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.

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.   

Greater Cincinnati got its first taste of "extreme Christmas decorators" in 2004 when Carson Williams synced his 16,000 lights to music in Mason.

Consumer Electronics Association

Want to wrap your Christmas gift and New Year's resolution into one? Try a device that keeps track of your every waking (and sleeping) moment. The Fitbit Force and its competing brands, count your steps, distance, calories burned, stairs climbed, and active minutes. It also monitors how long and how well you sleep and syncs it with your computer and smartphone.

Emily Wendler / WVXU

You might have heard about the polar bear poop sniffing dog Elvis who tries to determine which polar bears are pregnant, as reported by WVXU in this story. Here he is in suburban Kansas City taking a whiff of each sample and sitting when there is an indication of a pregnancy.

Technology is leveling the playing field for the blind. A British researcher, Stephen Hicks of the University of Oxford, has invented a pair of glasses that act like a movie screen.

This BBC video shows how the glasses will work.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

International nuclear weapons inspectors are preparing to get a closer look at two Iranian facilities long suspected of having the capability of producing nuclear weapons. An agreement worked out Monday, with the International Atomic Energy Agency, failed to gain access to one of the most controversial sites, the Parchin military site, southwest of Tehran. The New York Times reports:

Holly Yurchison / WVXU

Key stakeholders in Ohio's bioscience industry just wrapped up a two day conference in Columbus where they charted their roles for an expanding future. BioOhio President and CEO John Lewis says the goal this year was to get more companies engaged and realize the resources available to them in Ohio.

Mark Rober, Digital Dudz, Morphsuits

Need a last minute idea for a Halloween costume that could light up the party, and in some cases, gross out your friends? Ray Cappel, co-owner of Cappel's, costumes, party decorations & supplies in Cincinnati, says if you know how to accessorize, you can make your costume very unique. He pulled a few technology-related items off the shelf and suggested:

Big data is everywhere and it's getting more complex. Mathematicians seem to think we have effective ways to analyze it, but are still in need of developing the tools to reach conclusions. Just look at what happened as people tried to sign up for the online insurance marketplace. Computer code glitches shut it down and President Obama promised a tech surge for the problem.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center are freezing out certain kinds of cancers and precancerous lesions with a tiny camera, a catheter and a special kind of spray. Traditional forms of cryotherapy (using liquid nitrogen to freeze and eliminate harmful tissue) are very localized. truFreeze, new to UC Health, enables doctors to treat larger surfaces.

University of Cincinnati/Hankook

The South Korean based tire company, Hankook has just unveiled its latest tire at the Frankfort Auto Show, the iFlex. That tire may have ties to Cincinnati.

The Environmental Protection Agency is working to finalize a plan that would essentially ban coal-fire power plants in their present form. New ones could not be built without having cutting-edge technology that dramatically reduces CO2. It's called carbon capture and sequestration (CCS). The proposal, announced last month, by EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy at the National Press Club, is not expected to be a requirement for more than a year.

Ann Thompson / WVXU

By the end of the year, the Federal Aviation Administration says it will pick six sites to test unmanned aerial systems (UAS). The Dayton region hopes to be on the list and has taken another step to set itself apart.

On Monday Sinclair Community College announced:

By 2015 President Obama has said he wants to have one-million plug-in electric vehicles on the road. It’s unclear if that’s going to happen. But slowly researchers are making progress in building a better battery and states are realizing the battery market is a very lucrative one.

This month Ohio State's Buckeye Bullet is trying to break the 400 mph barrier in the salt flats of Utah. It runs on lithium-ion batteries. This is an earlier video when the futuristic car was hitting speeds in the 300s.

Jacqueline McBride/LLNL

Have you ever wanted an instant diagnosis? Medical tests can often take hours, days, or weeks to generate results. This can delay medication. Patients face this problem frequently as they wait  for tests on things like the flu and strep throat.

But there is a device developed at the Lawrence Livermore National Lab in California that is able to identify germs in less than three minutes. (expected to be on the market in about 5 years)

Watch this video to find out what it is and how it works.

As of August, 2013 statistics show there are more than

  • one billion people using Facebook
  • 500 million on Twitter
  • 1 billion uploading and watching YouTube videos
  • 200 million with a Pandora account
  • 238 million on LinkedIn.

Those numbers are increasing daily and so is your data. CEO and founder of LifeCellar.com Stephen Bulfer estimates we will each create 88 gigabytes of data by age 75. According to Digital Beyond bloggers John Romano and Evan Carroll  

Arch Biopartners

Imagine a world where a spray-on gel could make make cars and boats corrosion-proof, airplanes more aerodynamic, the flow in wastewater treatment plants faster and prevent surfaces from harboring bacteria.

That protective coating, invisible to the naked eye, may not be too far away according to Arch Biopartners. Within two years, principal scientist Randy Irvin says the initial application will be a methanol-based spray

Unequal Technologies

Major League Baseball is working with a couple of different companies to design a special pitchers baseball cap that would protect them if hit in the head.  MLB medical director Dr. Gary Green says he's trying to

Google

Ann Thompson / WVXU

GE's electrical power systems business, with an eye toward the increasing need for power on airplanes, is about to open the first of its kind research facility on the campus of the University of Dayton. The EPISCENTER (Electrical Power Integrated Systems Center) will provide the floor space and infrastructure needed to test four complete electrical systems.

Pages