Photokina 2014 highlights

Fraunhofer

Using a wireless smart socket to control the lights in your home may not be not far off

A common theme in any form of entertainment depicting the future is the use of a remote to control everything – futuristic houses are often shown with the owner turning the lights on before they even arrive. Turns out, using the internet to control our houses is not too far away. A group of researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Communication Systems ESK in Munich, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institute for Industrial Mathematics ITWM in Kaiserslautern, have developed a new power outlet that supports the brand-new IPv6 Internet protocol. These new outlets, known as the wireless smart socket, could very well revolutionize the way we turn things on and off in our homes.  Read More

A plastic garden furniture armrest without (left) and with (right) a self-cleaning photoca...

For many people, the onset of warmer weather can mean pulling out the ol' scrubbing brush and getting to work on the slimy film of moss, algae, fungi and bacteria that has built up on the garden furniture over the colder months. But we may soon be able to say goodbye to this tiresome chore thanks to researchers at Fraunhofer who are developing coatings that would be activated by the sun’s rays to destroy organic substances attaching themselves to various surfaces.  Read More

A sample of Fraunhofer's CryoSolplus phase-change battery coolant

One of the big enemies of electric vehicle batteries is heat. Batteries already warm up under normal use, but when hot summer temperatures or high workloads are thrown in, overheating becomes a real possibility. According to the Fraunhofer Institute for Environmental, Safety and Energy Technology, running a battery at ten degrees over its maximum “comfort level” of about 35ºC (95ºF) can deplete its service life by half. That’s why researchers there have developed a battery coolant known as CryoSolplus, which is said to offer three times the cooling capacity of plain water.  Read More

Fraunhofer researchers have developed a window coating (not pictured) that lets in more li...

With many of us spending more and more time indoors, it can be a struggle to get the amount of sunlight our bodies crave. Modern heat-insulating, sun-protection glazing doesn’t help, as it reflects a noticeable percentage of the incident sunlight in the part of the spectrum that governs our hormonal balance. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research (ISC) have developed a coating for windows that lets in more light, in particular those wavelengths of light that have a beneficial effect on our sense of well-being.  Read More

The unusual 'prototype' Center for Virtual Engineering (ZVE) at the Stuttgart headquarters...

The new Center for Virtual Engineering (ZVE) at the Stuttgart headquarters of the Fraunhofer Institute officially opened its doors for the first time on June 20. The unusual "prototype building," designed by Dutch architectural firm UNStusdio, has been awarded a gold certificate by German Sustainable Building Council (DGNB), but its main feature is the focus on communal space designed to foster a cooperative working environment.  Read More

An illustration depicting one of the lattice-like electrodes, over top of one of the elast...

A lot of devices, such as shock absorbers, currently use elastomers to help minimize vibrations. While the malleable, yielding qualities of these materials do indeed allow them to absorb energy that would otherwise take the form of rattles and jolts, they are nonetheless passive – basically, they just sit there. Researchers from Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Structural Durability and System Reliability, however, are developing a new system in which elastomers actually “fight back” against vibrations.  Read More

Hawk-Eye goal-line technology will be trialled at an international friendly association fo...

The international football friendly (the association kind) between England and Belgium scheduled for June 2 may not be burning a hole in your diary, but it will be notable in at least one respect. The match, to be held at London's Wembley Stadium, will be the highest profile match to date to make use of so-called goal-line technology, designed to detect whether or not the ball has crossed the line (and therefore whether a goal should be given). The goals at Wembley have been fitted with a Hawk-Eye system similar to those now officially used to assist umpires in tennis and cricket. However, though the system will be up and running for the entire match, it will not be used to help adjudicate in the event of a difficult goal-line decision.  Read More

The Smartsense system provides real-time turn by turn navigation indoors (Photo: Fraunhofe...

It's not that long ago that GPS capabilities in a mobile phone were considered a standout feature. Today, GPS navigation is standard for smartphones, and as a result, many of us have come to rely on them when it comes to getting from A to B. However, GPS technology isn't without its faults, and if A to B is located under a roof, out of sight of the orbiting GPS satellites, then you can end up falling back on the not always reliable sense of direction. To fix the problem, Fraunhofer Research is developing Smartsense, a smartphone sensor capable of providing accurate navigation indoors, without the aid of GPS.  Read More

The IPMS spectrometer could one day be integrated into smartphones (Photo: Fraunhofer IPMS...

Foodies who've ever dreamed of having superhero-style vision that could analyze what they are about to eat should keep an eye on the upcoming Sensor+Trade fair in Nuremberg. Scientists from the Fraunhofer Institute of Photonic Microsystems (IPMS) will be exhibiting a tiny prototype spectrometer that can measure factors such as water and protein level in foods, meaning you won't make the mistake of buying fruit that looks good on the outside but is rotten at its core.  Read More

The Fraunhofer smartphone projector actually consists of an array of 200 microprojectors

If you were using a smartphone projector to shine an image onto an uneven surface, or onto a flat surface but at a diagonal angle, parts of the image would end up out of focus ... unless, that is, your phone featured a new prototype LED projector developed by Germany’s Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Optics and Precision Engineering. Inspired by the compound eyes of insects, the device can reportedly display crisp, bright, distortion-free visuals onto irregular surfaces, and at non-perpendicular angles. Additionally, users can manipulate that display by reaching in and touching the projection surface.  Read More

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