even now, there remains a digital divide—and many San Joaquin Valley residents find themselves on the side without internet access. A new community effort, though, is bridging that divide, in what may seem an unlikely place.

Nikolaus Namba is a school district administrator in the town of Lindsay. He used to be a teacher—the Grinch on his tie is a dead giveaway.

“I’m still living in a land of being a child at heart,” he laughs.

Cal OES YouTube Video / Cal OES

Governor Jerry Brown has signed a bill that will help build out an earthquake early warning system for California. Once it’s up and running, the system will detect the early stages of a quake and transmit a warning to people’s phones and radios. Mark Ghilarducci with the California Office of Emergency Services says it’s a big step.

Ghilarducci: "Technology to be able to sense the time that the energy gets released before the shaking occurs and be able to put that in a warning is very, very significant."

Amber Kinetics

The Fresno City Council has approved a land lease that will make Fresno the site of an innovative new energy project. Kerry Klein reports from downtown.

California has one of the most aggressive renewable energy policies in the country: by 2030, renewables like solar and wind must produce half of all our energy. But, to meet that goal, we’ll have to get a whole lot better at energy storage.

Kerry Klein

It’s Sunday morning in downtown Fresno, and a classroom full of 10-year olds is about to meet an important visitor: a 2-foot-tall, red and white robot.

“Hello, my name is NAO,” says the robot, standing up on a table.

He looks like a mix between a Transformer and a Power Ranger: big head, square shoulders, and what looks like thick gloves and boots. He can wave his arms, walk, dance, and blink his eyes—just like a tiny human.

“I can recognize your face, answer questions, and even play soccer like a pro,” he continues.

Bitwise Industries

Fresno is about to get its very own technology cluster, much like those seen in cities like San Francisco, Seattle and Austin. The hub of innovation is known as the Bitwise South Stadium in Downtown Fresno. 

The 50,000 square foot building will host 90 technology companies, a gym, two restaurants and a theater seating 200. The self proclaimed "mothership of technological education" sits in a 100-year-old renovated indoor car dealership.

Valley Public Radio

This week on Valley Edition we take a look at the notion of whether Fresno can be poverty free. VE Host Joe Moore was joined by Assistant Professor at UC Davis M. Anne Visser, Zocalo Public Square's Joe Matthews and Sher Moua with Fresno Building Healthy Communities. 

Jeffrey Hess/KVPR

Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak visited Fresno Thursday night to talk technology at the opening of the San Joaquin Valley Town Hall Lecture Series.

Wozniak spoke to a packed crowd at the William Saroyan Theater, including more than 1,000 students, about the importance of science, engineering and technology in the modern economy.

Wozniak says despite disadvantages in the valley such as high poverty and unemployment, it is possible for young people here to replicate his success.

Apps Help Farmers With Efficiency During The Drought

Jul 16, 2015

More and more California growers are using smartphone apps to streamline their farming operations. Capital Public Radio’s Lesley McClurg has more.  

Anne Burkholder is a soil scientist. She's standing in an alfalfa field in Davis that has an unusual large dead patch in the middle of it.

Burkholder: “Basically the alfalfa is maybe five inches tall, and it's really yellow right here where we’re walking, it’s crunchy and yellow, you can kind of even hear it.”

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

This past weekend a group of computer coders courted a group of farmers in Fresno County to create phone apps for their farms. Valley Public Radio’s Ezra David Romero reports.

If you’ve been on the popular dating application Tinder, then you’ve done this before.  Swipe right for a potential date or swipe left to reject someone. But here at the first “Apps for Ag” hackathon at West Hills Community College in Coalinga, Tinder meets the world of invasive pests with a new app.

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

When you think of California’s major technology centers, you probably think of Silicon Valley, or maybe even San Diego, but Fresno probably isn’t at the top of your list.  

Ezra David Romero / Valley Public Radio

Fashion is a high dollar business, with million dollar runway shows across the globe. This year at the largest agricultural expo, the world of farming is borrowing an idea from the fashion industry, with a special show of its own. FM89’s Ezra David Romero reports.

I’m in the front row of a fashion show unlike any other.  Bright lights, models and a catwalk are replaced by blue skies, tractors and a dirt arena.

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