Research Spotlight

Web Browsers in the Third Dimension

Just one more try, but this time so it works?

Hardware acceleration is a key factor in rendering 3D computer graphics. All calculations needed to portray an image have to run separately on a graphics processor. To do this, standard graphics drivers are required, like the ones that have been in widespread use in desktop applications for years. The situation is different with Web applications. Until now it has not been possible to access graphics cards via Web browsers because of the lack of interfaces. Help is here with the introduction of WebGL, a 3D programming interface. In the future, hardware accelerated rendering of 3D content will be possible, even with Web browsers. The Göppingenbased Steinbeis Transfer Center for Microelectronics (TZM) developed a Web2Print platform to examine the application possibilities of the new standard. 

The idea for the project stemmed from a collaborative project with Hinterkopf GmbH, which has a new digital printing process that fulfills the right conditions for inexpensive printing on individual cylindrical objects. The focus is on designing unique bottles, tubes, and even cans. To build on the design process, the experts use a 3D model that can be turned and viewed from all angles. By rendering views in real time, design changes can be recalculated during runtime and depicted in an updated version in the model. Not only does this mean that the end product can be displayed almost exactly the way it will look, but it also opens the door to interactive product presentation in Web browsers.

The results achieved by the Steinbeis experts have shown that WebGL is much more than just another attempt to make Web browsers suitable for the third dimension. Most browser providers have already recognized the potential of this technology and almost all modern Web browsers now support this new open standard.

Well Protected


Steinbeis experts develop dry mortar with excellent thermal conductivity and shielding properties

Working in collaboration with the Balingen-based company Casa Natura and environmental analysts from North Rhine-Westphalia, the Steinbeis Transfer Center for Plastics and Composites Technology has developed a clay-based dry mortar that offers up to 25% higher thermal conductivity compared to conventional dry mortar.

Following a recommendation by the Federal Office for Information Security (BSI), another objective of the project partners was to find a way to optimize the “eavesdropping security” of rooms and raise the data security of wireless communication to at least 99.9 percent. Conventional dry mortar provides almost no protection from such intrusion.

The experts achieved their objective by adding graphite powder to the dry mixture. The thermal conductivity of dry mortar with added graphite is 1.08 W/mK, which is roughly 42% higher than standard clay-based dry mortar. The shielding property of a standard 14mm-deep layer of mortar, based on a frequency of 450 MHz, is about 99.97% (36 dB). At a frequency of 9.8 GHz, it is around 99.995% (53 dB).

The new product opens up new markets for the production of clay putty and plastering systems, the production of heat storage units and building elements, and the temperature control and shielding of buildings. The high thermal conductivity of the new dry mortar should improve surface temperature regulation systems, improving thermal distribution between heating pipes under plaster and thus allowing isotherms and heat energy to spread more efficiently within walls.

The project partners are already enjoying the fruits of their success. They have received the first queries from architects on interior design with added protection from electromagnetic radiation (“electro-smog”) and more modern planning of surface temperature regulation systems.

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