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Fraunhofer

— Around The Home

The future is coming, in the form of internet-controlled power outlets

By - August 3, 2012 1 Picture
A common theme in any form of entertainment depicting the future is the use of a remote to control everything – futuristic houses are often shown with the owner turning the lights on before they even arrive. Turns out, using the internet to control our houses is not too far away. A group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK in Munich, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern, have developed a new power outlet that supports the brand-new IPv6 Internet protocol. These new outlets, known as the wireless smart socket, could very well revolutionize the way we turn things on and off in our homes. Read More
— Science

Add a dash of titanium dioxide for self-cleaning walls, displays and garden furniture

By - July 18, 2012 2 Pictures
For many people, the onset of warmer weather can mean pulling out the ol' scrubbing brush and getting to work on the slimy film of moss, algae, fungi and bacteria that has built up on the garden furniture over the colder months. But we may soon be able to say goodbye to this tiresome chore thanks to researchers at Fraunhofer who are developing coatings that would be activated by the sun’s rays to destroy organic substances attaching themselves to various surfaces. Read More
— Automotive

CryoSolplus could help keep EV batteries cool

By - July 13, 2012 1 Picture
One of the big enemies of electric vehicle batteries is heat. Batteries already warm up under normal use, but when hot summer temperatures or high workloads are thrown in, overheating becomes a real possibility. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology, running a battery at ten degrees over its maximum “comfort level” of about 35ºC (95ºF) can deplete its service life by half. That’s why researchers there have developed a battery coolant known as CryoSolplus, which is said to offer three times the cooling capacity of plain water. Read More
— Around The Home

Window coating improves mood by letting more light in

By - July 4, 2012 1 Picture
With many of us spending more and more time indoors, it can be a struggle to get the amount of sunlight our bodies crave. Modern heat-insulating, sun-protection glazing doesn’t help, as it reflects a noticeable percentage of the incident sunlight in the part of the spectrum that governs our hormonal balance. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) have developed a coating for windows that lets in more light, in particular those wavelengths of light that have a beneficial effect on our sense of well-being. Read More
— Architecture

"Prototype" Fraunhofer research center opens in Stuttgart

By - June 27, 2012 17 Pictures
The new Center for Virtual Engineering (ZVE) at the Stuttgart headquarters of the Fraunhofer Institute officially opened its doors for the first time on June 20. The unusual "prototype building," designed by Dutch architectural firm UNStusdio, has been awarded a gold certificate by German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), but its main feature is the focus on communal space designed to foster a cooperative working environment. Read More
— Science

"Artificial muscles" shown to eliminate vibrations with vibrations of their own

By - June 6, 2012 1 Picture
A lot of devices, such as shock absorbers, currently use elastomers to help minimize vibrations. While the malleable, yielding qualities of these materials do indeed allow them to absorb energy that would otherwise take the form of rattles and jolts, they are nonetheless passive – basically, they just sit there. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, however, are developing a new system in which elastomers actually “fight back” against vibrations. Read More
— Sports

FIFA trial goal-line technology in international soccer match ahead of key vote

By - May 25, 2012 2 Pictures
The international football friendly (the association kind) between England and Belgium scheduled for June 2 may not be burning a hole in your diary, but it will be notable in at least one respect. The match, to be held at London's Wembley Stadium, will be the highest profile match to date to make use of so-called goal-line technology, designed to detect whether or not the ball has crossed the line (and therefore whether a goal should be given). The goals at Wembley have been fitted with a Hawk-Eye system similar to those now officially used to assist umpires in tennis and cricket. However, though the system will be up and running for the entire match, it will not be used to help adjudicate in the event of a difficult goal-line decision. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Smartsense navigation system works where GPS won't - indoors

By - May 15, 2012 2 Pictures
It's not that long ago that GPS capabilities in a mobile phone were considered a standout feature. Today, GPS navigation is standard for smartphones, and as a result, many of us have come to rely on them when it comes to getting from A to B. However, GPS technology isn't without its faults, and if A to B is located under a roof, out of sight of the orbiting GPS satellites, then you can end up falling back on the not always reliable sense of direction. To fix the problem, Fraunhofer Research is developing Smartsense, a smartphone sensor capable of providing accurate navigation indoors, without the aid of GPS. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

What's for dinner? Just check the spectrometer

By - May 14, 2012 1 Picture
Foodies who've ever dreamed of having superhero-style vision that could analyze what they are about to eat should keep an eye on the upcoming Sensor+Trade fair in Nuremberg. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute of Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) will be exhibiting a tiny prototype spectrometer that can measure factors such as water and protein level in foods, meaning you won't make the mistake of buying fruit that looks good on the outside but is rotten at its core. Read More
— Mobile Technology

Insect-inspired smartphone projector focuses images onto uneven surfaces

By - May 11, 2012 2 Pictures
If you were using a smartphone projector to shine an image onto an uneven surface, or onto a flat surface but at a diagonal angle, parts of the image would end up out of focus ... unless, that is, your phone featured a new prototype LED projector developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering. Inspired by the compound eyes of insects, the device can reportedly display crisp, bright, distortion-free visuals onto irregular surfaces, and at non-perpendicular angles. Additionally, users can manipulate that display by reaching in and touching the projection surface. Read More

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