Focus on Technology

Mondays at 6:44 a.m.; 8:44 a.m. during Morning Edition and 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered

Ann Thompson reports on the latest trends in technology and their effects on medicine, safety, the environment or entertainment.


Northern Kentucky University has opened a state-of-the-art lab to train students to identify and stop cyber security threats in the workplace. The privately funded JRG Cyber Threat Intelligence Laboratory is modeled after real-world cyber security centers.


One of the most advanced weather satellites will soon be orbiting in space, helping forecasters anticipate a host of severe weather for the western United States, and from Alaska to New Zealand.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

In the next few years the FDA is expected to approve dozens of new genetic therapies for rare diseases that affect just a small group of patients. Because these drugs cost nearly seven-figures insurance companies, hospitals and Congress are taking a closer look.

Provided / Purdue University

Smaller than the head of a pin, the microTUM tumbles end over end through bumpy, steep and wet topography to reach its final destination. Purdue University researchers hope the microscale magnetic tumbling robot they've designed will eventually be able to deliver drugs to a specific location in the human body.

University of Washington

As amazing as it sounds, 3D printed parts can now talk wirelessly to smart devices without electronics. This means consumers can hook up an attachment to a laundry detergent bottle they print out and it would automatically connect to a smart phone and order more when running low.

C. Suthorn

Greater Cincinnati transportation officials want to help drive the future of autonomous and connected vehicles. They are in the early stages of a plan to build a test track and deploy driverless shuttles.

Karla Dejean / Seven Hills

Five groups of Seven Hills students who Head of the Upper School Matthew Bolton called, " creative, innovative and flexible thinkers," pitched their inventions January 11, 2018 to a panel of Cincinnati entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Studies show the longer the elderly can stay in their homes, the better their quality of life. A new website aims to help them stay there.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Researchers around the world are realizing how easy it is for criminals to manipulate voices and videos to make people look and sound like they are saying things that they didn't really say.


Born out of a dream to avoid traffic jams, Workhorse CEO Steve Burns has built an electric helicopter. The Loveland company known for its electric delivery trucks will show off its personal flying machine at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The University of Cincinnati's Sean Davidson and a team of researchers from around the U.S. and Australia have discovered how HDL (high-density lipoproteins), the so-called "good" cholesterol, is generated. That could lead to the development of new drugs.

Bird Control Group

Move over scarecrows. Farmers are taking a new look at lasers as a way of scaring away birds who are eating their crops.


What's missing for customers who've embraced the online shopping experience is the ability to try on clothing and try out items before buying them. Enter virtual reality (VR) and big investments by Walmart, Amazon, Ikea and others.

Dr. Bryan Goldstein, a pediatric interventional cardiologist at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center, jumps at the chance to be a problem solver. Two years ago he collaborated with other doctors to save the life of a liver transplant patient. The approach he developed is now being used to save other lives.

Provided / Fraunhofer IIS

Have you ever wanted to turn down the sound of a TV sports announcer and turn up the crowd noise or hear the coaching? It's possible with 3D audio technology from Fraunhofer available in South Korea for the 2018 Winter Olympics.

WaterStep/Chris Kenning

More than a month after Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico, a third of residents are still without drinking water. But a Tri-State water technology non-profit is working to lower those numbers by bringing in purification equipment and training people twice a day.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Dayton educator Kevin Cornell ("Mr. C") is bringing his lighthearted science lessons to public television this fall. The one-minute segments called "Full STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art and math) Ahead" air between kids shows and tease experiments that are later explained in full on a website.

Cincinnati Children's

Cincinnati Children’s Hospital will soon be getting a newly-approved drug that uses the body’s own immune system to fight cancer.  Kymriah, as it’s known, gives new hope to the families of kids with leukemia.

Used with permission / Intuitive Surgical, Inc.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A new report says the global 3D printing market will hit $32.3 billion by 2025, an increase of $25 billion. It's easy to see why with the most complicated machines costing as much as $2 million and printing parts for jet engines.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A University of Cincinnati neurologist has discovered colored glasses effectively calm the brain down after a concussion and provide relief for the patient.

SPR Therapeutics

More than a year ago, 80-year old Helen Douglass described her shoulder and forearm pain following a stroke as nine out of 10. Last summer the Cleveland-area resident participated in a clinical trial for SPRINT, a small wearable stimulator patch and has no pain now.

Her story is one of many SPR Therapeutics points to and the Ohio company is now marketing the FDA approved portable device that delivers neuro-stimulation to the nerve causing the pain. CEO Maria Bennett says SPRINT is somewhere between TENS and a fully implantable stimulation device.

Some medical scientists believe the patch could become a substitute for opioid abuse. 

Jim Nolan / WVXU

Chances are you probably don't spend a lot of time in the "dark web." It's the part of the Internet that's populated by drug dealers, child pornographers, and sex traffickers. They access it by the browser Tor and can remain anonymous.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Technology three decades old is grabbing the attention of Cincinnati doctors as a possible substitute for drugs and surgical procedures for treating heart patients.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Complex computer software may be the key to correctly diagnosing and treating patients with various diseases.


As crazy as it may sound to the non-scientist, cells in a patient's jaw may be able to rejuvenate their bad heart.

Yi-Gang Wang, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and former heart surgeon, explains that when we are growing in the womb our facial muscle cells develop near the heart. They eventually migrate to the head and are similar to heart cells.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

UC researchers have figured out a way to non-invasively peek inside the brain of a neurological intensive care patient to stop the deadliest form of stroke, an intracerebral hemorrhage (ICH). They say this is important because the person is often sedated, sometimes on a ventilator and cannot communicate.

Doctors Matthew Flaherty, Opeolu Adeoye, George Shaw and Joe Clark became frustrated that CT and MRI scans were the only option and couldn't be done repeatedly. Shaw tells the story.

Delta Airlines

Airlines, hotels and cruise ships are increasingly personalizing your vacation by collecting personal data and tech experts like Dave Hatter are tempted but leery.

The Ohio State Medical Center

U.S. doctors are slowly turning to digital pathology to more accurately diagnose and treat cancer.

In April 2017, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved digital microscopes for use in primary cancer diagnosis. This is the process of scanning conventional glass slides to create a virtual image. That image can be easily transferred anyplace in the world for a second opinion. Complete with a computer algorithm, the machine can also see patterns a pathologist may not be able to pick out.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

At the Springfield Beckley Municipal Airport crews will begin installing a new kind of radar in June that will allow air traffic controllers to see a combination of planes and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). The Air Force and the State of Ohio are footing the $5 million radar bill in first-of-its-kind testing that both parties hope will lead to Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) approval for beyond line of sight flight.