Focus on Technology

Wednesday afternoons during Cincinnati Edition, 1:00 - 2:00 pm

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

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals will start manufacturing the first FDA approved 3D printed pill in October in Blue Ash. Full production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

The pill is SPRITAM℗ for epilepsy patients and could be taken by as many as 3 million adults and children in the U.S. who suffer from seizures. Aprecia's next set of drugs will also be for the central nervous system. The  company says it has also formulated about 100 different prototypes for various other over-the-counter and RX products.

In case you haven’t noticed, some really big equipment has been moving into the Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus and its impact for cancer patients could be huge.

The New Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center, scheduled to open in the winter of 2016-2017, has giant equipment that can zero in on a 3D image of a tumor and "spray paint" the cancerous cells with radiation without damaging surrounding cells.

Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by WhisperToMe

The full Senate is expected to take up a controversial bill called The Cyberthreat Information Sharing Act (CISA) when members return from their August recess.

Dozens of amendments will likely be added to the act, but in its present form businesses would have immunity from customer lawsuits when they hand over information about cyberthreats to other companies and to federal agencies.

Made in Space

Building a house on Mars and other out of this world ideas are already in development on earth at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and other small companies like Made in Space.

In December, 2014, on the International Space Station, astronaut Barry Wilmore opened up a 3D printer, launched a year earlier, and pulled out a part designed by Made in Space, a ratchet wrench. NASA demonstrates how it works back on earth.

Pacifics Facebook page

A California umpire had one less thing to do July 28 and 29  as a computer called the balls and strikes for an independent baseball league.

The  so-called "Robo Ump"  is a system of three cameras placed strategically on the field and microcomputers in a nearby van, made by Sportvision.

Cincinnati Zoo (taken by a drone)

The Cincinnati Zoo is in the midst of a massive project to make hippos feel welcome and give them a clean place to live.

The clean part sounds easier than it actually is because the dirty little secret about hippopotamuses is they poop a lot. Two of them defecate nearly 1,000 pounds a day. In essence Mark Fisher, vice president of the zoo's facilities, says he has to build a massive toilet that is nice and clean so visitors can view the hippos in an underwater tank.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Breweries around the country are outdoing one another when it comes to going green.  No longer is giving spent grain to farmers the sole solution.   Companies are now looking at the entire sustainable picture, investing in expensive energy systems and changing ingredients.

WBUR details a few examples in "Survival of the Greenest Beer?"

wikimedia commons

The legalized marijuana market could be worth at least 36 billion dollars annually by 2020, bigger than the NFL, by some estimates. For that reason technology companies are wasting no time entering both the medical and recreational use arena.


Many of veterinarian Dr. Bob Biederman's clientele are millennials and Gen Xers who live downtown. Often  they are the first to buy new pet technology.

Tim Zarki / University of Cincinnati

The University of Cincinnati calls its research on smart windows which simultaneously controls shade and privacy electronically at a low-cost "breakthrough." 

The patent-pending research from UC and its partners, Hewlett Packard and EMD/Merck Research Labs, is a roll-on coating made up of a honeycomb of electrodes.