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.

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:

Ann Thompson / WVXU

It's no secret that teens don't get enough sleep on school nights, an estimated five to seven hours a night. They need nine. Researchers say not only does this affect their school work, it affects their driving.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center is studying whether adding 90 minutes of sleep a night will  make them more alert and decrease accidents. The study involves driving a simulator and monitoring the mood of the teen while they do it.

Dr. Dylan Ward / University of Cincinnati

A camera and a computer may be all it takes to scientifically map earth formations.

Using a regular camera with Agisoft Photoscan software UC Geology Professor Dylan Ward pitched his tent at the bottom of a cliff near Ferron, Utah in May and began clicking away. He took 900 digital images at the base and once back in Cincinnati loaded them into the computer.


It may not be too long before your co-worker is a robot. That robot might eventually take your job, according to this video.

GE Aviation

NOTE: This originally ran on January 15, 2014.

GE Aviation has so much faith in 3D printing that it will soon relocate its Sharonville facility to a much larger space. GE bought what used to be called Morris Technologies in 2012. Morris was the first to introduce 3D metallic based technology to North America.

It's still five years away from human clinical trials, but at least in mice, a new antibody injection has seemingly suppressed allergic reactions to food.

Cluster headaches are often called "suicide headaches" because of their intense pain, paralyzing suffers for 15 minutes to three hours at a time.

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

Note: This originally aired on July 31, 2013.

Scientists are just beginning to learn how the body’s hormones are programmed to melt away fat. More hormones in combination with minor surgery may be the solution for the obese.