Focus on Technology

Monday afternoons during All Things Considered at 4:45 pm

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

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.

Eric Hodgson / Smale Interactive Visualization Center

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's newborn intensive-care unit (NICU) simulated a real emergency this past weekend and evacuated pretend patients and their equipment. The medical staff performed well. But could virtual reality training improve the results for next year's drill?

Joseph Fuqua / University of Cincinnati

An increasing number of medical schools are incorporating digital dissections into their curriculum. But the University of Cincinnati is not one of them. It says this is a case where technology is not better. Instructors say a hands-on approach is key.

Avure Technologies-pictures,WVXU's Jim Nolan-graphic.

Food scares and an increased demand for organic fruits and vegetables are helping propel interest in high pressure pasteurization. HPP, as it's commonly known, uses ultra-high pressure purified cold water to keep packaged food pathogen-free without the preservatives and can quadruple shelf-life.

Bill Balfour / Escape The Room Challenge

Escape rooms just got even more challenging with the introduction of digital locks.  Instead of locating padlock keys and figuring out combination locks, players must crack computer code at Cincinnati's Escape The Room Challenge. "Double Agent Dilemma" is the newest game and Danny Craven designed a way for players to go from room to room without physical locks.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Internet security experts Scott Erven and Mark Collao focused on MRI scanners, X-ray machines, defibrillators and drug infusion pumps when they tried to find out how easy it is to hack into medical devices.

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?"

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati, an advertising hub, is well positioned to be a "relevant player "  when it comes to multi-platform storytelling involving technology, according to John Hendricks, director of creative technology for Possible, a worldwide advertising agency with offices in Cincinnati.

Eliot F. Gomez

University of Cincinnati graduate Eliot Gomez, now doing research in Sweden at  Linköping University, has demonstrated with other scientists the world's first electronic plant. In the future this technology could possibly power small electronic devices or delay blooming if there was a frost.

Here's how he put "wires" into a rose while being careful not to clog the plant or kill it:

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

International conservationists, desperate to save endangered species, have turned to technology in the hope it will make a difference  before it's too late.

Protect is beginning to implant tiny cameras in the horns of rhinos. The rhinos also wear a bright turquoise radio collar equipped with a heart-rate monitor. If a poacher approaches the animal's heart rate will jump. That triggers an alarm and sends GPS coordinates to rangers who come quickly in a truck or by a helicopter. Here is video from the embedded camera:

NASA

The space superpowers of China, Russia and the United States, as well as aspiring spacefaring nations such as Iran and North Korea, all have the capability to disrupt the global satellite operations that govern many aspects of life. GPS navigation, international phone calls, financial transactions, weather prediction and nuclear missile launch surveillance could all be affected.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Festo, a German automation company with plans to move its logistics center to Mason by the spring of 2016, is busy showing off its research and development to area students.

Mason and University of Cincinnati students got a look at Festo's Bionic Learning Network where UAVs emulate nature to improve automation.

Before applying the principles behind its SmartBird, Festo needed helium to move robotics through the air.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Joe Glisson hates unnecessary steps. Last fall the Cincinnati Fire Lt. was getting frustrated by the moment when collecting leaves in the very small leaf blower bag attachment and then having to transfer them to a much larger yard waste bag.

At his Springfield Township home Glisson demonstrated how cumbersome it can be to have to fill up one bag and dump it into another.

He now has a solution to the problem. His invention is called "The Eliminator."

The ultimate in environmentally friendly housing might be a structure made partially of water. There is such a house in Kecskemet, Hungary. That's near where the architect who designed it grew up.

Matyas Gutai, PhD  got his inspiration to build the structure from open air hot baths in Tokyo, where despite the cold temperature outside, it was kept comfortably warm inside.

MN8 FoxFire

Zachary Green, CEO of MN8 FoxFire, and a Wyoming volunteer firefighter, has found new uses for "glow-in-the-dark" technology and is marketing them nationally and internationally.

He uses photoluminescence technology to light up firefighter helmets, safety signs and floor markings that show a safe way out of a workspace when the electricity goes out.

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