innovation

Falcon Kites a New Tool to Protect Vineyards

Jun 12, 2017

Falcons are a proven deterrent to the birds than can raid and damage ripening grapes.  Now a North Bay innovator with a background in bird management  is promoting a look-alike kite to do the same job.

Roger Snow of Falcon Crop Management, the new company he has formed to promote the Falcon Fright Kites, believes they are a far more effective --and economical--deterrent than any of the commonly used alternatives that are currently available.

 

   Is it possible to fight poverty and climate change at the same time? The answer is emphatically yes, and Rocky Rohwedder has examples to prove it.

  Rohwedder, who has now retired from his position at Sonoma State, found some important allies in his Ecological Handprints project. One was South African Bishop Desmond Tutu, who wrote an introduction for the book. Others included top-flight photographers who donated their images.

Cannabis and Cabernet: Collaborators or Competitors?

Dec 1, 2016

The 2016 Wine Industry Expo at the Sonoma County Fairgrounds yesterday included workshops on marketing to Millennials, legislative issues, and harvest methodologies. But the panel discussion on “Marijuana and Wine” may have drawn the biggest crowd.

Public Banking Institute

A municipal public bank wouldn’t pay bonuses and dividends, and could have a more flexible relationship with federal regulators. All good reasons, says a local supporter of the alternative fiscal businesses, for creating one to serve the region’s cannabis industry.

Marc Armstrong co-founded the Public Banking Institute.

Re-Thinking Cement

Aug 9, 2016
Encyclopedia Brittanica

  One of the most common building blocks in the developed world—cement—is also hugely polluting. So a Petaluma businessman is working to scale up an alternative to it.

Concrete Tanks as an Alternative for For Aging Wine

Aug 8, 2016
Sonoma Cast Stone

  In their perpetual quest for new and better winemaking tools and methods, some Northern California vintners have been turning to something that is almost as old as wine itself.

Students’ Engineering Creativity on Display at SSU

May 4, 2016
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Sonoma State is primarily a teaching campus, but many students also engage in research projects, including some innovative inventions, that were on display yesterday in the University's newly combined “Symposium of Research and Creativity."

 The possible applications of a mobile solar-powered generator are almost limitless, says co-developer Jarrett Baglietto, especially since their designed their unit with enough storage to drive even some big, power-hungry equipment.

Embracing Corporate Entrepreneurialism

Apr 7, 2016
United Nations

Dell Computers has a workforce of 100,000 people in 160 different countries. So they look for entrepreneurial ideas both externally and within.

The “triple bottom line” (people, planet and profit) is increasingly at the core of entrepreneurialism all over the world, observes Elizabeth Gore, leaving new businesses in the United States, to some degree, in the unfamiliar position of playing catch-up.

Turning Wine Waste into Healthy Snacks

Mar 1, 2016

  It has to be used sparingly, but flour made from dried grape skins and seeds is both healthy and nutritious. And it’s starting to catch on.

The first local commercial use of grape skin flour was in making gluten-free cookies,  recalls Tom Keener, co-founder of Wild California.

Making Better Use of Wine Waste

Feb 27, 2016
The Royal Journal of Green Chemistrty

For every pallet of wine produced in California, there is a small mountain of grape waste, called pomace. In our modern age of sustainability, new efforts are being made to find constructive uses for that byproduct.

Food products weren't what WholeVine was created to investigate, says Chief Science Officer Torey Arvick.

Their first products were cooking oils, cold-pressed from pomace that was differentiated by varietal. Arvick says the differences of the grape types remain distinctive in the oils.

Making “green” ammonia as a chemical battery

Jan 18, 2016

  As California -- and the world at large – looks for alternatives to fossil fuels, one local innovator is focusing on a biochemical process that he believes holds great promise.

Young Adults with Autism Thrive in Their New Home

Dec 28, 2015

  Eight years in the making, a new living environment for young adults with autism is attracting nationwide attention to their shared homes in downtown Sonoma.

Byte

  

  At most workplaces, breakroom food options are processed, carb-heavy, stale and limited. Byte is a North Bay start-up that is out to change all of that.

  Because of the healthful selection of food they offer, Byte founder and CEO Megan Mokri says their service meshes well with workplace wellness programs.

The Toolbox Project Gains Momentum

Nov 8, 2015

  Beyond reading, math, and science, young school kids need to learn to navigate their emotional and social worlds. That’s where the Toolbox Project comes in.

Since Mark Collins defined the 12 tools in his Toolbox Project, they have remained essentially unchanged--basic actions, spelled out in simple terms, that carry powerful ideas.

Students who were introduced to the Toolbox Project early on were recently interviewed about how those lessons had carried forward with them. You can see that video here.

ModMath App Assists Dysgraphic Students

Apr 16, 2015

 

  Mod Math is an app that helps students with disabilities do their arithmetic homework. But it doesn’t add, subtract, multiply or divide.

  Mod Math works to set up any basic arithmetic problems, says co-creator Josh Denberg. But it can be especially helpful for teaching long division.

Almost as soon as they had a working beta version of Mod Math, the Denbergs went public with it. Now, Josh says, they’re trying to add increased functionality that has been frequently requested.

Introducing the Waterboxx

Mar 31, 2015
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  A simple but carefully designed planter box allows newly planted trees to grow and flourish, using just the water naturally available in their environment.

  The Waterboxx is installed around a newly planted tree, and remains in place for a year or more, until the sapling is established. Caitlin Cornwall from the Sonoma Ecology Center explains what goes on during that time.

'Face Technology' Moves Online

Feb 2, 2015

  Even more than your handwriting, the geometry of your facial features can reveal aspects of your personality. A Santa Rosa start-up is digitizing that analysis, for fun and profit.

  Another business that could make good use of this data, suggests Face Affinity developer and co-founder Wayne Rowlands, is real estate.

But for now, the company is mainly promoting its FaceReflect smartphone app, as seen in the video below.

Switch Vehicles Hosts Open House

Sep 15, 2014
Bruce Robinson, KRCB

  Switch Vehicles, the maker of three-wheeled electric cars sold as kits, is holding an open house today, part of the North Bay iHub’s Innovation Week. KRCB profiled the unusual automotive start-up on the North Bay Report last December, and on today’s Exchange, we reprise that story.

The Switch Vehicles Open House is from 10-3 today, in their new home at 380 Morris Street in Sebastopol, with cars on display and some limited opportunities for test drives.

Making Prosthetics Globally Affordable

May 20, 2014
Daria Price

  It’s more important for an artificial foot to work like the limb it is replacing that to look like it, says the man who invented the carbon fiber Flex-Foot prosthetic. Now he's working to bring the price down to make them affordable worldwide.