Hannover. Digital innovation made tangible: With exhibits filling more than 6,000 square meters (nearly 64,600 sq. ft.), CeBIT's Research & Innovation showcase in Hall 6 is about to reassert its reputation as the leading tech transfer platform for science, business and industry. Its unique exhibit lineup embraces solutions, prototypes and visions ranging from "disruptive" mobility solutions to smart, self-explanatory devices and revolutionary drone systems.
Thousands of scientists around the globe are working in the field of artificial intelligence. Today's machine-learning algorithms are already capable of solving assignments with near-human precision. Just how they arrive at a certain decision, however, still remains something of a mystery. At CeBIT 2017 the Fraunhofer Heinrich Hertz Institute (HHI) will guide visitors through the learning process. Interactive displays will reveal how a neuronal network can determine a person's age on the basis of his or her facial characteristics and distinguish between a dog and a cat (Hall 6/Stand B36).
Although machines make our lives much easier, they are sometimes difficult to operate. In many cases everyday devices would be easier to use if they were self-explanatory. Against this background the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) will be unveiling a groundbreaking concept called "Augmented Things" (6/B48).
The start-up Bitnamic is committed to streamlining maintenance procedures in complex industrial plants. The company's smart service solution VIOS ensures that expert knowledge is available all over the globe. Via a live video link an in-house specialist guides the on-site service technician through the maintenance and repair process. VIOS runs on mobile computers, smartphones and head-mounted displays (Lower Saxony Ministry of Science, 6/A18).
In five years autonomous vehicles are expected to be up and running in Germany and elsewhere. At CeBIT 2017 the Karlsruhe Institute for Technology (KIT) and the FZI Research Center for Information Technology will showcase their activities in connection with the "Test Center for Connected and Automated Driving" in Baden-Württemberg. In the course of a virtual test drive visitors will be able to immerse themselves in this project, which is scheduled to begin operating at the end of 2017 (6/A30).
At this year's CeBIT the Adaptive City Mobility consortium will present its zero-emission CITY eTAXI. Contrary to the trend towards ever-larger vehicles clogging up our inner cities, ACM has developed a 3-seater electric car for use in urban transport, as well as logistics and tourism. The underlying business model is based on revenue sources such as taxi services, energy sales, digital advertising and battery leasing (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, 6/C40).
Augmented/virtual reality (AR/VR) is poised to make its breakthrough in industrial applications. The West Saxony University of Applied Sciences Zwickau (WHZ) will present a protective helmet incorporating a head-mounted display, plus a battery, a computer chip and a sensor system. Developed in collaboration with the IT service provider GESIS, these Helmet Glasses are intended for the steel industry and display hazard warning symbols directly in the user's field of vision (6/B24).
Fraunhofer Institute for Computer Graphics Research (IGD) will showcase VR and AR applications that can display large quantities of CAD data in 3D quickly, automatically and fluently. The software platform "webVis" can visualize complex 3D data on any web-enabled device – e.g. AR glasses, a tablet computer or a smartphone. At the IGD stand visitors can try out this solution with reference to a Porsche sports car (6/B36).
The potential of unmanned aerial vehicles has yet to be fully exploited. A spin-off of Darmstadt Technical University has developed the Wingcopter 178, a versatile hybrid drone that combines the advantages of a multirotor and a fixed-wing aircraft. The Wingcopter 178 also boasts a patented tilt rotor for vertical takeoffs and landings (Innovations presented by universities from the German state of Hesse, 6/C18).
Developed by the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zurich (ETH), the Fotokite drone is the first unmanned aerial system certified to fly over people in the United States. Major news organizations such as CNN and the BBC already use this tethered aerial camera system for commercial purposes. Developed at the Flying Machine Arena of the ETH, it can be steered simply and safely (6/E30).
GelTouch Technologies has developed smart surfaces that can create tangible control buttons as and when required. This leads to enhanced productivity, usability and safety – for example, when operating machines via a touchscreen (Innovations Market Berlin-Brandenburg, 6/C26).
3YOURMIND has chosen CeBIT Research & Innovation as a showcase for a 3D printing solution which allows enterprises to manage projects and print the results – either internally or externally – via a cloud connection (Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, 6/C40).
qmBase is a browser-based software solution which allows enterprises to achieve a digital transformation and streamline their business processes. Standardized tools ensure that information is acquired, processed and evaluated uniformly throughout a business organization (Innovations Market Berlin-Brandenburg, 6/C26).
Visitor access controls are a prerequisite for obtaining security certification. LÜTH & DÜMCHEN has developed a self-registration system for visitors. As soon as all the formalities have been completed the system prints out a visitor pass complete with a photograph (Innovations Market Berlin-Brandenburg, 6/C26).
Wearables will become even smarter in the years to come – for example, sensor-equipped safety helmets and jackets boasting navigation and hazard warning functions. The DFKI Competence Center "Wearable AI" will be presenting various state-of-the-art products and prototypes (6/B48).
A start-up at Munich Technical University will demonstrate how an off-the-shelf smartwatch can be transformed into a digital doctor with an emergency alarm function. When equipped with the QoLware app, the watch can detect whether the wearer suffers a fall, a fainting fit or an epileptic seizure or leaves a predefined geographical area (Bayern Innovativ, 6/E17).
The Filmforecast app developed by the Bauhaus University Weimar is a further example of artificial intelligence. In this case special algorithms are used to illustrate weather forecasts with excerpts from motion pictures. The result is an entertaining 30-second clip. In the medium term Filmforecast will be capable of automatically recognizing and editing cinema films on the basis of deep learning technology (6/B24).
Traditional market research is a thing of the past. The feedback tool MarketEcho (a spin-off from Berlin Technical University) organizes smartphone surveys and, thanks to artificial intelligence, delivers reliable findings – for example, how a target audience responds to an advertising campaign for a new product (Innovations Market Berlin-Brandenburg, 6/C26).
CeBIT has even more to offer:
CeBIT Future Talk (Monday–Friday from 10 a.m. to 6.00 p.m.; Hall 6/Stand A54) focuses on current research projects which have the potential to revolutionize business and industry. The program gets to grips with key topics such as Ambient Intelligence, Human-Machine Interaction, Web of Everything, Artificial Intelligence, Deep Learning, Virtual & Augmented Reality and Smart Cities. In addition, the Future Talk Forum on Monday, 20 March (11.30 a.m.) will feature the winners of the 2017 CeBIT Innovation Award. On the final day of CeBIT (Friday, 24 March, beginning at 10 a.m.) Heise Medien will be staging a one-day event devoted to Digital Sovereignty, which addresses the question "Germany in 2030 – how will digitalization shape the future?".