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Fraunhofer

Scientists have created a new sensor system, designed to spot potentially hazardous debris...

When the Air France Concorde Flight 4590 was taking off from Charles de Gaulle International Airport in July of 2000, it ran over a piece of debris that had been left on the runway by another plane. That incident caused the tire to rupture, sending pieces of itself flying into the underside of the Concorde. This in turn caused a fuel tank to rupture, the escaping fuel to catch fire, and ultimately led to the crashing of the airliner ... If there’s one thing that this event proved, it’s that debris on the runway can be dangerous. While human crews do already manually check for such debris, German scientists have created an automated system that they claim should do a better job.  Read More

The SAISBECO project is developing facial recognition software, for the study of wild apes...

When studying wild animals such as gorillas and chimpanzees, it's not uncommon to use photo or video traps - unmanned cameras that are triggered to capture images when creatures pass in front of them. Scientists can then retrieve the cameras and review the footage, to get an estimate of the numbers of a certain species within a given area, and to see what those animals have been up to. One of the problems with this approach, however, is that it's often hard to tell one animal from another - are you looking at several shots of several different apes, or is it the same individual every time? German scientists are developing wild primate-devoted facial recognition software, in order to answer such questions.  Read More

The VIATAG system's RFID transponders allow drivers to use car parks without having to mak...

Car parks can be a hassle – you have to roll down your car window and reach out to get a ticket from the dispenser on the way in, and then have to reach over and pay the cashier on the way out. The engineers at Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Material Flow and Logistics, however, have come up with something easier. They’ve developed an RFID (radio-frequency identification) tag system that allows drivers to pass unimpeded in and out of car parks, with parking fees being automatically deducted from an online account.  Read More

DLC-coated plowshare (Image: Martin Horner/Fraunhofer IWM)

Plows are one of the most basic agricultural implements and have been in use for thousands of years. In that time they’ve evolved from simple ox-drawn scratch plows consisting of a frame holding a vertical wooden stick dragged through the topsoil – which are still used in many parts of the world – to tractor-mounted plows that can have as many as 18 moldboards. The evolution of the humble plow looks set to continue with Fraunhofer scientists working on diamond-like carbon (DLC)-coated plowshares that would slide through the soil like a hot knife through butter, thereby requiring less fuel.  Read More

A proposed wave-power system could be installed on ships, which would regularly return to ...

Why don’t we have stationary commercial fishing platforms that are anchored offshore, where they sweep the waters with their nets, sending the captured fish back to shore through a pipeline? Well, because it’s simpler and more efficient to send fishing boats out to catch the fish and bring them in. Thinking along those same lines, the Fraunhofer Center for Manufacturing Innovation has proposed a ship-mounted renewable energy-harvesting system, that would be powered by the ocean’s waves.  Read More

A new augmented reality system allows engineers to provide visual instructions to remote t...

It can be very frustrating trying to fix something, when the person instructing you isn’t there in person, but is instead communicating with you over a phone line – “Whaddaya mean, ‘The silver cap’? Which silver cap?!” This is why engineers sometimes need to be flown in to factories or other places that use complex machines, to make repairs that simply can’t be explained verbally. Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication, Information Processing and Ergonomics, however, have developed an augmented reality system that lets those engineers provide real-time visual instructions to distant on-site technicians ... and it can be done without internet access.  Read More

Researchers have coated a guitar tailpiece with a thin layer of DiaForce, which allows for...

For most of us, digitally capturing our six-string virtuosity involves plugging an axe into a guitar interface like Apogee's JAM and then launching some software on a laptop or mobile device. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films are currently developing a somewhat neater, and potentially more accurate, solution that also holds the promise of replacing the humble guitar pickup. The guitar's tailpiece has been thinly coated with a contact material which is claimed to precisely capture complex playing movements in minute detail and convert them to digital control signals for onward processing.  Read More

The ADOSE vehicle sensory system is reportedly inexpensive enough to produce, it could be ...

There are presently several in-car systems that use small cameras and sensors to alert drivers to dangers on the road, or even in their own driving habits. Some of these systems can be quite costly, and are therefore limited to use in fairly expensive automobiles. Now, however, a team of scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have developed a new type of sensory system, that's cheap enough to produce that it could be used in economy vehicles.  Read More

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a non-dairy ice cream alternative called Lupinesse

While the researchers at Fraunhofer have been toiling away on all manner of important technologies, from electric vehicles and printable batteries to antibacterial film and water conservation technologies, it's good to see they've also turned some of their expertize towards the equally important task of bringing the joy of ice cream on a summer's day to those with a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. A new plant-based ice cream alternative developed by Fraunhofer researchers called Lupinesse has already hit store shelves in Germany and is apparently pretty close to the real thing.  Read More

SMART-WAY is an app currently in development, that would show commuters how to reach their...

We know how it is ... you would use public transportation more often, but it’s such a hassle trying to figure out which bus, train or tram to take, where to transfer, and what to do if your plans are altered. In the future, however, that might not be a problem. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Transportation and Infrastructure Systems is working on SMART-WAY, a mobile phone app that would make using public transit as simple as following the directions on a vehicle navigation system – you would just indicate your destination, and it would show you how to get there using public services, updating its information in real time.  Read More

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