Focus on Technology

Mondays at 6:44 a.m.; 8:44 a.m. during Morning Edition and 4:44 p.m. during All Things Considered

Ann Thompson reports on the latest trends in technology and their effects on medicine, safety, the environment or entertainment.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A Cincinnati company is pitching colleges and universities nationwide with a way to keep track of their students. It involves a long-range Bluetooth beacon and a downloadable app.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati karaoke bar Tokyo Kitty and The Brooklyn Barge in New York City are beta testing high-tech ways to order and deliver drinks. For Tokyo Kitty, on Race near Fifth Street, your cocktail is delivered by a robot.

California Department of Fish and Wildlife

Once badly burned bears from previous California wildfires are back in their habitat thanks to the healing power of fish skins. It was a University of California at Davis veterinarian who first tried bandages made from sterlized tilapia skins on the bears, the first-ever use on animals.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Some lung cancer nodules are very small and undetectable until they grow larger, and that can signal a poor prognosis for the patient. Even if they are discovered at an early stage, finding them during surgery can be challening. But UC Health is seeing success detecting and marking the nodules with a procedure using radioactive material and a special probe that acts as a Geiger counter.

Wikipedia

Smart Cities around the world are at risk of getting hacked in everything from traffic control to flood prevention even as they spend $81 billion globally this year on data sensors to collect and integrate information. That's according to researchers from IBM Security and the data security firm Threatcare.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

A Tri-State emergency room nurse and her engineer husband are in the final stages of producing a potentially life-saving sensor and app. It would remind parents and caregivers there is a child in the backseat of a car, helping to prevent that child from potentially suffocating in the heat.

Courtesy David Blank

The Kilauea volcano has been erupting since May, after a 6.9 eruption caused an earthquake that swallowed roads and homes and sent ash spewing 30,000 feet into the air. Researchers hope to determine the stability of the ocean floor near the erupting volcano in Hawaii, and so they've put a dozen seismometers on the ocean bottom this summer, with plans to retreive them in September. 

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Procter & Gamble says it plans to ramp up the number of robots it has to a total of 5,000 in the next five years. It now has 3,000, up from 1,000 in 2013. Managers say the reason for the robotic increase is due to advances in vision and gripping, as well as robots that can work alongside people.

Courtesy Stephan Burke

Using only bitcoin, 20 homes have been sold worldwide, and that number looks to get bigger. In fact, the Miami, Fla., real estate agent that brokered two of those deals, Stephan Burke, says cryptocurrency will make up 25-30 percent of real estate sales in five years.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Finding a specific grave can sometimes take awhile, especially if you haven't been to the cemetery in a long time. Springfield Township's Arlington Memorial Gardens has a new option to help you find your way using GPS.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Clinical trials are tentatively scheduled for 2020 at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's new Center for Stem Cell and Organoid Medicine, where researchers are making miniature livers and pancreases, called organoids.

NASA

How would you like to go to the moon for the weekend, have a romantic dinner inside the rings of Saturn or jump off ice cliffs from one of Uranus' moons where you can float for 8 to 10 minutes? A new planetary travel book helps you do that -- at least vicariously.

C. Suthorn

DriveOhio, the state's clearinghouse for autonomous vehicle testing and smart technology, plans to include Interstates I-75 between Cincinnati and Dayton and parts of I-275. It's also helping to further Cincinnati's effort to build a test track for driverless shuttles.

Provided

Creativity is key for Cirque du Soleil as it transitions tent performances of "Corteo" to large arenas, as it does this weekend when the show comes to Cincinnati's U.S. Bank Arena.

The old way of doing it involved running underneath bleachers. That doesn't work in an arena, so Cirque du Soleil commissioned the building of a machine last year that solves the problem.

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At the nondescript two-story brick building at the northwest corner of Elm and Ninth streets is Kroger's new Culinary Innovation Center, a state-of-the-art -- and super-secretive -- test kitchen and education center.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Physical therapist Shane Page and his company, Edge Cycle Technologies, have developed a bike seat that he says is “truly anatomical and accepts our anatomy instead of pressing against it.”

U. S. Air Force

Scientists have long known treated wastewater is safe to drink but how does it taste when compared to "conventional" groundwater and bottled water?

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati-based Federal Equipment Company is designing a new kind of elevator for the U.S. Navy using magnets. The military is now testing it on its next aircraft carrier, the USS Gerald R. Ford.

Provided

With a new entertainment venue on the horizon for the Banks, finding an available parking place on the riverfront is going to become even more important. Luckily, plans are underway for a new advanced signage system that will direct you to a specific spot.

Cincinnati Children's

Sickle cell patients face a lifetime of getting blood transfusions because there's no cure for the disease. It's a fact of life for brother and sister Taryn Walker, 14, and King Walker, 11, both students at the School for the Creative and Performing Arts.

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Northern Kentucky University has opened a state-of-the-art lab to train students to identify and stop cyber security threats in the workplace. The privately funded JRG Cyber Threat Intelligence Laboratory is modeled after real-world cyber security centers.

NASA

One of the most advanced weather satellites will soon be orbiting in space, helping forecasters anticipate a host of severe weather for the western United States, and from Alaska to New Zealand.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

In the next few years the FDA is expected to approve dozens of new genetic therapies for rare diseases that affect just a small group of patients. Because these drugs cost nearly seven-figures insurance companies, hospitals and Congress are taking a closer look.

microbots
Provided / Purdue University

Smaller than the head of a pin, the microTUM tumbles end over end through bumpy, steep and wet topography to reach its final destination. Purdue University researchers hope the microscale magnetic tumbling robot they've designed will eventually be able to deliver drugs to a specific location in the human body.

University of Washington

As amazing as it sounds, 3D printed parts can now talk wirelessly to smart devices without electronics. This means consumers can hook up an attachment to a laundry detergent bottle they print out and it would automatically connect to a smart phone and order more when running low.

C. Suthorn

Greater Cincinnati transportation officials want to help drive the future of autonomous and connected vehicles. They are in the early stages of a plan to build a test track and deploy driverless shuttles.

Karla Dejean / Seven Hills

Five groups of Seven Hills students who Head of the Upper School Matthew Bolton called, " creative, innovative and flexible thinkers," pitched their inventions January 11, 2018 to a panel of Cincinnati entrepreneurs and CEOs.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Studies show the longer the elderly can stay in their homes, the better their quality of life. A new website aims to help them stay there.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Researchers around the world are realizing how easy it is for criminals to manipulate voices and videos to make people look and sound like they are saying things that they didn't really say.

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Born out of a dream to avoid traffic jams, Workhorse CEO Steve Burns has built an electric helicopter. The Loveland company known for its electric delivery trucks will show off its personal flying machine at the Consumer Electronics Show in January.

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