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

When diagnosing and repairing the heart's electrical system, doctors often have to use lots of radiation to pinpoint the problem. It's not uncommon for the patient to experience 50 minutes or more of radiation thanks to X-rays, CAT scans and nuclear stress tests.

Ad Astra Rocket

Right now traveling to Mars would be a full-time commitment. Astronauts would be cooped up in a rocket for seven months and if they were able to take enough fuel to get back to earth, they would have to wait another two years before the planets would be close enough again. During this time their bone densities would greatly decrease and crumble once back on earth.

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

A computer progam called VigiLanz is Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's new secret weapon in treating and preventing "superbugs," and consequently making antibiotics last longer.

What's the problem?

VocaliD

An effort is underway to give individuality to people who have to use a computerized voice box to speak.

Just in the United States alone there are several million people who have lost their voice because of cerebral palsy, stroke, brain injury and more. If they are lucky enough to have a computerized voice chances are their voice sounds very similar to somebody else who also uses a computer.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

If just watching the game isn't enough for you, the Cincinnati Reds want to keep you engaged with new technology at Great American Ball Park. This year the team has invested in:

  • Instant Replay
  • Reds Connect Zone
  • iBeacons

At ballparks throughout the country teams are making instant replay available on the main video board. At Great American they are also on smaller monitors throughout the stadium.

Dr. John Halamka

Outside patient rooms at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center there's a Quick Response (QR) code on the wall. It is key to a new way doctors are doing things there.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A solar panel is typically made up of lots of silicon cells that together form a circuit. The electrons zip through the panels to create electricity in a very efficient manner. But what if scientists could create the same efficiency in a different material that was cheaper?

Fei Yu, a University of Cincinnati doctoral student in materials engineering, is studying how to make polymer solar cells more efficient. Right now their performance is well below the most efficient silicon solar panels.

Why polymers:

NTV

This fall members of the African Union Commission are scheduled to release their recommendations for an African Space Agency. The feasibility study is chaired by South Africa and includes Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, Egypt and Algeria.

For some, a space agency is the likely next step. Since 2010 satellite capacity across the continent has almost tripled, helping to fuel Africa's mobile revolution, according to University of Cincinnati aerospace engineering professor Grant Schaffner.

Marc Smith / Social Media Research Foundation

Many people struggle to make sense of Twitter. The constant stream of information containing up to 140 characters can often overwhelm. But believe it or not all the tweets in the world appear to fit into just six patterns.

The Pew Research Center and the Social Media Research Foundation studied thousands of tweets over a four-year period and came up with these six different conversational archetypes.

There's a stylish alternative in Europe to the sometimes geeky looking bike helmet. Hövding's airbag collar, complete with a gyroscope and accelerometer to detect a crash, is popular in its native Sweden and being sold in Europe and soon in Japan.

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