TUM – Latest news https://www.tum.de Latest news of TUM en TUM Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:48:20 +0200 Mon, 21 Oct 2019 19:48:20 +0200 How roots grow hair https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35739/ If a forest fire destroys larger plants, seeds of so called fire-followers see their chance: these have a receptor protein that can “smell” certain molecules generated in smoke of burnt plant material. The receptor protein called KAI2 sets off a signal cascade causing the seeds to germinate.

A team of researchers led by Caroline Gutjahr, professor for plant genetics at the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan, has now discovered that it also plays an important role in regulating the growth of roots.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35739 Thu, 17 Oct 2019 08:47:05 +0200
Inactive receptor renders immunotherapies ineffective https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35737/ An overactive immune system can be nearly as dangerous as an inactive one, triggering inflammation that attacks the body’s own tissues. To counter this, the immune system has what are known as checkpoint molecules, which, when switched on, act like a brake on the immune system. However, cancer cells can exploit this mechanism: by switching on their checkpoint molecules, they are able to elude attacks by the immune system. The weakened immune response that results is then no longer robust enough to fight off the cancer cells.

A new approach to cancer therapy therefore involves the use of drugs known as checkpoint inhibitors. These substances release the “brake” applied by cancer cells, thus restoring the immune system’s ability to combat cancer. Checkpoint inhibitors are already being used successfully in skin cancer and many other malignancies.

Research news news-35737 Mon, 14 Oct 2019 09:56:56 +0200
TUM welcomes more than 13,000 students https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35734/ Next week about 7,100 new students will begin their first semester in a bachelor's program or other fundamental course of study. Master's programs will welcome around 4,800 new students – a new all-time high. Almost half of the new master's enrollees are from outside Germany.

The TUM Board of Management will welcome the new students at a celebration in the courtyard of the main building in Munich starting at 5 pm on Monday, October 14.

Campus news news-35734 Fri, 11 Oct 2019 10:33:56 +0200
Sensitive robots are safer https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35732/ The artificial skin developed by Prof. Gordon Cheng and his team consists of hexagonal cells about the size of a two-euro coin (i.e. about one inch in diameter). Each is equipped with a microprocessor and sensors to detect contact, acceleration, proximity and temperature. Such artificial skin enables robots to perceive their surroundings in much greater detail and with more sensitivity. This not only helps them to move safely. It also makes them safer when operating near people and gives them the ability to anticipate and actively avoid accidents.

The skin cells themselves were developed around 10 years ago by Gordon Cheng, Professor of Cognitive Systems at TUM. But this invention only revealed its full potential when integrated into a sophisticated system as described in the latest issue of the journal “Proceedings of the IEEE”

Research news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35730 Thu, 10 Oct 2019 10:00:00 +0200
TUM researching future-oriented digital manufacturing technology https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35731/ Using advanced, innovative materials and intelligent combinations, new process technologies based on digital 3D designs can be deployed to develop a wide variety of components with complex geometries in a load and function-oriented manner, building them up additively, layer for layer.

Thanks to its small energy and resource footprints, additive manufacturing can contribute significantly to achieving declared climate goals. Furthermore, additive manufacturing’s highly digitizable processes promise to bring production capacity back to Germany, and with that, highly qualified jobs.

Campus news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35729 Tue, 08 Oct 2019 12:18:23 +0200
TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence officially opened https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35727/ TUM has been studying the complex interactions of science, technology and society since 2012 through the work of the Munich Center for Technology in Society (MCTS), which was established under the 2012 Excellence Initiative. As part of the MCTS, the TUM Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (IEAI) will focus on ethical implications of artificial intelligence. The US company Facebook is supporting this TUM initiative by a 6.5 million euro donation not subject to any conditions or expectations.

At today's opening symposium for the Institute for Ethics in Artificial Intelligence (IEAI) at TUM, Dorothee Bär, the Federal Government Commissioner for Digital Affairs, said: “To some extent, machine learning algorithms are already playing a role in choosing the news articles we read. But the possible applications extend far beyond that, for example into such areas as medical diagnostics. These far-reaching technological changes raise many ethical issues. It is a good thing that TUM is getting involved in addressing these issues.”

Research news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35726 Mon, 07 Oct 2019 13:00:00 +0200
From health care to space robotics https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35722/ Robots are an indispensable part of space exploration. While machines like the Mars rover „Curiosity“ resemble very basic model cars, there are plans to use humanoid robots during space missions. Remotely controlled by humans from inside spaceships or space stations these robonauts could be assigned dangerous tasks. Software designed by startup MyelinS could be a part of these future missions.

“Our software provides three basic features,“ says Zied Tayeb, a doctoral candidate at TUM's Institute for Cognitive Systems and, together with Samaher Garbaya, one of the minds behind MyelinS. “The first feature is navigation: We use machine learning algorithms to enable a robot to create an internal map of its surroundings and avoid obstacles.” This is important even in remotely-controlled robots, since it enables the pilot to concentrate on the actual task and let the robot deal with the navigation – a concept called shared control. “The second feature is tactile feedback,” continues Tayeb. “Our software can learn to translate input from the robots tactile sensors into output generated by vibration motors. Imagine, for example, a robot handling rock samples: The scientist in control would be able to feel the structure of these samples.”

Entrepreneurship paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35722 Fri, 04 Oct 2019 10:49:00 +0200
Weak spot in pathogenic bacteria https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35720/ Almost 700,000 people in Europe suffer from infections every year through antibiotic-resistant pathogens; approximately 33,000 of them die. Despite this enormous and globally increasing danger, very few new antibiotics have been developed and approved in the past few decades.

There is no improvement in sight. That is why it is urgently necessary to find new points of attack in pathogenic bacteria and to develop new antibiotics which exploit these weak spots.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35719 Wed, 02 Oct 2019 11:42:36 +0200
UnternehmerTUM welcomes Minister for Education and Research https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35724/ The federal minister met several of the most successful start-ups incubated at TUM that have developed technologies in artificial intelligence or robotics. KONUX, for example, offers smart sensors combined with AI-based analysis software. The system can monitor infrastructure such as a railway network in real time and predict where maintenance will be needed.

The team at rfrnz has developed software that uses machine learning methods to analyze contracts. It can greatly facilitate the work of lawyers when analyzing the thousands of documents involved in a corporate merger, for example.  

NavVis uses sensors from robotics technology to create centimetre-precise images of interiors. With the company's navigation software, users can find their way around complex buildings such as airports or explore and plan rooms from a distance, such as production facilities.

Entrepreneurship klaus.becker@tum.de news-35724 Thu, 03 Oct 2019 15:04:00 +0200
New approach to pain treatment in diseases of the pancreas https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35718/ In many cases only potent analgesics such as opiates are able to relieve the suffering of those affected. But these medications have serious side effects, including dependency, fatigue and constipation. For this reason, scientists have long been searching for better pain therapies for pancreatic patients.

Dr. Ihsan Ekin Demir and his team in the Department of Surgery at TUM’s university hospital Rechts der Isar wanted to find out why pain treatment is so difficult and often ineffective in diseases of the pancreas.

Research news vera.siegler@tum.de news-35717 Wed, 02 Oct 2019 10:00:00 +0200
“We are creating a global marketplace of knowledge” https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35711/ What will TUM of the future look like in your opinion?

Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann: I believe TUM will be a creative, stimulating place where people from the worlds of science, business, politics  and society will be able to come together to dialog, to be inspired, to challenge each other, to seek further education and to collaborate. All with the common goal of overcoming the social challenges of the future through innovation and improving people’s lives and the way they live together on a long-term, sustainable basis. In saying this, I am naturally thinking of the young people from all over the world who come here to study. And of scientists from different disciplines and the many alumnae and alumni who keep returning to their TUM, contributing their experience as global citizens. Only if we succeed in jointly creating a global marketplace of knowledge, will we be able to find responsible solutions to the problems of our time, such as the consequences of climate change.

Campus news news-35711 Tue, 01 Oct 2019 12:03:00 +0200
Leadership handover at TUM https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35713/ The end of an era: In his 24 years as TUM President, Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann implemented far-reaching reforms that turned TUM into an entrepreneurial university while leading it to the international forefront in terms of research, teaching, and technology transfer. In recognition of its strategy and achievements, TUM has been designated as a University of Excellence on three occasions. Now Germany's longest-serving university president has handed over his office to Prof. Thomas F. Hofmann, who has served for many years as the Senior Vice President for Research and Innovation at TUM.

In his official speech, Minister President Dr. Markus Söder said: "The success of TUM is inseparable from the work of Professor Herrmann as president. For more than two decades he has demonstrated wisdom, passion and a spirit of innovation while leading TUM and advancing its development. This unique lifetime achievement warrants the utmost respect and recognition." The Minister President stressed the importance of science and research for Bavaria: "The state of Bavaria is firing up the research turbines. Under a new multi-billion euro program, we are investing in the sciences, recruiting top professors from all over the world and expanding leading-edge research. We're ready to make an impact at the international level."

Campus news klaus.becker@tum.de news-35712 Mon, 30 Sep 2019 13:30:00 +0200
More accurate than expected https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35709/ Apart from photons, the particles of light, neutrinos are the most common particles in the universe. The discovery of neutrino-oscillation two decades ago proved that – contrary to previous expectations – they have a mass, faint but other than zero.

The lightweight particles thus play a central role in the formation of large-scale structures in the cosmos. Also in the world of elementary particles, the smallest building blocks of the universe, their extremely small mass is of importance: it suggests new physics beyond common models.

Over the next few years, the international KATRIN experiment at the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), will determine the mass of these fascinating neutrinos with unprecedented sensitivity. One of the research groups is headed by MaxPlanck@TUM-Tenure Track Professor Susanne Mertens.

In spring 2019, the 150-strong KATRIN team started their first neutrino measurements. The scientists circulated highly pure tritium gas for several weeks and recorded the first energy spectra of electrons from the tritium decay. The international team then set to work to derive the first neutrino mass from the data recorded.

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35709 Fri, 27 Sep 2019 09:19:01 +0200
The secret of motivation https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35707/ The odor of vinegar or fruit lets fruit flies walk faster. To reach the food, they run until exhaustion. But despite their efforts, they do not get any closer to their goal: In the set-up at the laboratory of the TUM School of Life Sciences Weihenstephan the upper bodies of the tiny flies are fixed in place and the flies are running without getting anywhere.

With the movement of their legs they are turning a ball which is floating on an air cushion. The turning speed shows neurobiologist professor Ilona C. Grunwald Kadow how much effort the fruit fly is putting into finding food.

“Our experiments show that hungry individuals keep increasing their performance – they run up to nine meters per minute. Fruit flies which are full give up much faster”, the researcher reports. “This proves that even simple organisms show stamina and perseverance – up to now, these qualities were thought to be reserved for humans and other higher organisms.”

Research news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35707 Thu, 26 Sep 2019 09:16:06 +0200
Crane control by touchscreen https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35706/ In general anyone using a crane wants to move a load from one place to another. "That means I want to move the hook which is holding the load from A to B," says Felix Top of the TUM Chair of Materials Handling, Material Flow, Logistics. However, today's conventional crane systems control not the hook, but rather the individual drives of the crane.

The reason: In the past the control levers were directly connected with the drives. There was a control lever for each joint of the crane, which could be moved in different directions. The crane operator then had to figure out which joints had to be moved and how in order to move the hook in the desired direction.

In the meantime the drives are controlled using radio signals, and the operator no longer sits in a driver's cab: Using radio controls, the crane can also be operated from outside. "But the layout of the control levers is still the same," says Top.

Joystick and touchscreen

Top is working on new control concepts together with Lorenz Prasch of the TUM Chair of Ergonomics. "A control unit should function as directly as possible," Prasch observes. "In ergonomics we speak of primary and secondary compatibility. This describes the situation when something behaves the way I expect it to. For example we expect the stove to get hotter or the music to get louder when we turn a knob to the right."

The researchers are developing three different solutions. "All the new control variations no longer control the crane, they directly control the load," says Prasch.

The new joystick control unit consists of a control module with two joysticks. One lever controls the movement of the hook in the horizontal plane. When the joystick is moved forward and to the right, the crane's hook also moves forward and to the right from the perspective of the control unit. The second joystick controls the raising and lowering of the load by pulling the lever forwards or pressing it backwards. Here all the crane's drives operate automatically, so that the hook makes exactly the desired movement.

The scientists implemented a similar principle based on a tablet: A camera on the top of the crane shows a live image. By swiping on the display the user determines the destination to which the crane should move. The load is raised and lowered using the zoom gesture. Another control application on the tablet visualizes the crane with all its drives. If a drive is moved in a particular direction with the finger, the crane also moves in this direction. This controls the direction of the crane itself, and not the direction of the load. But the user no longer has to think about which direction the drive has to be steered.

Demand for intuitive construction machinery concepts

"Our objective is that someone using the control system for the first time needs to make a maximum of one mistake in order to figure out how the system properly works," says Prasch. The control system is to make operation of the crane easy for any user, even those with no prior experience.

The researchers don't yet know whether the concepts will be adopted by industry in the future. "But intuitive concepts for construction machinery are gaining in popularity," says Top. "And we've shown that this concept can also be implemented for the crane."

Research news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-35705 Mon, 23 Sep 2019 16:40:36 +0200
Quality control in immune communication https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35700/ The body's defenses systems have to react quickly whenever pathogens enter the organism. Intruders are identified by white blood cells which pass on the information to other immune cells. Information is transmitted via secreted signaling proteins, the interleukins, which dock onto the matching receptors on the recipient cells and for example make the target cells divide and release antibodies.

Research news news-35693 Fri, 20 Sep 2019 10:00:00 +0200
Open House Day at the Research Neutron Source https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35702/ Every year about 1000 scientists use the Research Neutron Source Heinz Maier-Leibnitz (FRM II) for experiments and investigations. They perform a wide range of measurements on around 30 different instruments.

On October 3, 2019, you too can take a look at Germany's most important neutron research facility. Guided tours start in the special exhibition in the Physics Department (James-Franck-Straße 1, 85748 Garching), which is open to the public from 9:00 to 18:00.

Event battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35702 Fri, 20 Sep 2019 09:00:23 +0200
Climate and environmental research as a societal responsibility https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35694/ At the Technical University of Munich (TUM), the complex of environment - climate - energy - resources has been a research domain for years, which encompasses all areas in an interdisciplinary division: Natural sciences, life sciences and engineering, humanities, social sciences and economics, medicine as well as the TUM locations' own real estate management. About half of TUM's professors are involved in research, teaching and international cooperation in the the university's largest interdisciplinary research focus.
TUM has been contributing all over the world with its expertise and experience for decades, since the 1990s for example with Prof. Holger Magel on land readjustment and land use in Africa, Prof. Peter Wilderer on sustainable water management in Africa and Arabia. At the moment, more than 30 long-term research and infrastructure projects with a financial volume of more than 80 million euros are underway.

"We at TUM have made the major challenges facing all societies around the globe a priority topic that can only be tackled with interdisciplinary approaches and structures," says President Prof. Wolfgang A. Herrmann on the recently sharpened climate awareness of the German population. "The political decision-makers are on the right track here, particularly Bavaria with Minister President Dr. Söder at the forefront. Environmental and climate protection as well as energy and resource efficiency determine the fate of mankind. Demonstrations do attract public attention," said the TUM president, " however, it is the constant daily work that we and others are doing on this complex topic that matters".

Campus news news-35694 Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:02:00 +0200
“Genetic variants associated with educational attainment” can also have positive implications for lifestyle https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35665/ It has long been known that individuals with higher educational attainment are less likely to suffer heart attacks in later life. Prof. Heribert Schunkert and his team have now examined this link in a major study that has focused on the genetic dimension for the first time. Schunkert is Director of the Cardiology Department and Medical Director of the German Heart Center Munich and a professor at TUM as well as scientist at the German Centre for Cardiovascular Research.

Research news vera.siegler@tum.de news-35664 Thu, 19 Sep 2019 10:00:00 +0200
Interactions between bacteria and parasites https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35660/ Around 240 million people worldwide are afflicted with schistosomiasis, an illness caused by flatworms of the genus schistosoma, commonly known as blood flukes. These parasites generally enter the human body with water from lakes, ponds or rivers. Worms, larvae and eggs are transported to various organs in the body through the bloodstream. The species Schistosoma mansoni is especially damaging to the liver, where it causes cirrhosis.

Helicobacter pylori is a bacterium that colonizes the human stomach. One in three people in Germany carry it and the worldwide rate is actually around 50%. Infections are associated with stomach ulcers and cancer. In places where schistosomes are widespread, as in some African countries south of the Sahara, co-infections with Helicobacter pylori are frequent. A team headed by Prof. Clarissa Prazeres da Costa and Prof. Markus Gerhard of the Institute for Medical Microbiology, Immunology and Hygiene at TUM used mice to study what happens in a co-infection with Helicobacter pylori and Schistosoma mansoni.

Research news paul.hellmich@tum.de news-35659 Wed, 18 Sep 2019 09:15:00 +0200
New center for the Garching research campus https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35689/ With “GALILEO”, the Garching research campus will finally receive its long awaited “new center”, for which TUM President Herrmann has been fighting for years. The 200 m long, tripartite building designed by Nickl & Partner Architects runs in North-South direction parallel to the underground train station.

Alongside a new main auditorium and further rooms for the Technical University of Munich, it also provides space for offices, shops, restaurants, a fitness center, a hotel with guest house and a congress center. The joint use by the Technical University of Munich and the Science Congress Center Munich (SCCM) is innovative and so far unique.

Campus news battenberg@zv.tum.de news-35689 Tue, 17 Sep 2019 14:00:00 +0200
TUM recognizes outstanding individuals https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35688/ TUM presented the medals and prizes at a ceremony held over the weekend in Berchtesgaden.

Campus news news-35688 Mon, 16 Sep 2019 16:48:18 +0200
German Environmental Award for soil scientist https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35685/ Prof. Ingrid Kögel-Knabner has won Europe's most richly endowed environmental award. Alexander Bonde, the Secretary General of the German Federal Environmental Foundation (DBU), noted the TUM scientist's "excellent research" and her success in highlighting "the enormous importance of soil as a storehouse for water and food, a source of life, a filter for contaminants and a guarantor for the world's food supply". She has raised awareness of the pivotal role of soil as an environmental medium – a role often underestimated in comparison to air and water. Bonde praised Kögel-Knabner as a "pacesetter in environmental protection" who has delivered pioneering solutions for the enormous ecological challenges of the present. On October 27, Ingrid Kögel-Knabner will be presented with the German Environmental Award by the German President Franz-Walter Steinmeier in Mannheim.

Campus news lisa.pietrzyk@tum.de news-35685 Fri, 13 Sep 2019 07:03:00 +0200
Bavaria boosts the Hyperloop vision https://www.tum.de/en/about-tum/news/press-releases/details/35683/ TUM students have already shown that they can build the fastest passenger "pod" for the Hyperloop four times since Elon Musk announced the "Hyperloop Pod Competition" in 2015. Student groups from around the world have been called on to bring the prototypes of their pods to Los Angeles to compete against one another. And the TUM Hyperloop team has left the others in the dust at every competition held so far.

But the students are interested in more than just speed: The team is also investigating the question of how the Hyperloop can become a safe, affordable and sustainable means of transport for the future. Thus among other things they've developed a levitation system for the pod as well as a testing tube segment made of ultra-high-strength concrete which they presented to the Minister President for the first time.

Bavarian State government provides financial support to the Hyperloop team

Bavarian Minister President Dr. Markus Söder commented: "Science fiction is becoming reality! I have enormous respect for the TU Munich Hyperloop team. Their continued success in the worldwide competition to reach the highest speed is impressive. The dreams of California are turning into reality in Bavaria." During his visit Söder announced further support for the Hyperloop team by the Bavarian State government: A sum of 80,000 euros is available for research projects on pod and tube design. Söder: "Bavaria is giving science an additional boost. Research and innovation are the key to competitive strength and prosperity in the future."

TUM is also supporting the project: "We're giving the students the chance to put their expertise into practice in this project," says TUM President Wolfgang A. Herrmann. "We are thus promoting new ways of thinking and are applying youthful fascination to the most difficult challenges – and at the same time we are strengthening the worldwide brand 'German Engineering'."

The Hyperloop project is part of the concept of the new TUM Department of Aerospace and Geodesy (LRG). The department is at the center of the Bavarian aviation and astronautics strategy presented by the Minister President in his government policy statement on April 18, 2018.

Herrmann: "Only those who understand the world as a whole can change the world as a whole. Our new department consolidates expertise in aviation, space flight and geodesy and can thus strengthen synergies. These mutually convergent technologies will bring a fundamental change to mobility both on and above our planet."

New department on 2000 square meters

The LRG will open this winter semester with 19 professorships and 700 students in Bachelor's and Master's programs. Large halls and offices await the newly appointed professors on 2000 square meters at the department's headquarters in Taufkirchen/Ottobrunn near Munich. The TUM Hyperloop team will also have its new field of operation here, where it can concentrate on the production of large concrete pipes and the design of an innovative new levitation system.

The new professorship for "Future Air and Ground Mobility" will working together with the students to investigate the scientific and technological side of the Hyperloop, as well as researching system and operational aspects. The professorship will also do research on innovative mobility concepts and will drive networking activities in the Munich metropolitan region.

"In our new department we intend to realize what many dismiss as mere fantasy," says Herrmann. "Here we plan to build a 400-meter test track to be able to accelerate the prototypes at high speeds. We will isolate these activities on the premises in Taufkirchen and Ottobrunn, but also at the special airport in Oberpfaffenhofen. The Hyperloop is a vision for rapid transportation in everyday life. We want to give that vision a chance."

Campus news stefanie.reiffert@tum.de news-35683 Thu, 12 Sep 2019 12:29:01 +0200