Highlights from the 2014 LA Auto Show

Fraunhofer

The ShareKey app uses NFC to lock and unlock doors (Photo: Fraunhofer SIT)

Mobile phones have already swallowed up the average Joe's diary, compact camera, watch and Walkman. They're working on replacing the wallet as well – so the next logical step is to go hunting for the last remaining pocket-dwelling device they can gobble up in their mad fury of convergence – your keyring. Smart and secure door access apps and hardware have already sprung up using Bluetooth and Wi-Fi – now there's ShareKey, which uses NFC (near field communication) and aims to be the most secure of all systems.  Read More

Fraunhofer is developing machines with built-in copy protection (Photo: Volker Steger)

Mention counterfeit goods and most people will probably think of knock-off watches or pirated DVDs, but counterfeiting is a much wider problem. Everything from aircraft components to groceries are faked on a regular basis, with a third of industries affected at an estimated worldwide cost of US$650 billion dollars. German machine tools are a favorite target and to help combat this the Fraunhofer Research Institution for Applied and Integrated Security (AISEC) in Garching, Germany, is developing new technologies and techniques to make counterfeiting of these items more difficult.  Read More

One of the test hulls, which had the electrochemical paint applied in select areas

Marine biofouling is the process in which organisms such as barnacles problematically colonize underwater surfaces. When it happens to the hulls of ships, the vessels become less hydrodynamic, having to burn more fuel in order to move through the water. Although hulls can be coated with paint that kills the offending organisms, that paint also releases toxic substances into the surrounding water. Now, however, scientists from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials have developed a more environmentally-friendly paint, that uses electrolysis to control biofouling.  Read More

Researchers have developed a new material called EPMT which is made up of up to 80 percent...

It's reckoned that most of the 22 million tons of rubber that is processed every year worldwide goes into making vehicle tires and that once rubber products reach the end of their useful lives, for the most part they end up being incinerated. Even when the rubber residues are reclaimed and re-used to make new products, the lack of techniques for producing high-quality materials means that the recyclables are relegated to secondary products such as arena or playground floor coverings or padded doormats. Looking for new ways to optimize the recycling of rubber waste, researchers have developed a material called EPMT that has the desired material properties and characteristics for use in the manufacture of high quality products such as wheel and splashguard covers, handles, knobs and steerable casters.  Read More

The new sensor improves monitoring of cerebral pressure, which can lead to dementia

A new moisture-proof sensor has been developed, to monitor cerebral pressure that can lead to dementia. It was created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering IBMT in St. Ingbert in Germany. The sensor, that is similar to pressure sensors used by the auto industry, represents a shift from previous implants that allowed moisture to penetrate and destroy the device.  Read More

A new take on HOPSCOTCH is designed to motivate the user to move more but in a playful way

For people of a certain generation, "Hopscotch" will always be a game where you jump between chalk-drawn numbered rectangles. Now Fraunhofer researchers have developed an interactive version of the playground game that's designed to motivate users to learn in a fun and playful way while also helping them keep fit.  Read More

Fraunhofer's OLED data glasses

Imagine that you’re a mechanic whose hands are covered in grease, and you’re trying to follow repair instructions. Every time you need to turn the page or advance the screen, you have to put down your tools and wipe your hands. That’s why scientists from the Fraunhofer Center for Organics, Materials and Electronic Devices Dresden (COMEDD) have developed glasses that allow the wearer to flip pages on a digital document using nothing but their eyes.  Read More

A kite makes its maiden voyage at the test site in Mecklenburg-West Pomerania (Photo: © Fr...

Despite offering numerous advantages over its rotating brethren, most notably the ability to reach the high-speed winds found at higher altitudes, kite-based energy systems are yet to really get off the ground in a meaningful way. But things are looking up. Earlier this year, NASA revealed it is investigating ways to improve the aerodynamics and autonomous flight control of kites for power generation applications, and now Berlin-based wind energy developer NTS GmbH has teamed with the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation (IPA) to make their own kite energy system concept a reality.  Read More

Researchers at the University of Freiburg have developed a technique for making foam from ...

Germany is known for its cutting-edge policies on green issues, and its drive towards a clean economy. One of its latest eco-breakthroughs comes from the University of Freiburg's Biofoambark project. Researchers there are trying to green up the insulation foam used in construction, by replacing its petroleum-based ingredients with a naturally-occurring compound that ordinarily goes to waste in the lumber industry.  Read More

Schematic of titanium pipes being formed

Titanium is a tremendously useful metal and very abundant, yet only 186,000 tonnes (205,030 tons) of it are produced a year and it’s not used very much outside of the aerospace field because it’s so expensive and difficult to forge. To correct this, a team led by André Albert at the Fraunhofer Institute for Surface Engineering in partnership with Thin Films (IST) in Braunschweig, Germany have developed a new process for hydroforming titanium at high temperatures in a single step that promises to make titanium more of an everyday material.  Read More

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