What doesn’t kill me, makes me stronger
Multicolored Asian lady beetles are advancing round the globe, often driving out native species in many of the countries they invade, and their methods amount to no less than biological warfare: they infect their opponents with deadly parasites against which they themselves are immune. This was revealed in a study conducted by Fraunhofer IME, published in the current edition of Science Magazine, the academic journal of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
Leveraging strengths through excellence and efficiency
To continue developing responses to challenges such as global warming, changing demographics, and declining natural resources, Fraunhofer has adopted a new strategic approach based on knowledge transfer, regional development initiatives, and lighthouse projects.
Industry demonstrates confidence in Fraunhofer expertise
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continued to grow in 2012, with total business volume up four percent to a new total of 1.9 billion euros. Revenues from research projects with the industry have enjoyed particularly strong growth, increasing by 12 percent, to 453 million euros.
Method developed for adding omega-3 fatty acids to foods
The omega-3 fatty acids contained in fatty salt-water fish are an important component of a healthy diet in humans. Despite being aware of this fact, Germans still do not eat enough fish. Now Fraunhofer researchers have developed a method that allows omega-3 fatty acids to be added to popular foods. They are launching the first of these products exclusively in EDEKA stores: the omega-3 sausage.
Full taste of sausage +++ Algae and crustaceans in the ship’s tank +++ Using the waste from olives
IT Security is Becoming Cornerstone of German Economy
Our dependence on information technology is growing, as are attacks on IT systems in order to manipulate or copy them. Together with the political, economic and scientific sectors Fraunhofer is working on strategies and solutions intended to prevent this. With intelligent technologies for the security of embedded systems, smart grids, Cloud computing or mobile devices researchers are improving our private security and protecting company products and services.
New information services quickly
Be it Smartphone apps, monitoring the temperature of food stuffs or help against product piracy, setting up new services is costly. In the future, the NSEB service engineering platform intends to simplify that.
Embedding photovoltaic modules more quickly
The market for solar modules is highly competitive. For this reason, companies must save on costs, such as by using a new process. It embeds the cells twice as fast into their protective plastic sheathing – and therefore saves time and money.
Finding instead of searching
It is easy to lose track of things in large storage facilities but not at the wind turbine manufacturer Enercon‘s facility in Magdeburg though, where a positioning system with digital inventory management increases transparency and expedites processes.
Surveying roads at 100 km/h
Germany’s road network has a hard time dealing with wind and weather, tires and steel. Until now, however, surveying the damage caused to asphalt and concrete was laborious and expensive. A new laser scanner is cheaper, faster and more precise.
Promising stem cell therapy for leukemia patients
Leukemia patients receive a bone marrow transplant, which allows them to build a “new” immune system. However, this immune system not only attacks cancer cells but healthy tissue too. Special antibodies will be used to protect healthy tissue in future.
A longer life for lithium-sulfur batteries
Electric cars have still got it tough in the German marketplace. They are too expensive and their range is too short. This is an opportune time for a breakthrough in efficient and low-cost lithium-sulfur batteries.
Regaining proper hearing at last
Around 17 million people in Germany suffer from impaired hearing. For many of them, their hearing is so damaged that a standard hearing aid is no longer enough. A new device will improve patients’ hearing and can be implanted during outpatient surgery.
Quality control in the manufacturing cycle
Even the minutest deviations are detected: Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Factory Operation and Automation IFF have created the “Wheelinspector”, an in-line compatible system for 100 percent inspection of vehicle wheels without contact. The experts will be presenting this and other systems at Control 2013 (Hall 1, Booth 1502) in Stuttgart on May 14 to 17.
Fewer animal experiments thanks to nanosensors
Experiments on animals have been the subject of criticism for decades, but there is no prospect of a move away from them any time soon. The number of tests involving laboratory animals has in fact gone up. Now, researchers have found an alternative approach: they hope sensor nanoparticles will reduce the need for animal testing.
Rotten meat doesn’t stand a chance
When it comes to packaged fish or meat, it is nearly impossible to distinguish between fresh goods and their inedible counterparts. Researchers have now developed a sensor film that can be integrated into the package itself, where it takes over the role of quality control. And if the food has spoiled, it changes color to announce the fact.
An energy-efficient electrical system for vehicles +++ Commercial traffic can open the door to electromobility +++ Digital signature: stored for eternity
Glove shows its true colors
Security takes top priority in laboratories and in production. In the future, employees exposed to risks will only have to put on a glove in order to receive a toxic substance warning: This textile identifi es poisonous substances, and points them out immediately.
Set in the right light
Lighting plays a big role at events presenting new products, on television shows, and at concerts. Mobilight, a portable and wireless system, offers a wide range of options. And researchers have now made it even better.
Credit card fraudsters quickly exposed
Most people feel safe from fraudsters if their credit card is safely tucked away in their wallet. But they shouldn‘t: in most cases, thieves only need card numbers and information. A new software can provide more effective protection against credit card theft.
Perfectly designed microelectronics
Microchips play an important role in industrial and household electronics. Their miniaturized circuits must not only function faultlessly but also consume as little energy as possible. Researchers are now working on making the tiny devices even more efficient.
Using cattails for insulation
A growing number of homeowners are insulating their walls in order to lower energy costs. They opt for the cheap variety, polystyrene. Yet there are environmentally-friendly alternatives: Cattails, for instance, are superbly suited as a natural insulation material.
OLED brings out the shine
Screens made of organic light diodes promise unfathomable possibilities. Yet high production costs often prevent their widespread use. A new kind of production saves not only costs, but also improves the radiance of the OLED.
Production processes are becoming increasingly complex and effective. Fraunhofer researchers are presenting a new form of laser-based material processing at the LASER World of Photonics Trade Fair and Congress in Munich from 13-16 May 2013 (Hall C2, Booth 330). For the first time, surfaces can be treated, then imperfections detected and immediately corrected in a single step.
Three-dimensional monitoring of high-speed fabrication
If you want to gage the quality of castings on a production line, you need high-speed systems. A new type of measurement system delivers a quick 40 images per second – and they are three-dimensional. Researchers will present the system at the “LASER World of PHOTONICS 2013” Trade Fair and Congress in Munich May 13-16, 2013 (Hall B2, Booth D18).
Laser welding as an engine of innovation
Lasers have long been able to do what traditional welding guns can. Nevertheless, many manufacturers did not dare employ the delicate technology in the raw environment of their assembly floors. At LASER 2013 (Hall C2, Booth 330), researchers will be demonstrating that lasers are robust enough to take over welding duties in fabrication.
Continuous monitoring of UV exposure
UV lamps are used to cure coatings and adhesives in many industrial manufacturing processes. And special sensors are used to measure the intensity of the UV light applied to these surfaces. But because these sensors age too quickly, they can only be used to record intermittent measurements. Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new generation of sensors capable of continuously monitoring UV intensity. These devices will be presented for the fi rst time at the Sensor + Test trade show in Nuremberg, from May 14 to 16 (Hall 12, Booth 537).
Racing car with electric drive
Drive technology has an electric future – of this Fraunhofer research scientists are in no doubt. At the Sensor + Test measurement fair in Nuremberg from May 14 -16, they will use an electric racing car to present novel solutions for battery management and electronic sensor systems together with an industry partner. The scientists are right on trend, as even FIA, the governing body for world motor sport, federation of the world’s leading motoring organizations and organizer of Formula 1, is planning a racing series for electric vehicles.
Turning smartphones into secure and versatile keys
It’s already possible to open doors using an app – but we are a long way from seeing widespread acceptance of this in the market. Now, researchers have developed a piece of software that will make the technology even more secure and versatile.
New insulating plaster for Bamberg’s old town
They have that “certain something” and yet unrenovated historic buildings are not energy efficient. Researchers in the European project EFFESUS, working jointly with partners from business and management, are working on how to improve these buildings with energy efficiency, and how to supply them with renewable energies. They present their project at the Hannover-Messe from April 8 to 12 (Hall 1, Booth E16).
Heart muscle cells from the laboratory +++ High-quality animal feed – efficiently produced +++ Forms complete themselves
E3 factory – efficient, emissions-neutral and ergonomic
Manufacturing in the future is energy- and resource-efficient, in a primarily emissions-neutral factory, with the ergonomic integration of humans into the production processes. Fraunhofer researchers will be demonstrating their initial approaches for E3 factories from April 8 to 12 at the Hanover Trade Fair in Hall 17, Booth F14.
The virtual power plant – stable supply of electricity from renewable energies
A conglomerate of many smaller power plants can replace traditional power plants. The research project Combined Power Plant 2 (Kombikraftwerk2) shows how it is possible to provide power using renewable energies both today and in the future, without increased risk of a blackout. Researchers of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wind Energy and Energy System Technology IWES in Kassel are introducing the project at the Hanover Trade Fair at Booth N71 in Hall 27 from April 8 to April 12, 2013.
Harvesting unused energy with flat thermoelectrics
A large proportion of the energy we produce disappears unused into thin air via waste heat. Tiny thermoelectric generators can tap this potential, whereby the electricity is produced by way of temperature differences. However, so far their production has been laborious and expensive. At the same time there is a lack of suitable materials. At the Hannover trade fair researchers are now presenting a new manufacturing process with which these generators can be cost-effectively produced in the form of large-area flexible components from non-toxic synthetic materials (hall 3, booth D25).
Teaming up with robots
Critical situations are occurring with greater frequency at industrial workplaces – situations that could lead to serious job-related accidents. With the “4Save” toolbox from Fraunhofer, these dangers do not arise at all. Researchers exhibit the latest version of the safety system, with “Eye4Save” visual surveillance, at the Hannover Messe from April 8 to 12, 2013.
Compact radar takes an inside view
The human eye cannot see through wood, paper, or plastic. But a compact radar with a modular design now makes it possible to see the invisible: The millimeter wave sensor penetrates non-transparent material. It transmits signals at frequencies between 75 and 110 GHz and can be applied in a broad range of areas, from flight safety and logistics to industrial sensor technology and medical technology. Fraunhofer researchers are presenting a prototype of the radar at this year‘s Hannover Messe, which is set to take place from April 8 to April 12. They will be located at Stand D18 in Hall 2.
Breakthrough in electricity storage: New large and powerful redox flow battery
More and more electricity is being generated from intermittent sources of power, such as solar and wind energy. Powerful electric energy storage devices are necessary to level out corresponding irregularities in the power supply. Fraunhofer scientists have recently made an important breakthrough with their development of a redox flow battery that reaches stack power up to 25 kW, with a cell size of 0.5 square meters. This is eight times larger than the previous A4-sized systems. They will be presenting the new battery for the first time at the Hannover Messe trade show (from April 8–12).
Seaweed under the roof
For many coastal dwellers, seaweed washed up on the shore is nothing but a nuisance. But this raw material has proven itself capable of keeping buildings well insulated. Together with industry partners, researchers have succeeded in turning it into insulation.
Integrating embedded systems into the IT infrastructure holds immense potential for the productive sectors of the economy. At the “Embedded World 2013” trade show in Nuremberg from 26 to 28 February, Fraunhofer researchers – using “Smart Farming” as an example – will demonstrate how the interaction of machines in cyber-physical systems operates safely and securely (Hall 5, Booth 228).
Tuned coatings ensure cleanliness
Contaminated industrial plants cost billions every year in Germany alone. Special coatings can prevent the build-up of contaminants. Researchers are now able to adapt ultra-thin coatings for an extremely wide range of applications.
New opportunities for 3D technology in medicine
Until now, physicians have largely been skeptical of the advantages of 3D technology. But this may be about to change: the fi ndings of a new study show that even experienced surgeons stand to benefi t from the third dimension.
Heating with Powder and Plastic Wastes
Disposing of waste – whether it is coating powder or swarf – is expensive. In the future, a combustor for powdery residues will enable companies to cut disposal costs and heating costs at the same time.
Open software platform to bring down energy costs
Energy is getting more and more expensive, and experts are predicting record electricity and heating prices. A software platform promises to lighten the load for households and businesses by making it easier for consumers to put renewables to good effect.
Non-glaring photovoltaic installations
If the glare from photovoltaic installations blind airline pilots at take-off or landing, this could be extremely hazardous. In the future, though a new software program will calculate when and where white-outs could occur – and how to prevent them.
An accurate way of predicting landslides
A landslide can seriously injure or even kill people. Now, a new early warning system will be the fi rst to employ geological data in tandem with the latest weather forecasts to provide a concrete warning in emergency situations.
Quality control at the point of a finger
For production operations, quality assurance over the process chain is indispensible: it is the only way to detect problems at an early stage and lower additional costs. Fraunhofer researchers developed an efficient type of quality control: With a pointing gesture, employees can input any detected defects to car body parts into the inspection system, and document them there. The non-contact gesture-detection process will be on display in Hall 2, Booth D18 at the 2013 Hannover Messe from 8 to 12 April.
Endurance test of an offshore wind turbine in the laboratory
The control unit is the “brain” of the wind turbine. It reacts immediately to the wind speed. In stormy weather it switches the turbine off if necessary, or immediately decides how the rotor blades need to be adjusted to achieve the best energy yield. Using a robust simulation system, researchers are testing the control unit in real time. The system will be shown at the Hannover Messe 2013 from April 8 to 12 (Hall 13, Stand C10).
Smart search engines for news videos
Searching for video recordings regularly pushes search engines to their limit. The truth of the matter is that purely automatic algorithms are not enough; user knowledge has to be harnessed, too. Now, researchers are making automated engines smarter.
Instrument handle with integrated electronics facilitates surgical procedures
Surgeons must operate with absolute precision; the handling of surgical tools requires the utmost sensitivity. A new kind of instrument handle will soon be supporting physicians in the OR. Fraunhofer researchers will present the first prototype at the 2013 Medtec trade show in Stuttgart from 26 to 28 February.
The armchair as a fitness trainer
Each of us would like to pursue our personal hobbies and interests into old age. However, this depends on us staying fit and healthy. Researchers are now presenting an armchair that brings the gym right into your living room at the push of a button.
Awakening the dormant potential of e-government
E-government holds the promise of gains in efficiency and satisfaction for case workers. In Denmark, seven government ministries have already undergone a full digital changeover. Now researchers have adapted the model for German government agencies.
Safe glass facades
Glass facades are attractive, but they also have to be safe. Say if a bomb were to go off nearby, would they withstand the blast? Researchers are using a shock tube to find out, and one of their projects is a new building complex in San Francisco.
Faster video streaming
In the smartphones and tablet era, more and more users are watching videos on the move – with a resulting strain on mobile networks. The combination of the HEVC video compression standard with LTE brings networks welcome relief.
Optimized custom-made ski sledges
At the 2014 Winter Paralympics, competitors will line up wearing optimized sit skis that are adapted to their individual needs. This is made possible by a new manufacturing method which Fraunhofer researchers helped to develop.
Aldi Süd Supermarkets – Energy-Optimized
Running a supermarket requires a lot of electricity. Long rows of refrigerators have to be kept cool and large areas have to be lit. A new concept enables supermarket operators to cut their energy use by around 25 per cent.
Healthy seeds - treated environmentally friendly
Farmers treat seeds chemically in order to rid them of pest infestation. Now researchers have developed a method that kills pathogens without harming the environment. Pioneering seed suppliers are already implementing the procedure commercially.
Fraunhofer shows bio-tiles and heat-resistant biopolymers
Even tiles can be organic – if they are made of renewable raw materials. They are more resource-efficient than their ceramic counterparts and unlock new creative options for design. Bioplastics made of polylactides (PLA) are becoming more heat-resistant, thereby making them suitable for high-temperature filling processes in the food industry as well. Fraunhofer researchers are exhibiting how renewable, biodegradable and biostable raw materials can be used in architecture, interior design and the packaging industry at this year’s International Green Week in Berlin from January 18 to 27 (Hall 5.2a, Booth 103).
Partnership for Sustainable Energy Technologies
Fraunhofer and The University of British Columbia UBC in Vancouver, Canada will partner to jointly develop technologies for sustainable energy production and supply.
Clean air: New paints break down nitrogen oxides
Surfaces with photo-catalytic characteristics clean the air off nitrogen oxides and other health-endangering substances. Using a new test procedure, Fraunhofer researchers can find out how the coatings behave during a long-term test. They will introduce the test at the booth of the Fraunhofer Building Innovation Alliance in Booth 131 / 135 in Hall C2 at the Trade Fair BAU that will take place from 14 – 19 January, 2013, in Munich, Germany.
Rapid diagnosis in a tissue +++ Replacing scarce and expensive raw materials +++ Cleaning with a carbon dioxide brush
Noise protection – multifunctional and aesthetical
Noise abatement is growing in importance, thus, the demand for better acoustic building components raises. Scientists are developing new solutions: aesthetically good looking and flexibly applicable microperforated sound absorbers.
Giant tobacco plants that stay young forever
Tobacco plants bloom when they are just a few months old – and then they die. Now, researchers have located a genetic switch which can keep the plants young for years and which permits unbounded growth. In short, an ideal source of biomass.
Romper suit to protect against sudden infant death
Breathing sensors built into romper suits could help prevent sudden cot deaths in the future. The basis for this is a stretchable printed circuit board that fits to the contours of the body and can be manufactured using routine industrial processes.
New big data survey shows potential for business
For the first time ever, a total 1.8 zettabytes of data were generated worldwide last year – and according to forecasts, the volume will continue to double every two years. So, one key question we can ask today is: How can we utilize these mountains of data better? A survey by the Fraunhofer Institute for Intelligent Analysis and Information Systems IAIS is now shedding light on the topic of “big data”. It reveals opportunities and challenges for business. To give companies some orientation concerning big data technologies and applications, the researchers develop an experimentation platform which will be shown at CeBIT fair 2013.
Optical communications make data centres more efficient
Major data centres and supercomputers will soon be more cost and energy efficient, and at the same time will be even more powerful. Fraunhofer scientists and 17 partners from business and research in the European Union have set themselves this ambitious goal in the “PhoxTroT” project. The key is optical data transmission. Over the next four years, the project partners will be studying synergies between existing solutions as well as developing new technologies and strategies.
Tasty and gluten-free
Cereals are good for you, supplying the body with carbohydrates, proteins and vitamins. Yet some people are intolerant to the gluten protein they contain. Now, researchers are developing new recipes for tasty, gluten-free pasta and pastries.
Fraunhofer honored for its winning satellite navigation ideas
Fraunhofer institutes took home a total of four awards from this year’s European Satellite Navigation Competition (ESNC). At the awards ceremony held on the 25th of Ocotber in Munich, the Bavarian Regional Prize went to the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, while the Project Center of the Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics IML in Prien was awarded the HPI Special Prize. In addition to winning its region, Fraunhofer Portugal was also named overall winner.
Thermogenerator from the Printer
Wireless sensor networks monitor machinery and equipment in factories, cars and power stations. They increasingly “harvest” the energy they need to transmit measurement data from the environment, thus making them self-sufficient. At the Electronica 2012 trade fair, Fraunhofer researchers will present a printed thermogenerator, which in the future will be able to generate energy supply for sensors through temperature differences.
3D positioning for museum buildings +++ Retrieving similar pictures quickly +++ A better way of evaluating medical samples
The energy of stunt kites
It may seem as though the German plains are all but tapped out when it comes to wind energy production. To refute this theory researchers are sending stunt kites into the skies to harness the wind and convert the kinetic energy generated into electricity.
Production of FRP components without release agents
Up to now, releasing components from molds has called for release agents. The problem is that the residues of these agents left behind must then be costly removed. Now, there is an alternative: a specially coated release film that leaves no residues.
Looking for information?
Putting on a pair of novel data glasses with an OLED microdisplay allows you to see not only the real world, but also a wealth of virtual information. Imagine looking through a repair manual; the trick here is that you turn the pages using just your eyes.
Dealing with power outages more efficiently
When there is a power failure, the utility companies, public officials and emergency services must work together quickly. Researchers have created a new planning software product that enables all participants to be better prepared for emergency situations.
Ultrasensitive photon hunter
When it comes to imaging, every single photon counts if there is barely any available light. This is the point where the latest technologies often reach their limits. Researchers have now developed a diode that can read photons faster than ever before.
Quality products from rubber residues
Rubber residues can be downcycled to floor coverings and safety crashpads, and for the first time, also processed into high-quality plastics. A new kind of material makes it possible: the environmentally-friendly material mix is called EPMT.
Pressure switch inside the head
An increase in cerebral pressure may cause dementia and could destroy the brain. Companies have been seeking to find monitoring sensors that can be implanted into the brain, and read from outside the body. A tiny sensor may provide the help needed.
Keep moving and have fun
People are moving less and less these days. Fraunhofer researchers have developed an interactive learning system that is supposed to motivate the user to move more but in a playful way: They have combined a sensor mat with an activity monitor. Children and adults can use the system to stay fit and learn at the same time. The highlight: The system records the intensity of the physical activity and immediately displays it. The system will be presented at the Medica 2012 trade fair from November 14-17 in Hall 10, Booth F05.
Fraunhofer opens representative offices in India
As a partner to German industry, the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft needs to gain experience in the most important production nations – which include India. On October 30, Fraunhofer will proudly open its branch in Bangalore.
Safety glass – cut to any shape
Shock-resistance is the great benefit of safety glass. However, the cut of the glass pane can make this difficult: With conventional processes, only straight cuts are possible. Yet a newly-developed method makes it possible to apply any cutting technique. Researchers will display an undulating-cut pane of safety glass at the Glasstec trade fair from 23 to 26 October in Düsseldorf (Hall 15, Booth E25).
Glass: characterizing with precision and efficiency
Glass can possess a quite diverse array of characteristics, depending on what ingredients one uses to modify it. A new process now makes the analysis of glass characteristics easier: Up to five-times faster than predecessor methods, this process only requires 20 percent of the material. Researchers will demonstrate the process at the Glasstec trade fair from October 23 to 26 in Düsseldorf (Hall 15, Booth E25).
Cost-effective titanium forming
Titanium is a material that offers excellent properties, however, it is costly and time-consuming to form. Fraunhofer researchers are now giving this multi-purpose metal another chance. They are presenting an economical forming technology for car exhaust systems at the EuroBlech trade fair (Hall 11, Booth B06) from 23 to 27 October in Hannover, Germany.
Wood completely broken down into its component parts
Crude oil is getting scarce. This is why researchers are seeking to substitute petroleum-based products – like plastics – with sustainable raw materials. Waste wood, divided into lignin and cellulose, could serve as a raw material. A pilot plant has been set up to handle this division on a larger scale. The pilot plant opened on October 2 as part of the new building constructed for the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna.
Multi-talented enzyme – produced on large-scale
Enzymes remove spots from our laundry, whiten paper and help with brewing beer. To wit: They facilitate many industrial processes. In many cases, enzymes are obtained from fruits. However, if the harvest is poor, this might lead to shortfalls. Researchers therefore designed a process to produce enzymes microbiologically. A multifunctional facility now opening in Leuna should help with adapting these new processes to an industrial scale.
Lubricants from vegetable oil
Oil-independence is the dream of many countries that lack raw materials. Nevertheless, black gold still retains its dominant role as a power source, and also serves as a basic material for the chemical industry. In order to change this, researchers started the “Integrated BioProduction” project. At the Fraunhofer Center for Chemical-Biotechnological Processes CBP in Leuna, the pilot plant-scale production of epoxides, made from domestic vegetable oils, begins in October. The intermediate chemical products support the production of lubricants, surfactants and emulsifiers.
Fraunhofer researchers earn environmental award: concentrated sunlight
An achievement for the solar experts: Dr. Andreas Bett of Fraunhofer ISE and Hansjörg Lerchenmüller of the Soitec Company received the 2012 DBU German Environmental Award (DBU Deutscher Umweltpreis). Federal President Joachim Gauck will honor them with this distinction on October 28, in recognition of the development and industrial application of concentrator photovoltaic systems.
Wireless data at top speed
Digital cameras and camcorders deliver high resolution film sequences that are several gigabytes in size. These can take several minutes to transfer wirelessly to your home computer via Bluetooth. Now there is a speedy alternative: the “multi-gigabit communication module” is six times faster than a USB cable.
Deep cleaning with carbon dioxide
The Fraunhofer Cleaning Technology Alliance FAR is celebrating its 10th birthday at the parts2clean trade fair in Stuttgart, from 23 to 25 October 2012 in Hall 1, Booth F610/G707. To mark the occasion, FAR will be presenting highlights from 10 years of the Fraunhofer alliance, along with the latest concepts, technologies, and test procedures for component cleaning and analysis techniques that can be integrated into the production process. One of the many interesting items on show is a tool that combines – in one step – cleaning with supercritical carbon dioxide and cleaning with CO2 snow.
Professor Reimund Neugebauer takes office as new President of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft
Today, October 1, 2012, Professor Reimund Neugebauer takes office as Fraunhofer President at its headquarters in Munich. He is now in charge of Europe’s largest organization for applied research, with more than 20,000 employees. The Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft elected him in May.
Tape Laying gets closer to Series Production
Increasingly, metals in cars and airplanes are being replaced by fiber-reinforced plastics. Producing these materials using tape laying offers several advantages. Scientists are now working on readying this technology for use in series production. They will show a few demonstration parts in Hall 8a, Booth A11 at the Composites Europe trade fair, which will be taking place from October 9 - 11 in Düsseldorf, Germany.
Heat-conducting Composites for Seawater Desalination
There are vast quantities of seawater available; drinking water, on the other hand, is in scarce supply. Desalination plants can convert seawater to drinking water. Yet these plants require pipelines made of a special kind of steel or titanium – expensive material that is growing increasingly difficult to procure. Heat-conducting polymer composites may soon replace titanium altogether. Researchers will present this heat-conducting plastic at the Composites trade fair, October 9-11, 2012, in Düsseldorf (Hall 8a, Booth A11).
Venturing over to British shores
Now the work can begin. Fraunhofer UK Research Limited, the latest foreign subsidiary of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft, was founded only a few short weeks ago. Yet already on September 1, work will get underway in the first research centre - the Fraunhofer Centre for Applied Photonics in Glasgow.
High-tech for safe rails
Goods transport on Germany’s rails is booming. To manage the increasing challenges to people and materials, innovative railroad technology is in demand. The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will exhibit two new safety technologies at the InnoTrans trade show in Berlin from September 18–21 (Hall 4.1, Booth 225): a scanner that measures passing trains at full speed, and sensors that provide early detection of damage to railroad vehicles through preventative maintenance.
Measuring glucose without needle pricks
Pricking a finger everyday is just part of everyday life for many diabetes patients. A non-invasive measurement approach could release them from the constant pain of pin pricks. The linchpin is a biosensor engineered by Fraunhofer researchers: A tiny chip combines measurement and digital analysis – and can be radioed to a mobile device.
Manufacturing crack-resistant lightweight components
Cold cracking in high-strength steel presents major quality assurance challenges for the automotive and machine-building industries, since cracks are difficult to predict – until now. A new process can determine, as early as the design stage, if critical conditions for such damage can be prevented. This lowers development times and costs.
Turning ideas into products faster
Together with the specialty chemicals company LANXESS, Fraunhofer researchers have engineered and built a system in record time, which produces reverse osmosis membrane elements for water treatment. Virtual engineering allowed research and development to proceed simultaneously.
Wireless window sentinel
Window contacts tell users if a window is open or closed. Typically, such sensors are wire-based. Scientists working with industry partners recently developed a new system that operates without wires or batteries. It draws its power from its environment: from sunlight and ambient heat.
More accurate wind energy forecasts
Wind power is one of the most important forms of renewable energy. In order to exploit inland wind as effectively as possible, turbines must be optimally positioned and dimensioned. A 200-meter high wind measuring mast delivers precise data that can also be used to forecast energy yields.
A smart fabric sets off the alarm
Researchers have developed a new kind of anti-theft system, based on a woven fabric that triggers an alarm when penetrated by intruders. The smart fabric enables the exact location of the break-in to be identified, and is significantly cheaper than other burglary detection systems. It is also suitable as an invisible means of protecting entire buildings.
Every year several millions of tons of building rubble are produced. An efficient way of recycling concrete – the building material of the 20th and 21st century – does not yet exist. Researchers are working on new recycling methods, and with the aid of lightning bolts, they can break down the mixture of cement and aggregate into its components.
Using less gas and oil to get where you’re going
A quick pit-stop at the gas station is enough to put a good dent in your wallet. New technology is set to lower the high cost of filling up your car, by enabling combustion engines to consume two to three percent less gas and signifi cantly less oil, while eliminating a step in engine production.
Fast toothpaste check
There are various types of toothpaste available on the market. They come as pastes and gels, there are some that guard against tooth decay or protect teeth from acid attack, others that are designed for sensitive teeth. But which toothpastes clean well? Which preserve the tooth enamel? A new evaluation method sheds light on the subject.
Solar cells made from black silicon
Solar cells convert three-quarters of the energy contained in the Sun‘s spectrum into electricity – yet the infrared spectrum is entirely lost in standard solar cells. In contrast, black silicon solar cells are specifi cally designed to absorb this part of the Sun‘s spectrum – and researchers have recently succeeded in doubling their overall efficiency.
Artificial cornea gives the gift of vision
Blindness is often caused by corneal diseases. The established treatment is a corneal transplant, but in many cases this is not possible and donor corneas are often hard to come by. In the future, an artificial cornea could make up for this deficiency and save the vision of those affected.
Protection against wing icing
When ice builds-up on the wings of aircrafts, it drives up costs and impedes safety – and in the worst case scenario, could even cause an aircraft to crash. At the ILA Berlin Air Show from September 11 - 16, researchers will demonstrate new ways to keep ice off of the aircraft‘s wings (Hall 3, Booth 3221).
Planning tools for maritime shipping
At the SMM 2012, shipbuilding, machinery & marine technology international trade fair, 4 to 7 September 2012 in Hamburg, four Fraunhofer Institutes will be exhibiting solutions that make it easier to plan and build seaports, terminals and ships – Hall B6, booth 317.
Custom-controlled climate on airplanes
The indoor climate on airplanes is a frequent source of complaints. In the future, passengers should be able to set their own individualized climate and temperature controls and also be able to adjust air supply to their own personal preference. At the ILA Berlin Air Show from September 11 - 16, among other things, researchers will be presenting an airplane seat that is able to provide for these settings (Hall 3, Booth 3221).
Mobile perspective in regional public transportation
At the IFA Consumer Electronics Unlimited trade show (Hall 11.1, Booth 10) in Berlin from August 31 - September 5, developers from Fraunhofer‘s FOKUS will exhibit how to link information to mobile devices and to public displays. The project is a collaborative effort with VBB Verkehrsverbund Berlin Brandenburg GmbH, the business entity that coordinates services of around 40 public transport companies in the capital area of Germany. The goal is to make the use of public regional transit more convenient and more appealing.
Open Innovation: Fraunhofer Researcher Receives Award for Dissertation
Dr. Sabine Brunswicker has been intrigued by new innovation models and, in particular, the subject of „Open Innovation“ for a long time. Together with the publisher John Wiley & Sons, now the prestigious International Society for Professional Innovation Management, ISPIM, awarded the doctoral dissertation of the engineer with its „Best Dissertation Award“.
Mini-camera with maxi-brainpower
Torrential rapids, plunging mud holes and soaring hurdles: in the outdoor competitions at the Olympic Games, athletes pushed themselves to the limit. But it’s hard to depict this in pictures alone. This is why researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS created an intelligent camera that instantly delivers additional metadata, such as acceleration, temperature or heart rate. The new INCA can be seen at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam from September 7 - 11 (Hall 8, Booth B80).
New standard HEVC encodes films more efficiently
Television resolution is constantly improving – and this must go hand-in-hand with transmitting the data more efficiently. Reputable manufacturers of televisions, computers and mobile telephones, working jointly with Fraunhofer researchers, are developing a new standard for data transmission: “High Efficiency Video Coding”, or HEVC for short. This video codec will be unveiled in Amsterdam at the IBC trade show, from September 7 - 11, 2012 (Hall 8, Booth B80).
3D movies in your living room – without the glasses
New television screens will make it possible for viewers to enjoy three-dimensional television programming without those bothersome 3D glasses. Still, the content has been rather lacking – until now. A new technology will soon be adapting conventional 3D films to the new displays in real time. Researchers will unveil this technology in Berlin at this year’s IFA trade show from August 31 to September 5 (Hall 11.1, Booth 10).
Minimally invasive building renovation
Renovation projects to improve the energy performance of residential buildings involve a lot of messy construction work. Researchers have come up with a new modernization concept that reduces on-site installation times. Prefabricated multifunctional window modules offer a more convenient alternative to the usual renovation methods.
Wind farms: A danger to ultra-light aircraft?
Airfields for ultra-light aircraft are typically constructed on level ground – and so are wind farms. However, do wind power plantsgenerate turbulence that could endanger lightweight planes? A simulation can compute how these power plants influence aircraft at various wind speeds and wind directions.
Smart wireless power outlets
Many homeowners dream of being able to wash a load of laundry when the photovoltaic panels on the roof are delivering a maximum of electricity, even when they are not at home. A new Internet-enabled power outlet will soon allow users to control household appliances via their smartphone, and reduce their energy costs into the bargain.
Using wastewater as fertilizer
Sewage sludge, wastewater and liquid manure are valuable sources of fertilizer for food production. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a chemical-free, eco-friendly process that enables the recovered salts to be converted directly into organic food for crop plants.
Cost-effective production of infrared lenses
If visibility is poor, thermal cameras can warn drivers of people or animals on the road. Yet such devices have been very expensive – until now. An important step has been taken to manufacture them more cheaply. A new process will make the infrared lenses – a component of such cameras – up to 70 percent cheaper.
Eco-Computer with a natural wood look
Surfing for hours on the Internet consumes a lot of electricity and is harmful to the environment. However, a new ecological PC saves energy as it operates: It produces about 70 percent less CO2 than conventional computers. As the first computer of its class, it obtained the “EU Ecolabel,” the environmental label of the European Union.
Rapid testing of food quality
Whether fruit, meat or cheese – the quality of food is not always as consumers would like it to be. But, in future, a spectrometer will allow them to gage the quality of food before they buy it. No bigger than a sugar cube, the device is inexpensive to manufacture and could one day even be installed in smartphones.
Flying 3D eye-bots
They can be deployed as additional surveillance resources during major events, or as high-resolution 3D street imaging systems. Intelligent swarms of aerial drones are a universally useful tool for police, crisis managers and urban planners. Special 3D sensors developed by Fraunhofer researchers ensure fl awless aerobatics and prevent collisions.
Optimal planning of solar power plants
The photovoltaics industry is booming, and the market for solar farms is growing quickly all over the world. Yet, the task of planning PV power plants to make them as effi cient as possible is far from trivial. Fraunhofer researchers, working with Siemens Energy Photovoltaics, have developed software that simplifi es conceptual design.
Mini-projector for smartphones
Their very small displays sometimes make smartphones diffi cult to operate. In the future, a projector will help: if the cell phone is standing on a table, for instance, it can project a large-format display onto the table surface. The user will have the option of operating the smartphone via the projection function or from the display screen itself.
Hip implant for long-term use
Hip replacement is one of the most frequent operations carried out in Germany. Each year, doctors implant some 200,000 artificial hip joints. Often the artificial hips need to be replaced just ten years later. In the future, a new implant currently being developed using high technology materials could help prevent premature revision surgeries.
Feel-good glass for windows
Daylight acts on our body clock and stimulates the brain. Fraunhofer researchers have made use of this knowledge and worked with industry partners to develop a coating for panes of glass that lets through more light. Above all, it promotes the passage through the glass of those wavelengths of light that govern our hormonal balance.
Non-slip tracheal implants
If a person‘s windpipe is constricted, an operation in which the surgeon inserts a stent to enlarge the trachea is often the only way to relieve their respiratory distress. But this grid-like implant can slip out of position, closing off the windpipe altogether. Researchers are working on a special surface coating for the stents to keep them in place.
Cleaning with sunlight
The sun breaks through the clouds – and surfaces start cleaning themselves! It may sound like magic, but in fact it’s all thanks to the addition of titanium dioxide molecules. Activated by UV light, they trigger a reaction which destroys bacteria, algae and fungi, keeping items such as the armrests of garden chairs nice and clean.
Keeping electric vehicle batteries cool
Heat can damage the batteries of electric vehicles – even just driving fast on the freeway in summer temperatures can overheat the battery. An innovative new coolant conducts heat away from the battery three times more effectively than water, keeping the battery temperature within an acceptable range even in extreme driving situations.
Anti-aging elixir for solar cells
Photovoltaic modules deliver power without risks to the environment and climate. But solar-power is expensive. Therefore, it is imperative that the modules last as long as possible, 25 years or more. Fraunhofer researchers in the USA are now investigating materials to protect solar cells from environmental influences to meet that goal.
Sailing with nerves of glass
In the world of racing, tiny details can be the difference between victory and defeat. It is no wonder, then, that manufacturers of racing yachts are always on the lookout for new technologies to optimize boats and sails. An ingenious new sensor technology now helps them to extend the boundaries of what is possible.
Microreactors to produce explosive materials
The larger the reaction vessel, the quicker products can be made – or so you might think. Microreactors show just how wrong that assumption is: in fact, they can be used to produce explosive materials – nitroglycerine, for instance – around ten times faster than in conventional vessels, and much more safely as well. At the ACHEMA trade fair, held June 18-22 in Frankfurt, researchers will demonstrate microreactors they use for a very broad range of chemical processes (Hall 9.2, stand D64).
Fraunhofer in Korea
The internationalization of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continues, with Europe’s largest applied research organization further expanding its activities in South Korea. If built up successfully, the recently launched Fraunhofer Project Center for Biopharmaceutical Research in South Korea can move towards becoming a Fraunhofer Center, integrated within a Fraunhofer subsidiary – Fraunhofer Korea Research. The Fraunhofer Senate passed a resolution to negotiate the establishment of a Fraunhofer subsidiary with the Korean funding bodies.
Reimund Neugebauer elected Fraunhofer president
At its meeting on May 8, 2012, the Senate of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft elected Prof. Dr.-Ing. Reimund Neugebauer as the Institute‘s next president. In October, he will succeed Prof. Dr. Hans-Jörg Bullinger, who has stood at the helm of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft for the past ten years.
Performance boost for microchips
The semiconductor industry is faced with the challenge of supplying ever faster and more powerful chips. The Next-Generation Lithography with EUV radiation will help meeting that challenge. Fraunhofer researchers have developed key components.
Outstanding young scientists
The following have received Hugo-Geiger awards: Sven Rademacher in recognition of a mobile measuring device for emission monitoring (1st prize), Harry Kummer for his new heat exchanger coating system (2nd prize) and Anna Marie Kruspe for her automated world music classification process (3rd prize).
Laser scan at full speed
Is a contact wire missing or is it faulty? What‘s the situation in front of the entrance to a railway station or a tunnel? A 3D laser scanner can increase the train‘s safety and reliability.
Improved lubrication without oil
Running nicely – this applies even more to aqueous biopolymer solutions than to oil. These solutions are used as a cooling lubricant for machining hard metals and for tool-making machinery on which tools are manufactured.
Functional coatings from the plasma nozzle
These coatings offer protection against rust, scratches and moisture and improve adhesion: Surfaces with a nano coating. A new plasma process enables these coatings to be applied more easily and cost-efficiently – on an industrial scale.
Ultra-short laser pulses for science and industry
The shorter the pulse duration, the more precisely the laser tool operates. Ultra-short laser pulses of outstanding high average püower are opening the doors to new applications in high throughput materials processing. Thanks to the short pulse duration, thermal damage of the material being processed is minimized.
The quick and easy way to measure power consumption
The ambitious goals set by the German government to promote energy efficiency have put pressure on companies to change their energy-use policies. But the sustainable management of energy resources and the associated energy-saving measures can only be implemented if users have a reliable means of quantifying their power consumption. A novel sensor enables them to do just that, and thereby comply with the new government regulations. The new metering device will be presented at the Sensor+Test 2012 trade fair in Nuremberg from 22 to 24 May.
Navigating the shopping center
With a GPS receiver in your smartphone, you can navigate your way over highways and streets with certainty. But once you get inside a building, it provides no further assistance. That’s why Fraunhofer researchers, together with the Bosch Corporation and other partners, have engineered a navigation system for interior spaces. Thanks to a clever combination of sensors, the module tracks the movements and position of its user in precise detail. At the Sensor+Test trade fair in Nuremberg from May 22-24, 2012, researchers will deliver a live demonstration of how this new interior-space navigation operates.
Seeing inside the nose of an aircraft
Radio signals reach pilots on board an aircraft through the “radar dome“, the rounded nose of the aircraft. But if errors occur during the production of this “nose“, – tiny foreign particles, drops of water or air bubbles – this can impede radio traffic. In the future, a non-destructive testing system will identify just such imperfections during production. Researchers will be presenting the new testing system at the Control trade fair, May 8-11 in Stuttgart (Hall 1, stand 1502).
Lightweight construction on the way to volume production
Cars and airplanes need to lose weight – and one way to do that is to produce as many of the components as possible using carbon-fiber-reinforced plastics CRP. Up until now, these components have been made by hand. Today, there are automated production methods that are also suitable for volume production in carmaking.
Drive toward a viable “City of the Future”
Cities consume energy and raw materials, produce waste and pollutants, and overload their transportation systems. Fraunhofer researchers have now combined forces in the innovation network German for “Morgenstadt” (or “City of Tomorrow”), in order to engineer innovative urban technologies and systems.
Boost in earnings from businesses
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft continued to grow in 2011. Financial resources rose 12 per cent to 1.85 billion euros. Especially pleasing: earnings from businesses increased by 15 percent to 531 million euros.
The lithium battery as a source of hope
Whether energy supply or electromobility – batteries are a key component. At Hannover Messe from April 23-27, researchers will present lithium batteries with improved properties: they‘re quick-charging, pliable, pressure-resistant or optimally cooled.
Use less water, producing energy and fertilizer at the same time
Water is a valuable resource. New technologies are making it easier to handle drinking water responsibly, purify wastewater effectively and even recover biogas and fertilizer. Fraunhofer researchers will be showing how this is done at the Hannover Fair (23 - 27 April) in the House of Sustainability (Hall 2).
On the safe side: contact-free analysis of chemical substances
Is it drugs, medicines or explosives? At the Analytica trade fair, Fraunhofer researchers, joined by the Hübner Company, are presenting a terahertz spectrometer that provides reliable, contact-free identification of substances.
Simulation software optimizes networks
By the year 2020, thousands of kilometers of new grids will be operating in Germany to permit even more extensive use of power from renewable sources. However, these new “smart grids” also come with increased complexity, costs and vulnerability. Fraunhofer researchers developed new software that can be used to analyze and optimize transport grids for electricity, gas and water even at the planning stage, based on numerical simulations. This can lighten the task of retrofitting and expansion for system operators, saves energy and cost outlays and additionally enhances safety and security. Fraunhofer will be exhibiting the software from April 23 – 27 at the Hannover Messe (Hall 7, Booth B10).
Best marketing for renewable energies
Transmission system operators must assess precisely the supply of electricity from renewable energies for the next day in order to market this electricity on the European Power Exchange (EPEX) as effectively as possible. The sharply fluctuating supply of solar and wind energy makes reliable forecasts even more difficult. For this reason, Fraunhofer researchers, working jointly with TenneT TSO GmbH, developed a high-performance software that takes multiple forecasts and combines them with each other to generate one single, highly reliable projection.
Implant to replace defective venous valve
If heart valves don’t close properly, they are replaced. Conventional treatment of venous valve failure, however, has up to now always and exclusively been via medication. In future, an implant will assume the function of damaged valves – and a new dispensing tool means these prostheses can be made using an automated process.
A team for an emergency
Earthquaks, tsunamies, hurricanes – natural disasters always catch us by surprise, no matter how many early-warning systems are in place. This makes it all the more important for rescue teams to get a quick overview of the situation at hand. In SENEKA, a Markets Beyond Tomorrow project, Fraunhofer researchers are working to network the various robots and sensor systems first responders use so that they can react more quickly and efficiently in the case of an emergency to search for victims and survivors.
Listening to the radio even with an electric drive
To enable radio reception in electric vehicles, manufacturers must install filters and insulate cables, since electrical signals will otherwise interfere with music and speech transmissions. Now, using new calculation methods, researchers are paving the way for pure listening pleasure while also helping to lower the associated costs.
Comprehensive security of built structures
How safe are buildings and tunnels in the event of fire, or if there’s an explosion or a plane crash? Are escape routes still accessible? Can people be rescued? Fraunhofer-Researchers and the Schüßler-Plan Group, an engineering consultancy, are together developing new concepts for the design and construction of bridges, tunnels and buildings.
Detecting material defects in ship propellers
Ship propellers are as large as a single-family home – and manufacturing them is quite a challenge. During the casting process, pores and miniscule cracks can form that in the worst case may cause a blade to break. Now these massive components can be inspected for defects in a non-invasive manner, using a new kind of ultrasound process.
3D planning tool for the city of tomorrow
Noise levels, fine particulate matter, traffic volumes – these data are of interest to urban planners and residents alike. A three-dimensional presentation will soon make it easier to handle them: as the user virtually moves through his city, the corresponding data are displayed as green, yellow or red dots.
Shooting at ceramics
Producing thin ceramic components has until now been a laborious and expensive process, as parts often get distorted during manufacture and have to be discarded as waste. Researchers are now able to reshape the surfaces of malformed components by bombarding them with tiny pellets.
Power without the cord
Cell phones and flashlights operate by battery without trouble. Yet because of the limited lifespan, battery power is not a feasible option for many applications in the fi elds of medicine or test engineering, such as implants or probes. Researchers have now developed a process that supplies these systems with power and without the power cord.
Building lightweight trains
The less trains weigh, the more economical they are to run. A new material capable of withstanding even extreme stresses has now been developed. It is suitable for a variety of applications, not least diesel engine housings on trains – and it makes these components over 35 percent lighter than their steel and aluminum counterparts.
Organic farming without cabbage flies
When cabbage root flies lay their eggs on freshly planted vegetables, organic farmers often lose their entire crop. In the future, pellets made of cyanobacteria and fermentation residues from biogas plants will repel these insects in an ecologically compatible manner – and simultaneously fertilize the plants. Researchers are presenting the pellets at the Hannover Messe from April 23–27 (Hall 26, Booth C08).
GoalRef Goal-Line Technology Advances to Final
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) announced on Saturday, March 3, 2012, that it had shortlisted two goal-line technologies and approved them for a final round of testing. One of the remaining candidates is the GoalRef system developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits IIS, which is based in Erlangen, Germany. Fraunhofer IIS scientists are fielding a radio-based solution that tells the referee immediately whether or not a goal should be awarded.
Swarming and transporting
On its own, an ant is not particularly clever. But in a community, the insects can solve complicated tasks. Researchers intend to put this „swarm intelligence“ to use in the logistics field. Lots of autonomous transport shuttles would provide an alternative to traditional materials-handling technology.
Playful learning inside a square
Thanks to the work of Fraunhofer researchers, keeping mentally and physically fit at any age is now child’s play – literally. Dubbed “HOPSCOTCH,” the interactive learning system is designed to be more efficient at combining learning, movement and most of all fun – whether for learning vocabulary words, history or math. The scientists will present their solution, which is named after the popular children’s game, at the CeBIT trade fair on March 6–10 (Hall 26, Stand E08).
The trustworthy cloud
Not a week goes by without reports on security gaps, data theft or hacker attacks. Both businesses and private users are becoming increasingly uneasy. However, when it comes to technologies like cloud computing, trust and security are essential if we intend to use data and applications that are flexible, cost-effective and above all, mobile. That’s why Fraunhofer researchers are working on a series of security solutions that they will present in Hall 26, Booth E08.
First aid for winemakers
Whether or not a wine turns out to be as outstanding as the winemaker hopes depends on the quality of the yeasts; they control the fermentation process and create the distinctive flavor. A new sensor allows winemakers to establish whether the grape must contains the right sort of microorganisms before fermentation has even begun.
A robot sketches portraits
An industrial robot as artist? From March 6-10, 2012, researchers will be presenting what may at first seem to be a contradiction at CeBIT in Hanover, Germany (Hall 26, Stand E08). There, interested visitors can view the metal painter in action and can even have it sketch their own faces.
Robot reconnoiters uncharted terrain
Mobile robots have many uses. They serve as cleaners, carry out inspections and search for survivors of disasters. But often, there is no map to guide them through unknown territory. Researchers have now developed a mobile robot that can roam uncharted terrain and simultaneously map it – all thanks to an algorithm toolbox.
Apps for day-to-day work
Games, e-mails and around-the-clock Internet access – smartphones are making the information culture an even more prominent part of everyday life. Businesses and employers are also increasingly relying on mobile companions with apps developed expressly for the task at hand. In the future, for instance, apps will help farmers in organizing harvest their crops or provide support for business travelers. Researchers will be presenting the new apps at CeBIT 2012 (March 6-10) in Hall 26, Stand E08.
Simulating firefighting operations on a PC
Firefighters often put their lives at risk during operations, so it is essential they have reliable tools to help them do their job. Now, a modular simulation kit is set to help develop new information and communication technologies – and ensure they are tailored to firefighters’ needs from the outset.
Sky light sky bright - in the office
Working under the open sky – it sounds enticing, but it’s seldom really a practical option. Now, a dynamic luminous ceiling brings the sky into office spaces by creating the effect of passing clouds. This kind of lighting generates a pleasant working environment.
Environmentally-friendly cleaning and washing
More and more everyday products are based on renewable resources, with household cleaners now containing active cleaning substances (surfactants) made from plant oils and sugar. These fat and dirt removers are especially environmentally friendly and effective when produced using biotechnology, with the aid of fungi and bacteria.
It looks like a cutlet, it‘s juicy and fibrous like a cutlet, and it even chews with the consistency of a real cutlet – but the ingredients are 100 percent vegetable. Researchers are using a new method to prepare a meat substitute that not only tastes good, but is also environmentally sustainable.
“Labor der Zukunft” – Tomorrow’s laboratory technology
Biomedical laboratories have to be safe, ergonomic and flexible. At the same time, labs need to be able to deal with a high throughput of samples while reliably documenting each step in the testing process. Fraunhofer researchers are working to fully automate the processing of samples in tomorrow’s laboratories. The scientists will be showing the effectiveness of their concept at the MEDTEC Europe trade fair in Stuttgart from March 13 to 15, 2012.
An electronic green thumb
If sensors are supposed to communicate with each other to compare the measured data and to secure them, then, in the future, a network of distributed sensor nodes will aid in that: the network ensures a problem-free communication between the sensors. For example, they can be used to reliably monitor the watering of plants. At the ‘embedded world’ trade fair, taking place from 2/28 - 3/1 in Nuremberg (Germany), the researchers are showcasing a technological demonstration (Hall 5, Booth 228).
Precision space maneuvers
Spacecraft must operate with utmost precision when conducting landing maneuvers on other planets, or docking to a space station. To ensure they do not drift off course, imaging sensors collect a fl ood of data that are analyzed in real time. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Architecture and Software Technology FIRST have engineered a system based on multicore technologies that allow spacecraft to be piloted and positioned with pinpoint accuracy. It can be seen at the embedded world trade show in Nuremberg from February 28 to March 1, 2012 (Hall 5, Booth 228).
Judder-free videos on the smartphone
Overloaded cellular networks can get annoying – especially when you want to watch a video on your smartphone. An optimised Radio Resource Manager will soon be able to help network operators accommodate heavy network traffic. Researchers will present their solution at the GSMA Mobile World Congress from 27 February to 1 March, 2012 in Barcelona (Hall 2, Booth E41).
Technical Oscar for ARRI and Fraunhofer
The Munich-based producer of professional motion picture equipment ARRI and the Freiburg Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques have been awarded the “Academy Award of Merit” by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for their jointly developed ARRILASER film recorder. The Oscar statuettes will be presented on February 11 in Beverly Hills.
Film coatings made from whey
Convenience foods are growing in popularity, and the food they contain is usually protected by films based on petrochemicals. Now researchers have not only developed a biomaterial from whey protein, they have also come up with a commercially viable method of producing multifunctional films on an industrial scale.
High-speed CMOS sensors provide better images
Conventional CMOS image sensors are not suitable for low-light applications such as fluorescence, since large pixels arranged in a matrix do not support high readout speeds. A new optoelectronic component speeds up this process. It has already been patented.
Time recording up one's sleeve
Optimized operations are essential to globally competitive companies. Until now, inspectors have timed procedures, usually manually, in order to organize manual assembly operations efficiently – a method prone to error. A new system records times automatically and cuts costs for companies.
Research Agreement with Dow AgroSciences
Dow AgroSciences LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Dow Chemical Company (NYSE: Dow), and Fraunhofer Institute for Molecular Ecology IME have announced a multi-year research agreement that brings together the expertise and technologies from both institutions.
Electronics made of plastic
The "Deutscher Zukunftspreis 2011" was won by a team comprising existing and former Fraunhofer researchers. Professor Karl Leo, Dr. Jan Blochwitz-Nimoth and Dr. Martin Pfeiffer were honored for their pioneering achievements in the field of organic electronics.
Fraunhofer researchers receive the Franco-German Business Award 2011
Fraunhofer researchers have teamed up with their French colleagues at the Carnot-Institut Laboratoire d‘électronique des technologies de l‘information CEA-LETI to develop reusable substrates for III-V multi-junction solar cells – and on December 5, 2011, were presented with the Franco German Business Award for their work.
Mobile assistance for AIDS patients in South Africa
The first mobile safety laboratory to operate under Biosafety Level 3 has been in use in South Africa since May 2011. As development of the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering in St. Ingbert, this special truck is used for testing and advising patients with AIDS and tuberculosis. The mobile laboratory can save patients' lives in remote areas because it cuts the waiting time between diagnosis and the start of treatment to just one day.
First aid after tick bites
They come out in the spring, and each year they spread further – the ticks. Thirty percent of them transmit borrelia pathogens, the causative agent of Lyme borreliosis that can damage joints and organs. The disease often goes undetected. In the future, a new type of gel is intended to prevent an infection – if applied after a tick bite.
Bobsled runs – fast and yet safe
They should prove a challenge for the athletes, but not put them in danger: bobsled runs have to be simulated before being built. This simulation is based on the friction levels of the runners on the ice. Now it has become possible to measure these levels accurately. These results will help build the run for the 2014 Olympic Winter Games.
Monitoring food with millimeter waves
We may be able to see through glass, water and air, but not packing paper, plastic or cardboard. What remains hidden from the human eye is made visible by a new millimeter-wave sensor: unlike x-ray scanners, it can see through non-transparent materials without sending out harmful rays.
Lying and sitting more comfortably
People who have to sit at work often have back pain. People permanently confined to bed are even worse off – they frequently develop bed sores. New smart cushioning is intended to eliminate the discomforts of lying and sitting. An integrated sensor system equalizes pressure selectively.
Thinner thermal insulation
Insulation panels that are both thin and effective are expensive. At present these high-end products are built into energy-saving refrigerators. Innovative components and production techniques are now set to sink the costs – so that private home-builders can also benefit from the new technology.
Recognizing blood poisoning quickly
Speed can save lives – especially in the case of blood poisoning. The more quickly and directly doctors recognize and treat sepsis, the greater the patient’s chances of survival. With the help of a new biochip, physicians will now be able to analyze blood within their own practice.
European industry and research centres join forces to create a European Technology Platform for High Performance Computing
Barcelona, 10th November 2011- Major European suppliers of High Performance Computing (HPC) technologies, Allinea, ARM, Bull, Caps Entreprise, Eurotech, ParTec, STMicroelectronics and Xyratex associated with HPC research centres BSC, CEA, CINECA, Fraunhofer, Forschungszentrum Juelich and LRZ have decided to combine forces to create a European Technology Platform (ETP), building on the previous work of PROSPECT and Teratec.
Microlenses for 3-D endoscopes
Modern endoscopic techniques enable doctors to perform surgery without major incisions. Certain interventions require instruments with special 3-D optics. Researchers have developed an image sensor that transmits perfect 3-D images from inside the human body thanks to the use of microlenses.
Robot speeds up glass development
Model by model, the electronics in a car are being moved closer to the engine block. This is why the materials used for the electronics must resist increasing heat – so the glass solder being used as glue must be continually optimized. For the first time ever, a robot takes on the task of developing new types of glass and examining their characteristics. Researchers will introduce this robot at the “productronica“ trade fair to be held in Munich, Germany, from November 15 - 18, 2011 (Hall B2, Booth 135).
High-tech spider for hazardous missions
Spiders are very agile, and some can even jump. They owe this capability to their hydraulically operated limbs. Researchers have now designed a mobile robot modeled on the same principle that moves spider legs. Created using a 3-D printing process, this lightweight can explore terrain that is beyond human reach.
Flexible learning in a virtual microscope lab
For every medical student, examining specimens under the microscope is part of the syllabus. However, the opening hours of the labs and the number of enlargers are limited. Thanks to a new online platform, students are now able to learn with greater flexibility and independence.
Simulating real-world surfaces
These days, cars are developed on computers, and to assist with this, designers want processes which generate realistic surfaces such as seat covers. Researchers have now developed high-resolution scanners which copy objects and fabric samples in a few minutes, converting them into virtual models. The light effects are startlingly realistic.
A fish test to make food safer
Nowadays, half of all the fish we eat comes from fish farms. The problem is that these fish are increasingly being fed vegetable matter, which could lead to a build-up of residual pesticides in them. A new test shows how high the risk of contamination really is.
Plasma in bags
Using plasmas, sealed plastic bags can be modified at atmospheric pressure so that human cells can adhere to and reproduce on their walls. Cell culture bags of this kind are an important aid for research and clinical purposes and may eventually replace the Petri dishes used today.
Custom glass bending
The possible applications for curved glass panels are many and varied – ranging from facades to designer furniture. Researchers have now developed a process which enables the panels to be shaped six times faster and considerably more cost-effectively. Even small batches can be produced economically.
The green look for EV charging stations
The network of electric-vehicle (EV) charging stations in Germany is still relatively sparse, but their number is growing rapidly. The majority of roadside charging points take the form of steel-clad pillars. A group of researchers has set out to develop an alternative design based on environmentally compatible materials.
Speedy 3D X-rays in the operating room
Having an operation always places strain on patients, and this is especially true of complicated operations. Surgeons use 3D X-rays to check the results before the patient has left the operating room. This does help to avoid possible complications, but it also means interrupting the surgery. Fraunhofer researchers are now developing a 3D X-ray system that can be integrated seamlessly into operating procedure – with no more forced interruptions. To find out how this system works, visit the Medica 2011 trade fair in Düsseldorf from November 16 to 19 (Hall 10, Booth F05).
Technologies for the city of tomorrow – Morgenstadt
A city that obtains its power from renewable resources, where electric cars move quietly along the streets and which emits almost no carbon dioxide – German federal minister Mrs. Schavan and the president of Fraunhofer, Hans-Jörg Bullinger, shone a spotlight on the scenario of a sustainable city of the future in the vision of “Morgenstadt“. At the UrbanTec Trade Fair in Cologne from October 24 -26, 2011 in Hall 7, Booth A029. Fraunhofer researchers are demonstrating which of the technologies shown can already be implemented today.
Two cellphones in one
More and more companies are providing their employees with smartphones. While companies seek the best security available for their data, employees would also like to install apps of their own. Security experts have now developed equipment software with two separate areas: the business area and the personal area. Researchers will unveil this development at the it-sa trade fair held October 11-13 in Nuremberg (Hall 12, Stand 461).
Food without preservatives – thanks to self-cleaning equipment
Éclairs and other pastries should taste light and fluffy. If the pastry dough contains too many microorganisms, though, it will not rise in the oven. Now, researchers have devised a system that cleans itself automatically after every batch of dough. This means the dough is sterile – and for the first time, it can be made in large quantities off-site for delivery to bakeries. Researchers will showcase these and other combinations of cleaning methods and equipment at the parts2clean trade fair, October 25-27, 2011, in Stuttgart (Hall 1, Stand F 610 / G 707).
Not buying cars but sharing them – car-sharing is practised in many major cities. And in the electromobile future, city dwellers will use lots of vehicles and infrastructure together – that is the idea of Fraunhofer researchers. In the project „eMobility Together: Vehicles, Data and Infrastructure“ or „GeMo“ for short, researchers are working to make this vision a reality.
Cell cultures from a machine
Cell cultures form the basis of day-to-day research work in applications that range from the development of drugs and vaccines to the decoding of functions of individual genes. Up until now, cell cultures have been sown, tended, observed and transferred to vessels – all by hand. A new device automates these worksteps completely.
Clean soot particle filters
The soot particle filters found on diesel vehicles are designed to ensure that no harm- ful particles make their way through the exhaust pipe. Often, though, the exhaust from newer-model engines is not hot enough to free the filters from soot particles on a regular basis. A new method removes impurities even at low exhaust temperatures.
Software to prevent abuse at the click of a mouse
Teaming up with investigators from the State Office of Criminal Investigation in Berlin, Fraunhofer researchers have come up with an automated assistance system for image and video evaluation that can detect child-pornographic images from among even large volumes of data. Soon, it will make prosecutors‘ work easier.
A Living Factory
The time it takes for new products to come to market is getting ever shorter. As a consequence, goods are being produced using manufacturing facilities and IT systems that were designed with completely different models in mind. Fraunhofer developers want to make factories smarter so they can react to changes of their own accord.
Laser polishes components to a high-gloss finish
At present, components used in areas such as tool and die making generally have to be painstakingly polished by hand – but a recently developed automated process could soon offer a much faster solution. From November 29 to December 2 at the 2011 EuroMold exhibition in Frankfurt (Hall 11, Booth C66), Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting a machine tool that uses laser polishing to give even complex 3D surfaces a high-gloss finish.
Secure updates for navigation systems & Co
At the push of a button by the driver, control units download the car manufacturer‘s new software – such as enhanced map material for the navigation system. To ensure that this data channel is protected from hacker attack, the system needs the right cryptographic key. To date, these keys have been stored in each one of a vehicle‘s electronic control units. Thanks to a new form of trust anchor, this will be simpler and more economical in the future. Researchers will present this process at it-sa, the IT security trade fair held October 11-13 in Nuremberg (Hall 12, Stand 461).
Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research at The University of Western Ontario
In July 2011, the Fraunhofer Institute for Chemical Technology ICT began a long-term collaboration with The University of Western Ontario (Western) in London, Ontario. German and Canadian researchers will work together on the process and material development of composite materials for the transportation, construction materials, and renewable energy sectors in the joint “Fraunhofer Project Centre for Composites Research @ Western,“ a latest state-of-the-art equipped press centre in full industrial scale.
Electromobility: New Components Going for a Test Run
The future belongs to electrical cars – that’s what most experts think. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of problems that have not been solved. This is the reason why researchers at 33 Fraunhofer institutes put their heads together in the Fraunhofer System Research for Electromobility project to move electromobility one big step ahead. This two-year project was completed on July 30, 2011, and the demonstrator vehicles they came up with were showcased at the final event in Papenburg, Germany, on September 2, 2011, on the ATP test track.
Laboratory on Wheels
Electric and hybrid vehicles will be conquering the cities: cars, bicycles, buses and trains. This is why new ideas are in demand for individual and public transportation. In “Fraunhofer’s System Research for Electromobility” researchers are coming up with solutions for tomorrow’s mobility.
Robots are coming to aircraft assembly
Up to now, aircraft have been put together in huge assembly cells, but to build the necessary facilities is expensive and time-consuming. That is why Fraunhofer researchers have come up with a flexible assembly-line concept that features robots working in the same way they do in automotive production. The developers are presenting their new manufacturing approach at the Composites Europe trade fair in Stuttgart in Hall 4, Booth D03. One of this future assembly line’s first elements can also be seen there: a versatile component gripper made of lightweight CFRP (carbon fiber reinforced plastic).
Fraunhofer opens Center for Systems Biotechnology in Chile
On September 1, 2011 the Chilean Minister of the Economy, Mr Pablo Longueira and Professor Bullinger officially opened Fraunhofer´s first research center in South America. The new ´Fraunhofer Center for Systems Biotechnology´ has been established in Santiago de Chile to develop and optimize new technologies in key areas of importance for the Chilean economy. The research projects are collaborations between Chilean and German scientists and focus at present on aquaculture, renewable energy, agriculture, and bio-computing.
Blood Vessels from Your Printer
Researchers have been working at growing tissue and organs in the laboratory for a long time. These days, tissue engineering enables us to build up artificial tissue, although science still hasn’t been successful with larger organs. Now, researchers at Fraunhofer are applying new techniques and materials to come up with artificial blood vessels in their BioRap project that will be able to supply artificial tissue and maybe even complex organs in future. They are exhibiting their findings at the Biotechnica Fair that will be taking place in Hannover, Germany on October 11-13.
IFA 2011: Fraunhofer Showcases Dialogue Enhancement Technology for Improved Speech Intelligibility and Listening Control
Tested by BBC during Wimbledon, Fraunhofer’s new technology enables end users to adapt the volume of different audio elements within a single broadcast program. A preview of the new dialogue enhancement technology will be shown at IFA – hall 11.1 / booth 8 and IBC 2011. It allows TV and radio audiences to individually adjust the volume of dialogue, music or sound effects within a single broadcast program. Fraunhofer’s technology will be the first of its kind to enable this level of audio control at the low bit-rates required for broadcasting.
Wireless window contacts – no maintenance, no batteries
Window contacts tell us which of a house’s windows are open or closed. Researchers have now developed a fail-safe system that is particularly easy to use and needs no wiring or batteries. The sensors harvest the energy they need to run from ambient radio signals.
Saving electricity while playing
The federal government of Germany has decided to accelerate change in energy policy. But the transition will succeed only with the help of the consumers. They are called upon to use the energy from renewable resources in a more efficient fashion. A new online game shows how energy can be saved.
Early detection of plant disease
Each year, plant viruses and fungal attacks lead to crop losses of up to 30 percent. That is why it is important to detect plant disease early on. Yet laboratory tests are expensive and often time-consuming. Researchers are now developing a low-cost quick test for use on site.
Crash-safe battery protection for electric cars
Everyone is talking about electric drives, and the scientists from Fraunhofer are also working on them. Engineers have replaced a battery box for lithium-ion batteries with a lightweight component. Not only does the housing save weight and sustain no damage in an accident – for the first time ever, it can also be mass-produced.
Components based on nature’s example
They are lightweight and yet strong and resilient: straw, bamboo, bones and teeth owe their surprising strength to their cleverly designed internal structures and a judicious combination of materials. The same principles can be applied to produce lighter and more durable plastic products.
3D television without glasses
When the boundaries merge between the action and the viewer, television becomes a special experience. Fraunhofer research scientists are optimizing the technologies that make it possible to watch TV in 3D without technical aids such as 3D glasses. A new four-camera system will even be able to handle live transmissions.
Spotting weaknesses in solid wood
Is there a hairline crack in the oak table? Was the window frame glued badly? Ultrasound thermography can reliably identify material defects during the production of wooden items. This allows rejects to be caught quickly and eliminated, and faulty goods to be repaired in good time.
Special software helps to save species
With the aim of better protecting endangered species, game wardens are studying the behavior of surviving great apes in the wild. This is often painstaking work because it is difficult to distinguish between different individuals. A new software system will make things easier by analyzing the animals’ faces for individual identification.
Solar power does not have a long shelf life
Storing power is complicated and expensive, but very often, especially far away from the regular power grids, there is no way around large batteries for grid-independent electricity consumers. It would make more sense to use the electricity when it is generated. This becomes possible with the help of a smart energy management system.
Making runways safer
Airplanes undergo significant stresses during take-off and landing, and parts often become detached, putting subsequent runway users at risk. Until now, airport staff have had to monitor runways without technical assistance – an activity that is prone to errors. A new radar system is set to increase safety at airports.
Data are traveling by light
Regular LEDs can be turned into optical WLAN with only a few additional components thanks to visible light communication (in short, VLC). The lights are then not just lighting up, they also transfer data. They send films in HD quality to your iPhone or laptop, with no loss in quality, quickly and safely.
Vacant parking spaces in town are thin on the ground. Finding one is just as tiresome as making sure you have the right change for the parking machine. An adhesive microchip on the windshield will make things much easier by unlocking the door to cashless parking.
Better, Faster, Cheaper: Doing Business with the Sun
The change in energy policy has been decided; Germany needs more green energy. From September 5-9 in Hamburg, everything will revolve around our biggest energy supplier: the sun. At the European Photovoltaic Solar Energy Conference, in Hall B4G, Stand C12, Fraunhofer researchers will present new methods for making solar cells cheaper and more efficient.
The perfect connection between guitar and computer
Guitar virtuosos have to master all kinds of playing techniques. But how can the intricate process of playing the instrument be captured digitally? A special thin film on the tailpiece has the answer. Functioning as a sensor, it converts the tension on the string into digital control signals.
Saving fuel while plowing
Less friction, less power, less fuel – plowshares coated with diamond-like carbon (DLC) slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter. As a result, the tractors pulling them need less power and fuel. In some tests the power required has been reduced by more than 30 percent.
Robotics: Safety without Protective Barriers
The modern working world is no longer conceivable without robots. They assist humans in manufacturing, laboratories or medicine. In the future, a new projection and camera-based system will prevent collisions between robots and humans working together.
Expert help from a distance
When electronic devices refuse to work, you rarely find the solution in the manual. Technicians often face similar problems with industrial machines, and companies end up flying in experts from the manufacturer to get things running again. A new system aims to help manufacturers lend a hand regardless of how far away they are located.
Clinical tests for medicines made from genitically modified plants
Pharmaceuticals can be produced by plants. Antibodies that have been produced in tobacco plants will now for the first time be tested in a clinical study. The decision was announced at a press conference in London on Tuesday July 19th 2011.
Accident protection in the windshield
Driver-assistance systems help prevent accidents. Quite simply, the more a car knows about its surroundings, the more intelligently it can respond to them. Researchers have now developed an optical sensor for the windshield that can even tell the difference between fog and darkness. The system will also be available for small cars.
A mobile guide for buses and trains
If people had access to a fully-fledged system to help them navigate public transport, it could persuade many drivers to switch to their local trains, buses and trams. Researchers are busy developing an application that will enable passengers to use a cell phone to navigate their way through the public transport network.
The fine art of etching
They see more than the naked eye and could make traffic safer: miniaturized thermal imaging sensors. But they are difficult to manufacture on a commercial scale. Researchers have now developed a new system. On it, special micro-electromechanical systems can be produced – with the correct etching technique.
Precise assembly of engines
In the automotive industry, combustion engines are still assembled mostly manually. Researchers from Fraunhofer are developing procedures and methods to automate assembly processes to continuously improve the quality of the engines. The use of the latest technologies helps to eliminate uncertainties during engine assembly.
Goodbye cold sores
Herpes infections on the lips, in the eyes or on the nose are painful, long-lasting and unpleasant. A new 3D herpes infection model brings hope: active ingredients and new treatments can be reliably tested with this model. Animal tests could soon be a thing of the past.
An alternative to antibiotics
Antibiotics are among the greatest achievements of medical science. But lately the former multi-purpose weapon fails in the battle against infectious diseases. Bacteria are increasingly developing resistance to antibiotics. Researchers have now found a therapeutic equivalent which could replace penicillin and related phamaceuticals.
Aircraft systems in the environmental chamber
How can air transport be made more environmentally compatible, economical and sustainable? The Fraunhofer flight test facility in Holzkirchen is soon to be expanded with the installation of a thermal test bench for aircraft systems, with the aim of achieving efficient energy management onboard.
ARD Mediathek enhanced with new search functions
This May new and improved search capabilities were introduced on the ARD Mediathek portal. Visitors to the website can now target their searches for TV and radio content more specifically. Information can also be extracted directly from video footage. All thanks to software from Fraunhofer.
Wireless sensor network monitors microclimate in the forest
During a forest monitoring operation, forestry scientists measure various environmental values. This is how they obtain indications about how the forests are changing and what can be done to preserve them. However, installing and maintaining the wired measuring stations is complex: Researchers developed a wireless alternative.
Water for Mongolia
Clean water is a rare commodity in many countries of the world and governments often face problems ensuring its reliable supply. In Mongolia, an interdisciplinary research team is demonstrating how this vital resource can be efficiently managed and used. Specially developed software help to detect weak points in the supply system.
Transition to renewable energy stimulates the economy
The transition to renewable energy is set to deliver an economic pay off as well in the years to come. Various studies show that a shift to alternative energy sources will raise the GNP in the coming decade and create new jobs, as Prof. Eicke Weber, spokesperson for the Fraunhofer Energy Alliance, points out. Fraunhofer scientists are developing concepts and solutions for the transition as it takes shape.
Training to promote health
Many people use fitness studios to get back into shape after an injury. Fraunhofer researchers are now developing a system that will provide doctors with data on the exercises people do on the various machines. This should help them plan better training programs.
The hand as a joystick
You need a mouse and a keyboard, a touch-screen or a joystick to control a computer system. In the future, a new gesture command system will make it possible to use just the fingers of a hand.
The Markets Beyond Tomorrow research program delivers answers to existing challenges
In recent years the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft has changed its approach to strategy development and shifted the perspective from supply to demand-driven needs. Whereas the focus used to be on technologies, the emphasis is now on future challenges. In five Beyond Tomorrow projects scientists are working on solutions to issues we will face in the years to come that must urgently be addressed now.
Superior sound for telephones, mobile and related devices
Telephone calls and video conferences with a sound quality that approaches that of direct communication are now possible with a new audio coding technology - it is almost as if the discussion participants are sitting across from one another.
Supergrid: efficient generation, storage and distribution of electricity
Sun, wind, biomass, water – tomorrow’s electricity will come from many different sources and from various countries. In just a few decades, part of Europe’s electrical energy needs could be met by energy produced in northern Africa. But this will require new transmission and storage technology. In the innovative project “Supergrid,” Fraunhofer researchers are developing components and systems for the reliable generation, storage and distribution of electricity.
Solar inverters: losses are cut in half
A switching trick makes it possible to cut the losses of a series-production inverter in half and increase the efficiency from 96 to 98 percent. The HERIC®-topology makes it possible to achieve a world-record efficiency of more than 99 percent.
Significant rise in income from industrial contracts
The Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft is emerging stronger from the global economic crisis. Last year the finance volume increased to 1.66 billion euros and the staffing level to 18,000, with the creation of nearly 1,000 new jobs.
Sensors that can stretch
Is someone sitting in the passenger seat of the car? Did someone enter the safety zone in front of an industrial machine? Stretch and pressure sensors have a wide range of applications. Researchers have now developed sensors capable of expanding, in extreme cases, to twice their original length and so supple as to go virtually unnoticed when sewn into clothing. These systems can be seen at the Sensor+Test trade fair in Nuremberg from June 7 – 9, 2011.
Perfectly separated for resource-efficient production
Shrinking raw material resources, rapidly growing demand in the newly industrializing countries, stricter environmental requirements – all these factors are responsible for the explosion of raw materials prices. Without an improved and more efficient approach to recycling the situation will not be solved. Research scientists are developing new separation and sorting techniques for resource-efficient production.
Perfect welds for car bodies
Surface welding instead of penetration welding, allows a laser to produce a weld that is only visible on one side. But how do you control the laser power to prevent it burning a hole through the sheets of metal? A new camera system analyzes thermal images in real time – and ensures a perfect weld.
Microscope – handy, quick and flat
Suspicion of melanoma: In the future, doctors can pull out a new type of microscope to get to the bottom of suspicious changes in the skin. It provides a high-resolution image of skin areas of any size – and so quickly that you can hold it in your hand without blurring the resulting picture.
Medicines from plants
Some people think of herbal teas, others of tobacco when they hear the buzzword ‚medicines from plants‘. One research team succeeded in producing biopharmaceuticals – such as an antibody against HIV, for example, – in tobacco plants.
Lasers take the lead
Conserving energy is a top priority for auto manufacturers today. Laser technology can help. Lasers can be used to process thin light-weight components made of fiber-composite materials, as well as to manufacture more efficient engines and more powerful batteries. At the Laser 2011 trade fair from 23 – 26 May, Fraunhofer scientists will be presenting new production technologies in Hall C2, Stand 330 and Hall B2, Stand 417.
Innovations for tomography
The development of a handy X-ray tomograph achieved second place in the Hugo Geiger prize. The work that achieved the third place deals with a terahertz measuring system for spectral tomography that also measures how much radiation penetrates the object or is being reflected by it.
Hybrid energy storage system for urban use
In the future, electricity may not only be stored in large-scale centralized systems, but in decentralized storage systems in consumers homes – directly in lithium batteries or indirectly using intelligent appliances that generate and store electricity. The system will be controlled using a combination of software and hardware under development by Fraunhofer scientists within the scope of the project “Urban hybrid storage systems.” The concept of hybrid storage encompasses the production of both electricity and heat.
Healing skin in a Petri dish
Researchers at five Fraunhofer Institutes want to make the treatment of chronic wounds more effective and enable patients themselves to check whether their open wounds are healing or have become infected with bacteria. The researchers are pooling their expertise in the Beyond Tomorrow project “SkinHeal.”
For better hygiene in medicine
Poor hygiene, dirty operating instruments, hospital germs – reports on infections are becoming more frequent, and the consequences for patients are in some cases severe. New technologies for sterilization should lower the risk of infection in hospitals, doctor’s offices and rest homes. Fraunhofer researchers are working on solutions in the Beyond Tomorrow project “SteriHealth.”
Flexible films for photovoltaics
Displays that can be rolled up and flexible solar cells – both are potential future markets. Barrier layers that protect thin-film solar cells from oxygen and water vapor and thus increase their useful life are an essential component.
Finding reserves on the electrical grid
The weather determines how much energy wind turbine systems provide. The same applies to power line capacity. On cold and stormy days, this capacity is higher than on days with no wind and high mid-summer temperatures. An autonomously powered sensor network monitors power lines to find the reserves in the lines.
Delicious and plant-based – ice cream with lupin proteins
Summer without ice cream – for many, it’s unthinkable. But those who are milk or lactose-intolerant must often go without. Fraunhofer researchers now offer an alternative: “Lupinesse” – the purely plant-based delicacy that is free of lactose and cholesterol, with valuable lupin protein. The ice cream will debut on the shelves of the EDEKA supermarket chain on May 9, 2011.
Controlling robotic arms is child’s play
Move your arm – and the robot imitates your movement. This type of intuitive handling is now possible thanks to a new input device that will simplify the control of industrial robots in the future. But that is not all: The sensor system can also help regulate the movements of active prostheses. The new technology will be presented at the Sensor+Test trade fair from June 7 – 9 in Nuremberg.
Ride-sharing for road freight
Around 20 percent of trucks on German roads are traveling empty, at a huge cost to the transportation companies concerned. Also from an ecological and traffic-management standpoint, it would be better if such journeys could be avoided. A new auction platform aims to improve truck space utilization.
Resource-Friendly Car Manufacturing
Magnesium instead of steel – this could be an option for lightweight car body parts. A car door made of magnesium is roughly 50 percent lighter. This is one of the exhibits drawn from along the automobile manufacturing chain that researchers at the Fraunhofer AutoMOBILE Production Alliance are showcasing at the Hannover Messe, April 4-8 (Hall 2, Stand D22).
Lightning-fast materials testing using ultrasound
For years, ultrasound has proven to be a valuable tool in non-destructive materials testing. However, the demands of modern production conditions are increasing all the time. Researchers at Fraunhofer have now developed a new, more reliable process that delivers testing results at a rate that is up to a hundredfold higher.
Extreme testing for rotor blades
Wind turbines are growing bigger and bigger – the diameter of their rotor blades could soon reach 180 meters. But that creates a need for larger test rigs capable of accommodating the blades for load testing. One of the largest-ever experimental test rigs, for blades measuring up to 90 meters in length, will shortly go into operation.
European space scout
The growing quantity of space debris is a serious threat to satellites and other spacecraft, which risk being damaged or even destroyed. A new European space surveillance system is being developed to ward off the danger of collisions in orbit. Fraunhofer researchers are supplying the receiver for the radar demonstrator system.
Crash sensor boosts safety in warehouses
For reasons of workplace safety, storage shelves in warehouses are subjected to routine testing of their stability. These inspection rounds are time-consuming and deliver just a snapshot in time. Researchers have devised a wireless, sensor-based system to provide continuous monitoring of the condition of storage shelves.
Hannover Messe: “Good-bye, blind spot” – man and machine always in view
Particular care must be taken in a production hall where robots and men work together, where even minor carelessness could result in serious accidents or stop production. At the Hannover Messe trade fair that is taking place from April 4-8, in Hall 17, Booth E58, Fraunhofer researchers are introducing a new prototype for intelligent safety monitoring in industrial workplaces
SmartEnergyLab: Testing smart energy systems
The residential housing sector needs smart energy systems. And yet the potential for developing these kinds of systems remains largely untapped. In the SmartEnergyLab - an innovative test laboratory - Fraunhofer researchers are able to analyze, assess and develop almost any energy management system for controlling power and heat.
Hannover Messe: Smart materials for high-tech products
Flexible and independently operating smart materials can adapt to changing conditions with high speed. The Fraunhofer Adaptronics Alliance is presenting promising solutions at HANNOVER MESSE (April 4-8), in Hall 2, Stand D18.
Hannover Messe: Quiet area for sensitive devices
Devices for precise analysis or manufacturing are very sensitive to ambient vibrations. The experts at Fraunhofer have developed an insulation unit that actively counteracts these effects emanating from the environment. This compact and flexible system can be viewed at the Hannover Messe trade fair (April 4-8 in Hanover) at the booth of the Fraunhofer Adaptronics Alliance in Hall 2, Booth D18.
Hannover Messe: North Sea Climate at the Touch of a Button
On the high seas, wind turbines are subject to especially heavy stresses from salt, UV radiation or wave action. For the first time, the researchers at Fraunhofer have a new test chamber that allows them to simultaneously test how the climate on the high seas and mechanical stresses damage offshore materials. In the future, this test chamber will enable wind turbine manufacturers and material researchers to test these components.
Hannover Messe: Mobile with electricity
Electric cars are cleaner, quieter and more efficient than gasoline- or diesel-powered vehicles. Even so, they have not yet caught on. Now, however, a new era is beginning: the era of electric mobility. Experts from Fraunhofer are making important contributions to this. A selection of the research projects is being presented at the Hannover Messe trade fair (April 4-8, Hall 2, Booth D22).
Hannover Messe: Innovation forum for people interested in electromobility
To talk to each other, to communicate the current state of the art in research, identify where research has to fill gaps and to facilitate technological transfer – all these are the goals of an interdisciplinary association founded at the initiative of Annette Schavan, the German Federal Minister of Education and Research.
How to help heal an injured joint
Knee patients need patience: injuries to these joints take weeks to heal. Fraunhofer researchers have now developed a system that documents the healing process in detail. This motivates patients and at the same time helps doctors to fine-tune the course of treatment.
Hannover Messe: Keeping the grid stable
Wind turbines, solar parks and block-type thermal power stations are set to take over the role of conventional energy sources. In the future, as renewable and decentralized electricity production capacity expands, fluctuations in grid output will increase as well. To meet this coming challenge, experts are developing technologies for intelligent and robust power supplies (Hannover Messe, April 4-8, Hall 13, Stand C41).
Hannover Messe: Giant batteries for green power
In the future, the growing amounts of solar and wind energy will need to be stored for dark or low-wind periods. One solution is redox flow batteries that can supply current for up to 2000 households. Several Fraunhofer Institutes are working jointly on these fluid batteries of the future. The researchers will present their large battery installation at the Hannover Messe (April 4-8, 2011, Hall 13, Booth C41).
Galileo Labs: better positioning with concept
Final burst for the European satellite navigation system Galileo - the first satellites are to be in position in the year 2012 and start their work. Fraunhofer Galileo Labs are showcasing the first applications that use new, improved possibilities provided by satellite navigation.
Hannover Messe: Don’t coil it, pour it
For the electric car to roll, a lot of large and small components must function in a safe and reliable manner. Parts for wheel hub motors, in particular, need to be constructed in a robust manner. The researchers from Fraunhofer have filed a patent for a new production process for coils for electrical motors. They are introducing it at the Hannover Messe trade fair from April 4-8, in Hall 2, Booth D22.
Defective plastics repair themselves
Indestructible things are a figment of the imagination of advertising. Even plastic components that have to stand up to major mechanical loads can break. The reason for this are microcracks that may be found in any component part. Researchers have now come up with elastic polymers that heal themselves to put an end to the growth of cracks.
Cameras out of the salt shaker
There have been gloves and shavers for one-off use for a long time. In future, there will also be disposable endoscopes for minimally invasive operations on the human body. A new microcamera is what makes it possible. It is as large as a grain of salt, supplies razor-sharp pictures and can be manufactured very inexpensively.
Better batteries for electric cars
The breakthrough with electric cars is a long time coming – not least on account of their key component, the battery. Lithium-ion batteries are still too expensive and their range too limited. New materials should pave the way for better batteries. Simulation software from researchers is helping speed up the development process.
When cars talk to one another
Networking vehicles with one another and with the infrastructure gives the driver information on the situation beyond his or her field of vision and warns the driver about accidents or traffic jams. Researchers from Fraunhofer will be unveiling the latest applications for traffic safety and efficiency from March 1-3 at the embedded world Exhibition & Conference (hall 11, stand 203) in Nuremberg, Germany.
UV-transparent coating for image sensors
Image sensors as used in cell phones are partially color-blind. This is because of their coating, which prevents UV light from passing through. CMOS chips have as a result not been suitable for spectroscopy up to now. A new production process makes the coating transparent – and the sensors suitable for special applications.
Surgical instruments with electronic serial numbers
Gone are the days of having to compromise on surgeons’ demands because of the limitations associated with metal processing: Laser melting has abolished production-related restrictions on surgical instruments. The technique permits customized tools to be manufactured in a single step and also allows the integration of additional new functions such as RFID. Researchers from the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft will be exhibiting a surgical instrument with an integrated electronic chip at this year’s MEDTEC Europe trade show in Stuttgart.
Minimally invasive surgeries: Laser Suturing
Surgeries with the endoscope are exacting and require special capabilities of the surgeon. The suturing of the tissue and the setting of the knots, in particular, is very complicated due to the lack of space for movement. A new, minimally invasive suturing tool simplifies the procedure. In the future, the suture material will no longer be knotted, but welded with a laser. The device will be displayed at the MEDTEC Fair in Stuttgart, from March 22 - 24, 2011.
MWC 2011: 3-D Films on Your Cell Phone
Researchers at Fraunhofer have combined the new mobile radio standard LTE-Advanced with a video coding technique. This puts 3-D films on your cell phone. The experts will be presenting their solution from February 14-17 in Hall 2, Stand E41 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.
Laser welding in the right light
Laser welding is on the advance, but it also has its limits: it has been impossible to fuse two transparent plastic components together – up until now. Researchers have now succeeded in circumventing this hurdle – by choosing the right wavelength. The new welding process is revolutionizing bioanalytics.
Government mashups – better contact with public authorities
Mashup technologies and mobile applications will help to close the communication gap between government bodies and the general public. They can be used, for example, to send messages to local authorities. Fraunhofer research scientists have developed individual solutions to facilitate rapid contact with government institutions.
Getting cars onto the road faster
Auto manufacturers are looking for shorter production times, faster logistics processes, new materials and technologies. A novel software platform will help companies to achieve these goals by reducing not only the development times but also the development costs.
Fingerprint makes chips counterfeit-proof
Product counterfeiters are increasingly targeting chips and electronic components, with attacks on hardware modules becoming commonplace. Tailor-made security technology utilizes a component‘s individual material properties to generate a digital key. This provides components with an identity – since their unique structure cannot be copied. Fraunhofer researchers will be presenting a prototype at the embedded world Exhibition & Conference in Nuremberg from March 1 to 3.
Emergency Detection Systems for Senior Citizens
Elderly people living alone have a dangerous life: after a fall, they often spend hours lying on the floor before their situation comes to anyone’s attention and a doctor is contacted. A new system automatically detects predicaments like this and informs a trusted person. This makes it possible to live an independent life in one’s own four walls.
Early Detection Of Lung Cancer
The earlier cancers can be detected, the better the chances of a cure. Researchers are now working to develop a new diagnostics platform with which the illness can be diagnosed in its early stages, even during a visit to the general practitioner: protein biomarkers in exhaled air divulge the presence of pathological cells in the lung.
CeBIT 2011: Preparing for the unexpected
How can you plan for an emergency the nature of which you don’t know? Several Fraunhofer institutes are working on strategies and technologies that would help to predict and improve the response to crises. Their solutions are shown at the CeBIT in Hannover (March 1 – 5) in Hall 9, Booth B36.
CeBIT 2011: Electronic Fitness Trainer
Only people who get a lot of exercise and eat a healthy diet stay fit even in old age. This is easier said than done. Researchers have developed a Fitness Assistant that not only motivates but also demonstrates exercises. At CeBIT in Hall 9, B36 visitors will be able to try out the system for themselves.
CeBIT 2011: Administration in the cloud
The emerging field of cloud computing is an interesting one, and not just for businesses. The field of public administration benefits from the technology as well. Fraunhofer Institutes are developing solutions to create such systems efficiently and to implement security concepts. Researchers will be presenting these and other solutions on “Computing in the Cloud” at CeBIT (Hall 9/B36) in Hanover from March 1-5, 2011.
Touchscreens Made of Carbon
Touchscreens are in – although the technology still has its price. The little screens contain rare and expensive elements. This is the reason why researchers at Fraunhofer are coming up with an alternative display made of low-priced renewable raw materials available all over the world. The researchers are presenting touchscreens that contain carbon nanotubes at the nano tech 2011 fair in Tokyo (Hall 5, Stand E-18-11) from February 16-18.
Radiometer finds sources of fire
Forest fires usually spread out of control very quickly. Fires that produce a lot of smoke are particularly challenging for the emergency services, because the source of the fire is then especially hard to find. A new radiometric sensor can pinpoint the heart of the flames, even when visibility is limited.
Nanoworld in color
Microscopically small nanostructured arrays of lenses that can record or project amazingly sharp images in brilliant colors are being demonstrated by Fraunhofer research scientists at the nano tech 2011 trade show in Tokyo from February 16 to 18.
Minerals provide better indoor air
One of the sources of emission for pollutants in living spaces are particleboards glued with adhesives that contain formaldehyde. There is a new method that will now provide another way to reduce these vapors. The trick can be found in special minerals that equip wood materials with properties for cleaning air in living spaces.
Learning while driving
Everyone learns differently. Research scientists have therefore developed a system which adapts learning content to specific individual requirements. LogiAssist addresses the needs of companies in the logistics sector and long-distance truck drivers. They can learn while out on the road using audio lectures, text documents or video.
Interactive Window Shopping
Researchers want to make shopping trips a special experience in future by enabling passers-by to operate window displays with hand and facial gestures. Four cameras record the 3-D positions of people’s hands, face and eyes and transform them into commands for selecting and purchase goods – even after the shop has closed.
Impregnating plastics with carbon dioxide
Everyone has heard that carbon dioxide is responsible for global warming. But the gas also has some positive characteristics. Researchers are now impregnating plastics with compressed CO2 in a process that could lead to new applications ranging from colored contact lenses to bacteria-resistant door handles.
Eating low-fat, thanks to lupin proteins
Food should be delicious, healthy and sustainably produced. Researchers are working on new methods to use as many parts of plants as possible for nutrition. In the future, vegetable ingredients could replace animal raw materials. Lupin seeds, for instance, can be used to produce low-fat, exquisite sausage products.
A shorter trip to microscanners, with VarioS
Developing new, microscopically tiny scanning micro-mirrors, so called micro-scanners, for optical devices such as supermarket hand scanners is time-consuming. Industrial customers have to wait many months for the first samples or pre-production prototypes. At the Photonics West 2011 trade fair in San Francisco, Fraunhofer researchers are now introducing a quick and efficient production system: their VarioS microscanner construction kit. This shrinks the costs and waiting times from order to delivery to just a few weeks.