High-tech research

New discoveries in science and research must quickly and successfully become products for the world market. In particular, it seeks to promote research on fields that serve humanity: health, the world of work, the environment, transport, security and information and communication technology. Politics, business and research have therefore set themselves the task  “The New High-Tech Strategy – Innovations for World” of the Federal Government bundles the measures of all partners. It wants to advance Germany on its way to becoming a global innovation leader.

Living healthy

How do I get better, how do I prevent diseases? This question, which concerns everyone, is dedicated to medical research in universities as well as in numerous research institutions and the Centers for Health Research. Essential contributions are also made by medical technology and nutrition research. For example, it is important to restore the freedom of movement of injured people or to prevent diseases that result from improper nutrition

Curry for Alzheimer’s

The kitchens of distant countries and exotic spice mixtures provide variety for many people in the daily diet. Little is known, for example, that the popular curry spice is health-promoting. Curry contains the active ingredient curcumin, which is considered to be a panacea in traditional Indian healing art, Ayurveda .—– Research today knows that curcumin lowers cholesterol and fights inflammation. It is also said to inhibit cancers and slow down age-related brain changes. Thus, it can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s .— The body cells of humans absorb but little of the substance from the food and excrete it quickly. Increased consumption of curry is therefore of little use. The research is therefore working on solutions to embed curcumin in other nutrients that the body absorbs easily. Also, cells can better process the material if it is made water-soluble .— The aim of the research is to produce food with added health benefits in collaboration with the industry. If successful, curry foods will not only taste good, they will also protect against Alzheimer’s and other diseases.

Being mobile is quality of life

Those who are unable to move without restraint, for example after an accident, sometimes no longer take part in social life to the usual extent. Research therefore develops methods to restore mobility as quickly as possible. It often takes a lot of time to produce it – often a time of social isolation. The average life expectancy of people in world has been increasing continuously for years. Injuries and impairments of the musculoskeletal system increase in old age. The skeleton, joints and muscles tire and become more prone to failure. In order to remedy such damage and significantly improve mobility such as this situation for the people affected, the Federal Government is supporting a special research program as part of the New High Tech Strategy. This will support projects such as the “HapticWalker” at the Fraunhofer Institute for Production Systems and Design Technology, the world’s first robot-based running simulator for the training of any everyday movement. The main goal is to reduce the time needed to restore mobility.

Sustainability in business life

With the world’s growing population, the resource reserves of our planet are decreasing faster and faster. The keywords sustainability and the economical use of raw materials therefore play an increasingly important role in many areas of economic life. And they are a primary concern of research. The strategic goal in this context is, for example, the promotion of recycling technology for rare raw materials as well as better storage options for energy generation.

Fuel from the roof

The idea sounds awesome: my car drives with hydrogen, which the gas station produces itself. There is a petrol station at the Freiburg Fraunhofer Institute. Solar cells on their roof generate electricity that splits water into hydrogen and oxygen. Fuel cells in my car reverse this process: Hydrogen reacts with air, generating electricity that drives the electric motor of my car. From the exhaust comes – completely environmentally friendly – only water vapor. The idea is not that brilliant, however, because so far a lot of energy is lost. So keep researching. At the moment, hydrogen production is worthwhile only if electricity is particularly cheap. And that is precisely the case when wind turbines and solar systems generate too much electricity: on windy or sunny days. Since the electricity can be stored only to a limited extent, the oversupply is given away, or producers even pay for the decrease. Instead of stopping the wind turbines, it is smarter to generate hydrogen. So hydrogen can become an energy store – not only for driving, but also as a raw material for heating or to make electricity from it again.