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FIRE-RESISTANT MATERIALS // Self-extinguishing magnesium alloys AIRPORT DIRECTIONS // Making wayfinding information an integral part of design OPTIMISING E-DRIVE EFFICIENCY // Reducing power losses in electric buses

Prof. Elke Guenther, Head of Center for Health & Bioresources

02 17



New analytic capabilities help conserve resources: Bikram Pandey, Eva Sehr, Sara Viktoria Wetter (from l. to r.)


NGES The AIT Center for Health & Bioresources is developing nanotechnologies, sensor technologies, system integration, molecular biological omics technologies, as well as modelling and simulation models for customers in the health, environment and agricultural sectors.

Photos & Coverphoto: AIT/Johannes Zinner Fotos & Coverbild:

Two of the greatest challenges facing mankind are demographic change and growing resource scarcity. “We work very closely with clinical, academic and industrial partners, adopting a complementary approach to developing interoperable technologies for pioneering areas of application,” explains Prof. Dr Elke Guenther, Head of the Center for Health & Bioresources. In doing so, AIT is setting the course towards meeting the “grand challenges” such as healthy ageing. “Our inventions should help to diagnose disease at an early stage, and support a healthy and active old age,” says Guenther. These initiatives include Active Assisted Living technologies for independent living, molecular diagnostics and imaging, innovative implants and prostheses, wireless technologies and cardiovascular research. However, AIT experts are not only working on pioneering health projects, they are also analysing potential ways of using biological resources in a sustainable, innovative and efficient manner (biomining). This includes research into promoting plant growth using microorganisms and their identification, the speedy detection of pests, moulds and allergenic fungi, as well as pathogen and weed control. This field involves much unexplored territory, making AIT research vital: bacteria and fungi contain a range of as yet unknown genes with novel functions. The mechanisms which regulate these genes are also little understood. “We are


horse for enzyme production. Their work focuses on current research topics such as carbohydrate-active enzymes (CAZymes), transport, transcription factors and development along with less studied topics such as signal transduction, genome integrity, chromatin, photobiology or lipid, sulfur and nitrogen metabolism. The study covers more than 2,000 of the predicted 9,000 to 11,000 genes of each of the individual Trichoderma species, which is more than 20% of the respective genomes. The transcriptome data available for the annotated genes were also taken into account. Highlights of the results include the discovery of new genes for many of the relevant topics and the expansion of several signalling pathways in Trichoderma. The research team also found indications that Trichoderma spp. is able to generate hybrid galactose containing N-linked glycans and the duplication of the alternative synthesis pathway for sulfur aminoacids, to cite just two examples. Viktoria Wetter is on the track of little-known gene mechanisms.

FOCUS ON TRICHODERMA SPECIES One example is genome research into three Trichoderma species, which are among the most important fungi used in biotechnology and agriculture. They produce enzymes for diverse applications, from highly effective detergents to environmentally sustainable paper bleaching to biofuel production. In agriculture, several Trichoderma species are applied for strengthening the immune system of plants and fighting pathogens. Detailed knowledge on the genome content of these fungi is necessary in order to understand the mechanisms behind these functions. An international consortium including Monika Schmoll and Alfredo Herrera-Estrella (LANGEBIO, Mexico) have compiled a comprehensive overview of the genomic content of Trichoderma reesei, Trichoderma atroviride and Trichoderma virens – two potent biocontrol fungi frequently used in agriculture and the biotechnological work-

AIT uses these research activities to consistently extend its core competences. Elke Guenther stresses that this does not always involve completely new developments: “Often existing models can be integrated into new markets. One example of this is our molecular saliva diagnostics, which can be used to detect human disease, but also plays a very important role in the livestock market for diagnosing animal diseases.”

Investigating cardiovascular diseases The AIT Center for Health & Bioresources is working with international partners to identify and research new risk parameters for health, such as high blood pressure. A first step is to develop an enhanced blood pressure monitor: the key pressure in the heart can only be determined through pulse wave analysis, a most complex and invasive method. AIT scientists have succeeded in developing a method of non-invasive pulse wave analysis which can even be used with a conventional blood pressure cuff. The innovation is based on PWA (pulse wave analysis) algorithms developed at AIT which allow a patient’s entire physiology and anatomy to be mapped. The AIT ARCSolver technology has met with huge international interest: more than 5,000 licensed devices are currently in use in the USA and Europe, 200 of which in Austria.

Photo: AIT/Johannes Zinner

screening these microorganisms for new industrial enzymes and valuable active substances, as well as investigating the best possible methods of producing them,” explains AIT Senior Scientist Dr Monika Schmoll. In doing so, AIT is drawing on genome and metagenome libraries in order to expand, alter and improve microbial activity patterns. Schmoll: “Our extensive collection also offers us the opportunity to test the physiological functions of these microorganisms for their suitability for use in industrial processes. Our expertise and research activity allows us to explain the regulatory processes and to optimise the relevant microorganisms to produce homologous and heterologous performance proteins and metabolites.”

Performance & Success

FOCUS ON PERFORMANCE & SUCCESS Magnesium is in great demand in lightweight construction as a means of reducing weight and emissions in the mobility sector.

Wayfinding information is designed to help passengers find their way more easily at airports and railway stations.


FIRE-RESISTANT MAGNESIUM ALLOYS In a research project at LKR Leichtmetallkompetenzzentrum Ranshofen, scientists have succeeded in developing flame-retardant magnesium alloys which self-extinguish in the event of a fire. This improved fire-resistance was achieved through the selective addition of alloy elements which significantly stabilise the material’s oxidation behaviour when subject to fire: “We are primarily investigating calcium alloys because calcium is cost-efficient and readily available. We can also add extra rare earth elements into the alloy to positively influence other material properties and to optimise the alloy for a particular application”, explains AIT Scientist Stefan Gneiger.


Photos: AIT/Zinner, AIT

INTELLIGENT CONTROLLERS The increasing role played by renewable energy sources results in energy systems becoming ever more complex. Fluctuating sources such as PV installations and wind turbines, as well as decentralised storage, must all be coordinated using intelligent controllers in order to ensure steady power supply. This is particularly the case for microgrids, i.e. local power networks, which are connected to the main grid and which can – and in an emergency must – independently cover local demand using renewable sources of energy. Hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) tests are used to connect the controller to a simulated microgrid and put it through its paces in the laboratory. New trends in this field were presented at a workshop held at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) where AIT demonstrated a new controller for renewable energy installations on a Typhoon HIL platform, the market and technology leader in the field of controller hardware-in-the-loop simulations. “Reliable control of decentralised energy installations is especially important for microgrids such as hospitals or critical industrial processes,” says Zoran Miletic, Senior Engineer at the AIT Center for Energy.


FINDING YOUR WAY AT THE AIRPORT The key to a well-designed airport is understanding how passengers interact with their surroundings, and how visual information influences wayfinding and navigation behaviour. Wayfinding information must often compete with other visual attractions such as advertisements. Applying wayfinding as an integral component of the design process creates intuitive architectural spaces in which passengers can navigate their way instinctively. Evaluating the design from a passenger perspective as early as the planning phase can prevent choosing unsuitable designs which would lead to higher costs at a later stage. EXPERIENCE, developed by experts at the AIT Center for Mobility Systems in close cooperation with Fraunhofer Austria Research, is a service based on virtual reality technologies. This new method offers an interactive means of investigating and analysing architectural models and designs before they are built. Test environments are used to measure people’s movements, visual awareness, and relevant behavioural characteristics as they move through virtual 3D models of airports. AIT will be presenting this technology at the UITP World Congress (13 - 17 May 2017, Montreal, Canada).



AVOIDING MISUNDERSTANDINGS AIT has assumed the chair of a European initiative designed to improve the interdisciplinary exchange of information between crisis and disaster management professionals (“Terminologies in crisis and disaster management”). Its aim is to develop an initial draft of a new thesaurus which will help crisis managers and other stakeholders in exchanging information with partners in other countries and/or areas of operation, such as fire services and the police, in order to prevent misunderstandings and avoid making decisions with potentially negative outcomes.

AIT is working to improve e-drives for buses.

AIT is part of a consortium researching into new software modelling methods.




SIMPLIFIED ENTRY INTO MODELLING A consortium consisting of LieberLieber Software, CNS Soft, and AIT are working on a EUROSTARS project to develop a cost-saving modelling and testing environment for safety-critical software systems. Over a period of two years the project will develop a modelling environment which will reduce the maintenance costs of critical systems by up to 50%. The partners’ declared aim is also to convince those currently working with traditional methods of software development to use the new approach. This should be achieved by adopting the current capabilities of traditional development environments into the new, integrated, and model-based development environment (IMDE). COMPANY START-UPS

AIT SUPPORTS START-UPS Co-working spaces and innovative incubator programmes: Vienna wants to become Europe’s new hotspot for tech start-ups. AIT, and the Center for Technology Experience in particular, subscribes to this aim, supporting the hottest new start-ups with research services, studies, consultancy, and design in the fields of user experience and technology acceptance.

Photos: Designed by onlyyouqj/Freepik, LieberLieber Software

The EFFEL research project at AIT examines overall losses in e-bus drives, consisting of an inverter and an asynchronous machine. The aim of the project to optimise the drive efficiency of electric buses is to identify the inverter topology and operating parameters which result in minimal total losses during a specific drive cycle. The theoretical investigations involve developing, refining and verifying machine and converter simulation models and comparing them with real-world measurements taken from two different machines. Measurements include bearing currents for various topologies and operating parameters to ensure that high levels of efficiency are not achieved at the expense of service life. The complete, optimised drive system, consisting of electrical machine and test inverter, was measured on one of TSA’s drive test benches. The optimised operating strategy reduced total losses during the test cycle by 20 to 30% compared to the standard design and standard control systems.



Photo: Krischanz Zeiller

Businesses are involved in R&D not only in their country of origin, but also increasingly abroad. Together with its partners, the Center for Innovation Systems & Policy is currently involved in a project examining the R&D investments of foreign companies in a range of countries. Generally speaking, the study shows that since 2000 the R&D activities of foreign firms have increased in the vast majority of the countries investigated. At the same time, domestic firms have also increased their R&D spending. Europe and the USA are by far the most important host regions for R&D activity by foreign businesses, although China and India are becoming increasingly important locations in this respect. At sector level there is a perceptible shift of R&D away from industry and towards services. In Austria the R&D projects of foreign-owned firms account for more than half of the total investment in R&D in the business sector, an exceedingly high value in comparison with other countries. International R&D activities have thus been an essential driver behind the rise in Austria’s R&D intensity since 1995.

INNOVATION CALENDAR 24-28/04/2017 // HANNOVER MESSE Leading international trade show on ­digitalisation and Industry 4.0. Venue: Hanover AIT contacts: Richard Kretz, Andreas Kraly Info: hannovermesse.de // 26-27/04/2017 // ICON VIENNA “Future Cities as hubs for growth” is a key topic of the event. Venue: Vienna Economic Chamber AIT contact: Michaela Jungbauer Info: icon-vienna.net // 09/05/2017 // IT COLLOQUIUM 2017 Event on the topic of “Digital Transformation” organised by the Austrian Electrotechnical Association (OVE), TU Wien and AIT. Venue: Vienna AIT contact: Thomas Zemen Info: ove.at/veranstaltungen // 09-12/05/2017 // CONTROL 2017 The world’s leading trade fair for quality assurance presents innovative solutions. Venue: Stuttgart AIT contact: Petra Thanner Info: control-messe.de // 10-12/05/2017 // OAGM & ARW This workshop presents new approaches to “Vision, Automation & Robotics”. Venue: Vienna AIT contact: Michael Mürling Info: ait.ac.at/news-events/ //

Project leader Bernhard Dachs: “Austria has profited enormously from increasingly international R&D in past decades.”

14-18/05/2017 // IAMOT CONFERENCE The International Association for Management of Technology Conference

(IAMOT 2017) discusses future paths in the research and innovation cycle. Venue: Tech Gate Vienna AIT contact: Marianne Hörlesberger Info: www.iamot2017.org // 14-18/05/2017 // SMART ENERGY ­SYSTEMS WEEK Conference on sustainable energy ­systems and infrastructures. Venue: Messe Congress Graz AIT contact: Wolfgang Hribernik Info: seswa.at // 16-18/05/2017 // PCIM EUROPE Leading international trade show for ­power electronics, intelligent motion and energy management. Venue: Nuremberg AIT contacts: Johannes Stöckl, Johannes Gragger Info: mesago.de // 30/05/2017 // SEEING AND UNDERSTANDING – CYBER SECURITY The third event of the technology exhibition series organised by AIT showcases the latest security technologies. Venue: Vienna AIT contact: Helmut Leopold Info: ikt.wien // 07-09/06/2017 // EU-SPRI 2017 The EU-SPRI (European Forum for Studies of Policies for Research and Innovation) conference organised by AIT discusses “The Future of STI – The Future of STI Policy”. Venue: Tech Gate Vienna AIT contact: Florian Hainz Info: euspri-vienna2017.org //

AIT Top Journal Papers




Energy consumption in buildings is a key factor for achieving national and global CO2 emission goals. While the economic savings at building level are limited and difficult to argue, the measures can be aggregated at district or city level. The approach described in this paper is a large scale co-simulation environment that helps to leverage efficiency by providing quantitative information about the efficiency impact on a large scale, while minimising the efforts in modelling single buildings. It addresses the challenge of modelling thermal behaviour of a large neighbourhood of buildings in order to calculate energy demands taking into account weather conditions, shading and room temperature settings with a time resolution below one hour. A proof of concept applies the method to a demonstration site of residential buildings and shows the heating demand and CO2 footprint of the neighbourhood.

Ray-tracing tools allow for deterministic simulation of the channel impulse response. Studies show that these tools work well when the impulse response consists of only a few distinct components. However, measurements of the channel impulse response in indoor environments reveal a diffuse tail, which is difficult to include in ray-tracing due to computational complexity. We propose a hybrid model, which includes both the deterministic components and the diffuse tail by combining ray-tracing with a propagation graph. The recursive structure of the propagation graph allows for a computationally efficient calculation of the channel transfer function considering infinitely many reflections. We use ray-tracing and the theory of room electromagnetics to obtain the parameter settings for the propagation graph. The proposed hybrid model thus does not require new or additional parameters compared to ray-tracing. Simulation results show good agreement with measurements with respect to the inclusion of the diffuse tail in both the delay power spectrum and the azimuth-delay power spectrum.

The concept of innovation systems has been a guiding paradigm of innovation research and strongly influenced research and innovation policy since the early 1990s. In spite of this success, criticisms have been raised in recent years about whether it is still a suitable framework for addressing the innovation-related challenges of the future. In the present paper we claim that systemic explanations of innovation success still have a very important role to play. In order to address the rising criticism, however, we have to reconsider the conceptual core of the family of innovation systems (IS) approaches and sketch out a path for renewal. The paper retraces the conceptual roots of IS approaches, assesses their uptake in different policy circles around the world, discusses the conceptual core and explanatory ambition, and finally formulates a future-oriented research agenda for a more integrative innovation systems framework.

G. Zucker, F. Judex, M. Blöchle, M. Köstl, E. Widl, S. Hauer, A. Bres, J. Zeilinger: A new method for optimizing operation of large neighborhoods of buildings using thermal simulation, Energy and Buildings, 125 (2016), S. 153 - 160.

K. M. Weber, P. Schaper-Rinkel: European Sectoral Innovation Foresight: Identifying Cross-Sectoral Patterns and Policy Issues. Technological Forecasting & Social Change, 2017, 115, 240-250

G. Steinböck, M. Gan, P. Meissner, E. Leitinger, K. Witrisal, T. Zemen, T. Pedersen: IEEE Transactions on Antennas and Propagations, vol. 64, no. 9, pp. 4036 - 4048, Sept. 2016, doi.

Imprint: Editor-in-chief: Michael H. Hlava, Deputy ­editor-in-chief: Daniel Pepl, Editorial team: Beatrice Fröhlich-Rath, Florian Hainz, Michaela Jungbauer, Michael Mürling, Fabian Purtscher, Juliane Thoß. Please send your feedback to: presse@ait.ac.at

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