2015 Geneva Auto Show

Fraunhofer

A new high-efficiency biogas plant developed at the Fraunhofer Institute in Germany could ...

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute have developed a "biobattery" in the form of a highly efficient biogas plant that can turn raw materials like straw, scrap wood and sludge into a variety of useful energy sources including electricity, purified gas and engine oil. The new plant design, currently being put to the test in a prototype plant in Germany, is said to be highly modular and economically viable even at the small scale.  Read More

The Care-O-bot 4 is designed to be an affable service robot on a budget

Six and a half years after the previous iteration, the Fraunhofer Institute has released an update to Care-o-bot. The affordable service robot for personal and professional use has been made it more agile, more modular and much more personable ,  bringing science fiction fantasy a little closer to reality.  Read More

The hull of the cargo ship Vindskip acts as a large wing sail (Image: Lade AS)

In 2013, Norway's Lade AS unveiled designs for Vindskip, a "hybrid" merchant ship which aims to harness the wind courtesy of a specially-shaped hull, in the process taking the burden off of its natural-gas powered engines and saving fuel. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute's Center for Maritime Logistics and Services (CML) have been working to help realize this goal by developing an algorithm that will allow the Vindskip's navigation system to use the combination of power and sail at its most economical.  Read More

Fraunhofer's solar-powered radio sensor chip, mounted in a window

Although it may be handy to have sensors in your windows that remind you if you've left them open, running electrical wiring to all those sensors (or regularly changing their batteries) could be a hassle. A new window-monitoring radio sensor chip, however, gets all the power it needs from the sun.  Read More

At the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Polymer Research in Potsdam, scientists are workin...

There's nothing quite as refreshing as a glass of beer on a hot day and nothing more disgusting than discovering that the beer has gone off in the bottle, leaving a sour, cloudy mess. To save innocent palates and Sunday barbecues, the Fraunhofer Institute is developing a new polymer powder that can quickly detect pathogens in beer before they can ruin the brew.  Read More

A carbon and hemp-fiber reinforced component such as this is a cheaper, greener hybrid com...

Built in East Germany, the Trabant 601 was notorious for its many faults – not the least of which was a body made out of Duroplast, a hard plastic made of cotton waste and phenol resins that led those in the West to describe the car as being made of cardboard. However, it now looks as if the Trabant is getting the last laugh as scientists look at ways of making cars out of cotton and other botanical fibers formed into a new class of hybrid composites.  Read More

A wind turbine blade is covered in ice, except for where a Windheat film is located (Photo...

Given that the sterotypical image of the world's northern regions involves howling winds, why don't we see more wind turbines in such places? Well, it's largely because those turbines' blades would ice up a lot. The added weight could cause them to turn more slowly, to break down by throwing off their balance, and it could cause their operators to shut them down during potentially icy weather. The European Union Windheat Project is aiming to change that, with a carbon nanotube-based de-icing system.  Read More

Chocolate-coated biscuits moving through a cooling channel (Photo: Fraunhofer IVV)

As anyone who has taken a candy bar out of a car glovebox on a hot day can tell you, heat is not a friend to chocolate. And it's not just a matter of discovering that a tasty snack has become a gooey mess. It can also mean going for a nice choccy biccy only to find the chocolate coated with an unappetizing white film. It isn't a mold, it isn't unhealthy, and it doesn't affect the taste, but it is unpleasant and bakers and chocolatiers would rather do without it. To make mid-morning snacks a bit less harrowing, scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute have studied the phenomenon and have come up with the answer for what causes the film to form and how to prevent it.  Read More

The autonomous flying robot will soon be capable of independent navigation and inventory a...

Inventories are a necessary evil that need to be carried out at least once a year. Despite their necessity, they are also tedious, time consuming, labor intensive, and often involve businesses shutting their doors for whole days as they count how many unsold widgets are in the back room. The Fraunhofer Institute's InventAIRy Project plans to change that by developing a new flying robotic drone that not only takes over the drudgery of stock taking, but also acts as a new tool for record keeping and streamlining warehouse operations.  Read More

The Afkar project may lead to autonomous cars that could drive themselves to owners or ren...

A team of engineers, mathematicians, and computer scientists at the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA are developing a robotic system for electric cars that can independently find its way around unknown spaces, navigating around obstacles in order to find its goal. It is hoped that it will soon be capable of finding a parking space or charging station and parking there, safely without a single scratch.  Read More

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