Chicago Sun-Times Latest news from the Chicago Sun-Times Online en-us (Editor) Newspapers Chicago Sun-Times 84 34 30 Copyright 2014 <![CDATA[ A NEW DIMENSION ]]> Lead story image

Ford Motor Co. is using 3-D printing to make prototypes of everything from air vents to cylinder heads, saving millions of dollars and shaving months off production. The so-called “rapid manufacturing” process has played a key role in the Torrence Avenue Assembly Plant’s production of the Explorer and its EcoBoost engine. It uses software to render photos into designs that can “print” physical objects. The advance is a key part of what’s becoming known as the Industrial Revolution 2.0. Since three-dimensional technology lets engineers work smarter, be more productive, improve product quality and offer a better value to customers, it … ]]> Thu, 30 May 2013 19:22:26 -0600 <![CDATA[ A boost for biotech startups ]]> Lead story image

Paul A. Fehrenbacher and two fellow graduate students at Northwestern University are postponing their graduations with to develop a technology to help surgeons identify and keep from accidentally cutting blood vessels. Daniel Leventhal, a doctoral student in cancer biology at the University of Chicago, is helping advise two professors working to develop new ways of treating cancer with less radiation or by making radiation treatment more effective. Both Fehrenbacher, 34, and Leventhal, 26, are benefiting from Chicago’s little-known biotech incubator, Chicago Innovation Mentors, or CIM. CIM pairs would-be biotech entrepreneurs with seasoned experts, and provides hands-on business experience to aspiring … ]]> Wed, 24 Apr 2013 06:05:08 -0600 <![CDATA[ Hit Japan Web site ‘blown away’ by platform of Chicago’s Table XI ]]> Lead story image

A party night to let people tell their stories in 20 PowerPoint slides in 20 seconds — think of speed-dating combined with a bottom-up Technology, Entertainment and Design (TED) conference — is going live online with the help of a Chicago software development company. The party night, named PechaKucha, or “chit chat” in Japanese, has become a worldwide sensation, with everyone from cake bakers to architectural designers showing off their work in six minutes and 40 seconds worth of PowerPoints in open-mike-night settings, complete with beer, food and an audience primed for fun. The PowerPoints are automatically forwarded, with no … ]]> Wed, 17 Apr 2013 06:03:47 -0600 <![CDATA[ Seniors click in 47th Ward-based cyber-community ]]> Lead story image

A grassroots effort in the greater Bell School/St. Ben’s neighborhood gives senior citizens online resources to help them stay in their homes, even as local home values skyrocket. The effort is based on the Village to Village Network concept in which 89 communities nationwide have set up websites to help people “take aging into their own hands.” The Village to Village Network usually requires an initiation fee for members. The local project, named “Forward Chicago,” differs in a key aspect: It’s free. The website is at A Senior Council in 47th Ward Ald. Ameya Pawar’s office organized the effort … ]]> Mon, 11 Mar 2013 11:08:00 -0600 <![CDATA[ Investment firm’s funds fuel conversion of dung to dollars ]]> Lead story image

A Chicago company has quietly become a key investor in a $12 million technology project on an Indiana farm that turns cow manure into compressed natural gas. Now, the money backers are building a network of fueling stations to try to knock off diesel as the clean-burning gasoline alternative of choice. “We have to transition off of fossil fuels at some point, and with renewable compressed natural gas, the economics work to do the right thing,” said Nathan Laurell, a 36-year-old Bucktown resident who heads the investor group’s company, called AMP Americas. ]]> Wed, 03 Apr 2013 06:05:30 -0600 <![CDATA[ You can still buy Moo & Oink originals ]]> Lead story image

Moo & Oink fans salivating for the company’s rib tips, hot links and High Five barbeque sauce can buy them at the click of a mouse at The website offers 16 Moo & Oink products — all unchanged from their original recipes. The website launched about a month ago with an inaugural “gift” order from a Moo & Oink fan in Cary, N.C., to a friend in San Ramon, Calif. The customer shipped a 10-pound box of rib tips and 2.5 pounds of pork hot links at a cost of $71.79. The online orders ship in dry ice through … ]]> Sun, 24 Mar 2013 06:05:47 -0600 <![CDATA[ ‘B Corp’ Mightybytes grades the greenness of your website ]]> Lead story image

A 15-year veteran of Chicago’s tech community, web-design and video-production house Mightybytes, Inc., is designing technology to help businesses go green — a grading process to tell companies whether they are operating a “sustainable” website. The “sustainable website grader,” set for launch on Earth Day, April 22, will crawl a website in search of energy hogs such as the site’s hosting services; download speed (the faster the download, the fewer resources used) and design features such as streamlined shopping-cart checkouts, to avoid wasted search clicks and time. The crawler will grade each site with a score from one to 100. … ]]> Sun, 17 Mar 2013 18:09:09 -0600 <![CDATA[ Recycle old phones with push of a button ]]> Lead story image

Chicagoans have a new alternative to recycling their smart phones, tablets and other electronic devices: ATM-like kiosks that refund money instantly for old electronics. The kiosks, called EcoATM, aim to make electronics recycling as accessible as a grocery-shopping trip. ]]> Sun, 10 Mar 2013 06:10:59 -0600 <![CDATA[ Building businesses from a quirky Chicago condo ]]> Lead story image

A south Logan Square product-development company, Polymathic, has quietly helped launch six startups in the past year by using an innovative business model that empowers founders, senior-level programmers and creative, multi-talented tech management. “I want to start honest conversations about what it’s like to build a company, to build a trustworthy team and to help everyone along,” said Marcy Capron, the 25-year-old CEO, founder and partner who started two of her passions — taking photos and writing computer code — at age 12. Capron this week launched a company blog, “The Art of the Internet,” at to expose a … ]]> Sun, 03 Mar 2013 06:06:27 -0600 <![CDATA[ Site helps job candidates, firms meet ]]> Lead story image

South Side native Chris Motley learned he had chosen wisely after he entered a scholarship program that enabled him to attend a college-prep high school in Rome, Ga. Chris’ best friend and classmate at the Glenwood School For Boys, the son of a friend who told the Motley family about the program, “A Better Chance,” was murdered 16 years ago at age 15 — the same age as Chris at the time — in a gang fight on the South Side. Motley, whose mother was a 13-year-old single teen-ager when he was born, had been accepted as a student at … ]]> Wed, 27 Feb 2013 06:07:45 -0600 <![CDATA[ Ravenswood women-founded startup helps independent retailers customize goods ]]> Lead story image

Who would have thought the Kardashians would be the impetus for a woman-owned Ravenswood tech firm winning a coveted Women 2.0 award and a year’s work opportunity with cosmetics company L’Oreal USA? The local startup, Citizen Made (, founded by Rachel Brooks and Bryn McCoy, provides Chicago’s locally owned and small-sized retailers an affordable platform from which to sell personalized products — not just so customers can pick a certain color, for example, but so they can fully design the product they want. This column, Sun-Times’ Digital Second City Scene, broke the news about Citizen Made and its business model … ]]> Wed, 20 Feb 2013 06:07:09 -0600 <![CDATA[ Predicting technology changes in 2013 ]]> Lead story image

IBM Corp. predicts sensors will evolve in 2013 so tablets and smartphones can give people a simulated touch of a fabric. Ad agency JWT predicts a robot will cost the same as a used car, at about $22,000. So what’s in store for Chicago in the New Year? The Sun-Times asked two technology and social-media experts — Andy Crestodina, co-founder and web strategist at Orbit Media, and Mana Ionescu, founder and president of Lightspan Digital, to weigh in on local trends. Crestodina’s Predictions * Responsive web design — Design and programming tricks now make it possible to build one website … ]]> Wed, 06 Feb 2013 06:06:49 -0600 <![CDATA[ NU student seeking reality show for ‘Incinerator’ startup ]]> Lead story image

Chicago-area entrepreneurs eager to get their 15 minutes of fame on television may have a new outlet if Northwestern University student Colton Dillion succeeds in his own entrepreneurial pitch. ]]> Wed, 30 Jan 2013 06:05:07 -0600 <![CDATA[ West Town man’s relentless approach to getting by garners $4,097 on Kickstarter ]]> Lead story image

West Town resident Andrew Edwards awaits his job assignment each morning to research real estate — a contract job that is the latest in nearly four years of work with no paid vacation, no benefits and no medical coverage. Edwards, 30, has learned the many skills he can use: Sorting mail on the graveyard shift; surveying families about vaccinating their children against illnesses; traveling constantly to research childhood obesity factors, and dressing as the “Super Mario” videogame character, complete with big mustache and raccoon tail, and dancing with other Marios to promote a new videogame. Edwards’ video about his Super … ]]> Wed, 23 Jan 2013 06:04:50 -0600 <![CDATA[ Your phone can find you a parking space ]]> Lead story image

Web design team leader Nathan Henry turned to technology to save nearly 50 percent on his regular parking downtown — and he has no contract tying him any single garage. He uses ParkWhiz, a free web and mobile site that tells motorists in real time the cheapest parking garage vacancies nearby, and offers a discount on those spaces. “Sometimes I take mass transit, but sometimes I need my car,” said Henry, a South Loop resident who drives to work in River North. “I didn’t want to pay $20-plus each day.” He also wanted to avoid getting locked into a monthly … ]]> Wed, 16 Jan 2013 06:04:08 -0600 <![CDATA[ Motorola Solutions’ 3-D headset aids work ]]> Lead story image

Motorola Solutions, the Schaumburg-based maker of walkie-talkies and bar-code readers, is selling a headset computer worn under a hard hat that calls up and displays complex drawings just below the worker’s line of sight. ]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 06:19:50 -0600 <![CDATA[ Evanston entrepreneur’s ‘mercy’ card helps the needy ]]> Lead story image

If you feel a twinge of guilt in the worst of a Chicago winter when a homeless person begs for food, an Evanston entrepreneur may have come up with an answer. Jed JohnHope, 30, whose family has seen hard times, is creating a “Mercy” gift card that will let donors feel more comfortable giving the homeless choices rather than a handout. The so-called Mercy Card will let homeless people pay for meals with a prepaid gift card good at restaurants that take major credit cards. The cards, previewed at, are expected to go live in March. “Technology already exists … ]]> Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:14:12 -0600 <![CDATA[ Sourcebooks ebook app puts children in starring roles ]]> Lead story image

Sourcebooks, the nation’s largest woman-owned independent book publisher based in Naperville, has launched an app and an e-book series aimed at transforming the iPad’s use for tweens, teens and young children. A story app lets parents personalize the book by inserting a child’s name, and photo, into the story. Another app enhances the classics with at-your-fingertip background and context. ]]> Tue, 25 Dec 2012 06:05:45 -0600