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Fraunhofer


— Marine

Electrolysis-based anti-biofouling system keeps hulls clean

By - December 7, 2012
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
— Environment

New technique allows scrap rubber to be recycled into high-quality plastic

By - November 13, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Health and Wellbeing

Brain implant could warn of the onset of dementia

By - November 12, 2012
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

Researchers bring HOPSCOTCH into the 21st century

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
— Wearable Electronics

OLED data glasses controlled with eye movements

By - November 2, 2012
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
— Environment

Kite power getting off the ground in Germany

By - November 1, 2012
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
— Environment

German scientists create usable foam from tree bark

By - November 1, 2012
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
— Science

Fraunhofer develops new technology to make titanium cost effective

By - October 18, 2012 4 Pictures
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
— Automotive

New engine-making tool should result in more fuel-efficient cars

By - October 8, 2012
You may think that the pistons in your car’s engine slide in and out of the cylinder bore holes smooth as silk, but according to researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Machine Tools and Forming Technology, the process could be smoother. If it was, your car would burn less gasoline, and require less oil for lubrication. Well, those researchers have developed an engine-building tool, designed to minimize engine cylinder friction. Read More
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