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.

Dottie Stover, University of Cincinnati

The first step in developing a Tricorder device may only be a few years away. UC researcher Jason Heikenfeld is testing his band-aid like patch. With just a few drops of sweat, it will monitor health and diagnose disease on people and in the lab using artificial skin that mimics sweat. Ann Thompson reports in "Focus on Technology."

New Jersey Institute of Technology

Interest in "smart guns," using biometrics and radio frequency technology, has rebounded following recent gun violence. President Obama has included them as part of his plan to reduce such mass shootings. Who makes these guns? How do they work? And will they catch on? Ann Thompson reports in "Focus on Technology."

The Federal Aviation Administration has started writing licensing and safety regulations regarding using unmanned air vehicles (UAV’s) for alternate purposes, such as newsgathering, by 2015. In this week’s Focus on Technology, Ann Thompson reports on how these drones may eliminate the need for TV news helicopters.

WVXU

Part of the President’s plan to reduce gun violence focuses on increased mental health services. Ann Thompson, in “Focus on Technology,” reports on Cincinnati efforts to be pro-active, involving a predictive spit test and photographing the brain.

WVXU

The faster police clear an accident, the faster you can get moving again. In this week’s Focus on Technology, Ann Thompson reports on new tools increasing the speed and accuracy of documenting police reports.

UC

There is disagreement over whether Cincinnati has made much progress in its fight against bed bugs. It still shows up among the top U.S. cities for the bloodsucking arthropods. Right now heat is the most effective way to get rid of them. Chemical treatments are another option. But one University of Cincinnati professor has a possible futuristic solution. Regina Baucom looks to hurt them on a molecular level. Ann Thompson reports in "Focus on Technology."

The rush is on for a better battery that will be smaller, hold more power, and charge faster. The Department of Energy announced a new partnership with this challenge: Invent batteries that are five times more powerful and one fifth the price in just five years. The Joint Center for Energy Storage Research or JCESR will gather brain power from five national labs, five universities and industry. Ann Thompson, in "Focus on Technology," reports on what kind of battery you can expect in electronic devices and cars and when.

Cindy Starr / Mayfield Clinic

The Holy Grail in the brain tumor field, according to Mayfield Clinic neurosurgeon Dr. Ron Warnick, would be a non-invasive test allowing personalized therapy, a way to reliably distinguish if the tumor has grown back, and the ability to make a very specific prognosis. This blood test is still in the research stage. WVXU's Ann Thompson, in "Focus on Technology," reports how it would work and the hope that it carries.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Newts have the amazing distinction of being able to regenerate almost any body part. University of Dayton Biology Professor Panagiotis Tsonis does not know exactly why they do it or how they do it, only that they can do it. He wonders if the human body, where regeneration genes have apparently been silenced, can be turned back on. Tsonis thinks studying the newt's eye lens is the key and is involved in a research project now to learn more. Ann Thompson reports in "Focus on Technology."

provided

Researchers at Cincinnati Children's Hospital are optimistic after their treatment appears to be working on a toddler born without an immune system. Jameson Golliday, who has "Bubble Boy Syndrome," is out of the hospital and now at home in a sterile environment while his white blood cells generate completely.  Ann Thompson, in "Focus on Technology," explains the treatment that could eventually be the standard of care for this very rare and serious disease.

Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

One sure way to get a job these days is to be a "Big Data" specialist. These are the people who can interpret massive amounts of information and tell businesses how to use it to make money. It's a very specialized set of skills involving computer science, business and statistics. The Harvard Business Review says the dominant trait among data scientists is an intense curiosity.   

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Alternative fuel is playing an even bigger role in the U.S. government’s aviation plan.  Within the next year the latest National Aeronautics Research and Development Plan will be released and a large portion of it focuses on alternative fuels. Wright Patterson Air Force Base is playing a leading role, in part because it can moderately scale up lab production  for commercial companies. WVXU's Ann Thompson took a tour to see how it's made, where it's tested and what unusual samples the Air Force is storing. She reports in "Focus on Technology."

Ann Thompson; taken during a trip in 2012. / WVXU

The threat of nuclear weapons is of big concern to the U.S. and other countries around the world, as evidenced by North Korea’s announcement that it will expand its arsenal. In “Focus on Technology,” Ann Thompson reports even before tension in the Korean peninsula, scientists were trying to identify and protect plutonium and uranium all over the globe.

MLB

Baseball fans expect a lot from their electronic devices both at the Major League and youth level. How is it possible to get nearly real-time information every game for things like landing speed and the nastiness of the pitch? Even coaches of kids teams are using software to keep parents and grandparents up to date remotely. Ann Thompson reports in "Focus on Technology," on how programs like Gameday and iScorecast work.


Sarah Ramsey / WVXU

This is what actor Christopher Reeve dreamed of... a bionic machine that helps paralyzed people walk. Drake Center is one of 20 facilities in the world to have an Exoskeleton. It is kind of like a backpack with leg and foot support.

Therapists program the parameters and paraplegics can walk slowly. For 29 year old Kevin Moeller, who's been in a wheelchair ten years, it gives him new freedom and the ability to have his natural height of six foot.

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