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Fraunhofer

The dynamic luminous ceiling by Fraunhofer IAO recreates natural lighting conditions indoo...

The privilege of working under the open sky is reserved for just a few lucky professions. For the less fortunate majority, spending their working hours surrounded by gloomy office landscapes, the soothing sight of clouds drifting through the sky is unattainable. Setting up office cubicles in the open would do the trick but it's hardly a practical option, especially in places where the weather cannot be trusted. Fortunately, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering (IAO), based in Stuttgart, Germany, know what else can be done to bring a little outdoor comfort to the office-bound. They built a dynamic luminous ceiling which allows office dwellers to gaze at clouds without ever leaving their desks.  Read More

Creating a plastic bag as a bio-container using electrically-charged plasma (Photo: Fraunh...

The humble Petri dish may soon be a thing of the past. A team of researchers in Germany have developed a new technique for treating plastic bags with plasmas to turn them into sealed, sterile containers suitable for microbiology work with much less chance of contamination than traditional containers. This holds the promise of not only decreasing the possibility of contamination in stem cell and live-cell therapy techniques, but also the potential for cultivating whole human organs for transplant surgery.  Read More

The desCRY software solution uses complex algorithms to automatically scan and detect chil...

Surely one of the greatest fears of modern parents is that their child will fall prey to an online sexual predator. It's estimated that there are over 15 million photographs of child abuse victims in circulation online, and the very nature of the internet makes stemming the spread of such material a difficult and laborious task for criminal investigators. The development of an automated assistance system for image and video evaluation by Fraunhofer researchers is set to make that task a little easier, and a lot quicker. The desCRY software uses complex algorithms to determine if an image or video from a suspect's confiscated storage medium depicts child abuse, in a fraction of the time currently taken to manually trawl through the hundreds of thousands of files often stored on a typical computer's hard drive.  Read More

The eight-legged robot spider created by Fraunhofer researchers is made using a 3D printin...

When it comes to deciding on a form of locomotion for their creations, roboticists have plenty of options to choose from. While many go for the tried and tested tank-like tracks or wheels, nature is also a veritable treasure trove of inspiration. That's just where Fraunhofer researchers have turned with a new eight-legged robot modeled on the same principle that moves spider legs. Not only does the design give the spiderbot the agility and stability of real spiders when getting around on the ground, it also features special joints that allow it to jump.  Read More

A new technology is being developed, that would allow assembly lines to automatically reco...

Factories are a bit like living things. They are made up of a number of individual systems, and a change made to any one of those systems can have an affect on other systems down the line. In the case of living things, however, all of the systems are united by the organism’s DNA – if a change is made to one system, the others adjust automatically. Such is not the case in factories, however, where humans must go in and make all the changes manually. Not only is this costly and labor-intensive, but it can also result in errors. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Optronics, System Technologies and Image Exploitation are addressing this problem by trying to make factories more like living things – as they put it, they’re trying to decode “factory DNA.”  Read More

BizzTrust for Android splits a single smartphone into two virtual phones

With companies these days justifiably concerned about the security of the mobile devices provided to their workforce, many workers find themselves carrying around two mobile phones – one for personal use and another for business. Sure, mobile phones aren’t the huge pocket-stretching devices they once were but for the sake of convenience, one is most definitely better than two. Now researchers at Fraunhofer have developed software that allows the creation of two virtual smartphones in a single device, providing security for companies while letting workers install their own apps.  Read More

A new system uses lasers to polish hard surfaces, and it can do so in as little as one ten...

When it comes to laborious, monotonous tasks that are typically performed by hand, the polishing of hard materials has got to rank right near the top. Although a really lustrous shine may still require the human touch, scientists have now developed a process for getting a “good enough” shine, using lasers. Instead of removing a fine layer of the material’s surface, which is what traditional buffers and polishes do, the lasers melt it.  Read More

Fraunhofer has developed a system that automatically cultivates and observes cell cultures...

Laboratory technicians, in many different fields of research, spend a lot of time preparing and analyzing cell cultures. The process involves putting cells in a petri dish, adding nutrients, checking on cell growth, and then transferring cells to a separate container once sufficient colonies have been established. In an effort to streamline the laboratory workload, however, German research group Fraunhofer has now created an automated system that performs all of those tasks with no human intervention.  Read More

A scientist uses STAN to calibrate a four-camera 3D TV system(Photo: KUK Filmproduktion)

When it comes to producing 3D TV content, the more cameras that are used to simultaneously record one shot, the better. At least two cameras (or one camera with two lenses) are necessary to provide the depth information needed to produce the left- and right-eye images for conventional 3D, but according to researchers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, at least four cameras will be needed if we ever want to achieve glasses-free 3D TV. Calibrating that many cameras to one another could ordinarily take days, however ... which is why Fraunhofer has developed a system that reportedly cuts that time down to 30 to 60 minutes.  Read More

A new system for checking the quality of wood involves vibrating it at a rate of 20,000 ti...

When choosing wood for applications such as load-bearing beams in houses, it's important not to use pieces that contain cracks or other defects that could affect their structural integrity. While not quite as crucial, it's also nice to avoid flaws when building things like wooden furniture, piano soundboards, or window frames. Typically, people have been limited to visually checking the wood for such defects. Now, however, researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Wood Research have developed a system that highlights faults invisible to the human eye, using a process called high-power ultrasound thermography.  Read More

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