Fraunhofer HHI successfully completes installation of Visible Light Communication pilot

The “VLC Mainau” project was launched in the spring of 2015 with the objective to convert an existing conference room on the Island of Mainau (Lake Constance) using Visible Light Communication (VLC) technology. Now the project has been successfully concluded by the Fraunhofer Institute for Telecommunications, Heinrich Hertz Institute, HHI and Mainau GmbH with the realization of a novel optical WiFi environment.

The conference room system was upgraded in several phases intended to offer insights about parameter optimization in view of practical applications. This VLC installation outside a laboratory environment is the first in Germany and one of the few field tests of this kind worldwide.

A first VLC-based system was installed in the conference room during the first project phase. Also known as LiFi, the VLC technology is a WiFi alternative that supports the wireless exchange of large data volumes. The VLC technology was then expanded in the second project phase, providing flexible access to the Internet for multiple users.

“This first VLC installation on the Island of Mainau was a very exciting project for us. We very much appreciate the constructive collaboration with Mainau GmbH and the financial support of the Baden-Württemberg Ministry of Environment. Today we are looking back on one year of continuous, error free operation of the installed system. Highly positive feedback from users shows that this technology will find a place in everyday life. The constructive comments are already being implemented into the further development of our systems today”, says Dr. Anagnostis Paraskevopoulos, Project Manager at Fraunhofer HHI.

The VLC technology

The demand for wireless communication networks within buildings will continue to increase in the coming years. Visible Light Communication offers an alternative, which uses LED-based light sources for data transmission purposes. Through the higher number of access points, a significant increase of the network capacity can be achieved while retaining the mobility which users want.

Visible Light Communication avoids all electromagnetic interferences with radio-based wireless networks and is by definition RF-free. Data rates of one gigabit per second (1 Gbit/s) and more can be achieved with conventional LEDs, thus even allowing for the flawless transmission of video data in HD and 4K quality. Just a few additional components are needed to turn a conventional LED light into a powerful optical WiFi transmitter. A special modulator turns the LED on and off very quickly, thus transmitting the digital information.

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CEA-LIST's startup Isybot to address collaborative robotics market

CEA-LIST, a CEA Tech institute, recently set up a startup called Isybot to develop and commercialize the institute's most powerful command-control and actuator solutions for the collaborative robotics market.


One of the greatest challenges facing the Factory of the Future (FoF) is to ensure that human operators remain at the center of production processes. Isybot, LIST's latest startup, will respond to this need with a collaborative robot (cobot) that shares the workspace with a human operator and that offers demonstration-based learning capabilities.


Isybot's collaborative robot leverages a ball-screw-and-cable actuator technology that does not require force sensors: the force applied is controlled by measuring the electric current in the motors. The result is a simpler, better-performing, and more flexible and robust robot that offers greater responsiveness and precision.


The robot also features a patented technology that lets it "learn" how much force to apply. For sanding, for instance, the human operator simply performs the movement with the intended direction and intensity once; the robot can then reproduce the movement as many times as necessary. Isybot's go-to-market strategy will initially target needs like polishing mechanical and composite parts, and the startup has a partnership with List to develop specific solutions to meet business' needs.

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Intelligent Robot Systems for Industrie 4.0

At our research partner DFKI, Professor Dr. Martin Ruskowski succeeds Professor Dr.-Ing. Dr. h.c. Detlef Zühlke as head of the "Innovative Factory Systems" research department at the German Research Center for Artificial Intelligence (DFKI) in Kaiserslautern and also as head of the former Institute of Production Automation at TU Kaiserslautern (PAK), now renamed the Institute of Machine Tools and System Controls (WSKL). Professor Ruskowski holds a professorship in the department of Mechanical and Process Engineering at the Technical University of Kaiserslautern (TU KL), where his major research focus is on industrial robots as machine tools, artificial intelligence in automation technology, and the development of innovative control concepts for automation.


All equipment and machinery in the factories of tomorrow will be networked: Machines will have the ability to communicate and exchange data among themselves. Robots will continue to play an ever greater role in the world of Industrie 4.0. In the future, they may even replace traditional machine tools is some application situations, for example, in the milling of special components. "A priority of my work at TU Kaiserslautern and DFKI will be to improve the fitness of robots for demanding mechanical processing tasks. The new technologies that result from our research will provide more flexibility to companies and, ultimately, serve as a jobs motor in Germany," said Ruskowski in describing his new responsibilities.

Vicomtech participates with two sessions and a round-table at ITS European Congress 2017

Vicomtech, one of's founding members, participated in ITS European Congress 2017 in Strasbourg (France).

 Dr. Oihana Otaegui, Director of Intelligent Transport Systems and Engineering, participated in two official sessions. The first one was entitled “Driver Status Monitoring using Computer Vision” and was presented under PR01 – Training needs on new technologies for fleet managers and drivers.

The second one was called “inLane: Lane Level Navigation Application”, and was presented under SIS16 – Exploiting computer vision and GNSS applications for ADAS and digital cartography.

This congress is defined as the biggest event with the ITS sector. The ITS Congresses (European and World) consist of three main areas: Congress, Demonstration, and Exhibition. Participating in these three areas offers a unique opportunity to show and explain the latest technologies and services, with a slightly different focus for each.

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