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.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

It’s a busy day in Montgomery County Domestic Relations Court. Dozens of people are waiting for their divorce hearings. Receptionist Sheila Jarvis keeps it running.

Not only does she answer the phone, she answers questions from people filling the hallways while they wait for their hearings. But she no longer has to check people in because this court now has kiosk check-in. Montgomery County is the first to use court kiosks in Ohio.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Kentucky is leading the nation in its use of big data to help determine bail and criminal sentences.

The data-driven programs Kentucky and at least 20 other states use, like PSA-Court, look at a variety of factors including charges and criminal history. That information is given to a judge to help determine whether the defendant gets out on bail and how long their sentence will be.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

(This story first aired July 23, 2014.) 

Increasingly people are losing interest in the "one size fits all" approach for medical care. Sixty-eight year old Gary Marcum knew he didn't want it when he faced his second knee replacement. The first one was  a partial, but the recovery lasted months and he was in a lot of pain.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

(This story first aired September 10, 2014) 

The concept is 21st century clever. Help companies promote their products via Twitter, Facebook and Instagram  to get free products from special vending machines.

Patrick McDonald thought of this idea years ago and launched Innovative Vending Solutions in 2008. The company is based in West Carrollton. His partner is Jeff Thibodeau.


Have you ever  thought "I wish I had recorded that?" Kapture, a Cincinnati start-up company, has apparently solved that problem with an audio recording wristband.

Users, without breaking eye-contact, simply double tap to record the previous sixty seconds and with Bluetooth it goes to your smartphone and saves in a Kapture app where you can edit and post to Facebook, Twitter, email or text later.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

GE Aviation has come a long way since its rocket testing days sixty years ago.

Once so slow employees sold Christmas trees on the Adams County site, the Peebles Test Operation now does round-the-clock work testing more than 1600 engines a year at the 7,000-acre site.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Miami University students are mapping out molecular properties with the help of new ultrafast laser technology to better understand energy transfer for processes in collisions between atoms and molecules.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

During his elementary and teenage years Jake Goodwin was sometimes overlooked in class. It wasn't that he didn't have anything interesting to say. In fact, the Mariemont High School sophomore has a lot to say, but sometimes he isn't understood. He suffers from a speech disorder that makes it hard to say the "r" sound.

"It always bothered me but after so many years of just no success at changing it I more or less accepted it as part of myself."


Researchers from Google X, Stanford and Duke plan to drill down to the most basic level of the human body. They want to determine what we look like when we're well, so doctors know sooner when we are becoming sick.

Here's how it will work initially:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

North College Hill's David Puckett knows what it's like to suffer from reflux disease. For five years he was on medicine to prevent mouthfuls of stomach juices from coming up and interfering with his daily life. He also had to watch what he ate and when he ate it.

Then David heard about a new device called LINX.

The titanium beads allow patients to swallow food but they tighten around the esophagus to prevent the acid from coming back up.  Here's how the outpatient procedure works: