“Being nominated for the Descartes Prize is very gratifying; it’s an important recognition of our work,” says Teresa Gutierrez, coordinator of a short-listed project competing for the Descartes Prize for outstanding scientific work by a multinational team of researchers.
Involving six partners from four European countries, the IST GRAB project developed a system to allow blind and visually impaired people to access three-dimensional computer graphics through the senses of touch and hearing. “We always saw the potential of this technology and we’re pleased that others see it as well,” says Gutierrez, a researcher at Fundación Labein in Spain.
The GRAB project - which is among 14 projects competing for the European Commission’s 1.15 million euro Descartes Research Prize, the winners of which will be announced in London on December 2 – forms part of ongoing research by Labein and the other project partners into haptic and audio technologies to aid people who are visually impaired. The GRAB system allows users to feel the geometric features of 3D graphics through a force-feedback haptic interface connected to two articulated arms in which users place their index finger or thumb of each hand. Combined with audio information, the system allows users to recognise the geometric features of virtual objects, and calculate distances and spatial relationships between them.
Tara Morris | alfa
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Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.
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Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.
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