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.

Meridian Bioscience

Newtown-based Meridian Bioscience is deploying its newly developed test illumigene® Malaria in Dakar, Senegal and planning a rollout of this potentially life-saving diagnostic across Africa. A test for the Zika virus is under development and is expected to be ready in six to twelve months.

Pacifics Facebook page

Baseball umpires are still in business, despite a small effort to computerize them. 

The  so-called "Robo Ump"  made an appearance at a California independent baseball league July 28 and 29, 2015.  The system of three cameras placed strategically on the field and microcomputers in a nearby van is made by Sportvision.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

GE Aviation has transformed its wartime jet engine plant into a state-of-the-art facility with the ability to design and test lightweight composite materials for commercial jet engines of the future. In the process, the company has invested $144 million in 2014-2015 and says it will invest another $356 million by 2020.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Sales representatives from Aprecia Pharmaceuticals are making a strong pitch with doctors as the Blue Ash-based company launched production last week of its 3D printed pill, the first such pill approved by the FDA.

Until later this year the pills are being printed in New Jersey.  The Blue Ash facility has to get federal approval, and is doing test runs.

State of Ohio

University of Dayton researchers are developing computer software that will automatically detect threats or damage to oil and gas pipelines, thanks in part to the support of one of the nation's largest utilities.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

As opioid abuse skyrockets out of control, University of Cincinnati Health researchers are trying to zero in on fresh alternatives for the estimated 100 million people who suffer from chronic pain.

Principal investigator of a $1.95 million federal grant, Jun-Ming Zhang, MD, is studying the roles of the  nervous system and immune system in preclinical models of back and neuropathic pain.

MLB.com

Reds General Manager Dick Williams didn't take the traditional career path to running a professional baseball team. For years he was an investment banker and venture capitalist. In the ten years Williams has worked for the Reds he's taken a closer look at what baseball calls sabermetrics. (SABR-Society for American Baseball Research)

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Founder of Yahoo Tech David Pogue calls it the "biggest unsung technology in years." He's excited about the USB-C, a universal cable that is the same on both sides, both ends and can replace the power, USB, and video outputs cables on your phone, tablet, laptop and desktop computers.

Eric Hodgson / Smale Interactive Visualization Center

Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center's newborn intensive-care unit (NICU) simulated a real emergency this past weekend and evacuated pretend patients and their equipment. The medical staff performed well. But could virtual reality training improve the results for next year's drill?

Joseph Fuqua / University of Cincinnati

An increasing number of medical schools are incorporating digital dissections into their curriculum. But the University of Cincinnati is not one of them. It says this is a case where technology is not better. Instructors say a hands-on approach is key.

Avure Technologies-pictures,WVXU's Jim Nolan-graphic.

Food scares and an increased demand for organic fruits and vegetables are helping propel interest in high pressure pasteurization. HPP, as it's commonly known, uses ultra-high pressure purified cold water to keep packaged food pathogen-free without the preservatives and can quadruple shelf-life.

Bill Balfour / Escape The Room Challenge

Escape rooms just got even more challenging with the introduction of digital locks.  Instead of locating padlock keys and figuring out combination locks, players must crack computer code at Cincinnati's Escape The Room Challenge. "Double Agent Dilemma" is the newest game and Danny Craven designed a way for players to go from room to room without physical locks.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Internet security experts Scott Erven and Mark Collao focused on MRI scanners, X-ray machines, defibrillators and drug infusion pumps when they tried to find out how easy it is to hack into medical devices.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Breweries around the country are outdoing one another when it comes to going green.  No longer is giving spent grain to farmers the sole solution.   Companies are now looking at the entire sustainable picture, investing in expensive energy systems and changing ingredients.

WBUR details a few examples in "Survival of the Greenest Beer?"

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Cincinnati, an advertising hub, is well positioned to be a "relevant player "  when it comes to multi-platform storytelling involving technology, according to John Hendricks, director of creative technology for Possible, a worldwide advertising agency with offices in Cincinnati.

Eliot F. Gomez

University of Cincinnati graduate Eliot Gomez, now doing research in Sweden at  Linköping University, has demonstrated with other scientists the world's first electronic plant. In the future this technology could possibly power small electronic devices or delay blooming if there was a frost.

Here's how he put "wires" into a rose while being careful not to clog the plant or kill it:

Tana Weingartner / WVXU

International conservationists, desperate to save endangered species, have turned to technology in the hope it will make a difference  before it's too late.

Protect is beginning to implant tiny cameras in the horns of rhinos. The rhinos also wear a bright turquoise radio collar equipped with a heart-rate monitor. If a poacher approaches the animal's heart rate will jump. That triggers an alarm and sends GPS coordinates to rangers who come quickly in a truck or by a helicopter. Here is video from the embedded camera:

NASA

The space superpowers of China, Russia and the United States, as well as aspiring spacefaring nations such as Iran and North Korea, all have the capability to disrupt the global satellite operations that govern many aspects of life. GPS navigation, international phone calls, financial transactions, weather prediction and nuclear missile launch surveillance could all be affected.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Festo, a German automation company with plans to move its logistics center to Mason by the spring of 2016, is busy showing off its research and development to area students.

Mason and University of Cincinnati students got a look at Festo's Bionic Learning Network where UAVs emulate nature to improve automation.

Before applying the principles behind its SmartBird, Festo needed helium to move robotics through the air.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Joe Glisson hates unnecessary steps. Last fall the Cincinnati Fire Lt. was getting frustrated by the moment when collecting leaves in the very small leaf blower bag attachment and then having to transfer them to a much larger yard waste bag.

At his Springfield Township home Glisson demonstrated how cumbersome it can be to have to fill up one bag and dump it into another.

He now has a solution to the problem. His invention is called "The Eliminator."

The ultimate in environmentally friendly housing might be a structure made partially of water. There is such a house in Kecskemet, Hungary. That's near where the architect who designed it grew up.

Matyas Gutai, PhD  got his inspiration to build the structure from open air hot baths in Tokyo, where despite the cold temperature outside, it was kept comfortably warm inside.

MN8 FoxFire

Zachary Green, CEO of MN8 FoxFire, and a Wyoming volunteer firefighter, has found new uses for "glow-in-the-dark" technology and is marketing them nationally and internationally.

He uses photoluminescence technology to light up firefighter helmets, safety signs and floor markings that show a safe way out of a workspace when the electricity goes out.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Tucked away inside the Milford City Building is a small technology company that is helping ALS patients and other people with the inability to move and communicate around the world.

Control Bionics is the combined venture of James Schorey and former CNN news anchor Peter Ford. Schorey designed the sensor used in the NeuroSwitch and Ford adapted it to people with only the slightest of movement.

How it works

Mylah's Facebook page

Six-year-old Mylah Bryant has a blood disease (aplastic anemia) that required chemotherapy and a bone marrow transplant at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Not only did doctors discuss making her well, they asked her parents if they wanted to preserve tissue so she could reproduce years later without the damaging effects of chemotherapy.

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals

Aprecia Pharmaceuticals will start manufacturing the first FDA approved 3D printed pill in October in Blue Ash. Full production is expected to begin in the first quarter of 2016.

The pill is SPRITAM℗ for epilepsy patients and could be taken by as many as 3 million adults and children in the U.S. who suffer from seizures. Aprecia's next set of drugs will also be for the central nervous system. The  company says it has also formulated about 100 different prototypes for various other over-the-counter and RX products.

In case you haven’t noticed, some really big equipment has been moving into the Children’s Hospital Liberty Campus and its impact for cancer patients could be huge.

The New Children's/UC Health Proton Therapy Center, scheduled to open in the winter of 2016-2017, has giant equipment that can zero in on a 3D image of a tumor and "spray paint" the cancerous cells with radiation without damaging surrounding cells.

Uploaded to Wikimedia Commons by WhisperToMe

The full Senate is expected to take up a controversial bill called The Cyberthreat Information Sharing Act (CISA) when members return from their August recess.

Dozens of amendments will likely be added to the act, but in its present form businesses would have immunity from customer lawsuits when they hand over information about cyberthreats to other companies and to federal agencies.

Made in Space

Building a house on Mars and other out of this world ideas are already in development on earth at NASA's Marshall Space Flight Center and other small companies like Made in Space.

In December, 2014, on the International Space Station, astronaut Barry Wilmore opened up a 3D printer, launched a year earlier, and pulled out a part designed by Made in Space, a ratchet wrench. NASA demonstrates how it works back on earth.

wikimedia commons

The legalized marijuana market could be worth at least 36 billion dollars annually by 2020, bigger than the NFL, by some estimates. For that reason technology companies are wasting no time entering both the medical and recreational use arena.

iFetch

Many of veterinarian Dr. Bob Biederman's clientele are millennials and Gen Xers who live downtown. Often  they are the first to buy new pet technology.

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