HANNOVER MESSE 2008, 21 to 25 April Just ask the friendly service robots!

24.04.2008: HANNOVER MESSE 2008, 21 to 25 April Just ask the friendly service robots!

Anyone who's ever bought anything from a DIY store will probably recognize this scenario: long aisles filled with thousands of products and not a single salesman in sight. In the future, Toomas, the shopping robot, will be able to help you in situations like this. Toomas will be presented at HANNOVER MESSE 2008.

Star seller Toomas was developed by MetraLabs GmbH in collaboration with toom Baumarkt GmbH and the Department of Neuroinformatics and Cognitive Robotics at the Technical University of Ilmenau. Toomas will be the world's first shopping robot in the retail industry equipped with practical experience. He knows where to find the right screws. And since he hasn't got any screws loose, after appropriate training he should also be able to provide DIYers with tips and advice.

Not only is Toomas friendly and completely independent, he is also mobile and interactive. That combined with his navigation capabilities enables him to lead customers directly to the required product, whilst bringing back long believed lost standards of polite service.

In order to communicate perfectly with customers, Toomas draws on the latest technology: with multimodal sensing, WLAN, RFID and an energy-efficient drive, he is one of the engineering highlights to be presented at HANNOVER MESSE 2008.

MetraLabs GmbH 


How the cars of tomorrow will be driven

Innovative driver assistance systems are a focal point of Volkswagen's presence at HANNOVER MESSE 2008. To put it another way, the Wolfsburg-based company is already able to show you today how the cars of tomorrow will be driven.

For example, in the cockpit a camera constantly monitors eyelid closure duration and frequency of the driver. The camera is part of a driver alertness monitoring system (AMK). If the driver starts to blink after a long journey, the AMK will suggest a break from driving is needed. Also, missing road signs will soon be a thing of the past because thanks to another new development the signs currently positioned alongside motorways will be digitally displayed in the vehicle cockpit.

Visitors to the fair will be able to see live hourly demonstrations of how the irksome job of parking will in the future be done automatically at the touch of a button - the driver will become practically redundant in this maneuver! Just by driving past a parking place, the dimensions and any potential obstructions are detected.

The system assesses the sensor data and calculates the best way to park the car automatically. All the driver has to do is press the little button and the car reverses itself into the parking space.

Volkswagen AG  


Modern fabrics can "think" too

Modern fabrics now have properties that just a few years ago you could only find in science fiction books. They can monitor body functions and act as high-tech helpers. But best of all, they still feel as comfortable against the skin as any good clothing should.

At HANNOVER MESSE 2008, research services company Freudenberg Forschungsdienste KG will present a new stretchable substrate for textile applications. This novel component allows electronic devices to be integrated in the fabric whilst retaining the properties essential for guaranteeing the wearing comfort of the fabric, such as stretchability and breathability.

A new kind of structural design and connection technology has facilitated an integrated solution in the form of a "fabric circuit board". Embedded in the sole of a shoe, for example, this innovative "mini circuit board" can act as a pressure monitor, monitoring the distribution of pressure for diabetic patients because often diabetics notice that their feet also change when illness causes changes to their bones and/or nerves, which can lead to serious injury and, in advanced stages, amputation.

This new technology should help because the sensors constantly measure the pressure and an alarm sounds if a shoe needs to be changed. This EU-supported research project should help make diabetics' lives safer and more comfortable.

Freudenberg Forschungsdienste KG


The price is right: changing prices on supermarket shelves at the push of a button

"Is the milk on special offer yet?" "How much is the asparagus?" "And the grapes?" The latest innovation for the retail trade will make customer queries like this a thing of the past: a system of networked displays will make it possible to change shelf-displayed prices quickly and at any time. The Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems (IMS), based in Duisburg, will present the networked display system at HANNOVER MESSE 2008.

This system makes it possible to change shelf-displayed prices by merely pushing a button on the central computer in the branch manager's office. The central computer then transmits the new data wirelessly to the individual displays, removing the need to run around changing individual price tags on shelves. This saves a lot of time and effort for retail staff and ensures that customers do not get any nasty surprises at the till!

Fraunhofer Institut für Mikroelektronische Schaltungen und Systeme (IMS - Fraunhofer Institute for Microelectronic Circuits and Systems)


The gyrocopter - a different kind of aircraft

The gyrocopter is somewhere between a small plane and a helicopter and the company Auto Gyro is all set to land at HANNOVER MESSE 2008 with its gyrocopter. This special aircraft has unique flying characteristics and costs only a tenth of the price of a helicopter. Its possible uses range from agriculture to aerial photography to monitoring traffic or pipelines, etc. Plus, flying this craft is really good fun! The 243kg light-weight machine needs only 10 meters take-off distance and offers a range of 400km and a cruising speed of 130 km/h.

Auto Gyro GmbH  


Fraunhofer grabs the lead cyclist's yellow jersey and shows how to ride fast

Cycling is the number one people's sport. And no wonder, since, if you pedal right, you can conquer the world on two wheels. At HANNOVER MESSE 2008, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research will present a bicycle with intelligent pedal crank that helps the rider direct his/her strength into the pedals.

Two sensors measure the forces and show the rider how effectively s/he is pedaling. The data recorded is transmitted to a PC or mobile phone. The aim of this project is to manufacture "intelligent" cast parts by directly integrating sensors, actuators and electronic components into the parts while they are being cast. A hot project when you consider that casting involves temperatures of up to 700°C! The pedal crank represents a precursor for a range of products with sensor and adaptronic functions.

Fraunhofer-Institut für Fertigungstechnik und Angewandte Materialforschung (IFAM - Fraunhofer Institute for Manufacturing Technology and Applied Materials Research)


ZYKLON - a cyclone that makes smoke disappear

The biggest danger in a fire is posed not by the flames, but by the smoke. In public buildings, a relatively small fire can actually produce enough smoke to put a lot of people in grave danger. At HANNOVER MESSE 2008, engineers from Wuppertal University will present their ZYKLON technology which provides a new way of removing toxic fumes quickly.

The name ZYKLON is highly appropriate for this new development because the smoke-removal technology works just like a tropical cyclone. The technology uses a special arrangement of duct cross-sections and suction extraction points to generate a fast-rotating, low-pressure vortex. As with tropical cyclones, the ambient air, which in this case also includes the smoke, is sucked inwards and transported to both end points.

Direct capture of the smoke using the ZYKLON technology prevents the smoke from spreading not only in the immediate area, but into adjacent areas through openings in ceilings or walls. This technology breaks new ground in making it possible to implement smoke zones without structural measures.

Bergische Universität Wuppertal  


Everything in carbon fiber - from accurate sport rifles to violins

Carbon fiber composites bring together the favorable properties of various materials, resulting in new properties. Light weight and high stability are two of the major advantages of carbon fiber reinforced plastic (CFRP) compared with traditional metal materials. In addition, changes in temperature barely have any effect on parts made from CFRP. At HANNOVER MESSE 2008, researchers from the University of Chemnitz will use various examples to demonstrate what a difference these advantages can make in practice.

Amongst other things, they will present a novel rotary spring made of fiber composite materials for commercial vehicles. This could be used in ambulances, for example, to provide a smoother ride for patients. The researchers will also present a unique sport rifle with a stock made from CFRP.

In practice shoots, this rifle proved more accurate because the carbon material offers greater strength and damping characteristics. Visitors to the fair will be able to handle the rifle stock as well as a violin and violin bows also made from carbon fiber.

Technische Universität Chemnitz


- Andrea Staude -


24.04.2008 / MaP

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