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.

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.

Provided

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

Editor's note, updated April 18, 3:00 p.m.: The RV containing the Ground-Based Detect and Avoid system is now at the airport. The Air Force expects FAA approval for beyond line of sight by the end of the summer 2018.

The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center

Ohio State University researchers are using special glasses to help patients fully recover after suffering an anterior cruciate ligament (ACL) tear. The glasses help rewire the brain after documented changes following a knee injury.

Zunam Aero

In the next decade you may be flying on a tiny battery operated plane for as little as $25 to a destination you might have otherwise driven.

Start-up Zunum Aero is building a fleet of hybrid-electric planes to handle those short flights with financial backers such as Boeing Horizon X and JetBlue Technology Ventures.

A Milford company is back with an updated communication tool for ALS and other "locked-in" patients.

Known for the NeuroSwitch, Control Bionics has shrunk the technology and made it wearable. The new product is NeuroNode.

Xact Medical

Scientists at Cincinnati Children's Hospital and Ben Gurion University have developed a prototype device designed to quickly and accurately locate a vein or artery in children and adults in need of a medical procedure. It uses ultrasound and a robotic arm.

FIND, or Fast Intelligent Needle Delivery, is the invention of the newly formed company, Xact Medical and an ongoing partnership with Ben Gurion.

Purdue researchers are developing a test strip, similar to the common pregnancy test, to detect cervical cancer and eventually other types of cancer and diseases.

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A University of Dayton researcher is creating a different way to study drugs that could potentially shorten the time it takes to develop them.

University of Colorado

A team of University of Colorado Boulder engineers has developed a revolutionary process that cools buildings without the use of refrigerants or electricity.

The material, described in the journal Science, is a glass polymer hybrid and even under direct sunlight can cool objects.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

You may not realize it but the soil is buzzing with conversation. Plants talk to one other. Some conversations are nice and others are nasty.

Through a fungal network plants can warn each other of pending attacks by bacteria or bugs or they can  send herbicides they manufacture to kill other plants.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati Fire dispatchers are now sending crews to emergencies based on their actual real-time physical location  instead of where their fire houses are located.

This real-time GPS vehicle location dispatch has been used by other departments, including Toledo and Columbus, for years, but is new to Cincinnati, the first in Hamilton County to use it beginning this past January.

Meadowlane Farms

Farm animals are increasingly becoming sources of deadly microorganisms like Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and that drug-resistant bacteria could be traveling from the farm to your table.

Science Journalist Melinda Wenner Moyer, in an article written for Scientific American, visited three Indiana hog farms last year and witnessed, in two of the cases, crowded barns and special feed laced with antibiotics.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

DESĪN, with offices in Dayton and Michigan, is introducing  Obi™  the robotic dining companion.

For inventor Jon Dekar it was a very personal decade long project. While in high school volunteering, he watched the disabled struggle as well as his own grandfather who slowly lost the ability to feed himself. "You know, it's one of life's basic needs and it's also a fundamental freedom. It's a very intimate personal experience."

Annette Stowasser

To the non-scientist, the Sunburst Diving Beetle doesn't look any different than your average beetle. But put it under a microscope and examine the complexity of its eyes. You will see bifocal eyes-six sets of them.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Every year the 3D global market is losing $100 billion due to manufacturing theft according to the latest statistics. Those losses could eventually total 30 percent of the market according to the head of the Cincinnati start-up, Physna.

CDC

Cybersecurity is such a high priority for the U.S. government that President-elect Trump is asking intelligence officials to do a major report on hacking in 90 days.

A recent report identified the top cybersecurity threats for 2017. They include:

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This spring a camera will begin taking pictures of the Ohio River at California, Kentucky to identify rare but toxic algal blooms as much as a day before they become a danger to drinking water.

A partnership between Thomas More College, Northern Kentucky University, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is developing a network of cameras that will take pictures of the Ohio River and analyze the information in a computer algorithm.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A roomful of patients have blank stares as they eye medical students and professionals inside a $3.3 million simulation laboratory at the Dayton VA Medical Center.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A special lamp that mimics the sun could be the key to University of Cincinnati researchers developing a topical cream that may be able to repair skin damage from ultraviolet rays.

The solar simulator  was a gift from the Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation and Melanoma Know More Foundation.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A group of really smart students at Lakota East High School, known to fellow teens as the kids trying to find a cure for AIDS, is taking its plan to the next level by meeting with the head of AIDS research at the University of Cincinnati.

Cincinnati Reds

Despite some nudging by individual teams, Major League Baseball is taking technology baby steps. Earlier this year it lifted its ban of smartphones, tablets and laptops in the dugout and inked a deal with Apple for iPad Pros.

Ohio Turnpike

In the next month you could start seeing self-driving vehicles in Ohio. The state has been quietly marketing itself to manufacturers as a ready, willing and able partner in the self-driving vehicle arena.

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