Research News Archive 2013

December 2013

On the trail of prostate cancer (Fraunhofer IZI)

New biomarkers will improve diagnostics of endemic diseases in future, such as prostate cancer. Their mission: to recognize the tumor earlier and classify it more precisely – thereby helping avoid unnecessary operations.

Defending against electromagnetic attacks (Fraunhofer INT)

Electromagnetic fields can interfere with or damage electronic devices. Electromagnetic radiation is invisible to people. A new measuring instrument can now determine the strength, frequency, and direction of the attack.

High-tech athletic shoe for pure running pleasure (Fraunhofer IPMS)

Jogging keeps you fit and is healthy. However, athletes that start training can overdo it and easily pull and tear ligaments. A new high-tech running shoe will evaluate running form in real time and thereby counter these injuries in future.

Thermoelectric materials nearing production scale (Fraunhofer IPM)

Half-Heusler compounds are especially suited for manufacturing thermoelectric modules. Waste heat can be converted to electricity with them. Researchers have manufactured the alloys for the first time in kilogram quantities.

EuroMold 2013: Tougher dies for automotive manufacturing (Fraunhofer IPT)

Forming dies are put under immense strain. Yet by using a laser to alloy their surfaces with filler material you can make them more robust and resistant to wear. This process increases the service life of dies used in automotive manufacturing by 150 percent.

Better first response medical care during catastrophes (Fraunhofer FIT)

When large-scale emergencies occur, it often takes far too long before victims receive the care their injuries demand. Now a new electronic system has been designed to support helpers during the initial assessment of victims and to speed up patient care.

Free-flowing traffic on the information highway (Fraunhofer HHI)

Our communication networks have to process constantly increasing volumes of data, pushing them to the limits of their capacity. An analyzer makes it possible to test new, efficient transmission formats quickly and with the minimum of fuss.

November 2013

Intelligent training with a Fitness Shirt and an E-bike (Fraunhofer IIS)

How do we know what the optimum level of training is? A fitness shirt will help us avoid overstraining and under-exertion in the future. The clue: it becomes an intelligent training device when combined with an electric bike and a smartphone.

More secure App-Store for Android (Fraunhofer AISEC)

Apps often read the data from mobile user devices unnoticed by users. This represents a large security risk, especially for companies. A new App-Store filters out problematic Android applications automatically with the help of detection software.

Special camera detects tumors (Fraunhofer IPA)

Cancer patients have the highest probability of recovering if tumors are completely removed. However, tiny clusters of cancer cells are often difficult for surgeons to recognize and remove. A camera makes hidden tumors visible during an operation.

Solar cells utilize thermal radiation (Fraunhofer ISE)

Thermal radiation from the sun is largely lost on most silicon solar cells. Up-converters transform the infrared radiation into usable light, however. Researchers have now for the first time successfully adapted this effect for use in generating power.

Speedy analysis of steel fiber reinforced concrete (Fraunhofer ITWM)

Steel fiber reinforced concrete (SFRC) is a practical construction material that is quick and easy to use. But monitoring SFRC quality is difficult, and this has kept industry acceptance low. A new method offers a quick way to examine its composition.

Organic lights and solar cells straight from the printer (Fraunhofer IAP)

Flickering façades, curved monitors, flashing clothing, fluorescent wallpaper, flexible solar cells – and all printable. This is no make-believe vision of the future; it will soon be possible using a new printing process for organic light-emitting diodes.

Testing smart plastics in real time (Fraunhofer ICT)

Nano additives can make plastics scratch and flame proof, or give them antibacterial properties. For this to work, the particle distribution within the plastic compound must be absolutely correct. A new device is now able to test the distribution in real time.

October 2013

Nano-dwarves turn tumor assassins (Fraunhofer IAP)

Chemotherapy is often preferred for fighting cancer, but its side effects can be conside- rable. A new technique may reduce these in future: nanoparticle-encapsulated substan- ces could kill off tumor cells selectively. This will be easier on patients.

Need different types of tissue? (Fraunhofer IGB)

Just print them! What sounds like a dream of the future has already been the subject of research for a few years: simply printing out tissue and organs. Now scientists have further refined the technology and are able to produce various tissue types.

Taking a close look, whatever the scale (Fraunhofer IIS)

Researchers at the Fraunhofer Development Center X-ray Technology work with the biggest and smallest computed tomography scanners in the world - equipment that is able to scan everything from entire shipping containers to tiny biological samples.

Mass producing pocket labs (Fraunhofer IPT)

There is certainly no shortage of lab-on-a-chip (LOC) devices, but in most cases manufacturers have not yet found a cost-effective way to mass produce them. Scientists are now developing a platform for series production of these pocket laboratories.

Lasers offer an automated way to test drinking water (Fraunhofer IAF)

To keep drinking water clean, experts are constantly monitoring our supply to check it for contaminants. Now laser technology will give them a helping hand: a new system automatically analyzes water samples at the waterworks itself.

Non-toxic flame retardants (Fraunhofer LBF)

Electronics, vehicles, textiles - almost all modern-day products contain some form of plastic. Its high combustibility means it must be protected from naked flames. New techniques simplify the production of environmentally friendly flame retardants.

Predicting the life expectancy of solar modules (Fraunhofer IWM)

Solar modules are exposed to many environmental influences that cause material to fatigue over the years. Researchers have developed a procedure to calculate effects of these influences over the long term. This allows reliable lifespan predictions.

September 2013

Sorting out top-class wines (Fraunhofer IOSB)

No vintners want their wine to have a bitter note to it. Now, new sorting equipment with optical recognition can guarantee this is never the case. The machine sorts the harvest into quality grades – sparing winemakers laborious manual work.

Asteroid deflection (Fraunhofer EMI)

Potential asteroid impact on Earth can have disastrous consequences. In order to prevent such collisions, earthbound space objects must be deflected. This can be accomplished using a space probe to impact the asteroid.

Adding precision to plastics testing (Fraunhofer LBF)

Plastics play an important role in many consumer items. But testing precisely how much load these plastic parts can bear has up to now been a very complicated task. Now, a new instrument achieves simpler and more accurate measurements.

Safer shipping with high-tech radar (Fraunhofer FHR)

Traffic volumes are increasing, not only on our roads but also at sea. A new marine radar system with improved antenna technology is set to meet the growing demands of navigation – and protect ships against pirate attacks.

Solar energy for sensor nodes (Fraunhofer IMS)

Tiny solar cells applied directly to a silicon chip are a potential way of efficiently and reliably powering wireless sensor networks in the future. Above all, this would simplify large-scale applications, for instance in agriculture.

More creativity in post-production (Fraunhofer IIS)

In the throng of the film set, camera operators have to determine the camera angle, the aperture, and depth of field of the camera. In the future, they will be able to change these parameters, even in post-production thanks to a new camera technology.

Getting a grip on inventory management using RF (Fraunhofer IZM)

More and more manufacturers are offering their products cooperatively through small retailers, as well as in web shops. Researchers have developed a new RF clip with which products can be labeled. It helps avoid duplicate sales.

August 2013

Smart sleep analysis (Fraunhofer IGD)

Sleep disorders are a widespread problem. With the aid of smartwatches, researchers are analyzing sleep movement patterns and assisting doctors with diagnosis and therapy. Burnout and diabetes patients stand to benefit.

Soccer matches and concerts from any angle you choose (Fraunhofer HHI)

In future, soccer and music fans will be able to choose the camera angle when watching live matches and concerts on TV, or even enjoy a 360-degree view of proceedings: all thanks to a new panorama camera that is small, robust, and easy to operate.

Making plants’ inner qualities visible (Fraunhofer IFF)

Not only psychologists would be happy to be able to look inside their patients’ heads – a plant’s “inner qualities” also supply plant researchers with valuable information. A special camera analyzes the constituents of grapevines, corn and other plants.

In with antennas, out with cables (Fraunhofer ENAS)

An eyesore and a tripping hazard in one: cable clutter is a real nuisance. Now a new kind of antenna is set to banish the pest, hidden in tables and supplying electronic devices with power. The “tables” can transmit data, too.

Making cars that are lightweight and crash-safe (Fraunhofer IWS)

Lightweight or crash-safe – must it always be a trade-off for auto makers? The answer is no. With a new lightweight construction technology, researchers are making it possible to do both. The result is less fuel consumption and lower manufacturing costs.

Live streaming enjoyment for multi-screen applications (Fraunhofer FOKUS)

Researchers have developed the FAMIUM development platform and are using it to create new application scenarios for adaptive video streaming in web browsers. One highlight is that content can be split between several devices and played in sync.

Saws made of carbon (Fraunhofer IWM)

More material could be saved when manufacturing wafers in future. Ultra-thin saws made of carbon nanotubes and diamond would be able to cut through silicon wafers with minimum kerf loss. A new method makes it possible to manufacture the saw wires.

July 2013

App security testing tool (Fraunhofer SIT)

Most apps, be they for internet shopping, gaming or social networking, are aimed at private users. But there are hidden risks for businesses. A new test framework will help to uncover gaps in app security and detect malware.

Bringing color to solar façades (Fraunhofer IOF)

Until now, designers of buildings have no choice but to use black or bluish-gray colored solar panels. With the help of thin-film technologies, researchers have now been able to turn solar cells into colorful creations.

Underwater propulsion from a 3D printer (Fraunhofer IPA)

Nature inspires creativity: in building a silent propulsion system for boats and water sport devices, researchers used the octopus as their role model. The system can be produced at a low cost and in a single step with a 3D printer.

Fitness test for corrosion protection coatings (Fraunhofer IWM)

Internal coatings in the different sections of oil treatment plants are subjected to a variety of stresses. By conducting comparative tests, researchers are analyzing which materials are best suited to each individual section.

Robots inspect cables (Fraunhofer IZFP)

The bearer cables and tethers of bridges, elevators, and cable cars are exposed to high levels of stress. For this reason, their functional reliability must be monitored on a regular basis. A new robot recognizes fissures before they pose a danger.

Pickling tape for local pre-treatment of aluminum (Fraunhofer IFAM)

A new self-adhesive tape simplifies the process of pickling aluminum surfaces. It is safer than existing treatment methods involving pickling pastes, sprays or baths, because there is no rinsing stage and hence no need for complicated wastewater disposal.

Using RFID for fiber composites (Fraunhofer IIS)

Antennas that are capable of transmitting radio waves turn components into intelligent objects. Researchers have now found a way to embed these antennas in fiber composites. As a result, the technology also works with carbon and glass fibers.

June 2013 - Special Issue

Research prizes were awarded at the annual meeting of the Fraunhofer-Gesellschaft’s General Assembly. Four Fraunhofer prizes were awarded this year – one in the special category of Human-Centered Technology – and three Hugo Geiger prizes. And three Joseph von Fraunhofer prizes were awarded as well.

For more information, please refer to the PDF data below.

June 2013

Intelligent door seal prevents poor air quality (Fraunhofer IMS)

For a long time, heat insulation was en vogue – and nearly no one was concerned about poor indoor air quality. And yet excess CO2 hampers concentration. Now, researchers have come up with an intelligent door seal system.

Less friction loss in combustion engines (Fraunhofer IWU)

Researchers have developed a method that can reduce engine friction and wear even during production of engine components. Special coatings can help to reduce fuel consumption and CO2 emissions.

Effective privacy protection in social networks (Fraunhofer SIT)

Researchers are working on new methods to help them gain a better understanding of the usage habits of participants in social networks. The results will be incorporated in the development of userfriendly tools for privacy protection.

Building more sustainable aircrafts (Fraunhofer IBP, Fraunhofer IGD)

Life Cycle Assessments of components can help make aircraft production more sustainable. The decisive factor is making the data available at an early stage. Thanks to a new eco design software, these data are now available even at the design stage.

Prefab houses that are glued, not nailed, together (Fraunhofer WKI)

With prefabricated houses, the dream of having one’s own home can quickly become a reality. Until now, nails have been used to hold the individual components together. Now an adhesive tape has been developed to perform this task.

Repairing turbines with the help of robots (Fraunhofer IPK)

Compressor and turbine blades are important components in aircraft engines and gas turbines. When they become damaged, it is often cheaper to repair them than to buy replacements. Now there is a new robotassisted technique that is boosting efficiency.

Greater convenience and safety for wheelchair users (Fraunhofer IOSB (AST))

With modern communication aids, users of electric powered wheelchairs can operate a PC and cellphone without human assistance. A new module is set to transform electric powered wheelchairs into communication hubs.

May 2013

Glove shows its true colors (Fraunhofer EMFT)

Security takes top priority in laboratories and in production. In the future, employees exposed to risks will only have to put on a glove in order to receive a toxic substance warning: This textile identifies poisonous substances, and points them out immediately.

OLED brings out the shine (Fraunhofer COMEDD)

Screens made of organic light diodes promise unfathomable possibilities. Yet high production costs often prevent their widespread use. A new kind of production saves not only costs, but also improves the radiance of the OLED.

Using cattails for insulation (Fraunhofer IBP)

A growing number of homeowners are insulating their walls in order to lower energy costs. They opt for the cheap variety, polystyrene. Yet there are environmentally-friendly alternatives: Cattails, for instance, are superbly suited as a natural insulation material.

Perfectly designed microelectronics (Fraunhofer IZM)

Microchips play an important role in industrial and household electronics. Their miniaturized circuits must not only function faultlessly but also consume as little energy as possible. Researchers are now working on making the tiny devices even more efficient.

Credit card fraudsters quickly exposed (Fraunhofer IAIS)

Most people feel safe from fraudsters if their credit card is safely tucked away in their wallet. But they shouldn't: in most cases, thieves only need card numbers and information. A new software can provide more effective protection against credit card theft.

Set in the right light (Fraunhofer ISC)

Lighting plays a big role at events presenting new products, on television shows, and at concerts. Mobilight, a portable and wireless system, offers a wide range of options. And researchers have now made it even better.

April 2013

Regaining proper hearing at last (Fraunhofer IPA)

Around 17 million people in Germany suffer from impaired hearing. For many of them, their hearing is so damaged that a standard hearing aid is no longer enough. A new device will improve patients’ hearing and can be implanted during outpatient surgery.

A longer life for lithium-sulfur batteries (Fraunhofer IWS)

Electric cars have still got it tough in the German marketplace. They are too expensive and their range is too short. This is an opportune time for a breakthrough in efficient and low-cost lithium-sulfur batteries.

Promising stem cell therapy for leukemia patients (Fraunhofer IZI)

Leukemia patients receive a bone marrow transplant, which allows them to build a “new” immune system. However, this immune system not only attacks cancer cells but healthy tissue too. Special antibodies will be used to protect healthy tissue in future.

Surveying roads at 100 km/h (Fraunhofer IPM)

Germany’s road network has a hard time dealing with wind and weather, tires and steel. Until now, however, surveying the damage caused to asphalt and concrete was laborious and expensive. A new laser scanner is cheaper, faster and more precise.

Finding instead of searching (Fraunhofer IFF)

It is easy to lose track of things in large storage facilities but not at the wind turbine manufacturer Enercon‘s facility in Magdeburg though, where a positioning system with digital inventory management increases transparency and expedites processes.

Embedding photovoltaic modules more quickly (Fraunhofer CSP)

The market for solar modules is highly competitive. For this reason, companies must save on costs, such as by using a new process. It embeds the cells twice as fast into their protective plastic sheathing – and therefore saves time and money.

New information services quickly (Fraunhofer IIS)

Be it Smartphone apps, monitoring the temperature of food stuffs or help against product piracy, setting up new services is costly. In the future, the NSEB service engineering platform intends to simplify that.

March 2013

New opportunities for 3D technology in medicine (Fraunhofer HHI)

Until now, physicians have largely been skeptical of the advantages of 3D technology. But this may be about to change: the findings of a new study show that even experienced surgeons stand to benefit from the third dimension.

Seaweed under the roof (Fraunhofer ICT)

For many coastal dwellers, seaweed washed up on the shore is nothing but a nuisance. But this raw material has proven itself capable of keeping buildings well insulated. Together with industry partners, researchers have succeeded in turning it into insulation.

Hannover Messe 2013: Heating with Powder and Plastic Wastes (Fraunhofer IFF)

Disposing of waste – whether it is coating powder or swarf – is expensive. In the future, a combustor for powdery residues will enable companies to cut disposal costs and heating costs at the same time.

An accurate way of predicting landslides (Fraunhofer IOSB)

A landslide can seriously injure or even kill people. Now, a new early warning system will be the first to employ geological data in tandem with the latest weather forecasts to provide a concrete warning in emergency situations.

Hannover Messe 2013: Open software platform to bring down energy costs (Fraunhofer IWES)

Energy is getting more and more expensive, and experts are predicting record electricity and heating prices. A software platform promises to lighten the load for households and businesses by making it easier for consumers to put renewables to good effect.

Hannover Messe 2013: Tuned coatings ensure cleanliness (Fraunhofer IST)

Contaminated industrial plants cost billions every year in Germany alone. Special coatings can prevent the build-up of contaminants. Researchers are now able to adapt ultra-thin coatings for an extremely wide range of applications.

Non-glaring photovoltaic installations (Fraunhofer FIT)

If the glare from photovoltaic installations blind airline pilots at take-off or landing, this could be extremely hazardous. In the future, though a new software program will calculate when and where white-outs could occur – and how to prevent them.

February 2013

Healthy seeds - treated environmentally friendly (Fraunhofer FEP)

Farmers treat seeds chemically in order to rid them of pest infestation. Now researchers have developed a method that kills pathogens without harming the environment. Pioneering seed suppliers are already implementing the procedure commercially.

CeBIT 2013: The armchair as a fitness trainer (Fraunhofer IIS)

Each of us would like to pursue our personal hobbies and interests into old age. However, this depends on us staying fit and healthy. Researchers are now presenting an armchair that brings the gym right into your living room at the push of a button.

Aldi Süd Supermarkets – Energy-Optimized (Fraunhofer ISE)

Running a supermarket requires a lot of electricity. Long rows of refrigerators have to be kept cool and large areas have to be lit. A new concept enables supermarket operators to cut their energy use by around 25 per cent.

Optimized custom-made ski sledges (Fraunhofer IWM)

At the 2014 Winter Paralympics, competitors will line up wearing optimized sit skis that are adapted to their individual needs. This is made possible by a new manufacturing method which Fraunhofer researchers helped to develop.

Mobile World Congress: Faster video streaming (Fraunhofer HHI)

In the smartphones and tablet era, more and more users are watching videos on the move – with a resulting strain on mobile networks. The combination of the HEVC video compression standard with LTE brings networks welcome relief.

Safe glass facades (Fraunhofer EMI)

Glass facades are attractive, but they also have to be safe. Say if a bomb were to go off nearby, would they withstand the blast? Researchers are using a shock tube to find out, and one of their projects is a new building complex in San Francisco.

CeBIT 2013: Awakening the dormant potential of e-government (Fraunhofer FOKUS)

E-government holds the promise of gains in efficiency and satisfaction for case workers. In Denmark, seven government ministries have already undergone a full digital changeover. Now researchers have adapted the model for German government agencies.

Mobile high-tech measuring instrument determines particulate emissions (Fraunhofer ITEM)

Researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Toxicology and Experimental Medicine ITEM in Hannover in collaboration with Vereta GmbH and the Institute of Particle Technology at Clausthal University of Technology have developed a handy system which measures particulate emissions exactly.

January 2013

Physio for the home (Fraunhofer FOKUS)

Accidents or operations are often followed by long periods of rehabilitation treatment. In future, a new technology will allow patients to do physiotherapy exercises at home, while still making sure that they are performing movements correctly.

BAU 2013 Noise protection – multifunctional and aesthetical (Fraunhofer IBP)

Noise abatement is growing in importance, thus, the demand for better acoustic building components raises. Scientists are developing new solutions: aesthetically good looking and flexibly applicable microperforated sound absorbers.

Giant tobacco plants that stay young forever (Fraunhofer IME)

Tobacco plants bloom when they are just a few months old – and then they die. Now, researchers have located a genetic switch which can keep the plants young for years and which permits unbounded growth. In short, an ideal source of biomass.

Smart search engines for news videos (Fraunhofer IDMT)

Searching for video recordings regularly pushes search engines to their limit. The truth of the matter is that purely automatic algorithms are not enough; user knowledge has to be harnessed, too. Now, researchers are making automated engines smarter.

Romper suit to protect against sudden infant death (Fraunhofer IZM)

Breathing sensors built into romper suits could help prevent sudden cot deaths in the future. The basis for this is a stretchable printed circuit board that fits to the contours of the body and can be manufactured using routine industrial processes.

Turning smartphones into secure and versatile keys (Fraunhofer SIT)

It’s already possible to open doors using an app – but we are a long way from seeing widespread acceptance of this in the market. Now, researchers have developed a piece of software that will make the technology even more secure and versatile.

Quick detection of periodontitis pathogens (Fraunhofer IZI)

Twelve million Germans suffer from periodontitis, an inflammation that can lead to the loss of teeth if left untreated. A new diagnostic platform enables the pathogens to be detected quickly, enabling dentists to act swiftly to initiate the right treatment.