More than 20 million Germans could supply themselves completely with self-generated solar power. This is the result of an E.ON calculation based on an evaluation of your own data. "66 percent of our photovoltaic customers generate more electricity throughout the year than they consume over the same period," says Victoria Ossadnik, CEO of E.ON Energie Deutschland. Extrapolated to the whole of Germany, if two out of three homes * were to produce their own solar power, the required electricity for more than 10 million households or about 20 million ** Germans could be fully covered by solar energy. "The further expansion of decentralized photovoltaic systems is not only sustainable, but also efficient and could significantly accelerate the social transition to renewable energies," adds Victoria Ossadnik from E.ON. In addition, electric cars, e-bikes or the new e-scooter could be charged at home with solar power. So far, about 1.6 million systems have been installed in Germany. Store solar power with batteries Much of their electricity is produced by photovoltaic systems from spring to autumn. To store surplus electricity on sunny days, batteries can increase their self-consumption quota to around 70 percent in order to use the energy in the evenings, for example. With virtual storage systems such as the E.ON SolarCloud, customers can even save their solar power indefinitely and thus supply themselves 100% sustainably. The energy from this virtual power account, customers can retrieve at any time, even in the darker season, when no sun is shining. The calculation is based on a data set of more than 1,000 households owned by E.ON customers with their own photovoltaic system, whose generated energy was compared to the required electricity consumption of the last twelve months. The households are spread over the entire federal territory with a focus on southern Germany.
ANN ARBOR—An injection of nanoparticles can prevent the body’s immune system from overreacting to trauma, potentially preventing some spinal cord injuries from resulting in paralysis. The approach was demonstrated in mice at the University of Michigan, with the nanoparticles enhancing healing by reprogramming the aggressive immune cells—call it an “EpiPen” for trauma to the central nervous system, which includes the brain and spinal cord. “In this work, we demonstrate that instead of overcoming an immune response, we can co-opt the immune response to work for us to promote the therapeutic response,” said Lonnie Shea, the Steven A. Goldstein Collegiate Professor of Biomedical Engineering. Lonnie Shea Lonnie Shea. Image credit: Michigan Engineering Trauma of any kind kicks the body’s immune response into gear. In a normal injury, immune cells infiltrate the damaged area and clear debris to initiate the regenerative process. The central nervous system, however, is usually walled off from the rough-and-tumble of immune activity by the blood-brain barrier. A spinal cord injury breaks that barrier, letting in overzealous immune cells that create too much inflammation for the delicate neural tissues. That leads to the rapid death of neurons, damage to the insulating sheaths around nerve fibers that allow them to send signals, and the formation of a scar that blocks the regeneration of the spinal cord’s nerve cells. All of this contributes to the loss of function below the level of the injury. That spectrum includes everything from paralysis to a loss of sensation for many of the 12,000 new spinal injury patients each year in the United States. Previous attempts to offset complications from this immune response included injecting steroids like methylprednisolone. That practice has largely been discarded since it comes with side effects that include sepsis, gastrointestinal bleeding and blood clots. The risks outweigh the benefits. But now, U-M researchers have designed nanoparticles that intercept immune cells on their way to the spinal cord, redirecting them away from the injury. Those that reach the spinal cord have been altered to be more pro-regenerative. With no drugs attached, the nanoparticles reprogram the immune cells with their physical characteristics: a size similar to cell debris and a negative charge that facilitates binding to immune cells. In theory, their nonpharmaceutical nature avoids unwanted side effects. With fewer immune cells at the trauma location, there is less inflammation and tissue deterioration. Second, immune cells that do make it to the injury are less inflammatory and more suited to supporting tissues that are trying to grow back together. “Hopefully, this technology could lead to new therapeutic strategies not only for patients with spinal cord injury but for those with various inflammatory diseases,” said Jonghyuck Park, a U-M research fellow working with Shea. Previous research has shown success for nanoparticles mitigating trauma caused by the West Nile virus and multiple sclerosis, for example. “The immune system underlies autoimmune disease, cancer, trauma, regeneration—nearly every major disease,” Shea said. “Tools that can target immune cells and reprogram them to a desired response have numerous opportunities for treating or managing disease.” The research, published in the current issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, was supported by The National Institutes of Health. Shea is also the William and Valerie Hall Chair of Biomedical Engineering and a professor of chemical engineering.
With 42 subsidiaries and branches around the world, the Pilz Group offers a whole host of end-to-end automation solutions. These cover sensor, control and drive technology and include systems for industrial communication, diagnostics and visualization. An international range of services featuring consultancy, engineering and training completes the portfolio. Besides mechanical and plant engineering, Pilz solutions are also used in numerous other sectors such as wind energy, rail technology and robotics. One of the hottest topics in robotics right now concerns cobots - a product of human-robot collaboration (HRC). To ensure companies can meet the strict safety standards that protect human coworkers, Pilz has developed the Pilz Robot Measurement System "PRMS". Due to high customer demand, the company is now also offering the system to buy, alongside the tried-and-tested rental version. The PRMS collision measurement set can be used to measure force and pressure to validate HRC applications in line with Method 4 of ISO/TS 15066. Thanks to new silicone compression elements, the device is even more user-friendly and also replicates the Shore values from ISO/TS 15066. The force and pressure measurements can then be easily evaluated using the PRMS Assistant software. And as if that were not enough, the all-in-one PRMS package also includes a one-day seminar explaining the measurement system and standards and providing practical training. What’s more, this all-in-one hassle-free package from Pilz covers maintenance, calibration and software updates for the PRMS, too.
In order to manage its global logistics network dynamically, the German industrial corporation Thyssenkrupp is opting for an in-house solution which has been created in cooperation with Microsoft . The “alfred” artificial intelligence solution is to become the central collection point for all information relevant to the company in the medium term and make the processes around the delivery chain more flexible. That could ultimately work to the benefit of the customer – through better adaptation of prices and quality to specific requirements and through faster delivery. Already since its introduction in 2019, the AI solution has optimized all transport routes and is providing faster availability of materials at the company’s sites. It is based on Microsoft Azure Machine Learning and in future will process and analyze around 14 million order items a year, identify optimal delivery routes and determine the material needs of individual industries and companies at specific locations. Thyssenkrupp’s in-house developments also include the IIoT platform toii , by means of which the company is networking its machine park.
The scientists say the device (which looks like a large metal ring through which a patient places their leg) could help diagnose conditions such as anterior cruciate ligament injuries - particularly common among footballers. Furthermore, the small size of the device could enable it to be used in local clinics and even GP surgeries, potentially reducing NHS waiting times for MRI scans. Currently, key components of the knee joints such as ligaments and tendons are difficult to see in detail in the MRI scans, explains Dr Karyn Chappell, a researcher and radiographer from Imperial’s MSK Lab: "Knee injuries affect millions of people – and MRI scans are crucial to diagnosing the problem, leading to quick and effective treatment. However we currently face two problems: connective tissue in the knee is unclear on MRI scans, and people are waiting a long time for a scan." Following knee injury a doctor may refer a patient for a MRI scan to help establish which part of the joint is injured. MRI scans use a combination of radio waves and strong magnets to ‘flip’ water molecules in the body. The water molecules send out a signal, which creates an image. However, tendons, ligaments and meniscus are not usually visible with MRI, due to the way water molecules are arranged in these structures, explains Dr Karyn Chappell. "These structures are normally black on an MRI scan – they simply don’t produce much signal that can be detected by the machine to create the image. This is because they are made mostly of the protein collagen, arranged as fibres. The collagen fibres hold water molecules in a tight configuration, and it is in fact water that is detected by the MRI. If you do see a signal it suggests there is more fluid in the area – which suggests damage, but it is very difficult for medical staff to conclusively say if there is injury." To overcome this problem, Dr Chappell harnessed the power of a phenomenon called the "magic angle": "The brightness of these tissues such as tendons and ligaments in MRI images strongly depends on the angle between the collagen fibres and the magnetic field of the scanner. If this angle is 55 degrees the image can be very bright, but for other angles it is usually very dark." The team explain the magic angle is achieved in their scanner because they are able to easily change the orientation of the magnetic field. While the patient sits comfortably in a chair, the specially designed magnet (which uses motors and sensors similar to those found in robots in car factories) can rotate around the leg and the orientate magnetic field in multiple directions. This is not possible in current hospital MRI scanners, which are also much more expensive than the prototype scanner. "Specifically, we can combine images obtained at different magnet angles and not only increase the brightness, but also see how the collagen fibres are arranged. This enables us to establish the pattern of collagen fibres in the knee structures, which is crucial information ahead of treatments such as repairing a torn meniscus," added Dr Chappell. Dr. Chappell explained: "Although this is an early-stage proof-of-concept study, it shows the technology could potentially be used to accurately detect knee injury. We now hope to enter human trials – and explore if this technology could be used for other joints such as ankles, wrists and elbows."
Demographic change can be seen from the number of robots in use in industry. This connection has been established by the Flexibility@Work 2019 study published by the personnel service provider Randstad. It applies, the authors say, to Germany in particular: hardly any other country has seen such a steep rise in the use of robots since the early 1990s as we have here. The reasons lie in the fact that industry requires not only experience and technical expertise, but also power and precision, which is why more and more cobots are supporting the ageing workforce. For every 10,000 employees in the manufacturing industry in Germany, the study reveals, there are now 322 robots. Cobots, i.e. robots that can work directly with human beings without any particular safety precautions, have increased in importance. Not only do they relieve the burden on their human colleagues in connection with physically strenuous and monotonous activities, but they are also regarded as a way of offsetting the shortage of skilled employees . At the same time, of course, there are fears that cobots could provide competition for jobs.
In a world first, scientists have found a new way to direct stem cells to heart tissue. The findings, led by researchers at the University of Bristol and published in Chemical Science, could radically improve the treatment for cardiovascular disease. To date, trials using stem cells, which are taken and grown from the patient or donor and injected into the patient’s heart to regenerate damaged tissue, have produced promising results. To date, trials using stem cells, which are taken and grown from the patient or donor and injected into the patient’s heart to regenerate damaged tissue, have produced promising results.
Researchers from the Life Sciences Research Unit (LSRU) of the University of Luxembourg have developed a computer model that simulates the metabolism of cancer cells. They used the programme to investigate how combinations of drugs could be used more effectively to stop tumour growth. The metabolism of cancer cells is optimised to enable fast growth of tumours. "Their metabolism is much leaner than that of healthy cells, as they are just focused on growth. However, this makes them more vulnerable to interruptions in the chain of chemical reactions that the cells depend on.
The research center brings together experts from various disciplines, including system technology, data intelligence, software, materials science, design and applications. The center was conceived as an environment for collaboration between mechanical engineers, researchers and developers. In addition to HP’s own experts, customers and partners of the company will be working on research projects, according to the company’s press release . Additive manufacturing, in which 3D printing plays a crucial role, is a significant development in the “fourth industrial revolution”. Many industrial managers are hoping to make small series of products, even down to a batch size of 1, more cost-effectively in future than has ever been possible before in industrial mass production.
The consulting firm interviewed 200 European logistics and supply chain management experts for its analysis . According to the results , only 42% of respondents from the manufacturing sector have their own employees working on transport planning and monitoring, while the figure for retailers was only slightly higher at 53%. Only 35% of manufacturing companies have their own transport management system. Even less, 31%, use AI microservices for this purpose. Those already using them aim to improve delivery reliability or save freight costs in doing so. BearingPoint expects the importance of AI tools in transport management to increase significantly in the coming years. A survey conducted by the software manufacturer Inform in 2018 had already revealed that AI has led a rather shadowy existence in logistics to date. The reasons given for the sluggish implementation included lack of know-how, high costs, inadequate IT infrastructure and limited time resources.