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— Around The Home

Window coating improves mood by letting more light in

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

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

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

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

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

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

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
— Drones

New 3D sensor should help UAVs avoid fender-benders

Hovering unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) – most of which take the form of quadrocopters – are currently being developed for a wide range of applications. Some of these include the delivery of supplies to remote locations, urban reconnaissance, and military operations. Whether they’re flying solo or in organized swarms, however, they constantly need to be aware of potential collision hazards, both mobile and stationary. While various technologies are already being utilized for this purpose, Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has developed a new 3D CMOS sensor, that promises particularly good performance. Read More
— Health and Wellbeing

German scientists creating a high-tech artificial hip

While modern artificial hips are made of a number of high-tech materials, metal is still often the material of choice for younger, more active patients. This is due mainly to the fact that it’s so robust. Unfortunately, however, difficulties can arise in the metal ball-and-socket interface – where the artificial head of the femur meets the artificial socket of the pelvis – if things aren't perfectly aligned. In particular, the metal surfaces can wear against one another, decreasing the longevity of the implant and potentially causing health problems in the patient. Now, researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation are developing a new type of heavy-duty artificial hip, that contains no metal at all. Read More
— Wearable Electronics

Wearable system wirelessly delivers power to implants

When it comes to implantable electronic devices such as pacemakers, biosensors or drug-delivery devices, there are a few options regarding power sources. While batteries could be used in some applications, doing so would require surgically replacing the implant when its battery runs out. Radio wave-based and inductive systems are instead often used, in which power is “beamed” to the device from a source outside the body. According to researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Ceramic Technologies and Systems, however, such systems often have a limited range, and are easily affected by factors such as location, position and movement. Instead, they’ve developed what they claim is a better, more versatile system. Read More