Arkansas Technology

Dr. Christopher M. Jones at a 3D printer inside the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub in North Little Rock.
Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub

A new executive director and lead maker has been named for the Arkansas Regional Innovation Hub. The non-profit based in North Little Rock provides cutting edge tools like 3D printers and advanced computer technology to inspire people, help them learn and create.

Governor Asa Hutchinson is announcing the completion of a year-long, $1.2 million digital mapping project.

He says the system will allow emergency responders to have more up-to-date information and that it will allow the state to be competitive in economic development.

In a news release, the governor said the state now has a detailed map of expanding infrastructure.

The digital maps were produced by Arkansas Geographic Information Systems and are available to the public at gis.arkansas.gov.

As the Salvation Army holds its largest fundraiser of the year, known as the Red Kettle Campaign, a spokeswoman for the Salvation Army of Central Arkansas says the holiday bell-ringing tradition remains effective, despite many consumers carrying less cash.

Michelle Scroggins, director of community relations, says they haven't been seeing a negative impact on donations locally. In other parts of the country, donations to red kettle campaigns have declined.

J. Matthew Grant / University of Arkansas

The University of Arkansas’s Department of Physics in Fayetteville has announced progress that could lead to a great reduction in the size of electronics. Assistant Professor Dr. Hugh Churchill spoke with KUAR’s Michael Hibblen to explain this development.

An Arkansas judge has dismissed a murder charge in a case involving evidence gathered by an Amazon Echo smart speaker.

Television station KHOG reports that the prosecutors' request to dismiss a first-degree murder charge against James Andrew Bates was granted Wednesday.

Bates was charged in the November 2015 death of Victor Collins, whose body was found in a hot tub at Bates' home. Prosecutors say they requested the dismissal because the evidence supports more than one reasonable explanation.

A robot scanning a Walmart store shelf.
Walmart

Select Arkansas Walmart stores in Sherwood, Searcy, and Pine Bluff are expected to receive robots Tuesday to aid associates in their work. It’s part of an expanded test that started in Pennsylvania, with the retail giant implementing robots in 50 of its locations. The robots will use automation to scan store shelves, help keep track of inventory levels, check prices that could be wrong, or where labels are missing.

UCA Houston Davis
Michael Hibblen / KUAR News

Arkansas' governor says a $500,000 grant is being provided to help pay for a new cybersecurity training initiative.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Wednesday the grant from the Department of Higher Education would go to the University of Central Arkansas to pay for a "cyber range," a dedicated computer system that can simulate a computer network. Students using the cyber range will learn how to identify cyberattacks and defend against them.

Hutchinson said UCA will have state of the art technology available through the Arkansas Educational Television Network.

Grass Roots Farmers' Cooperative in Clinton consider so-called locavores and farm-to-table chefs who want assurance their meat is raised organically their target demographic, and they're turning to the emerging information system blockchain technology for its ease and thoroughness of reporting.

Blockchain works by providing a shared digital ledger of trusted information that cannot be edited and is not controlled by any one person.  It promises to provide at the speed of a webpage load a full history of a product, service or idea. 

This same technology is also being tried by the world's largest food retailers like Walmart who are perhaps more concerned with quickly tracking the source of food contamination in the event of an outbreak or health scare.

Facebook is expanding a partnership with Arkansas and will donate virtual reality kits to every public high school in the state.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson announced Monday the state and the social media giant are expanding the TechStart Partnership, which was announced earlier this year to generate interest in computer science careers and instruction.

Facebook originally donated 400 virtual reality classroom kits, including computers, cameras and Oculus Rift equipment, to approximately 250 schools.

David Monteith / KUAR

The official grand opening of Little Rock’s Tech Park is scheduled for Monday afternoon. The mission of the facility, located in the heart of downtown Little Rock, is to foster innovation and collaboration among entrepreneurs and established technology companies, and to spur economic growth.

Kevin Zaffaroni, chairman of the board for the Tech Park, says the project is showing success.

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