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News Article
Site: http://www.greencarcongress.com/

« AC Transit Board greenlights a $108M, 9.5-mile infrastructure project for first Bus Rapid Transit line; diesel-hybrid buses | Main | BMW Connected North America makes its world debut at Microsoft Build 2016; powered by Azure » Fraunhofer researchers have developed a new, high-frequency radar scanner that can monitor its environment in a 360-degree radius. Increasing connectivity of production systems in “smart” industry 4.0 operations is driving the interaction between people and machines. The trend is moving towards industrial robots that operate without protective barriers. A prerequisite for this level of co-working is that people must not be endangered at any time—but that is precisely the Achilles’ heel of collaboration between people and robots. Currently, laser scanners are used to monitor the danger zone around machinery, and to stop the machine as soon as a person enters the zone. However, optical sensors do not always achieve reliable results under changing light conditions. They also do not work if smoke, dust or fog limits visibility. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF have developed a compact modular 360-degree radar scanner that is superior to optical sensors in many respects. This makes it suited for safety applications for human-machine collaboration. The radar works with millimeter waves that are reflected by the objects to be observed, such as people. Transmitted and received signals are processed and evaluated using numerical algorithms. Based on the calculations, it is possible to determine the distance, position and speed of the objects. If several radar units are used, an object’s location in the room can also be determined as can the direction in which it is moving. A laser scanner can reliably measure the distance and the position of a target—a person, for instance—only if the target is working in an unobstructed line of sight. However, IAF’s 360-degree radar can penetrate optically opaque material, which means it can identify the employee even if there are boxes, cardboard walls or other obstacles in the way. Previous millimeter wave radar systems—based on waveguides—are bulky and expensive. IAF’s scanner has a diameter of only 20 centimeters and is 70 centimeters high. The high-frequency module featuring indium gallium arsenide semiconductor technology is no larger than a pack of cigarettes and is located in the base of the scanner. The high-frequency module, which is the key component of the radar scanner, was developed by IAF researchers in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Reliability and Microintegration IZM and for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. In addition to the signal processor, the complete system comprises a transmitting and receiving antenna with a dielectric—that is, electric non-conducting—lens. A self-turning mirror affixed at a 45 degree angle deflects the millimeter waves, guides them, and evaluates the entire room. Thanks to the use of a dielectric antenna, the angle of aperture can be freely selected. That means nearby objects as small as a centimeter in size can be detected as easily as large surfes that are far away. The system’s range of operation is dependent on the application and can be up to several hundred meters. The scanner includes an Ethernet interface and is therefore suitable for industry 4.0 applications. In order to evaluate the measurement accuracy and reliability of the 360-degree radar, the researchers carried out hundreds of measurements in the lab. Maximum deviation from the mean was less than a micrometer; standard deviation was 0.3 micrometers. The researchers will present a system demonstrator at Hannover Messe (Hall 2, Booth C16/C22) from 25-29 April 2016 and again at the SENSOR+TEST in Nuremberg (Hall 5, Booth 5-248) from 10-12 May 2016.


News Article | March 25, 2016
Site: http://www.fastcompany.com

In a converted gasworks building in western Berlin’s Mariendorf neighborhood, American craft beer brand Stone Brewing is engaged in an unusual project: Selling Germans—and Europeans in general—on the joys of bitter, hoppy beers like Stone IPA and the company’s popular Arrogant Bastard Ale. Germans have traditionally enjoyed lagers and wheat beers that are a far cry from the IPAs that are fashionable on the American scene, but Stone hopes Europeans will go gaga for the alternative. IPA stands for "India Pale Ale." First invented as a spoil-proof variety of beer for export from Great Britain to India during the colonial era, IPAs enjoyed a resurgence in the United States thanks to brewers like Sierra Nevada, Brooklyn Brewery, and Stone. Despite their British roots, IPAs are nowadays primarily associated with American and Canadian breweries. Meanwhile, until 1993, Germany abided by a collection of regulations called the reinheitsgebot that restricted beer ingredients and discouraged brewers from significant deviations from traditional formulas. Deregulation has given brewers more leeway, leading to homegrown brewers like Schoppebraeu creating beers that owe much to foreign styles like Californian IPAs and Belgian Lambics. But Stone faces a challenge in Germany—the beer audience skews largely traditional. Stone, one of the largest American craft brewers to survive a recent binge of craft brewery acquisitions by multinationals AB InBev, Heineken, and MillerCoors, is opening both a brewpub and a larger commercial beer operation at the Berlin facility. It will serve as the center of a European operation that, as of press time, includes distribution in Germany, France, Finland, and the Netherlands. There will be some changes from the American model—the recipes, which are still being finalized, will include more European ingredients and beers come in cans rather than bottles. According to Stone's president and cofounder Steve Wagner, the brewery is opening in the German market by selling four different IPAs and Arrogant Bastard. He added that "We're not holding ourselves to perfect flavor matching. We would like to use more local ingredients and they will be as close as we can make them. The hops will be identical and imported from the United States, but with more malted barley from Germany and Europe." It’s not only American beer that Stone’s bringing to Europe—they’re also bringing a very specific combination of American beer culture and marketing savvy. Their German headquarters in the old gasworks is a combination brewpub, restaurant, and packaging facility that’s approximately 10 blocks from the nearest U-Bahn stop. The facility, which is opening after months of delays, cost more than $25 million to renovate and is at the center of a much larger marketing push into the European market. When I spoke via Skype to Greg Koch, the company’s CEO and cofounder, he was on site in Germany. He explained that the Berlin facility was getting ready for opening in a few months, and told me about the latest unexpected development: An asbestos-lined pipe found underground that wasn’t shown on any maps and had to be safely removed. Wagner noted that the age of the facility made renovation more of a challenge than the company expected: Berlin buildings simply have those issues more often than Stone's nerve center back in Escondido, California. Koch also quickly made appeals to craft beer culture. I asked him about one central issue Stone faces—the fact that Stone’s hoppy beers are pretty much the opposite of every Pilsener or Kolsch I’ve ever had in a German bar. "It’s cool to know that we're going to be a major part of a shift in European awareness of American craft beer," he said. "A lot of people over here have an outdated mindset that all America makes is cheap industrial beer, and it’s fun to watch the expression on peoples faces when they taste amazing craft beer for the first time." From a business perspective, this attempt is happening at a crucial time for Stone. While it remains independently owned by Koch and Wagner, the company has been in the middle of its own expansion and shakeup. This past autumn, Koch announced plans to step down as CEO (although he has not left as of press time) and for the company to search for a new executive; Stone is also building a second production facility in Virginia that will brew beer for East Coast customers in the next few months. The Virginia facility is opening at almost the same time as the European branch. Wagner told me that the situation was "not how we planned it but it’s how the timeline turned out," thanks to delays in opening the German branch and faster-than-expected progress on the East Coast. As of press time, Stone says they are the ninth largest craft brewery in the United States and that their beers are sold in 41 states. In the meantime, Stone’s short-term goal is simple: Sell Europeans on the virtues of American craft beers. While IPAs might not show up at Munich’s Oktoberfest or in the pubs of Belgium anytime soon, the company sees a market in Europe for these hoppy drinks. Update: This article has been updated to reflect that, although Stone is searching for a new CEO, Koch remains the company's CEO; in addition, while Wagner was Stone's original brewmaster, he currently serves as president. It has also been updated to reflect that Stone has not finalized the recipes for their Berlin beers.


« ORNL team develops better moldable thermoplastic by using lignin; 50% renewable content | Main | Saarbrücken engineers developing networked self-analyzing electric motors » Toyota unveiled the new Prius Prime plug-in hybrid (PHEV) at the 2016 New York International Auto Show. Toyota expects the Prius Prime’s manufacturer-estimated 120 or above MPGe (miles per gallon equivalent) to be the highest MPGe rating of any current plug-in hybrid. It also represents a substantial 26-percent enhancement over its predecessor, the Prius PHV, a result of greater battery capacity and an improved hybrid system. In hybrid mode, the Prius Prime is targeting a hybrid MPG equal to or better than the Prius liftback. Toyota also expects the Prius Prime, equipped with an 8.8 kWh battery pack, to offer an estimated 22 miles (35.4 km) of all-electric range—twice the electric range of the previous model with its 4.4 kWh pack—and to drive at speeds up to 84 mph (135 km/h). Both the standard Prius hybrid and the Prius Prime are powered by Toyota’s Hybrid Synergy Drive powertrain, which combines the output of the gasoline engine and electric motor through a planetary-type continuously variable transmission. The biggest difference is that the Prius Prime can be plugged in at home to recharge its larger 8.8kWh battery pack. In Hybrid mode, the Prius Prime can run on the gasoline engine or electric motor alone or a combination of both. Even when not running in EV mode, the Prius Prime will automatically rely more on its electric capability in situations where it is more efficient than running the gasoline engine, especially in urban and suburban driving and during shorter trips. The Prius Prime will also feature a Toyota-first dual motor generator drive system, using both the electric motor and the generator for drive force, helping to boost acceleration performance. Regenerative braking recaptures electrical energy under deceleration and braking and stores it in the battery, which helps to reduce fuel consumption. The 1.8-liter Atkinson-cycle, 4-cylinder engine—the same as in all 2016 Prius hybrid models—earns a 40%-plus thermal efficiency. Numerous details throughout the hybrid powertrain contribute to the efficiency, including an exhaust gas recirculation (EGR) system with a cooler, smaller, lighter, quieter hybrid system water pump and an exhaust heat recirculation system that speeds engine warm-up. Available Intelligent Parking Assist (IPA) uses ultrasonic wave sensors to size up a parallel parking space and then, when activated by the driver, can steer the car into it. The system can also reverse the Prius Prime into perpendicular spaces and automatically steer it out of a parallel space. When the way forward gets narrow, such as in a parking garage, the system’s Intelligent Clearance Sonar provides visible and audible warnings if the driver gets too close to obstacles on the vehicle’s sides. The vehicle also offers Toyota’s advanced safety technology, Toyota Safety Sense P. This multi-feature advanced active safety suite bundles the Pre-Collision System with Pedestrian Detection and Automatic Braking; Lane Departure Alert with Steering Assist; Full-Speed Dynamic Radar Cruise Control with full stop technology and Automatic High Beams. Blind Spot Monitor and Rear Cross Traffic Alert are also available for additional peace of mind. All 2017 Prius hybrid models come standard with eight supplemental restraint system airbags, including multi-stage driver and front passenger front airbags; driver and front passenger side airbags; full-length curtain airbags; a driver knee airbag, and a front passenger seat cushion airbag. On one 11.3-gallon tank of regular-grade gasoline and a full electric charge, the 2017 Prius Prime anticipates a class-leading estimated total driving range of over 600 miles (966 km). The 2017 Prius Prime will begin arriving in Toyota showrooms in late fall.


News Article
Site: http://phys.org/technology-news/

Increasing connectivity of production systems in "smart" industry 4.0 operations is driving the interaction between people and machines. The trend is moving towards industrial robots that operate without protective barriers. A prerequisite for this level of co-working is that people must not be endangered at any time – but that is precisely the Achilles' heel of collaboration between people and robots. Currently, laser scanners are used to monitor the danger zone around machinery, and to stop the machine as soon as a person enters the zone. However, optical sensors do not always achieve reliable results under changing light conditions. They also do not work if smoke, dust or fog limits visibility. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF have developed a compact modular 360-degree radar scanner that is superior to optical sensors in many respects. This makes it a perfect choice for safety applications for human-machine collaboration. The radar works with millimeter waves that are reflected by the objects to be observed, such as people (see box: Radar with 360-degree vision). Transmitted and received signals are processed and evaluated using numerical algorithms. Based on the calculations, it is possible to determine the distance, position and speed of the objects. If several radar units are used, an object's location in the room can also be determined as can the direction in which it is moving. "Our radar is not focused on one point. Instead, it sends out millimeter waves in a club shape. Unlike a laser scanner, the signals are reflected even when visibility is obstructed by an object," explains IAF scientist Christian Zech. The laser scanner can reliably measure the distance and the position of a target – a person, for instance – only if the target is working in an unobstructed line of sight. However, IAF's 360-degree radar can penetrate optically opaque material (see box), which means it can identify the employee even if there are boxes, cardboard walls or other obstacles in the way. Previous millimeter wave radar systems – based on waveguides – are bulky and expensive. IAF's scanner has a diameter of only 20 centimeters and is 70 centimeters high. The high-frequency module featuring indium gallium arsenide semiconductor technology is no larger than a pack of cigarettes and is located in the base of the scanner. "These days, millimeter wave applications are dominated by waveguides that are extremely expensive to produce. Thanks to a cost-effective mounting and interconnection technology as well as specially developed circuit boards, we can replace the wave guides with our high-frequency module that has been integrated onto a board measuring just 78 x 42 x 28 millimeters," says Zech. The high-frequency module, which is the key component of the radar scanner, was developed by IAF researchers in close collaboration with the Fraunhofer Institutes for Reliability and Microintegration IZM and for Manufacturing Engineering and Automation IPA. In addition to the signal processor, the complete system comprises a transmitting and receiving antenna with a dielectric – that is, electric non-conducting – lens. A self-turning mirror affixed at a 45 degree angle deflects the millimeter waves, guides them, and evaluates the entire room. Thanks to the use of a dielectric antenna, the angle of aperture can be freely selected. That means nearby objects as small as a centimeter in size can be detected as easily as large surfes that are far away. The system's range of operation is dependent on the application and can be up to several hundred meters. The scanner includes an Ethernet interface and is therefore suitable for industry 4.0 applications. In order to evaluate the measurement accuracy and reliability of the 360-degree radar, the researchers carried out hundreds of measurements in the lab. Maximum deviation from the mean was less than a micrometer; standard deviation was 0.3 micrometers. The researchers will present a system demonstrator at Hannover Messe (Hall 2, Booth C16/C22) from April 25-29, 2016 and again at the SENSOR+TEST in Nuremberg (Hall 5, Booth 5-248) from May 10-12, 2016. The human eye cannot see through wood, paper, or plastic. But a radar developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Applied Solid State Physics IAF now makes it possible to see the invisible: The radar works with millimeter waves at a frequency of 94 GHz and a bandwidth of 15 GHz. In contrast to optical sensors, millimeter waves penetrate all dielectric materials, and therefore optically non-transparent materials, such as clothing, plastics surfaces and paper, but also dust, rain, snow and fog. This makes it possible to use the W band – that is, the frequency range between 75 and 110 GHz – to detect small objects several kilometers away, even in conditions with poor visibility. The higher the frequency and bandwidth, the better the spatial resolution. The system's distinctive feature is that it detects and visualizes its surroundings in a 360-degree view, making the scanner suitable for a broad range of applications – from area monitoring and access surveillance to industrial sensor technology, logistics and flight safety through to non-destructive materials testing.


News Article
Site: http://www.cemag.us/rss-feeds/all/rss.xml/all

Researchers at the University of Georgia have created a new therapeutic for prostate cancer that has shown great efficacy in mouse models of the disease. They published their findings recently in the journal Nanomedicine: Nanotechnology, Biology and Medicine. The treatment is designed to inhibit the activity of a protein called PAK-1, which contributes to the development of highly invasive prostate cancer cells. Aside from non-melanoma skin cancer, prostate cancer is the most common cancer among men in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. It is also one of the leading causes of cancer death among men of all races. "PAK-1 is kind of like an on/off switch," says study co-author Somanath Shenoy, an associate professor in UGA's College of Pharmacy. "When it turns on, it makes cancerous cells turn into metastatic cells that spread throughout the body." With the help of Brian Cummings, an associate professor in UGA's College of Pharmacy, the researchers developed a way to package and administer a small molecule called IPA-3, which limits the activity of PAK-1 proteins. They enveloped the IPA-3 molecule in a bubble-like structure called a liposome and injected it intravenously. The liposome shell surrounding IPA-3 ensures that it is not metabolized by the body too quickly, allowing the inhibitor enough time to disrupt the PAK-1 protein. The researchers found that this molecule significantly slowed the progression of cancer in mice, and it also forced the cancerous cells to undergo apoptosis — a kind of programmed cell death. "When we first began these experiments, we injected IPA-3 directly into the bloodstream, but it was absorbed so quickly that we had to administer the treatment seven days a week for it to be effective," Shenoy says. "But the liposome that Dr. Cummings created makes the IPA-3 much more stable, and it reduced the treatment regimen to only twice a week." The preliminary results suggest that IPA-3 might be a viable treatment for prostate cancer in humans, but Shenoy cautions that much work must be done before human clinical trials can begin. "The results of our experiments are promising, and we hope to move toward clinical trials soon," he says, "but we must figure out what side effects this treatment may have before we can think about using it in humans."

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