Health & Wellbeing

High-tech comb uses plasma to kill lice

As some parents will already know, head lice infestations can be very difficult to treat. Typically a toxic shampoo or lotion has to first be applied to the sufferer's scalp, after which the lice are removed by pulling a specialized comb through their hair. Louse eggs aren't harmed by such shampoos, however, so the treatment needs to be repeated once they've hatched. This means more nasty chemicals, and more discomfort for the child (or adult). That's why researchers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering and Thin Films have developed an alternative, in the form of a comb that zaps the pests with cold plasma.Read More


Fraunhofer device could be a surgeon's third arm

Being a surgeon is a pretty high-stress job, and relies heavily on surgical assistants for things like setting clamps and holding tools. Researchers from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute are looking to lighten the load a little, by developing a metal hand that lets surgeons more directly control what's happening on the operating table.Read More

The microoptic lenses behind BMW's Welcome Light Carpet

For the late-night reveler, the new BMW 7 Series has a feature that makes the walk through the carpark a bit less frustrating. At the press of a key fob, the Welcome Light Carpet lighting system shines a striped pattern of light on the ground to guide motorists back to their car thanks to a system of microoptic lenses developed by the Fraunhofer Institute.Read More


Nanotube film could heat electric cars without draining their batteries

While some electric cars may have a decent range in places like California, they're not so impressive in locations with frigid winters. That's because their battery is powering not only the motor, but also the cabin heating system. Now, however, engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation are developing new technology that could keep EV drivers warm, without leaving them stranded.Read More


Prototype vehicle seat is adjusted using hand gestures

Tired of trying to remember what knobs move your car seat in which direction? Well, in the not-too-distant future, you may not have to. That's because scientists from Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research and Isringhausen GmbH have developed a seat that's moved using simple intuitive gestures.Read More


Implantable pump to regulate fluids in the eye and preserve vision

When its levels are slightly off-kilter, eye fluid can create pretty big problems for our vision. When blockages occur they can lead to a build up in pressure that destroys the optic nerve and causes blindness, a condition we know as glaucoma. In contrast, a lack of fluid can cause the eye to cave in and stop functioning, a disease known as phthisis bulbi. Currently, little can be done about these irreversible conditions once they take hold, but Fraunhofer researchers have a potential solution in the works by way of a microscopic pump that can be implanted in the eyeball to regulate ocular pressure.Read More

Urban Transport

Fast-charging EDDA electric bus shows promise for regular use

If electric buses are ever going to become a common sight in cities around the world, then they'll need to be able to operate like their traditional counterparts. This means no taking long breaks to recharge, or sacrificing seating space for the storage of huge batteries. While allowing them to draw power from the road is one alternative, the European EDDA Bus consortium is working on another – electric buses that can grab a quick charge at bus stops in just a few minutes.Read More


Fraunhofer tech to allow less conspicuous smartglasses

Smartglasses, or augmented reality glasses, may have found niches in military and industrial circles, but haven't really caught on with consumers for a number of reasons – a major one being that they're extremely conspicuous. To help rectify this, the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering (IOF) in Jena, Germany, has developed technology that allows for a more unobtrusive design, while also providing improved functionality.Read More

Good Thinking

Apps help deaf cinema-goers hear movies

For people with limited hearing, understanding movies or plays can be challenging – particularly if they don't own a hearing aid. That's why engineers at Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Digital Media Technolgy have developed a system that streams audio from the stage or screen to the user's earphone-equipped smartphone.Read More

Health & Wellbeing

Sensor-equipped stockings designed to save diabetics' feet

Even if you're not diabetic, you've probably heard that they need to watch out for problems with their feet. That's because they frequently lack sensation down there, and therefore don't know when it's time to shift their weight in order to relieve pressure on specific areas of their feet. The result can be chronic pressure sores, which can in turn ultimately lead to toe or foot amputations. While pressure-sensing shoe inserts are one option, Germany's Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research claims that its pressure-sensing stockings are a better way to go.

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