On the Way to Autonomous Driving
Baden-Württemberg is setting the pace for the mobility of tomorrow
“Daimler” has the development expertise for autonomous driving – and Baden-Württemberg is open to innovation. Which means that the federal state is setting the pace for the mobility of tomorrow. Mid october the major progress on the way towards autonomous driving and the necessary parameters were the focus of the visit to “Mercedes-Benz” by Thomas Strobl, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Interior, Digitisation and Migration in Baden-Württemberg.
"Automated and autonomous driving are central topics in vehicle development at Mercedes-Benz. Self-driving vehicles in particular open up fascinating possibilities for the urban traffic of tomorrow. As part of the 'Intelligent World Drive', we are testing automated driving functions in e.g. the dense traffic of Shanghai or Los Angeles. We will be gradually bringing these technologies to market in the next few years. To this end we also need an internationally harmonised legislative framework," says Ola Källenius, member of the Daimler AG Board of Management for Corporate Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development.
„Karlsruhe ist ein digitaler Leuchtturm“
Startschuss für Wettbewerb „Digitale Zukunftskommune@bw“
Digitalisierungsminister Thomas Strobl hat bei einem Technologie-Rundgang Ende September 2017 in Karlsruhe zusammen mit Oberbürgermeister Dr. Frank Mentrup, Vertretern der ansässigen Forschungsnetzwerke und der Stadt unter anderem das „House of Living Labs“ am Forschungszentrum Informatik des KIT und das Cyberlab besucht.
„Karlsruhe ist eine Wiege der Digitalisierung, dort wurde 1984 die erste E-Mail empfangen“, so Strobl: „Heute ist Karlsruhe das wichtigste IT-Cluster in Europa, eine Leitregion für den digitalen Wandel. Hier studieren rund 10.000 junge Menschen Informatik; alleine 25 Forschungseinrichtungen befassen sich mit IT- und Digitalisierungsthemen und haben sich zu echten Forschungsmarktführern entwickelt, mit einer Strahlkraft weit über die Landesgrenzen hinaus. Das Potenzial dieser digitalen Modellstädte wollen wir weiter ausbauen, stärken und nutzbar machen – deshalb haben wir jetzt auch einen landesweiten Wettbewerb „Digitale Zukunftskommune@bw“ gestartet und nehmen dafür 7,6 Millionen Euro in die Hand.“
„Made in Baden-Württemberg“
wieder mehr gefragt
Im ersten Halbjahr 2017 sind die Exporte aus Baden-Württemberg um knapp fünf Prozent gestiegen. Die wichtigsten Handelspartner des Südwestens bleiben, so das "Statistische Landesamt" die Vereinigten Staaten, die Schweiz und Frankreich. Insgesamt hat Baden-Württemberg im ersten Halbjahr Waren im Wert von 100 Milliarden Euro exportiert.
Nachdem im vergangenen Jahr die Exporte aus Baden-Württemberg leicht zurückgingen, stiegen sie im ersten Halbjahr 2017 wieder an. Baden-Württemberg exportierte im ersten Halbjahr diesen Jahres Waren im Wert von 100 Milliarden Euro und damit 4,6 Prozent mehr als im Vorjahreszeitraum.
Bei Ausfuhren aus Baden-Württemberg nach Indien, 2016: 1.725,4 Millionen Euro (leichter Rückgang), lagen im vergangenen Jahr Kraftwagen, Maschinen, Möbel, DV-geräte und Metallerzeugnisse vorne – bei den Einfuhren aus Indien (2016: 961,2 Millionen Euro (leichter Rückgang) liegen Bekleidung, Maschinen, chemische Erzeugnisse, Metallerzeugnisse und Lederwaren vorne.
Novel LED Street Lights Reduce Costs
Costs of Public Illumination Will Be Reduced
Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have developed a novel type of LED street light of increased efficiency. Compared to conventional LEDs, power consumption may be reduced by up to 20%. This will also decrease costs and CO2 emission. Conventional high-power diodes are replaced by a special array of LEDs. This enhances efficiency, increases service life and safety, and produces a better light.
Parallel connection of a large number of LEDs is difficult, as failure of a single diode will cause failure of the overall system or section. According to Michael Heidinger of KIT’s Light Technology Institute, the alternative of connecting LEDs in series is also associated with drawbacks, because the voltage required increases with the number of diodes used. As the legally permissible contact voltage is limited to 120 volts, only up to 40 LEDs have been connected in series so far.
Transport Planning in Europe
Strategic Model Assesses Sustainability until 2050 - EU Project Coordinated by KIT
Research of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) supports the European Commission in transport planning: With the help of the new HIGH-TOOL model, long-term impacts of transport policy measures on economy, society, and environment can be assessed. HIGH-TOOL is an open-source model that embraces modules for demography, economy and resources, vehicle stock, passenger demand, freight demand, as well as environment and safety. Eight partners from five countries were involved in the EU project coordinated by KIT, which has now been completed successfully.
Mobility of people in Europe is increasing, as are the challenges faced when planning transport. Planning is to reduce dependence on fossil fuels, counteract congestion in cities, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, mitigate air pollution and noise, improve traffic safety, and support trans-European transport networks. As decisions in transport planning have effects lasting for decades, it is even more important to plan actions in the long term and to assess their consequences at an early stage.
KIT’s Support of Startups is Exemplary
KIT in Second Place in "Gründungsradar" Ranking
The current 2016 “Gründungsradar” (Germany-wide ranking of startup support services) ranking by the “Stifterverband for Promoting Science and Education” reflects exemplary support of startups by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). Of the 34 big German universities, KIT is in second place, thus confirming the good results of previous years.
“Parallel to research and education, innovation is one of the core tasks of KIT,” Professor Holger Hanselka, President of KIT, says. “At the interface of science and industry, KIT’s innovations contribute to benefit for society and added values. I am very happy about the good result and the recognition of our work by the Gründungsradar.”
New Mobility Lab for the Karlsruhe Region
City of Karlsruhe and „PTV Group” seal cooperation
The „Smart Mobility for the Karlsruhe Region” initiative is taking shape. End of January 2017, the City of Karlsruhe and „PTV Group” signed a cooperation agreement concerning the testing of future scenarios in a new, modern mobility lab. The goal is to establish a real-time traffic prediction system for the Karlsruhe Technology Region. This system will help enhance Karlsruhe as the leading Smart City in Germany and market it internationally.
Both sides welcome the joint creation of a new, attractive showcase for the Karlsruhe Technology Region. “We are currently setting up a laboratory at our headquarters that allows interested parties from around the world to experience first-hand innovative software solutions and new mobility concepts“, explains Vincent Kobesen, CEO of “PTV Group”. The company’s home town should now be the first to benefit from the new lab. New mobility scenarios created in cooperation with city representatives will be analysed, simulated and discussed using “PTV software”.
Leben mit Naturkatastrophen
Internationale Konferenz /
Neue Anforderungen an das Bauen sind gefragt
Unter dem Titel „Leben mit Naturkatastrophen. Neue Anforderungen an das Bauen“ findet am Freitag, 3. März 2017, das 33. WTA-Kolloquium im Rahmen der internationalen Konferenz der Wissenschaftlich-Technischen Arbeitsgemeinschaft für Bauwerkserhaltung und Denkmalpflege (WTA) an der Fakultät für Architektur und Bauwesen der Hochschule Karlsruhe – Technik und Wirtschaft in Karlsruhe statt.
Geologische und klimatische Naturkatastrophen sind globale Phänomene, die Mensch und Umwelt gleichermaßen gefährden: Erdbeben, Vulkanausbrüche, Tsunamis, Lawinen, Unwetter, Starkregen (mit nachfolgendem Hochwasser), Hagelschlag, Eisregen und Dürren verwüsten oftmals ganze Landstriche, machen diese unbewohnbar, begünstigen Hunger und Krieg.
Der Südwesten ist vorne dabei
Innovationspotenzial klar im Fokus
Baden-Württemberg war auch 2016 die Region in der Europäischen Union mit dem höchsten Innovationspotenzial. Der Südwesten liegt vor Bayern und der französischen Hauptstadtregion Île de France. Baden‑Württemberg ist mit einem Indexwert von rund 70 weiterhin in der Europäischen Union die Region mit dem höchsten Innovationspotenzial. Das beachtliche Innovationspotenzial in Baden‑Württemberg wird unter anderem durch hohe Forschungs- und Entwicklungskapazitäten in den Unternehmen, Hochschulen und außeruniversitären Forschungseinrichtungen erreicht. In keiner anderen europäischen Region wird ein höherer Anteil der Wirtschaftsleistung in Forschung und Entwicklung investiert (2013: 4,8 Prozent). In Baden-Württemberg ist mit 16 Prozent der Anteil der Erwerbstätigen in forschungsintensiven Industriezweigen am höchsten. Bezogen auf die Bevölkerungszahl werden in keiner Region mehr Patente beim Europäischen Patentamt angemeldet als im Südwesten. Insgesamt sind es fast fünfmal so viele Patentanmeldungen beim Europäischen Patentamt wie im Durchschnitt aller 28 EU-Länder.
Collaboration of the Automakers
Joint Venture for Ultra-Fast, High-Power Charging Along Major Highways in Europe
“BMW Group”, “Daimler AG”, “Ford Motor Company” and “Volkswagen Group” with “Audi” and “Porsche” have signed a Memorandum of Understanding to create the highest-powered charging network in Europe. The goal is the quick build-up of a sizable number of stations in order to enable long-range travel for battery electric vehicle drivers. This will be an important step towards facilitating mass-market BEV adoption.
The projected ultra-fast high-powered charging network with power levels up to 350 kW will be significantly faster than the most powerful charging system deployed today. The build-up is planned to start in 2017. An initial target of about 400 sites in Europe is planned. By 2020 the customers should have access to thousands of high-powered charging points. The goal is to enable long-distance travel through open-network charging stations along highways and major thoroughfares, which has not been feasible for most BEV drivers to date. The charging experience is expected to evolve to be as convenient as refueling at conventional gas stations.
Intelligente Autos, menschliche Organe
auf Chip & Co.
Award für zukunftsweisende IT- und Hightech-Startups
Mit Rüdenauer 3D, emmtrix Technologies, PACE, Campusjäger und vasQlab hat das CyberForum auch 2016 aussichtsreiche Gründerteams mit dem CyberChampions Award gekürt. Der Award richtete sich speziell an IT- und Hightech-Startups aus der Region Karlsruhe. Die prämierten Geschäftsideen reichten von einem Virtual Reality System für die Industrie über studentische Online-Personalvermittlung bis hin zur App, die das Smartphone mit dem Auto verbindet.
Eine App, die über Bluetooth mit dem Auto verbunden ist und automatisch bei Unfällen Hilfe holt, die günstigste nächstgelegene Tankstelle findet und Kontrollleuchten analysiert: eine solche Smartphone-Anwendung ist die Entwicklung von PACE – das Startup sicherte sich beim diesjährigen CyberChampions Award den ersten Preis als „NewComer“. In dieser Kategorie konnten sich Startups bewerben, die nicht länger als zwei Jahre am Markt sind und schon beachtliche Erfolge aufweisen können.
Nachhaltigeres Finanz- und Wirtschaftssystem
Global Sustainable Finance Conference
Die Förderung einer nachhaltigen Finanzwirtschaft ist das Ziel der Global Sustainable Finance Conference. Das hochkarätige internationale Forum fand dieses Jahr zum 5. Mal in Karlsruhe statt. Dabei präsentierte sich die Fächerstadt am 14./15. Juli als ein hoch innovativer HighTech Standort, der Wissenschaft und Wirtschaft weltweit vernetzt. Ein Höhepunkt der Veranstaltung war die Verleihung der "Karlsruher Sustainable Finance Awards".
Zu den Teilnehmern der Global Sustainable Finance Conference zählten Entscheidungsträger von Struktur- und Entwicklungsbanken sowie führende Vertreter aus Politik und Wirtschaft.. Insgesamt waren 35 Länder vertreten, mit hochrangigen Delegationen unter anderem aus Malaysia, Indien, den Philippinen, Laos, Kambodscha, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, ägypten sowie 14 afrikanischen Ländern. Europa war mit Vertretern der größten russischen Entwicklungsbank sowie Einrichtungen aus den Niederlanden, Luxemburg und Großbritannien dabei. Zu den Ehrengästen zählten der Botschafter aus Pakistan, Jauhar Saleem, der geschäftsführende Botschafter aus Nigeria, Kenneth Ogoro Okeh, der Konsul von Südafrika, Mathews Lebelo, Principal Administrator der EU-Kommission, Mathieu Hoeberigs, sowie Ministerialrat Stephan Klaus Ohme vom Bundesministerium für wirtschaftliche Zusammenarbeit und Entwicklung.
Digitization Can Improve Quality of Life
Navigation System for People with a Sight Impairment
For blind and partially sighted people, it is difficult – and sometimes even risky – to move independently in unknown environments, above all in urban and busy areas.
The feeling of insecurity and disorientation and the fear of accidents can considerably restrict the mobility and social integration of these individuals. The TERRAIN joint project is aimed at developing and testing a portable, electronic assistance system that will greatly extend their range of motion. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research has decided to fund this project with EUR 1.7 million. The system relies on mobile devices such as smartphones or smart watches. The usability of these devices for people having a sight impairment is steadily improving, they are more widely accepted by these persons now, and they provide important technologies such as GPS or voice input and output. “We want to leverage this potential to supplement the traditional aids such as the long cane,” project coordinator Sebastian Ritterbusch from iXpoint Informationssysteme GmbH explains. It is true that the so-called probing cane can only detect obstacles at floor level. This means that safe movements without the help of another person are only possible in familiar rooms and on previously learned routes.
Top Innovation from Karlsruhe
"Volocopter" demonstrates dynamic flight properties
The Karlsruhe-based company “e-volo” conducted test flights with the Volocopter at higher altitudes and speeds at a special test flight area in july 2016. The “Volocopter VC200” is a vertical takeoff aircraft for two passengers that uses electric propulsion only.
The first manned flight took place in Bruchsal near Karlsruhe this year at the end of March. During the test flight program conducted in Bavaria in June, the “Volocopter” demonstrated various dynamic flight maneuvers at higher speeds for the first time. These test flights did not only serve as a presentation of possible flight dynamics. The actual goal was to gain important knowledge in order to optimize the current developments of the new prototype for serial production. This included determining the “VC200’s” power requirements during different flight maneuvers and at different speed levels.
Karlsruhe wird Pionier-Region
Testfeld für automatisiertes Fahren
Karlsruhe wird Pionier-Region in Sachen automatisiertes Fahren. Das Verkehrsministerium des Landes Baden-Württemberg folgt damit dem Votum der Jury für den Karlsruher Antrag, fördert das Projekt mit 2,5 Millionen Euro. Über das Testfeld sollen in Karlsruhe – mit Anbindung nach Bruchsal und Heilbronn – Fahrzeugsysteme für automatisiertes und vernetztes Fahren im realen Straßenverkehr getestet und entwickelt werden.
„Das ist eine große Chance für Baden-Württemberg und Karlsruhe als Innovationsstandort“, freuen sich die Beteiligten. „Wir sind davon überzeugt, dass wir mit der Umsetzung des Testfeldes eine breite und umfassende Basis für die Realisierung der urbanen Mobilität der Zukunft schaffen“, so Professor J. Marius Zöllner, Vorstand des federführenden FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik am Karlsruher Institut für Technologie – und Karlsruhes Oberbürgermeister Dr. Frank Mentrup ergänzte: „Mit Aufbau und Betrieb des Testfelds können wir einen wesentlichen Beitrag für die Mobilität der Zukunft leisten. Urbane Mobilität braucht intelligente, umweltschonende und soziale Lösungen und die Region Karlsruhe bietet für deren Entwicklung beste Voraussetzungen.“
Das Autonome Fahren ist weltweit ein riesiges Zukunftsthema. Karlsruhe als Region mit herausragender IT-Kompetenz ist ganz vorne mit dabei. „Das ist eine gutes Signal für die regionale Wirtschaft“, erklärte auch IHK-Präsident Wolfgang Grenke. (red)
Infos: In zwölf Monaten ist der erste Probelauf geplant und in 17 Monaten will Karlsruhe dann in den regulären Betrieb übergehen. Der Betrieb des Testfeldes soll dann mindestens fünf Jahre erfolgen. Auf dem Karlsruher Testfeld können künftig Firmen und Forschungseinrichtungen zukunftsorientierte Technologien und Dienstleistungen rund um das vernetzte und automatisierte Fahren im alltäglichen Straßenverkehr erproben, etwa automatisiertes Fahren von Autos, Bussen oder Nutzfahrzeugen wie Straßenreinigung oder Zustelldienste.
Zwei Smart-Grids-Projekte werden gefördert
Umweltministerium gibt über 700.000 Euro
„Die Energieversorgung der Zukunft benötigt intelligente Netze“, erklärte Andre Baumann unlängst in Stuttgart, als der Staatssekretär zwei Förderbescheide für zukunftsweisende Projekte aus dem Bereich Smart-Grids überreicht: „Die Projekte werden uns wertvolle Informationen darüber liefern, welche Ideen technisch umsetzbar sind und welche Geschäftsmodelle sich rechnen." Damit baut das Land um Karlsruhe/Mannheim/Stuttgart/Freiburg seine führende Rolle im Bereich der Intelligenten Netze weiter aus.
Gefördert werden Projekte, die auf der Ebene der Verteilnetze dazu beitragen, Angebot und Nachfrage besser aufeinander abzustimmen sowie Erzeugungsanlagen, Speicher und Verbraucher mittels moderner Informations- und Kommunikationstechniken intelligent miteinander zu vernetzen.
„An Opportunity to Re-launch Relations”
The EU will host the 13th EU-India summit on 30 March 2016 in Brussels. Presidents Tusk and Juncker will represent the EU at the summit. The EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Federica Mogherini, and the European Commissioner for Trade, Cecilia Malmström will also be present.
The summit in Brussels will be an opportunity to re-launch relations and make concrete progress on areas of mutual interest, including trade and investment, energy, climate, water and migration.
EU-India partnership: Discussions will focus on the EU-India agenda for action 2020, which will set out concrete priority actions for the EU-India strategic partnership in the next 5 years. Leaders will equally address the ongoing Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations with an aim to instil some political impetus to the stalled talks.
Electric Mobility Contributes to
Falling Battery Prices and Expansion of Local Public Transport ...
The transportation sector has the capacity to nearly halve its CO2 emissions by 2050 and, hence, to contribute far more than previously thought to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. Realizing this would require further efficiency improvement and, especially, promotion of public transport in cities, alongside with a large-scale shift to electric cars. These are key findings of a study, in which Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) was one of the partners and which was also published in the journal “Science”.
Limiting global warming to less than two degrees compared to the pre-industrial level is the defined objective of international climate policy. But this two-degrees target can only be achieved, if emissions of greenhouse gases, such as CO2, are reduced considerably in the long term. At present, emissions of the transportation sector already account for 23% of global energy-related CO2 emissions. According to IPCC estimates, transport emissions are even expected to double by 2050 due to rapid motorization in China, India, and Southeast Asia. And: If other areas, such as the energy sector contribute less to CO2 reduction, the transportation sector has to make an even larger contribution.
What Leaves Citizens Breathless
Poor visibility, people wearing breathing masks ...
The various smog alarms at Delhi or Beijing underline the relevance of air pollution in the cities. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have been studying factors influencing air quality in the megacity Beijing for ten years now - which can be a basis for other cities! The Environmental Mineralogy and Environmental Systems Analysis Working Group headed by Professor Stefan Norra analyzes the development of fine dust pollution among others. In Dezember 2015, the Chinese partners under the direction of Professor Kuang Cen of the China University of Geosciences organized a symposium on this topic in Beijing.
Poor visibility, people wearing breathing masks, driving bans, closed factories and construction sites: In End of 2015, China’s capital Beijing for the first time imposed the highest smog alert level. The megacity is covered by a gray umbrella of smog. Smog is a strongly increased concentration of air pollutants. It occurs above densely populated areas under certain meteorological conditions and has been a problem in Chinese megacities for many years now. Fine dust particles of a few micrometers in size may penetrate deep into the lungs. From there, they enter blood vessels, where they may cause inflammation. Possible consequences are irritations of mucous membranes and respiratory tracts, cardiovascular diseases, and even cancer.
Satellites Find Sustainable Energy in Cities
KIT Researchers Identify Underground Heat Islands from Surface Temperature and Building Density
Underground heat islands in cities have an enormous geothermal potential. Warm groundwater can be used to produce sustainable energy for heating and cooling. Researchers of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) have now developed a new method to find underground heat islands: They estimate groundwater temperature from surface temperatures and building densities measured by satellites. This is reported in the journal “Environmental Science & Technology”.
In bigger cities, temperatures usually are far higher than in the rural surroundings. These so-called urban heat islands result from various factors, such as population density, surface sealing, thermal radiation of buildings, industry, and transport as well as lacking vegetation. This phenomenon affects the atmosphere, surface, and subsurface of modern cities.
It is not Money Alone that Motivates ...
Experimental Study: Employees Perform and Work Better, if
Financial Incentives Are Accompanied by Motivating Words
Small signals of appreciation have a decisive influence on the output and quality of the work of employees. A field experiment of KIT economist Petra Nieken and two colleagues revealed that a combination of performance-oriented piece wage and motivating words increases the performance by 20% and reduces the error rate by 40%.
“Our results are relevant to entrepreneurial practice,” Nieken emphasizes. She holds the Chair for Human Resources Management of KIT’s Institute of Management. How can staff members be motivated? Theory lists two instruments: Financial incentives, such as bonuses or piece wages, and the capability of executives to motivate their staff members. The question whether and how these two instruments complement, strengthen or weaken each other, however, is not clearly answered by theory. That is why this question was in the focus of the study performed at Bonn University.
Truck with Highway Pilot:
World Premiere on Public Roads
Shaping Future Transportation: Daimler Trucks focuses its attention on transport of the future
Permanent Data Storage with Light
First Non-volatile All-optical Chip Memory Based on Phase Change Materials
The first all-optical permanent on-chip memory has been developed by scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the universities of Münster, Oxford, and Exeter. This is an important step on the way towards optical computers. Phase change materials that change their optical properties depending on the arrangement of the atoms allow for the storage of several bits in a single cell.
Light determines the future of information and communication technology: With optical elements, computers can work more rapidly and more efficiently. Optical fibers have long since been used for the transmission of data with light. But on a computer, data are still processed and stored electronically. Electronic exchange of data between processors and the memory limits the speed of modern computers. To overcome this so-called von Neumann bottleneck, it is not sufficient to optically connect memory and processor, as the optical signals have to be converted into electric signals again. Scientists, hence, look for methods to carry out calculations and data storage in a purely optical manner.
Air Pollution in Cities
Bright Facades and Trees against Heat and Smog
Cities represent “heat islands” within their surroundings, which are characterized by many heat sources and small air flows. In southern Europe, bright buildings produce relief and provide for a cooler urban climate. Simulation calculations of KIT researchers, however, reveal that such measures for enhancing cooling may adversely affect air quality on the ground. The solution of the researchers: Bright facades for cooling and planting of certain types of trees to reduce pollutant concentration.
Scientists of the Atmospheric Environmental Research Division of the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research (IMK-IFU) of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), Garmisch-Partenkirchen, have developed a new simulation strategy that considers both temperature development in cities and transport of pollutants. With the heat wave of 2003 being used as an example, the urban climate of Stuttgart was simulated under various conditions. “Due to its location in a basin, the city of Stuttgart near Karlsruhe is very interesting for model calculations of urban climate,” Joachim Fallmann of IMK-IFU explains. He was involved in the model development.
Against Increasing Waste Production
Safe Disposal of Hazardous Construction Materials
Annually, more than 700,000 tons of building rubble arise during demolition work in Baden-Württemberg alone. This rubble includes large amounts of artificial mineral fibers. They are mostly hazardous to health and have to be transported to special landfills over large distances. Use of the mobile compact press developed by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) helps protect the environment and minimize costs.
Artificial mineral fibers are excellently suited for the thermal insulation of buildings. During demolition, however, the mineral wool causes so far unsolved problems. “Spent artificial mineral fiber products produced before the year 2000 sometimes emit fine dust that is highly hazardous to health. Hence, these materials have to be transported to special landfills and disposal facilities. Transportation distances often amount to several hundred kilometers, also in Baden-Württemberg,” Dr. Harald Schneider of the KIT Institute for Technology and Management in Construction (TMB) explains. So far, there has been no possibility to effectively compact the light material without dust pollution. When transporting artificial mineral fibers, only about 40% of the total permissible tonnage of trucks can be utilized.
Influence on Weather and Climate
Cloud Research at KIT: Improved Precipitation Forecasts
From light, airy, and spotless white to threatening and grey-black: Clouds are encountered in various forms. At the AIDA “cloud chamber”, scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) study how clouds form and which influence they have on weather and climate. The modernized facility and the new extension building AIDA-2 on Campus North were opened officially today. The celebration also marked the start of an international measurement campaign focusing on the investigation of ice-nucleating aerosols. These smallest particles influence the formation of clouds and precipitation.
Aerosols are smallest suspended particles originating from a variety of natural and anthropogenic sources. Most of them act as condensation nuclei for the formation of water droplets in clouds, which freeze at about -35°C. “Only a very small fraction of the particles, such as dust particles, make the water droplets freeze slightly below 0°C already. Formation of these ice nuclei frequently is responsible for the formation of precipitation. Hence, this process is of essential relevance to better forecasts of the spatial and temporal distribution of precipitation,” Professor Thomas Leisner, Head of the Institute of Meteorology and Climate Research – Atmospheric Aerosol Research Division (IMK-AAF), says.
Renault’s Ambitions in India
Having a logistic hub also in Pune
India is one of Renault’s priority markets, along with Russia, Brazil and China. With a staff of more than 12,000, the Group has a strong local base there enabling it to adapt more effectively to local realities and requirements. The "Kwid" is an illustration of Renault’s ability to develop vehicles that make everyday life easier by meeting the needs of customers looking for a stylish vehicle that is robust and easy to drive. As an innovator since 1898, Renault has constantly sought to pioneer new ideas, question conventional thinking and reinvent the way we use cars. The "Kwid’s" design and innovative features are poised to play an essential role in Renault’s ongoing expansion in India.
“With 'Kwid', Renault continues to pursue its strategy of accessible mobility for all to step up its international growth", says Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Groupe Renault: "Using a new Renault-Nissan Alliance platform and following the trail blazed by the Duster, the 'Kwid' will enable Renault to continue its expansion and address the needs of customers who want a vehicle that is stylish, robust and easy to use.”
Larger Screen Devices
Global smartphone sales of $96bn set a new Q1 record as 4G ramps
In the first quarter of 2015, global smartphone unit demand increased +7 percent, compared to the same period last year. Sales reached 310m units, with growth down from +19 percent year-on-year in Q4 2014. This slowdown was caused by a year-on-year decline in demand for smartphones in China and Developed Asia, down – 14 percent and – 5 percent, respectively Smartphone sales value in Western Europe declined on a year-on-year basis for the first time in Q1 2015, dragged down by Spain and France. As smartphone penetration nears saturation point, both countries are expected to see a slowdown in smartphone unit growth this year compared to 2014. In Central Europe, the macroeconomic situation in Russia has significantly impacted sales. As a result, GfK forecasts that 2015 smartphone demand in the region will grow more slowly than Western Europe for the first time since 2010.
Kevin Walsh, director of trends and forecasting at GfK comments, “The weakness in China was caused by a significant slowdown in 3G demand, which was not offset by 4G growth. We forecast China to return to growth in the second half of the year, driven by a continued 4G ramp-up."
Security in a Smart World
When used properly, digital data may be of high benefit
However, electronic processing also facilitates data abuse. For this reason, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology develop holistic approaches to enhancing intrinsic security:
NurseEye: Digital Fall Detection in Compliance with Data Protection Legislation
It happens quickly: A patient at the hospital or nursing home falls on the corridor, no help is in sight. In such cases, the “NurseEye” video monitoring system might help. The system makes recordings of outdoor areas, corridors, or staircases and evaluates the images. If a fall is detected, NurseEye automatically issues an alarm to the nearest medical staff member, who then looks at the situation on the smartphone, communicates with the patient via the video system, and takes the correct measures. During normal operation, data protection is ensured: Only those images are stored, on which the software detects a fall. All other video data are deleted immediately. NurseEye was developed at the Competence Center for Applied Security Technology (KASTEL) by the Fraunhofer Institute of Optronics, System Technologies, and Image Exploitation (IOSB) and KIT.
Automatic Simultaneous Translation
Language barriers often prevent free exchange of information. Spoken contents in particular, such as lectures, speeches, or internet videos, require a minimum knowledge of the respective foreign language. At KIT, the first automatic computer-based simultaneous translation service worldwide has been applied in selected lectures for two years now. The lecture translator automatically records the words spoken by the lecturer, transcribes the text into a written version, and translates it into English in real time. Students can follow the lecture via their PC or mobile phone. Due to its grammar, German has been considered a big challenge for a long time. The prototype system developed by KIT masters this challenge reliably now and can be operated regularly during the lecture.
Between Innovation Potential and Protection of Privacy
Smartphones, social networks, and commodity items connected to the internet – more and more sources produce constantly growing data volumes. How can politics, industry, and actors in society use big data in a positive way? And how can the technology be brought in line with the protection of personal rights? These questions are studied by scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and the University of Münster under the project ABIDA – Assessing Big Data. The project is funded by the Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) with more than EUR 6 million for a period of four years.
Fitness wristbands inform their wearers about vital functions and document their state of health. When linked properly, such data may be used as a basis for novel medical studies and, hence, new therapies. However, there also is the risk of third parties taking possession of the data for surveillance or commercial purposes.
High-quality Fuels from Residual Biomass
"Another Module for the Energiewende"
The bioliq® pilot plant at Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) is running successfully along the complete process chain. All stages of the process have now been interconnected: Flash pyrolysis, high-pressure entrained flow gasification, hot gas cleaning, and synthesis. bioliq® converts residual biomass into ecofriendly and engine-compatible synthetic fuels. “This is another important module for the success of the Energiewende,” said the President of KIT, Professor Holger Hanselka, during the commissioning ceremony. The pilot project funded by the Federation, State, and EU was implemented by KIT in cooperation with several industry partners. The investment totals EUR 64 million.
Undersecretary of State with the Federal Minister of Food and Agriculture (BMEL), Peter Bleser, emphasized: “As the bioliq® process is linked with decentralized production processes, it has the potential to enhance the creation of value in rural areas and produce both biofuels and basic chemical products for a biomass-based economy.”
Attraktivität der TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe erhöhen
Im Dezember 2004 rief die Wirtschaftsförderung Karlsruhe gemeinsam mit Vertretern aus Wirtschaft, Forschung und Politik das Automotive Engineering Netwerk Südwest (AEN) ins Leben. Zehn Jahre nach der Gründung ist das Netzwerk zur Förderung von innovativen Mobilitätskonzepten ein fester Bestandteil des Wirtschafts- und Wissenschaftsstandorts Karlsruhe - und mittlerweile Kommunikationsplattform von rund 60 Unternehmen sowie zahlreichen Forschungseinrichtungen.
„Verstärkter Wissenstransfer trägt dazu bei, die Wettbewerbsfähigkeit der Unternehmen zu stärken und die Attraktivität der TechnologieRegion Karlsruhe zu erhöhen“, betonte Bürgermeisterin Gabriele Luczak-Schwarz bei der Feierstunde zum zehnjährigen AEN-Jubiläum im eMobilitätszentrum Karlsruhe.
New Material Makes Water and Oil Roll off
Lotus Effect 2.0 due to Super-repellent Surface
Car finish, to which no dirt particles adhere, house fronts, from which graffiti paints roll off, and shoes that remain clean on muddy paths – the material “fluoropore” might make all this possible. Both water and oil droplets roll off this new class of highly fluorinated super-repellent polymers. The Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) has now decided to fund its further development at the KIT with EUR 2.85 million. Fundamental research in this area is aimed among others at making use of this new type of material for universal protective coatings.
The phenomenon is known from lotus plants as well as from cabbage leaves: Water droplets simply roll off. For some time, this classical lotus effect has been used technically for producing rough surfaces with special chemical properties. “However, this trick does not work for oils – the lotus plant repels water, but no oil,” Dr.-Ing. Bastian Rapp of the KIT Institute of Microstructure Technology (IMT) says. “Oil-repellent surfaces need to have another chemical structure, fluoropolymers are required for this purpose,” the scientist explains. Fluoropolymers are high-performance plastics with a high heat resistance and chemical stability. Teflon, the known anti-stick coating material for frying pans, belongs to this category of substances.
Collision Prevention Assist
...reduces the number of accidents
The new B-Class, which has just been presented to international journalists, comes with COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST PLUS as standard. Accident researchers at Mercedes-Benz anticipate that this feature could cut the number of serious rear-end collisions by up to 30 percent compared with vehicles that do not have a corresponding protective system. For their prognosis, the safety experts used figures from Germany's Federal Statistical Office to assess how effective standard-fit COLLISION PREVENTION ASSIST has been in the B-Class to date and simulated digital accident data.
Aufsteiger Wissenschaftsstadt Karlsruhe
Karlsruhe verbessert sich im Städteranking der "WirtschaftsWoche" deutlich
Ein großer Sprung nach vorn: Im bundesweiten Städtetest schneidet Karlsruhe als besonders dynamische Stadt mit großem Entwicklungspotential ab. Auch was die Wirtschaftskraft anbelangt, punktet Karlsruhe mit einer guten Platzierung auf Rang 9 im nationalen Vergleich. Das ist das Ergebnis des Städterankings 2014 der "WirtschaftsWoche" in Kooperation mit "Immobilienscout24" und "IW Consult GmbH".
Im großen Städtetest wurden 69 Städte mit mehr als 100.000 Einwohnern auf Standortqualität, Leistungskraft und Zukunftsperspektiven analysiert. Karlsruhe schneidet sowohl im Niveau- als auch im Dynamikranking deutlich besser als im Vorjahr ab.
German IT Security Prize Goes to Karlsruhe
”Blurry Box®“: Method Protects Software against Attackers
A mechanism that protects software against attackers even when the latter know this security mechanism: With the jointly developed innovative Blurry Box® security method (Blurry Box® is a registered trademark of Wibu-Systems AG), the Research Center for Information Technology (FZI), Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and Wibu-Systems AG won the first place in the 5th German IT Security Contest of the Horst Görtz Foundation. The prize money totals EUR 100,000.
“The Blurry Box method is based on Kerckhoffs’s principle. It is not the security method that is kept secret, but the exchangeable key. In this way, protection against unauthorized copying, manipulation, industrial espionage, and sabotage is enhanced”, Professor Jörn Müller-Quade, Holder of the Chair for Cryptography and Security of KIT and Director of the FZI, explains. The method can already be applied reliably and, at the same time, discussed publicly and developed further.
Wie werden wir fahrerlose Autos nutzen?
Stellen wir uns vor, sie wären plötzlich überall verfügbar: technisch abgesicherte autonome Fahrzeuge. Wie würden sie vom Menschen wahrgenommen? Schlichtweg als Auto oder fahrerloses Taxi? Für wen und an welcher Stelle könnten sie überhaupt eine Alternative in der täglichen Mobilität darstellen? Die "Daimler und Benz"-Stiftung fördert im Projekt Villa Ladenburg die wissenschaftliche Auseinandersetzung mit den gesellschaftsrelevanten Fragestellungen rund um das automatisierte Fahren.
Rund 1,5 Millionen Euro investiert die "Daimler und Benz"-Stiftung in das Förderprojekt Villa Ladenburg. Ziel ist die Untersuchung der individuellen und gesellschaftlichen Anforderungen des autonomen Fahrens – ob im Personen- oder im Güterverkehr, ob in Stadtfahrten, über Land oder auf der Autobahn.
Platform for Smart Data Research
Big amounts of digital data
Big amounts of digital data are gaining importance in industry and society, for instance, when efficiently controlling power grids, machine parks, or urban traffic. Now, the Smart Data Innovation Lab, SDIL, has started operation at KIT. On this national research platform, the tools required for handling these big data are to be developed. Industry and research cooperate closely in order to produce economic and societal added value from the big data and to generate smart data.
“We are very happy that we found so many competent partners for the SDIL,” Wilfried Juling, Head of Division 2 – Informatics, Economics, and Society of KIT, says. The consortium agreement and, hence, corporate charter of the SDIL was signed by leading companies and research institutes in various sectors: Bayer, Bosch, EnBW, IBM, SAP, Siemens, Software AG, the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence, Fraunhofer IAIS, Forschungszentrum Jülich, and KIT. Another 50 partners are associated. “Together, we will develop new algorithms and instruments to manage big data and to make them usable as a source of knowledge for our society.”
World’s Fastest Manufacture of Battery Electrodes
Important for transformation of the energy system
New world record: Scientists at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) increased the manufacturing speed of electrode foils coated batch-wise by a factor of three – to 100 meters per minute. This was achieved by a flexible slot die process that enables production of any pattern with high precision and at high speeds. Thanks to the patented new technology, electrode foil production speed is increased by a factor of 3. As a result, lithium-ion batteries can be manufactured at much lower costs.
Lithium-ion batteries are important for the proclaimed “Energiewende”, the transformation of the energy system. They are needed for the storage of electricity from fluctuating renewable sources or for the operation of electric vehicles. However, high costs still represent a major challenge, which has to be faced for the technology to be competitive. After three years of research, a team headed by Professor Wilhelm Schabel and Dr. Philip Scharfer of the Thin Film Technology (TFT) group of the KIT Institute of Thermal Process Engineering has succeeded in increasing the speed of intermittent production of the electrode foils representing the actual energy storage systems to 100 meters per minute. So far, 25 to 35 meters per minute have been the industrial state of the art. Within the project “Competence E”, the scientists developed a revolutionary coating technology, by means of which it is not only possible to produce continuous coatings, but also patterns featuring high precision. A patent has been filed for this invention.
Electrical Gofer Comes at a Sign
Gesture-controlled, autonomous vehicles may be valuable helpers
Transporting big boxes, holding shopping bags, or carrying suitcases to the plane or taxi: Often, we would like to have a second pair of arms for routine work. Many flows of materials and goods at factories and workshops take place manually. An electrical “gofer” is needed, which is controlled by natural gestures, relieves the workers of heavy loads, and transports them independently. This is done by the assistance system FiFi of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). It is now being tested in first industrial pilot applications.
“FiFi is an assistance system we developed to support man in his direct environment. It can be controlled in a contact-free manner”, Project Head Andreas Trenkle, KIT, explains. The mobile platform equipped with a camera system is particularly suited for dynamic material flows at factories and workshops. These flows require high flexibility and are usually executed by man. Typical examples are high bay warehouses for car spare parts, consumer products of big online traders or deliveries of goods between departments of big companies.
Hockenheimring offers International Design Competition
Students build a single seat formula racecar with which they can compete against teams from all over the world. The competition is not won solely by the team with the fastest car, but rather by the team with the best overall package of construction, performance, and financial and sales planning.
FSG in Hockenheim Photo: RE
“At Formula Student the extraordinary is ordinary. At Formula Student Germany there simply are no losers”, says Tim Hannig, Chairman of Formula Student Germany: “Formula Student Germany consists of two competitions that run in parallel: Formula Student Combustion – with combustion engines – and Formula Student Electric – with electric motors.” Participants come from all over the world - joining this year were 8 teams from India!
Mercedes-Benz Future Talk "Robotics"
Mercedes-Benz is teaching autonomous cars how to speak
Mercedes-Benz, robotics experts and linguists discuss how people can communicate with autonomous vehicles in the future. Traffic in the city of the future will be largely dominated by cars that drive themselves. Beyond the technical and legal aspects, the automotive manufacturer is therefore looking very closely at social issues in this context. Communication between people and machine intelligence is a key aspect here.
Largest German Solar Power Storage Park
Solar Cells, Batteries, and Power Inverters in a 1-MW Plant
Which technologies will make the “Energiewende” succeed? How do we protect our lead in innovation in international competition? One possible answer can be provided by Germany’s largest solar power storage park. Solar cells, batteries, and inverters are operated together with the purpose of storing solar electricity and making it available at any time. On the occasion of the Baden-Württemberg Sustainability Days, the KIT commissioned the 1-MW facility together with its SolarWatt and Kostal Solar Electric partners.
“Innovation is a core activity of the KIT,” explains Professor Dr.-Ing. Holger Hanselka, President of the KIT. “Together with our partners, we are developing in this solar power storage park forward-looking solutions and systems configurations sustainable on a global market.”
E-scooter instead of car
Foldable, smart and good way to get from A to B
The Trikke resembles a scooter with a triangular base, which is driven comfortably while standing. "The Trikke is an electric tri-cycle", says Pieter Dekker from "Trikke Europe": "Foldable, smart and the best way to get from A to B."
A ride through town was never so easy: the Trikke has a maximum speed of 25km/h and with a range of 40km the whole city is within reach. Inner-city short-range electric Trikke can be an alternative to the car and other solutions: just 20 kg in weight, foldable for the office, car and the tram, up to 40 km range, in four hours "refueled" at each outlet, no traffic jam on roads and confident when driving even with the lowest speed.
Innovative technologies for hybrid vehicles
Ministry of Finance and Economics is providing 500,000 euros
The Ministry of Finance and Economics is providing 500,000 euros in funding for the research project "FastStorageBW4Motion" of the Fraunhofer Institute of Manufacturing Engineering and Automation. The aim of the project is to research and develop storage batteries for hybrid vehicles. "The future-oriented energy storage technology provides tremendous opportunities for the economy in Baden-Württemberg. Hybrid vehicles, in particular, have a huge market potential," explained Minister of Finance and Economics Nils Schmid.
Keeping a Cool Head at the Workplace
Working in a comfortable air-conditioned room at high temperatures: Architects of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) built the new climate chamber "LOBSTER" to study what this may be like. The study focused on comfort and user behavior at office workplaces in energy-optimized buildings. KIT students were also involved in setting up the test chamber.
A first study covered the effect of ceiling fans under summer conditions. The result: The fan enhances comfort only, if it has a cooling effect and users feel that their control power over the fan is effective. "LOBSTER" means “Laboratory of Occupant Behavior, Satisfaction, Thermal Comfort, and Environmental Research”. The climate chamber was set up under the direction of Dr. Marcel Schweiker of the Building Science Division (fbta) of KIT’s Department of Architecture and funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs (BMWi) under the Energy-optimized Building (EnOB) program.
The Future of Handwriting?
Smart pen recognizes handwriting with motion sensors
VibeWrite is a German startup with the ambition to change the world of writing: "We want to give the good old handwriting in the age of smartphones and tablets new look and new relevance", the inventors say.
This electronic writing help may change the world and this is done through an innovation made in Germany. One in seven adults even in Germany between 18 and 64 years can not read and write properly. This shows the incredible potential. UNESCO report shows that about 774 million people are illiterate worldwide. In many countries of the world it is still a privilege to read and write.
120 years of Mercedes-Benz motor racing history
80 years of the Silver Arrows
From history’s first automobile race in 1894 to the various current involvements in motor sports, the motor sport activities of Mercedes-Benz and the predecessor brands tell a story of success whose roots date back to the very early days of the automobile. Since the 19th century the racing and rally cars from Stuttgart have consistently been at the head of the pack in sporting competitions. Their victories are a testimony to innovative technology, the drivers’ will to win and efficient teamwork.
Outstanding moments in the brand’s racing history include participation in the world’s first-ever car race in 1894, the first Grand Prix victory of a Mercedes at the Nice Race Week in 1901, the one-two-three finish of Daimler-Motoren-Gesellschaft in the Grand Prix of Lyon in 1914, the age of the supercharged cars after 1922, and, above all, the era of the Silver Arrows before and after the Second World War, as well as rally races and record-setting runs thereafter – these are the foundations of the current success in Formula 1, the DTM (German Touring Car Masters) and customer sport.
Technology that gets under your Skin
Should technology perfect humans? The fusion of man and machine was interdisciplinary focal point at the Daimler and Benz Foundation’s 18th Berlin Colloquium. Experts in medicine, neuroscience, technology, and law, as well as ethics and philosophy are taking a closer look at neuroimplants, neuroprotheses, and brain operations. Technical devices that are implanted into the human body and connected to the nervous system are opening up new dimensions of modern diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. Yet do they change our understanding of who we are as human beings? The scientific director is Prof. Dr. Thomas Stieglitz of the Institute for Microsystems Technology at the University of Freiburg – a specialist in Human Enhancement, thus the improvement of human ability by technical means.
??? You are an engineer and working on the interface between technology, medicine, and ethics. How did you come upon this?
Stieglitz: Biology and physics already fascinated me at school. During my ambulance service, I came into contact with medicine and experienced the emotional strain of chronically ill patients. From this was my motivation to develop technology for these people.
Intelligent Machines for Tomorrow’s Factory
Plug & Produce Process for Efficient Manufacture
Mass production of industrial goods, such as furniture, clothing or ball pens, is inexpensive. In the future, even small series of individualized products might be manufactured rapidly and efficiently by means of intelligent machines that communicate with each other. To this end, researchers of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) coordinate the SkillPro EU research project that is aimed at finding innovative solutions to considerably reduce changeover times in the production process.
Self-cleaning and Reliable
Geckos outclass adhesive tapes in one respect: Even after repeated contact with dirt and dust do their feet perfectly adhere to smooth surfaces.
Researchers of the KIT and the Carnegie Mellon University, Pittsburgh, have now developed the first adhesive tape that does not only adhere to a surface as reliably as the toes of a gecko, but also possesses similar self-cleaning properties. Using such a tape, food packagings or bandages might be opened and closed several times. The results are published in the “Interface“ journal of the British Royal Society.
Enhancing Safety of Domestic Solar Power Storage
Safety and Service Life of Battery-based Domestic Storage Systems
Lithium-ion battery-based energy storage systems have already demonstrated how efficient, reliable, and safe they can be in commercial electric vehicles. These high safety standards now also have to be transferred to battery-based storage systems for private photovoltaics facilities. At the "Intersolar", leading trade fair in Munich, KIT presents solutions for the design of safe and long-lived PV domestic storage systems.
"Lithium-ion batteries can reach a very high operational reliability, if the manufacturer possesses the necessary know-how and observes some 'golden rules'", explains Dr. Olaf Wollersheim of the "Competence E"-project of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). He and his team analyzed the transport safety and operational reliability of stationary batteries and formulated corresponding guidelines. “These guidelines may serve as a checklist to help laymen separate the wheat from the chaff.” Stationary batteries store solar power and, in this way, eliminate the production peak at noon. This power is then released again in the evening, during the night or in the morning when it is needed. Area-wide balancing of power production and power demand would be an important element for the energy turnaround.
From Auto Expo 2014 in New Delhi
Asian premiere for the Volkswagen SUV concept Taigun
Volkswagen has two of the most successful SUVs (Sport Utility Vehicle) of European origin in its range with the "Tiguan" and the "Touareg". Now Europe's largest carmaker will significantly extend this range with new models in a wide variety of classes. A compact model in the lower price segment, the Taigun, is in the development phase; the latest version of this SUV concept was presented in New Delhi, India in February 2014 - a new sport utility vehicle features a new rear section with outside-mounted spare wheel. And this is exactly the solution future drivers wished for in the new Taigun. Volkswagen took the opportunity to analyse feedback from around the world to adapt the new SUV ideally to customers' wishes. One of these wishes: fast access to the spare wheel without having to empty the boot first. The advanced version of the SUV concept now meets this demand. The four-seat Taigun is powered by a new and fuel-efficient 1.0-litre TSI engine (turbocharged, direct injection petrol engine) with 81 kW / 110 PS (from 5,000/min). Average fuel consumption is just 4.7 l/100km (110 g/km CO2). This enables a range of around 1,000 kilometres (with a fuel tank capacity of 50 litres).
Measuring Fine Dust Concentration via Smartphone
Measurement System for Mobile End Devices to Compile a Pollution Map
Big cities in the smog: Photos from Beijing and, more recently, Paris clearly illustrate the extent of fine dust pollution. But what about our direct environment? What is the pollution concentration near our favorite jogging route? Scientists of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) are developing a sensor that can be connected easily to smartphones. In the future, users are to take part in drawing up a pollution map via participatory sensing. The precision of the map will be the higher, the more people will take part.
The principle of fine dust measurements using a smartphone corresponds to that of simple optical sensors. “Instead of the conventional infrared LED in the sensor, the flashlight of the smartphone emits light into the measurement area. This light is scattered by the possibly existing dust or smoke. The camera serves as a receptor and takes a picture representing the measurement result. The brightness of the pixels can then be converted into the dust concentration,” computer scientist Matthias Budde explains. He has developed the system as a member of the research group TECO of KIT’s Chair for Pervasive Computing.
Excellent Research at the Ceramics Workshop
Novel Nanostructured Materials for Batteries, Catalysts, and Filters
Ceramic vases and battery electrodes serve different purposes, but have an important production step in common: Only at very high temperatures are they given their excellent properties. For this reason, the chemist Andrew P. Vogt of KIT uses the kilns of the Majolika Ceramics Manufactory in Karlsruhe for his materials research project. He applies tailored plastic molecules to develop prototypes of nanostructured carbon materials for bat-tery electrodes or chemical catalysts.
“For my research, it is sheer luck that the kilns of the Majolika are located just around the corner of the campus,” Andrew Vogt brims with enthusiasm. Already during his Ph. D. phase he developed processes to generate small structures in materials. Nanostructured materials may be applied as filters to clean contaminated water or as chemical catalysts. They might also be suited for batteries or electronics. Carbon rich materials can be nanostructured as well, where even thin samples do not tear and are easy to modify chemically.
Software Tracks Trackers
KIT Students Develop a Software to Search Websites for Trackers
Every internet surfer knows the phenomenon: When accessing a news portal, links to offers, videos, images, and advertisements of mail order companies, utilities, or airlines open up simultaneously. They appear to fit exactly to the PC user. Who investigates our interests and preferences in the web? The software developed by students of Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) makes these “data trackers” and third-party providers visible and shows to which countries our data are sent.
Where do my data go? The "BackTrack" software developed by KIT students illustrates that. Photo: KIT/ITM-DSN
Whoever accesses a website will not only download the data of this site, but also contents, by means of which third parties can analyze the user, his personal data, and his behavior on the internet. A team of six KIT students of informatics has now studied this topic with particular attention being paid to the private sphere of users on the internet.
From KIT’s Geophysical Institute to the ISS
ESA Astronaut Alexander Gerst will join Expedition 40/41
He will be the eleventh German in space: On May 28, Alexander Gerst, astronaut of the European Space Agency ESA, will leave for the International Space Station ISS together with the American Reid Wiseman and the Russian Maxim Suraev.
Gerst, who is 38 years old, studied at the then University of Karlsruhe. In 2003, he was conferred his diploma by the Geophysical Institute. For a period of six months, he will work on the ISS as a technician and scientist during the expeditions 40 and 41, about 400 km above the Earth. Gerst will be the third German astronaut living and working on board of the ISS. He will conduct scientific experiments in the European Columbus Laboratory and perform maintenance and repair work as a flight engineer. The astronaut still loves to remember his studies at the Geophysical Institute of the then University of Karlsruhe: “Karlsruhe marked the start of my scientific career. There, I learned to conduct scientific work and to do research. It was a great time. I highly profited from the education in Karlsruhe and I am very grateful for it. I still very much like to remember that time.”
Less Accidents Thanks to Smart Vehicles
KIT Coordinates New Priority Programme
Nearly 44 million private cars are registered in Germany. Individual mobility is considered an element of the quality of life by many people. However, 300,000 traffic accidents with many casualties occur every year. Autonomously driving vehicles that coordinate their activities with the help of sensors are to enhance the safety of road traffic in the future.
The new priority programme "Cooperatively Interacting Automobiles" funded by the German Research Foundation (DFG) will now pool the work of various research institutions in this area. This programme is coordinated by Professor Christoph Stiller, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT). The negative aspects of individual mobility do not only include nu-merous traffic accidents, but also environmental pollution by noise and exhaust gases, high fuel consumption, and traffic jams. Moreo-ver, demographic change calls for maintaining the mobility of elderly people. After having lost their fitness to drive, they are frequently dependent on inadequate public passenger transport systems or support by social services.
Environmentally Compatible Organic Solar Cells
KIT Coordinates “MatHero” Project
Environmentally compatible production methods for organic solar cells from novel materials are in the focus of “MatHero”. The new project coordinated by Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT) aims at making organic photovoltaics competitive to their inorganic counterparts by enhancing the efficiency of organic solar cells, reducing their production costs and increasing their life-time. “Green” processes for materials synthesis and coating play a key role. “MatHero” is funded by the European Commission with an amount of EUR 3.5 million.
Organic solar cells will open up entirely new markets for photovoltaics. These “plastic solar cells” have several advantages: They are light-weight, mechanically flexible, can be produced in arbitrary colors, and hence allow a customized design for a variety of applications. Moreover, organic solar cells can be produced by printing processes with a low consumption of materials and energy, enabling the inexpensive production of high numbers of solar cells. In order to become competitive in established markets, various challenges still have to be mastered. The energy conversion efficiency has to be improved to more than ten percent. Costs of materials synthesis have to be reduced. The life-time of the materials and modules has to be enhanced to more than ten years.
Self-healing Plastics Developed
Novel Polymer Network that Selfheals Rapidly and Repeatedly at Relatively Low Temperatures
Scratches in the car finish or cracks in polymer material: Self-healing materials can repair themselves by restoring their initial molecular structure after the damage. Scientists of the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology and Evonik Industries have developed a chemical crosslinking reaction that ensures good short-term healing properties of the material under mild heating. The KIT group headed by Christopher Barner-Kowollik uses the possibility of crosslinking functionalized fibers or small molecules by a reversible chemical reaction for the production of self-healing materials. These so-called switchable networks can be decomposed into their initial constituents and reassembled again after the damage. The advantage is that the self-healing mechanism can be initiated any time by heat, light or by the addition of a chemical substance. “Our method does not need any catalyst, no additive is required,” Professor Barner-Kowollik says. The holder of the Chair for Preparative Macromolecular Chemistry at KIT studies syntheses of macromolecular chemical compounds.
It took about four years of research for the working group of Barner-Kowollik, together with the Project House Composites of Creavis, the strategic innovation unit of Evonik, to develop a novel polymer network. At comparably low temperatures from 50°C to 120°C, the network exhibits excellent healing properties within a few minutes. Reducing the time needed for healing and optimizing the external conditions, under which the healing process takes place, are the major challenges of research relating to self-healing materials. Using the healing cycle developed by them, the KIT researchers have found a large number of intermolecular compounds that close again within a very short term during cooling. Mechanical tests, such as tensile and viscosity tests, confirmed that the original properties of the material can be restored completely. “We succeeded in demonstrating that test specimens after first healing were bound even more strongly than before,” Barner-Kowollik says.
The self-healing properties can be transferred to a large range of plastics known. Apart from self-healing, the material is given another advantageous property: As flowability is enhanced at higher temperatures, the material can be molded well. A potential field of application lies in the production of fiber-reinforced plastics components for automotive and aircraft industries.
In Karlsruhe entdeckt!
Vor 125 Jahren veröffentlichte Heinrich Hertz „Über Strahlen elektrischer Kraft“. In Karlsruhe sprang der Funke über – heute nutzt die ganze Welt elektromagnetische Wellen, um von unterwegs, zu jeder Zeit und an jedem Ort zu kommunizieren. Ob W-LAN, Mobilfunk, Radio oder Fernsehen: Den grundlegenden physikalischen Effekt, der die drahtlose Datenübertragung ermöglicht, entdeckte ein Erfinder in Karlsruhe. 1886 war es dem Physiker Heinrich Hertz an der damaligen Technischen Hochschule Karlsruhe – heute Karlsruher Institut für Technologie (KIT) – erstmals gelungen, elektromagnetische Wellen vom Sender zu einem Empfänger zu übertragen.
Centre for Creative Founders
"Perfect Futur": Opening in the Old Slaughterhouse
More than 40 building enterprises at the expense of 2.6 million took part in the restoration and conversion of the landmarked building, in which "Perfekt Futur" has been formed. It is a city of disused sea freight containers, which offers space for creative working. "There is a grand idea behind this project and many will think further", mayor Dr. Frank Mentrup recalls the intention of building a creative centre in 2004.
In the Course of the "Masterplan"
During Karlsruhe's application as cultural capital of Europe 2010, the idea assumed shape and had been complemented and concretised in the course of the Masterplan 2015, with the idea of sponsoring young founders of businesses and establishments for cultural or creative economy. "The structural concept is everything but ordinary. It certainly posed some special challenges," mayor Dr. Mentrup remarked and thanked everyone involved in the project, the Fächer GmbH, the Kulturamt, and the Wirtschaftsförderung for "showing the courage to break new ground in order to help founders in creative branches with creating a nucleus for the creative enterprises of tomorrow."
Gefragt ist Elektromobilität
e-mobil BW bekommt Fördergelder
Die Landesagentur für Elektromobilität und Brennstoffzellentechnologie, e-mobil BW GmbH, erhält vom Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft einen Zuschuss in Höhe von 2 Millionen Euro für 2014. Der Zuschuss wird im Rahmen der Landesinitiative Elektromobilität für Personal-, Sach- und Investitionsausgaben bereitgestellt.
Die Landesagentur für Elektromobilität und Brennstoffzellentechnologie, e-mobil BW GmbH, erhält vom Ministerium für Finanzen und Wirtschaft einen Zuschuss in Höhe von 2 Millionen Euro für 2014. Der Zuschuss wird im Rahmen der Landesinitiative Elektromobilität für Personal-, Sach- und Investitionsausgaben bereitgestellt. „Die Mittel sind gut investiert. Die Elektromobilität ist für die Sicherung der Wettbewerbsfähigkeit des Autolandes Baden-Württemberg und den Erhalt von Arbeitsplätzen am Standort von entscheidender Bedeutung”, betonte Finanz- und Wirtschaftsminister Nils Schmid. „Die Landesregierung wird das Autoland Baden-Württemberg zur Pionierregion für nachhaltige Mobilität machen und zum Mobilitätsland weiterentwickeln. Hierbei spielt die Elektromobilität eine wichtige Rolle. Das unterstreichen wir auch mit unserem kontinuierlichen finanziellen Engagement bei der e-mobil BW”, sagte Schmid weiter.
Zur Info: Die e-mobil BW GmbH wurde im Frühjahr 2010 gegründet, hat sich als zentrale Anlauf- und Koordinierungsstelle für alle Belange rund um die Elektromobilität in Baden-Württemberg etabliert. Unter anderem hat sie die Antragsstellung für den Spitzencluster-Wettbewerb der Bundesregierung und das weitere Clustermanagement übernommen. Im Spitzencluster Elektromobilität Süd-West arbeiten über 80 Partner aus Industrie und Wissenschaft gemeinsam an innovativen Lösungen für die Zukunft der Elektromobilität. Die Zusammensetzung aus führenden Fahrzeugherstellern, Zulieferern, Energieversorgern, IKT-Unternehmen und Maschinenbauern sowie exzellenten Hochschul- und Forschungsinstituten ist weltweit einzigartig. Das Cluster Elektromobilität Süd-West hat erfolgreich am dritten Spitzencluster-Wettbewerb des Bundesministeriums für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF) teilgenommen,