In this week’s roundup of watercooler talk from the region’s startup hubs, we have the dish on Major League Baseball wearables, Amazon’s flub with expanding the digital divide and Chicago’s STEM workforce issues. Check out more in this series here.
No, this doesn’t mean Royals manager Ned Yost will get to bring his Apple Watch back into the dugout. Not that he’d want to after his locally-made Niall timepiece made it all the way to a World Series win last November.
What it does mean is that our boys in blue can now don wearable tech that will help identify habits that yank them off the field due to injury.
The Motus Baseball Sleeve and Zephyr Bioharness gauge elbow stress and monitor players’ breathing and heart rate, respectively. Major League Baseball also called “safe!” for two bat sensors.
Still undecided is how wearable tech will affect players’ privacy, the article notes. The players’ union will be reviewing the MLB’s call to make sure tech serves it’s intended purpose of keeping players healthy and on the field rather than traded away at the first sign of wear and tear.
Oops. Amazon’s same-day delivery service just launched in Chicago, but it left one of the city’s predominantly black areas off the delivery map.
Amazon says race has nothing to do with the decision; the South Side is outside the reach of the company’s distribution center. One little problem — Oak Lawn, 85 percent white and with some neighborhoods located even further away from Amazon’s Wisconsin distribution center, somehow made the cut.
Amazon’s try No. 2: Really, it’s just focusing on parts of cities with high concentrations of its Prime members.
That’s a nice way of saying that with each seemingly insignificant blunder, the digital divide is widening into a gap the size of the Grand Canyon. It’s something to keep in mind as Kansas City tussles with its own digital inclusion issues.
There’s lots to learn from Chicago this week. One of the area’s universities is home to the nation’s fifth-largest, foreign-born student population, but the state can’t hold onto this much-needed STEM workforce post-graduation.
In addition to $645 million in lost wage income and taxes, hemorrhaging STEM graduates means less innovation, fewer patents and overall lower productivity for the state, according to the article.
And it’s not just Illinois. “Nearly all” students who come to the U.S. on F-1 student visas leave within five years of donning a tasseled cap and gown, the article notes. What may be worse is that foreign-born students make up half of all STEM graduates.
That’s bad news for Kansas City, which in 2015 had 7,700 STEM job postings, but only filled 2,550 of them.