Why this little known firm could make a difference to you

You may not know the name, but this company could change the way lots of us live our lives. Research firm Fraunhofer has come up with lots of new innovations recently. Here we take a look at some of those that could creep into our everyday lives.

The diabetes nano-sensor

For most diabetics, painful blood sugar tests are part of everyday life.

Checking blood glucose levels is a necessity, especially for people who suffer from Type-1 diabetes, as their bodies are incapable of producing the insulin needed to break down glucose in the blood.

It means that several times a day, they have to drop a tiny bit of blood onto a test strip so they can find out exactly how much insulin they need to inject.

But now a new device could put an end to that daily nuisance. Fraunhofer has created a chip which is completely non-invasive. It simply has to be placed on a patient’s body to be able to measure glucose levels through body sweat. It means while diabetics will still have to inject themselves with insulin, they could be able to say goodbye in the future to other painful procedures during the day.

The gadget measures glucose levels continuously using tissue fluids like sweat or tears and users shouldn’t really know it’s there as it measures just 0.5 x 2.0 millimetres.

3D without the glasses

Researchers at Fraunhofer haven’t limited their attentions to the healthcare field, they’ve been looking at home-entertainment too. They have developed a technology which converts Blu-ray’s existing 3D content in a way so new television screens can make it possible for users to enjoy 3D content without inconvenient 3D glasses. So far, 3D television hasn’t really taken off, so this new technology may be what the industry needs.

In the next step, the researchers say they are now working in partnership with the industry to put their invention onto a hardware product so it can be integrated into televisions. It is expected take another year to get it to market.

The gadget that knows what you want to watch

This next one probably knows what you want to watch before you do and it will make sure you don’t miss it. The HbbTV compliant SmartTV gives you personalised programme recommendations based on what you have watched previously. It will tell you what it thinks you will like, so you’ll get recommendations for the most suitable movies playing each night.

No more muffled calls

Lots of families and friends live and work apart these days. For many of them, telephone calls are the way to stay in touch with the latest news but, often, they can suffer from poor audio quality. Fraunhofer says it believes staying in touch with loved ones long distance should be “as natural as having a conversation with all participants present in the same room”. The team has come up with what it calls Full-HD Voice technology, which allows people to communicate using their TVs.

So Fraunhofer may just be the name on everyone’s lips in the future.

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