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  • AI helps determine human biological age / 2019

    A health check based on epigenetics

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    Data processing, analysis and evaluation are unified in a single user interface.
    © Fraunhofer IME/Bernd Müller

    Chemical reactions and molecular modifications change the genome of each and every human over the course of their lifetime. These modifications can result in disease, but they also provide a basis for determining a person's biological age. Fraunhofer scientists participating in the project “DrugTarget” have now developed a method that can quickly check the condition of the genome. This will help develop points of intervention for new medicines and will help inform people how youthful their bodies are.

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  • Disinfection using UV light / 2019

    Hygienic beer caps thanks to Fraunhofer technology

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    Probeaufbau zum Test von UVC-LEDs.
    © Fraunhofer IOSB-AST/Martin Käßler

    UV light inactivates germs in drinking water. Until now, the disinfection process relied on mercury-vapor lamps, which emit light in the UV spectrum. However, mercury is a heavy metal that affects human health and the environment. Fraunhofer researchers are investigating a greener and more efficient alternative, which uses UV LEDs to destroy bacterial DNA. The technology is also suitable for disinfecting brewing water and for disinfecting the caps for bottled beer, soft drinks, and mineral water during the filling process.

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  • Progress for climate protection / 2019

    A cooling system without harmful refrigerants

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    Setup of a magnetocaloric cooling system: The segments shown in gray contain the magnetocaloric material. This material is alternately heated and cooled by the rotating magnet. Because of the internal structure of the segments, heat is transferred to the ambient air on the right side while on the left heat is removed from the container to be cooled.
    © Fraunhofer IPM

    A discovery from 1917 becomes viable for the future. A team of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Physical Measurement Techniques IPM is developing efficient magnetocaloric cooling systems that make do without harmful refrigerants. The esearchers hope to achieve 50 percent of the maximum efficiency level with their process. Comparable existing magnetocaloric systems reach only approximately 30 percent.

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  • Small companies benefit / 2019

    Fraunhofer is helping speed up development of fiber-reinforced plastic components

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    © Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA)

    Fiber-reinforced plastics are the basis for many applications in state-of-the-art lightweight design, and they offer numerous advantages. One major obstacle for smaller companies, however, is the requisite know-how concerning the ideal fiber and textile arrangement. In collaboration with the Institut für Textiltechnik (ITA) and the Assoc. Institute for Management Cybernetics (IfU) in Aachen, the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM has now developed a mathematical simulation method for optimizing the drapability (deformability) of textiles.

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  • Textile-based solar cells / 2019

    Photovoltaic power from textiles

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    Dr. Jonas Sundqvist, group manager for thin-film technology, with prototype textile-based solar cells.
    © Fraunhofer IKTS

    Imagine a truck tarp that can harvest the energy of sunlight! With the help of new textile-based solar cells developed by Fraunhofer researchers, semitrailers could soon be producing the electricity needed to power cooling systems or other onboard equipment. In short, textile-based solar cells could soon be adding a whole new dimension to photovoltaics, complementing the use of conventional silicon-based solar cells.

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  • First aid in cases of circulatory arrest / 2019

    Resuscitation mat simplifies cardiac massage

    Research News / 1.8.2019

    Illuminated LEDs at the upper edge of the mat indicate whether the first responder is administrating chest compressions correctly.
    © Fraunhofer ISC

    Every year, some 10,000 people in Germany die from cardiac arrest, even though they could have been saved. In fact, only 15 percent of Germans say they would trust themselves to administer cardiac massage in an emergency situation. Now, an innovative new resuscitation mat is set to help inexperienced first responders resuscitate victims in cases of circulatory arrest. Equipped with integrated sensors, the first aid tool was developed by a team of Fraunhofer researchers in collaboration with students at the University of Applied Sciences in Munich.

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  • Making artificial intelligence explainable / 2019

    A look inside neural networks

    Research News / 1.7.2019

    Artificial intelligence (AI) is already firmly embedded in our everyday lives and is conquering more and more territory. For example, voice assistants are already an everyday item in many people’s smartphones, cars and homes. Progress in the field of AI is based primarily on the use of neural networks. Mimicking the functionality of the human brain, neural networks link mathematically defined units with one another. But in the past it was not known just how a neural network makes decisions. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI and Technische Universität Berlin have developed a technology that reveals the criteria AI systems use when making decisions. The innovative Spectral Relevance Analysis (SpRAy) method based on Layer-wise Relevance Propagation technology provides a first peek inside the “black box”.

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  • Environmentally friendly slide bearings with water lubrication / 2019

    Sliding along on water

    Research News / 1.7.2019

    The new in situ tribometer can measure wear and friction values directly on the slide bearing during operation.
    © Fraunhofer IWM

    Machine bearings are usually lubricated with various oils. But today large quantities of these oils still end up in the environment. The Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials IWM has developed a method which will in the future make it possible to lubricate slide bearings using water, a much more environmentally friendly approach.

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  • Alternative composites with green credentials / 2019

    Porsche launches low-volume production with bio-based materials from Fraunhofer WKI

    Research News / 1.7.2019

    The Bioconcept-Car’s driver and passenger doors and rear wing are made using a mixture of organic fibers. Vegetable fibers as a component in organic composites are a sustainable alternative for lightweight vehicle bodies.
    © Fraunhofer WKI / Hans-Josef Endres

    Automaker Porsche is leveraging the benefits of organic materials in automotive manufacturing applications. The new 718 Cayman GT4 Clubsport features body parts made of natural-fiber composite materials developed in the Application Center for Wood Fiber Research HOFZET, which is part of the Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research, Wilhelm-Klauditz-Institut WKI, together with the Institute for Bioplastics and Biocomposites IfBB of Hannover University of Applied Sciences and Arts.

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  • No drones allowed in the vicinity of helicopters.
    © Michael May

    The rapid rise in the number of drones worldwide has been accompanied by increasing reports of near misses with commercial aircraft. In 2017, while coming in to land, a Canadian passenger aircraft actually collided with a drone, narrowly escaping catastrophe. Bird-strike tests for aircraft are mandatory. To date, however, there is no equivalent standard test procedure for collisions with drones. In order to to be able to fundamentally understand the consequences of a collision between an aircraft and a drone, the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI is now planning to build a test bench for recreating various collision scenarios with complete drones.

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