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

Clinical trials are underway in Cincinnati and nationwide that could prove brain stimulation is beneficial to stroke victims.

The stimulation is actually turning off a part of the brain

As confusing as it sounds, the 1 hz "stimulation" actually shuts down the side of the brain unaffected by the stroke. This is because the non-lesioned side often takes over and hinders recovery.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

University of Cincinnati scientists have literally drilled down through the teeth of mammoths and mastodons to discover their habits in what’s believed to be the first study of its kind in the region.

UC paleoecologist Brooke Crowley borrowed some mammoth and mastodon teeth from the Museum Center with hopes of finding out where they lived and what they ate. The specimens, very small amounts of white powder from the teeth, were eventually sent to the University of Illinois for  testing.

The process

Babak Ziaie / Purdue University

The market for wearable electronics could top $3 billion by 2018, according to a new report. However, Beecham Research says with better collaboration between technology companies and the fashion industry, the market could be worth $9.3 billion by 2018.

Skybox

Peering down to earth from one satellite now and eventually 24, Google is expanding its view, and some say its influence in the universe.

In June Google bought Skybox Satellite for $500 million. Images from the high resolution satellite are updated daily and users with special software can zoom in on things like crops and construction or see how full oil containers are at a Saudi oil field.

Take a look at one such example where the Burj Khalifa skyscraper casts a shadow over Dubai.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Except for a small sign the  "Innovation Collaboratory House" looks like any other villa at Maple Knoll Village. But walk inside and it's anything but.

Telehealth robots are in the sitting room and a Microsoft X-Box "Kinect" demonstration is in the bedroom. "Flo-bot" can manage congestive heart failure and do stroke intervention. "Little-bot" can ask you questions.

Other innovations:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

The University of Dayton's new Mumma Radar Laboratory opened, not with bangs, but with lots of blips.

The state-of-the-art facility, in Kettering Laboratories, contains perhaps the most precise radars in the world, accurate to 1/10th of a micron or within a fraction of a human hair. They also don't take a lot of power. Lab Director Dr. Michael Wicks says they only need the power equivalent to 1/100th of a Christmas tree bulb.

Actio

Why are girls hitting puberty earlier. Last fall Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center researchers blamed obesity. Are there other causes? At the time, Children's lead investigator Dr. Frank Biro said environmental and physiological factors also play a role.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Just three weeks into the Public Library of Cincinnati and Hamilton County's first 3D printer and patrons have designed, copied and printed plenty.

The fifth-generation MakerBot is in the Tech Center on the second floor of the downtown library. It's available by reservation by the hour. Right now, while in beta testing, it is free.

Wikipedia

Lewis Owen, head of the University of Cincinnati's geology department, deals in very small quantities.

He shows off what important stuff is left of one sample he brought home from the Himalayas. “That’s a little steel disk and on it is just a little smear of sand grains," Owen said.

With the samples he brings home, Owen is trying to map where glaciers used to be , where they've moved and how climate change will affect the world’s future. For a quarter century The University of Cincinnati professor has been making trips to China, Tibet, India and Pakistan.

Purdue University

In a perfect world, your smartphone would automatically tag whatever it sees through the camera's field of view. This could be helpful when using Google Glass, facial recognition systems, robotic cars and more.

Big powerful computers can do it already with something called deep learning. It requires layers of neural networks that mimic how the human brain processes information. A Purdue University researcher is working on it for smartphones and mobile devices

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