Focus on Technology

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.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Critical care nurses are dividing their time between a dozen patients at the new UC Health Simulation Center but Lt. Col. Elena Schlenker has her eyes on one in particular.

“This patient is another blast injury,'' Schlenker said. "So he has bilateral amputations to his lower extremities. He’s obtained a chest wall trauma and he’s on a ventilator."

Redi Heating and Air Conditioning

  

Heated Driveways

Tired of walking on snow and ice covered sidewalks and having to repeatedly scrape and plow your driveway? Why not order a "snow melting system" and encourage your employer to do the same?

Ann Thompson / WVXU

 The Cincinnati Fire Department is looking into the possibility of using drones in the future. The city is partnering with the University of Cincinnati to test, what promises to be, a turn-key system.

The whirr and the sight of this small quadroter freezes University of Cincinnati students in their tracks as they stare at it in subzero temperatures.

Graduate Student Bryan Brown says, “Oh yes, every time we do this we have about 10 people stop and they’ll come up and take videos, especially when it’s warmer.”

The manufacturer of an airbag for skiers is putting the final touches on the product that continues to be tested in high-speed downhill events. Dainese, an Italian company that also makes airbags for motorcycle racers, had hoped to have the D-Air® SKI ready for the Sochi Olympics.

Ohio EPA

One of the still hotly contested debates over fracking is whether the practice of extracting trapped gas underground contaminates drinking water. Researchers at the University of Cincinnati are using an expensive machine to determine whether, at least in eastern Ohio, any contamination is naturally occurring or from fracking.

There's no shortage of negative publicity when it comes to fracking. Take the 2010 documentary "Gasland."

Pete Kistler, a former Syracuse University student, had trouble figuring out why he couldn’t land even an internship. He had a high GPA, won a couple of scholarships and started two clubs on campus. And while all his friends were getting phone calls and going out on interviews, he got nothing. Why? When he Googled his name he found out. There was a convicted sex offender with the same name.   

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