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Fraunhofer

— Science

Black silicon could boost efficiency of traditional solar cells

By - October 3, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Science

Infrared technology offers faster wireless data transfer than Wi-Fi and Bluetooth

By - October 2, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Science

Smart fabric designed to detect intruders

By - September 10, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Urban Transport

AutoTram Extra Grand carries 256 people

By - September 9, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Around The Home

Wireless, battery-less system designed to alert users to windows left open

By - September 7, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Health and Wellbeing

Tiny biosensor could mean an end to daily finger sticks for diabetics

By - September 7, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Aircraft

New airline seats provide individual climate control

By - September 3, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Home Entertainment

New system promises better glasses-free 3D TV

By - August 20, 2012 1 Picture
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
— Science

New production process promises cheaper infrared lenses

By - August 10, 2012 2 Pictures
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
— Computers

Wooden-bodied computer claimed to be much greener than a regular PC

By - August 7, 2012 3 Pictures
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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