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Fraunhofer

An asteroid impact has the potential to produce a mass extinction event (Image: NASA/Don D...

There are hundreds of near-Earth asteroids hurtling through space that are a potential danger to our planet. One way of dealing with the problem is to deflect them with a space probe deliberately set on a collision course. To see how effective such a collision would be, Frank Schäfer of the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst-Mach-Institut, EMI in Freiburg, Germany is looking at what asteroids are made of and how this affects a deflection impact.  Read More

Fraunhofer's cordless SUPA lamps are powered by a circuit board mounted beneath the tablet...

If you don’t like the way that the power cords run from your table lamps to the wall outlet, looking messy and waiting to trip passers-by, then you might like SUPA. Standing for Smart Universal Power Antenna, the SUPA wireless system incorporates cordless lamps that receive their power by induction from a printed circuit board located on the underside of the tabletop.  Read More

The OmniCam360 uses a mirror system that allows the unit to capture seamless 360-degree pa...

Armchair sports lovers are at the mercy of TV directors who chose what camera angle is shown when. Most sports fans will have been frustrated with their shot selection at one time or another, but a new panoramic camera would put such decisions in the viewer’s hands. Comprising ten individual cameras, the OmniCam 360 provides a full 360-degree of the action.  Read More

NuOffice scored 94 points in LEED's Core and Shell category (Photo: Haupt Immobilien)

A recently-completed Munich-based commercial property, dubbed NuOffice, is being hailed as the world's most sustainable office building. Commissioned by Haupt Immobilien, and created with the help of both European-funded research group DIRECTION and the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics, NuOffice breezed through LEED Platinum certification. It snagged the highest rating ever issued by the body for a building of its type.  Read More

CAD model of the FluzCrawler robot inspecting a wire cable (Image: Fraunhofer IZFP)

The important task of inspecting cables on bridges, elevators, ski lifts and cable cars for signs of strain, wear and corrosion is commonly carried out by a device that clasps around the cable and exposes it to a magnetic field, looking for disruptions in the field. The problem is that the diameter of the cables and their jackets can vary considerably, limiting the use of such devices. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Nondestructive Testing have come up with a one-size-fits-all approach in the form of a robot they’ve dubbed the FluxCrawler.  Read More

Fraunhofer's prototype propulsion system

Along with their writhing tentacles, octopi and squid sport another interesting feature – they swim not by swishing a tail, but by expelling a jet of water. This allows them to move very quickly and quietly. Scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation have now copied this system, in a propulsion system that could ultimately find use in boats, recreational watercraft, or submarines.  Read More

The Electromobile City Scooter demonstrator vehicle, on display in Hannover

While electric scooters are considerably cheaper and easier to park than electric cars, many people are still put off by the idea of having to balance on two wheels. Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Engineering is addressing that problem, with its leaning three-wheeled Electromobile City Scooter.  Read More

An electrically-activated adhesive tape incorporating metal strips has been developed for ...

Prefabricated houses are made up of separate pre-assembled modules that are joined to one another on-site – those modules, in turn, are made up of various wooden components that are typically nailed (or sometimes stapled) together in a factory. The wood used in the frames of the modules must be reasonably thick, in order not to split when the nails are driven in. This places some limitations on design possibilities. Now, however, German scientists have developed an alternative to those nails: electrically-activated adhesive tape.  Read More

The “intelligent door seal system” automatically lets fresh air into a crowded room when c...

If you’re in a confidential meeting with the boardroom door closed, the air can get stale pretty fast. Should it be too cold outside to crack any windows, or if the room simply has no windows, then opening those isn’t a choice. That’s why Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems has teamed up with the Athmer Company to create an “intelligent door seal system.”  Read More

A sheet made up of the polymer opals

Some of the most vividly colored materials in nature, including things like butterfly wings, don’t obtain their color from pigment. Instead, their internal structure reflects light at a given wavelength, producing a specific color. Opals are another example of something that utilizes this effect. In collaboration with Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, scientists from the University of Cambridge have now copied the colorful nanostructure of the opal. The result is a flexible, colorful material that won’t fade over time, that changes color when stretched, and that could have many applications.  Read More

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