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Fraunhofer

Dark silicon could improve efficiency in traditional solar cells by harvesting energy in t...

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications have developed a system that allows solar cells to effectively harvest energy from the infrared spectrum, tapping into a source of energy that in the past has mostly been out of reach. The new technology, which promises to work well with commercially available solar cells, has the potential of becoming a standard in the solar panels of tomorrow.  Read More

The infrared wireless communication module developed at Fraunhofer can transfer data wirel...

Back around the turn of the century, infrared ports for wireless data transfer over short distances were commonplace on many mobile devices. But it wasn't long before infrared communication technology was kicked to the curb in favor of the more versatile radio-based Wi-Fi and Bluetooth technologies. Fraunhofer researchers are looking to resurrect infrared wireless data transfer technology with the development of a “multi-gigabit communication module” that can wirelessly transfer data 46 times faster than Wi-Fi and 1,430 times faster than Bluetooth.  Read More

The smart fabric incorporates a web of conductive threads, wired into a microcontroller

If you’re a burglar, and all that separates you from your quarry is what appears to be a simple sheet of fabric, you might not want to cut it. That’s because it could be a new smart fabric, that will set off an alarm if it’s breached. Created by researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration, the fabric incorporates a web of silver-coated conductive threads that are connected to a microcontroller. If that controller detects a break in the weak electric current that travels through the fibers, it’ll be sure to let the right people know.  Read More

The AutoTram Extra Grand (Photo: Fraunhofer IVI)

Love them or hate them, bendy buses are impressive. You see one coming around a corner looking like an ordinary bus, then comes the articulated bit and then more bus. Now the unveiling in Dresden, Germany of the AutoTram Extra Grand raises the bar with a bendy bus that’s more like a bendy train. With three sections, measuring over 30 meters (100 ft) long and a passenger capacity of 256, it’s the world’s longest bus.  Read More

A prototype of the Fraunhofer system, with the RF node at left, and the sensor housing at ...

If a storm rolls in while you’re at work, and you’re wondering if you left your bedroom window open, you can tell via an internet connection – if that window is equipped with a contact sensor. Ordinarily, such sensors require electrical wiring, and a battery or mains power. A new window system developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Integrated Circuits, however, works without wires, and draws its power from the environment around it.  Read More

The tiny biosensor can calculate a person's glucose levels from tears or sweat

Despite promising developments in recent years, millions of type-1 diabetes sufferers worldwide still face the often-painful daily burden of finger sticks to test their blood glucose levels. Now researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS) have developed a biosensor that provides a non-invasive way to measure blood glucose levels and can transmit its readings wirelessly to a mobile device.  Read More

The personal climate control seats were tested in the front end of an Airbus A310 (Image: ...

These days, jet air travel is less of a glamorous Don Draper adventure and often more of a tedious ordeal. The cabin air doesn’t help as passengers suffer sinus troubles and can’t stay warm or cool enough for comfort. At the ILA Berlin Air Show running September 11 - 16, the Fraunhofer Institute for Building Physics (IBP) of Valley, Germany will reveal to the public a new airline seat that provides air passengers with individual climate control that may make even travelling Coach a bit more pleasant.  Read More

New technology will provide living-room friendly viewing on your existing 3D Blu-rays (Pho...

Wide-angle autostereoscopic displays provide the opportunity for practical glasses-free 3D viewing, but the incompatibility of current 3D-media has hindered the further development and implementation of the technology. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications have been working to provide a solution to this issue, producing a technology capable of converting conventional 3D Blu-rays for use with the new display technology.  Read More

Lenses made of amorphous chalcogenide glass

Driving a car in the country at night can be a scary. The combination of poor visibility and animals or other hard to spot obstacles on the road poses an obvious threat to both the car and its occupants. Some luxury models now have the option of forward looking infrared (FLIR) night vision systems, so you can see the animal in time to swerve. Unfortunately these systems are pricey, even as an aftermarket add-on, but that may soon change through the work of researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM) in Freiburg, Germany. The researchers have invented a way of bringing down the cost of the infrared lenses in FLIR systems down by 70 percent - opening the way to cheap FLIR cameras for the mass market.  Read More

The iameco v3 touchscreen computer (Photo: MicroPro Computers)

We have seen wooden-framed computers before, although those have generally been off-the-shelf machines that have simply received a steampunk makeover. A team of engineers from Ireland’s MicroPro Computers and Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration have gone considerably farther, however. Their wood-bodied iameco (“I am eco”) v3 touchscreen computer reportedly has 70 percent less carbon footprint than a regular desktop PC with a monitor.  Read More

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