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

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

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:

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