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

Cedar Village, a retirement community in Mason, is noticing specific iPod playlists are triggering memories in some of its residents with dementia. Cedar Village will hold a free public screening of "Alive Inside," a film that shows evidence of the same thing, on October 25 at 7:30 p.m..

Sportvision

This past weekend the Cincinnati Cyclones played their season opener with a special kind of socks. Kevlar socks prevent serious injury to the ankle and calf from a potentially damaging skate blade.

Forward Kenny Ryan has worn them for a few years now under his actual game socks. "I had a buddy who took a skate and cut his Achilles and wasn't ever able to play again. I think these are starting to become league-wide."

While the socks might be slightly low-tech, some other gadgets are not.

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Ruger, the electronic-detection K9, is getting his feet wet as the newest member of the Franklin County, Ohio Sheriff's Department.

The eighteen-month old black Labrador Retriever is one of just two dozen dogs nationwide that can sniff out smart phones, tablets, SD cards and flash drives. In Franklin County he's on the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force (ICAC) where Sheriff Zach Scott says criminals are pretty good at hiding evidence. His detectives have found SD cards in cigarette lighters.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cameras are now a necessity in buses, commuter trains, streetcars and subways as demonstrated by the New Jersey commuter train accident. Managing companies are not only recording video, but keeping it longer and installing the equivalent of an airline black box.

The company that operates The Cincinnati Bell Connector, Transdev, says it has installed SmartDrive cameras.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

University of Cincinnati medical students and other health professionals will soon be making regular trips to Greater Cincinnati's largest certified organic farm to learn, in a new state-of-the-art kitchen, how food can be used to prevent disease.

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MRI results show a special collar worn by Cincinnati athletes continues to protect the brain from changes that may occur after a head impact.

The Q-Collar, puts pressure on the jugular vein, increasing blood volume to create a natural bubble wrap around the brain.

Knightscope

Robots are increasingly having to protect themselves from people after a rash of destructive incidents.

The behavior can come in the form of a loud screech, a polite request to get out of the way, or shivers, so people will feel sorry for them.

This is the robot with the loud screech, K5, who is currently patrolling malls, parking lots and schools.

UC Health/Mayfield Brain & Spine

University of Cincinnati researchers are looking deep inside the brain to figure out why some head injury patients recover and others do not.

PlaySight,  a video and analytics technology, is attracting the attention of tennis players worldwide. With a smart court, five cameras and a kiosk, tennis players get line calls, dissect the game point by point, track the speed of their serve, check the distance covered and more.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

When Marilyn Cotter's doctor ordered a stress test after a bout of chest tightness the Delhi Township grandmother had a space-age option, the AlterG treadmill.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A partnership with Over the Rhine's Frameri is helping the color blind see the world in a whole new light.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Bindi, an Australian Koolie, American Bulldog, and Golden Retriever mix, has a happy home with Richard Hussey, as long as she remains an Ohio State Buckeye.

An Ohio State bandana never comes off her neck and she is trained to spin to OH-IO, a popular Buckeye chant.

Hussey adopted the rescue dog a year ago and some months later noticed a growth on her nose was getting larger. The bump was a cancerous tumor.

Made To Order Skin

Jul 18, 2016
MIT

A layer of protective skin may eventually do everything from tightening bags under your eyes, to shielding you from the sun's damaging rays to delivering drugs and vitamins. The product is now under development at Olivo Laboratories. Scientists at MIT, Massachusetts General Hospital and Living Proof worked on the product initially.

Cincinnati Zoo (taken by a drone)

Henry the hippo has said goodbye to the Dickerson Park Zoo in Springfield, Missouri and is now at the Cincinnati Zoo. Henry, 34, described as "one of the most charismatic animals at the zoo, is joined by a 17-year-old female named Bibi. A new exhibit will open July 21. In order to house them, the Cincinnati Zoo had to build an elaborate water filtration system, as described in this story which originally aired last summer.

Here's an encore presentation of the report:

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Four Japanese institutions have announced they will collaborate to cure age-related macular degeneration using banked stem cells. Scientists will take cells from donors and implant them into twenty patients with the disease, at a fraction of the cost of using the patient's own cells.

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.

NASA

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 newscientist.com London plans to deploy driverless cars by the end of the year.

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.

MLB.com

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)

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Founder of Yahoo Tech David Pogue calls it the "biggest unsung technology in years." He's excited about the USB-C, a universal cable that is the same on both sides, both ends and can replace the power, USB, and video outputs cables on your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers.

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