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.