Focus on Technology

Focus on Technology

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Ann Thompson reports on the latest trends in technology and their effects on medicine, safety, the environment or entertainmentMore from Focus on Technology »

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Robot Gives Disabled Dining Freedom

DESĪN, with offices in Dayton and Michigan, is introducing Obi™ the robotic dining companion . For inventor Jon Dekar it was a very personal decade long project. While in high school volunteering, he watched the disabled struggle as well as his own grandfather who slowly lost the ability to feed himself. "You know, it's one of life's basic needs and it's also a fundamental freedom. It's a very intimate personal experience."

The Jaw May Be Key To Fixing A Bad Heart

As crazy as it may sound to the non-scientist, cells in a patient's jaw may be able to rejuvenate their bad heart. Yi-Gang Wang, MD, PhD, a professor in the Department of Pathology and Laboratory Medicine and former heart surgeon, explains that when we are growing in the womb our facial muscle cells develop near the heart. They eventually migrate to the head and are similar to heart cells. In small animals Wang has taken cells from the animal's facial muscle to the lab, enhanced them and turned them into beating heart cells. Wang says this has translated into regeneration of the heart muscle. He's ramping up research in large animal models. Human trials could begin in five years. Wang says traditional treatments, including medicine and surgery, cannot cure or recover heart tissue and they come with some dangers, such as reduced oxygen, complications from bypass surgery, the ability of a donor heart and the risk of rejection. After facial cells are harvested scientists would need about

The Bug With Fast Growing Bifocal Eyes

To the non-scientist, the Sunburst Diving Beetle doesn't look any different than your average beetle. But put it under a microscope and examine the complexity of its eyes. You will see bifocal eyes-six sets of them. Dr. Elke Buschbeck, a University of Cincinnati professor of biological sciences and graduate student Shannon Werner discovered the Sunburst Diving Beetle has bifocals, the only insect with them so far. Their research, explaining the quick development of the eye structure, is published in this edition of the Journal of Comparative Physiology A. According to Buschbeck, "It (bifocals) allows them to use 2 different photoreceptive tissues at the same time to look at the same thing in a distance or the same thing in close-by....we think it allows the beetle to see quite a lot at the same time" This Discovery Magazine article explains how Buschbeck discovered the bug has bifocal eyes. Other interesting findings about the bug's eye: It has Multiple retinas It can see polarized

Cincy Start-Up Protects Your 3D Design And Makes Sure It Works

Every year the 3D global market is losing $100 billion due to manufacturing theft according to the latest statistics . Those losses could eventually total 30 percent of the market according to the head of the Cincinnati start-up, Physna . Physna says its special software, to protect 3D printed objects by dissecting and analyzing them, is in beta testing and will come to market in February. CEO Paul Powers's background is in intellectual property law and he says right now it is very easy to steal somebody's design. "Everything from toys to simple things that you would expect to be 3D printed all the way up to things you wouldn't want or you didn't even know about being 3D printed like the TSA master key that gets in all luggage. That can be 3D printed right now and unfortunately it was hacked several times." The Physna software can unravel the DNA-like properties of physical objects in seconds to discover any differences. Using math, artificial intelligence, physics and complicated

Dayton's Cyberhealth Gets A Shot In The Arm

Cybersecurity is such a high priority for the U.S. government that President-elect Trump is asking intelligence officials to do a major report on hacking in 90 days. A recent report identified the top cybersecurity threats for 2017. They include: Criminals harnessing IoT (Internet of Things) devices to attack infrastructures National state cyber espionage Data sabotage One of the most vulnerable areas is healthcare. Premier Health has just given the University of Dayton money to establish the "Center for Cybersecurity & Data Intelligence. " UD will initially focus on healthcare as it identifies and tests new cybersecurity practices. Chief Information Officer Tom Skill says he is looking for partners representing other industries. The Center also intends to share information technology infrastructure designs, develop methods for monitoring and documenting threats and communicating them to executives.

Cameras On The Lookout For Algal Blooms

This spring a camera will begin taking pictures of the Ohio River at California, Kentucky to identify rare but toxic algal blooms as much as a day before they become a danger to drinking water. A partnership between Thomas More College, Northern Kentucky University, the Environmental Protection Agency and the Ohio River Valley Water Sanitation Commission (ORSANCO) is developing a network of cameras that will take pictures of the Ohio River and analyze the information in a computer algorithm. Using the color of the river, the goal is to detect an algal bloom earlier than traditional methods, which use a microscope. Scientists would also like to find out what causes a bloom to form. In 2015, an Ohio River algal bloom stretched hundreds of miles from West Virginia to Louisville forcing authorities to issue health advisories. This was the same year blooms in Lake Erie forced Toledo to shut down its drinking water supply. Algae naturally occur in waterways, but harmful blooms are the

Practice On $250,000 Mannequins Makes Perfect

A roomful of patients have blank stares as they eye medical students and professionals inside a $3.3 million simulation laboratory at the Dayton VA Medical Center . Not unlike any other hospital patient, they have name bands, hospital gowns and IV drips. They have a heartbeat, a pulse and some receive oxygen. But these aren't real people, just advanced mannequins, some costing as much as $250,000. Just a few feet away in a control room, instructors program challenging scenarios, and according to Simulation Coordinator Jeff Adams, "If he dies, we just reset the computer." At $80,000, Rufus is one of the cheapest mannequins at the 1700 sq ft facility. He lies on a bed in a hospital gown and utters a list of canned phrases, based on what people like Operations Manager Kateri Gabriele ask him. She says, "Are you dizzy?" "No, I don't feel dizzy," The Sims Center is training thousands of VA health workers in Ohio, Kentucky and Indiana. Dayton VA Administrator Robert Sellers says there's also

New Lamp Could Help Eliminate Skin Cancer Threat

A special lamp that mimics the sun could be the key to University of Cincinnati researchers developing a topical cream that may be able to repair skin damage from ultraviolet rays. The solar simulator was a gift from the Andy Caress Melanoma Foundation and Melanoma Know More Foundation. The lamp emits light that encompasses the entire spectrum of solar ultraviolet radiation-UVA and UVB. UC's old lamps projected only UVB rays. Dr. Zalfa Abdel-Malek, professor of dermatology and cancer biology, says both can contribute to skin cancer. She's trying to discover the genetic susceptibility to melanoma, the deadliest form of skin cancer. Abdel-Malek's goal is a topical cream that will interact with skin cells to repair skin damage while also increasing pigmentation to provide a tan without the sun. She estimates her development is about five years away. It's something that Jenny Powell says can't come soon enough. She's a two-time melanoma survivor and on the board of Melanoma Know More, the

Lakota East Students Take AIDS Cure Idea To UC Lab

A group of really smart students at Lakota East High School , known to fellow teens as the kids trying to find a cure for AIDS, is taking its plan to the next level by meeting with the head of AIDS research at the University of Cincinnati . Lexie Adams, Chase Harris, Maddox Linneman and Sam Pannek were invited to UC by Dr. Carl Fichtenbaum, Director of HIV Clinical Research. They visited December 7, 2016. They're used to explaining their proposed AIDS cure because they've done it so many times in the halls of Lakota East. To other high school students Chase Harris says he has to oversimplify it. "I don't want to say dumb it down but explain it really well. The analogy works well that Sam came up with." Here's the analogy, according to Pannek: "The HIV virus is like an intruder. The bad guys, the GP120 and the GP41 proteins are the key. The CCR5 surface receptor is the lock. The CD4 cell is the house. What we're trying to do is get the key put it in the lock and break it off so it bars

Baseball Teams Gain Advantage With iPads In Dugout

Despite some nudging by individual teams, Major League Baseball is taking technology baby steps. Earlier this year it lifted its ban of smartphones, tablets and laptops in the dugout and inked a deal with Apple for iPad Pros.

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