Focus on Technology

Monday 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.

Street Reach

Greater Cincinnati social worker Rachael Winters and Northern Kentucky University students Justin Hill and Brittney Kane have developed an app that is designed to get homeless people the help they need and off the streets.

U.S. Navy

Scientists at Australian Catholic University's School of Exercise Science have developed a formula they say pinpoints overuse, will reduce injury and improves performance. It's published in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

The so-called "smart algorithms," based on submarine and guided missile technology are implanted in newly-developed wearables and were tested on Australian cricket players.


Ohio is cashing in on the future of space exploration by supplying parts and helping to test the Orion spacecraft which is slated to go to Mars in the 2030s.

This spring NASA launched acoustic testing in Sandusky, Ohio for the Orion. The testing was done at the Glenn Plum Brook Station, the world's most powerful spacecraft acoustic test chamber.

Wikipedia Commons / Steve Jurvetson derivative work: Mariordo

Just as Uber and Google ramp up testing for driverless cars on public streets, Mercedes-Benz and BMW announced at the Frankfort Auto Show they will develop autonomous cars. Other car manufacturers, including Toyota are already doing research in the robot car market, projected to be worth $42 billion by 2025. According to London plans to deploy driverless cars by the end of the year.

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

Brilliant minds trapped in bodies that don't work are finding their way out with the help of an EEG brain headset like this one.

Brain caps have been around for decades but are now being refined to allow people to do more complex tasks. Take for example Rosemary Johnson who, before a devastating car accident, was a violinist with the Welsh National Opera Orchestra. Science Alert reports she is now able to compose music with a computer that can read her mind.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Call up George Gershwin's own performance of "I've Got Rhythm" or Vladimir Horowitz's rendition of Robert Schumann's Täumerei on the Steinway & Sons Spirio and you will think you are in the same room as the great performers.

Cirque Du Soleil

Cirque Du Soleil opens its most technologically advanced show in Cincinnati this week complete with elaborate and realistic video projections, light tracking, and a phone app that encourages audience participation.

Meridian Bioscience

Newtown-based Meridian Bioscience is deploying its newly developed test illumigene® Malaria in Dakar, Senegal and planning a rollout of this potentially life-saving diagnostic across Africa. A test for the Zika virus is under development and is expected to be ready in six to twelve months.

Pacifics Facebook page

Baseball umpires are still in business, despite a small effort to computerize them. 

The  so-called "Robo Ump"  made an appearance at a California independent baseball league July 28 and 29, 2015.  The system of three cameras placed strategically on the field and microcomputers in a nearby van is made by Sportvision.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

GE Aviation has transformed its wartime jet engine plant into a state-of-the-art facility with the ability to design and test lightweight composite materials for commercial jet engines of the future. In the process, the company has invested $144 million in 2014-2015 and says it will invest another $356 million by 2020.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Sales representatives from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals are making a strong pitch with doctors as the Blue Ash-based company launched production last week of its 3D printed pill, the first such pill approved by the FDA.

Until later this year the pills are being printed in New Jersey.  The Blue Ash facility has to get federal approval, and is doing test runs.

State of Ohio

University of Dayton researchers are developing computer software that will automatically detect threats or damage to oil and gas pipelines, thanks in part to the support of one of the nation's largest utilities.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

As opioid abuse skyrockets out of control, University of Cincinnati Health researchers are trying to zero in on fresh alternatives for the estimated 100 million people who suffer from chronic pain.

Principal investigator of a $1.95 million federal grant, Jun-Ming Zhang, MD, is studying the roles of the  nervous system and immune system in preclinical models of back and neuropathic pain.

Reds General Manager Dick Williams didn't take the traditional career path to running a professional baseball team. For years he was an investment banker and venture capitalist. In the ten years Williams has worked for the Reds he's taken a closer look at what baseball calls sabermetrics. (SABR-Society for American Baseball Research)