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Tomorrow Today

Program

Live Experiments

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We visit the bike messenger of the future. His high-tech clothes contain a satellite navigation system, a monitor and a remote control bike lock.

The outfit, developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration (IZM), includes software and hardware to equip the courier as well as a software package for the dispatch office. Communications between courier and dispatcher take place via cell phone text messages.

Every courier is additionally outfitted with a GPS sensor that shows the dispatcher the courier’s current location. Dispatches are distributed to couriers based on who is closest to a pick-up at any given time.

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After pick-up, the courier is automatically redirected to his or her destination. Additional information, such as the name of the company or the floor where a package needs to be dropped off, is displayed on a monitor incorporated into the courier’s clothing. Couriers can interface with the system through a keyboard that is integrated into the textiles.

A transponder is also woven into the jacket’s material that allows the bike to verify the courier’s identity. The two-wheeler ‘recognizes’ when its owner has moved a certain distance away and activates the bike’s lock. When the courier returns, the lock opens automatically.

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We’ll also get a visit from Dr. Dieter Kunz, a senior consulting physician in the psychiatric clinic at Berlin’s Charité hospital, who will demonstrate how to take an EEG. Dr. Kunz makes use of this technique when treating patients who suffer from sleep disorders. On our program, he’ll introduce viewers to the particularities of nodding off, recount his experiences on the topics of sleep and insomnia, and give practical tips on how to avoid sleeplessness.

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We spend around a third of our lives sleeping. More and more people, however, are feeling the effects of chronic sleep disorders. Studies show that around 15% of German adults suffer to the extent that they require treatment. Some of the reasons for sleep disorders include not getting enough light or exercise, stress, or poor dietary habits. ‘Sleep medicine’ has gained recognition as an interdisciplinary field within medicine in the last few years, and diagnostic frameworks and therapies have been put in place for more than 80 sleep-related conditions and disorders. These can help hinder -- or at least alleviate -- the long-term physical and psychological consequences of the disorders.

After screening out disruptive factors in the sleep laboratory, what’s known as a ‘polysomnograph’ measures biological signals from a patient’s brain and muscles over long periods. These signals help physicians and therapists recognize problems, and give advice on how to sleep more easily and deeply.

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