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Pictures of the Future
The Magazine for Research and Innovation | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets
on the Move
Change On track to safer, smarter, more energy-efficient transportation
Why Brazil, Russia, India and China
are roaring ahead
New technologies and the quest for healthier, better lives
Sustainable Mobility
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 3
Pictures of the Future
Emerging Markets
on the Move
Sustainable Mobility
8 Scenario 2030 Green Arteries
10 Trends Moving in the Right Direction
13 Interview with Buddy Dyer
Orlando’s mayor discusses the U.S.’s
planned high-speed rail network 1
14 Rail Vehicle Testing
Trains on Trial
16 Efficient Rail Systems
Better than Humans
18 Sustainable Rail Travel All Aboard the Efficiency Express
20 Facts and Forecasts
Why the Market for Transportation Infrastuctures is in High Gear
22 Rail Vehicle Optimization
Tough Tests for Trams
24 Road Pricing
A Toll Booth in Every Truck
26 Intelligent Traffic Management Faster Commuting
29 Cruise Liners and Container Ships
Destination: Energy Savings
31 Hybrid Buses
Next Stop: Bonus for Braking
34 Electric Vehicles
Get a Charge! 1
37 Electric Race Cars
High-Speed Insight
42 Scenario 2023 City of Wind
44 Trends Catching Up
47 Brazil: Rebirth of a Metropolis
50 Biographies Bright, Young, and BRIC
52 Interview with Jamshed J. Irani
A member of Tata’s Supervisory Board discusses social responsibility 1
53 Mexico: Greener than You Think 1
54 Interview with Martha Delgado Mexico City’s Minister of the Environment
on the challenges of the megacity
56 Facts and Forecasts
Emerging Markets: Amazing Growth
58 MRI from China
Budget Scanner 1
60 Rural Healthcare in China
Let the Revolution Begin!
62 Hospitals in South Africa
Hope on the Cape
64 Renewable Energy in Morocco
Desert Vision
65 Interview with Paul van Son
Demonstrating the Feasibility of Renewable Energy from North Africa
66 Solar Power: Israel’s Newest Crop
67 Production Technology
Bogotá’s Efficiency Hub
68 Levee Protection Bulwarks with Brains
74 Scenario 2050 Flying High
76 Trends
Surfing the Demographic Wave
79 Cardiovascular Technologies
Killers under Attack 1
82 Interviews with Dr. Nassir F. Marrouche and Dr. Rob MacLeod
A Strike Against Stroke 1
84 Neurological Research
Learning to Read the Brain
87 Alzheimer’s Disease
Heading off an Epidemic
88 Facts and Forecasts
Demographic Change by the Numbers
90 Chronobiology at Home
Duplicating Daylight
92 Chronobiology at Work
Frequency Shift
94 Interview with Dr. Ursula Staudinger
A gerontologist on the hidden opportunities of an aging society
96 Senior-Friendly Appliances
Cooking up a Better Life
98 Robotics and Nursing Care
I, Butler
100 Technologies for Seniors
Coming Home
102 Hearing Aids
Sound Approach
104 Custom Implants This Joint’s for You
4 Short Takes News from Siemens’ labs
6 Employment
Green Jobs in the U.S. Heartland
40 Power from Waste Recycling Energy
41 Wood’s New Role
What a Fireplace!
70 X-Ray Diagnostics
Low-Dose Cardiac Screening 1
72 Hospital Economics
Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas is a perfect
example of efficient technologies
73 Feeling Better in Barcelona Integrated Diagnosis
106 Feedback
107 Preview
Pictures of the Future | Editorial
e are facing decades of radical
change. Countries such as the BRIC
states — Brazil, Russia, India, and China —
are set to cross the threshold that sepa-
rates them from the industrialized nations.
Experts predict that these four states alone
will account for approximately half of the
world’s global economic growth by 2020,
in large part because each of them is
fostering the growth of an affluent middle
class and developing its own innovative
products and services. Prof. Siegfried Russwurm is CEO of the Industry Sector and a member of the Managing Board of Siemens AG.
also developing technologies for the early
identification of typical age-related ailments
ranging from cardiovascular diseases to
Alzheimer’s disease, and thus enabling
efficient and cost-effective treatments
(pp. 79-87). Our portfolio also includes
new types of hearing aids (p. 102), robotic
technologies (p. 98), sensors for telemedi-
cine (p. 100), lighting systems that alter
their spectrum for older users (p. 90), and
household appliances that all age groups
can use with ease (p. 96).
We are also actively investigating many
types of sustainable mobility solutions.
These include hybrid buses (p. 31), effi-
cient trams (p. 22), high-speed trains (p.
18), assistance and location systems (p. 16),
satellite-supported toll collection solutions
(p. 24), and traffic lights that are coordi-
nated with the current traffic situation to
keep things flowing smoothly (p. 26). And of course we are researching all as-
pects of future electromobility across a
spectrum ranging from highly efficient
motors (p. 37) to methods for recharging
tomorrow’s electric vehicles in just a few
minutes (p. 34).
As a company with more than 1,600
locations all over the globe — including
176 for research and development —
Siemens is the ideal partner for developing
economies that demand affordable, new
infrastructures. There are many places in
our global network where international co-
operation is benefiting everyone involved. For example, a new Siemens magnetic
resonance tomograph was developed in a
cooperative effort in China, Germany, and
the UK (p. 58). This affordable device is not
only ideal for clinics in developing nations
and emerging economies but also as a tool
for accelerating routine diagnostic tests in
industrialized countries. In fact, it has been
so successful that its sales figures doubled
even during the economic crisis. Another example of international coop-
eration is a system for monitoring dikes
with the help of sensors. The system was
developed by Siemens researchers in Rus-
sia with the help of know-how derived
from monitoring industrial production
processes. The system is now being tested
in the Netherlands (p. 68). All of these examples show how small
the world has become — and how large
the opportunities are for companies that
build upon their innovations in order to
create a more sustainable world that will
remain worth living in.
Cover:When it comes to Siemens
rail vehicles, energy efficiency is the
watchword. For instance, the Desiro
regional commuter train (photo) relies on a light-weight aluminum
chassis, optional regenerative brak-
ing, and advanced power electronics
and engine management to keep
energy demand to a minimum.
Meanwhile, urbanization is continuing
to increase by leaps and bounds. In Asia
alone, the total population in large cities
will increase by more than a billion people
by 2030. Even four years ago, decision-
makers from 25 megacities who took part
in a survey supported by Siemens said that
transportation was by far their biggest in-
frastructure problem. It’s easy to imagine
the effects an additional billion people will
have on this situation. To cite just one ex-
ample, the average vehicle speed on the
streets of Mexico City has decreased from
17 to 11 kilometers per hour since 1990.
“That’s about as fast as we were traveling
back in 1910 in horse-drawn carriages,”
says Mexico City’s Minister of the Environ-
ment, Martha Delgado, in an interview
conducted by Pictures of the Future (p. 54).
And the global population is aging. Ac-
cording to a United Nations forecast, the
number of people aged 60 and older will
grow by 1.3 billion by 2050. In China
alone, there will then be 440 million peo-
ple in this age group — about 275 million
more than in 2010. Around the world, the
fastest-growing age group is that of people
aged 80 years and above. By 2050, their
number will grow almost fourfold — from
100 million today to around 400 million.
These major trends are the themes of
the three topics covered in this issue of
Pictures of the Future: demographic
change (pp. 74–105), approaches to sus-
tainable mobility (pp. 8–39), and the
needs of emerging economies (p. 42–69). Siemens is well prepared to tackle all of
these challenges. For example, we are
developing a range of solutions that will
enable older people to spend a long and in-
dependent life in their own homes. We are
A World of Change
2 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Pictures of the Future | Short Takes
Eye on the Road
Red as a Beet
How to See a Stroke
new camera system from Siemens can read license plates in two
lanes simultaneously. The Sicore system recognizes automobile
license plates with a high degree of reliability at distances of up to 35
meters and speeds of up to 200 kilometers per hour. To achieve this
feat, the company made use of its proven mail-sorting technology that
can read handwritten envelopes in 40 languages with extremely
high recognition rates. When the new technology is used to read li-
cense plates, fewer devices are required than before because Sicore
can monitor both
lanes — even if the
cars are driving in
opposite directions.
Sicore’s key compo-
nents are its algo-
rithms, which not
only provide good
recognition rates but
also make it possible
to process various
foreign countries’
license plates. The
system can be in-
stalled with practi-
cally no time-con-
suming calibration.
Fired up for Coal and Algae
iemens is testing the combined combustion of coal and biomass. In collaboration with
PetroAlgae Inc., a U.S. alternative energy company, a Siemens burner was recently fired
with coal dust and plant-based microcultures from PetroAlgae for the first time ever at the
University of Utah. Nitrogen oxide emissions were around 20 percent lower than the lev-
els that would have been produced by coal operation alone. Microcultures such as algae
are a climate-neutral fuel. This is because plants release only as much CO
as they origi-
nally absorbed from the atmosphere while growing. Due to their high carbon content, they
deliver a large amount of energy relative to their mass and can thus provide an environ-
mentally-friendly alternative to straight coal combustion.
wo important innovations that will help boost energy efficiency are
reaching the Chinese and U.S. markets. A high-voltage direct-current
transmission (HVDCT) system nearly 1,500 kilometers in length recently
linked hydroelectric plants in Yunnan Province to the heavily industrialized
Pearl River delta region, which includes the major cities of Guangzhou and
Shenzhen. Losses over the system are 50 percent lower than those asso-
ciated with conventional three-phase transmission. All in all, hydroelectricity
and the HVDCT system are helping to reduce China’s CO
emissions by
around 33 million metric tons a year. In the U.S., the latest generation of
Siemens gas turbines has hit the market. There, utility company Florida
Power & Light, which is modernizing combined-cycle power plants, ordered
six of the world-record-setting gas turbines. Beginning in 2013, the tur-
bines are expected to cut fossil fuel consumption at the power plants by
a third, thus helping to save the customer an estimated $1 billion in op-
sram Opto Semiconductors has increased
the efficiency of a prototype red Golden
Dragon Plus light-emitting diode (LED) by 30 per-
cent in the lab. This record-setting efficiency was
achieved primarily by means of chip optimization.
The LED is currently more efficient than any oth-
er diode operating at the same wavelength. Red
LEDs are used in vehicle taillights and brake lights,
for example, and for illuminating buildings and
stages. When combined with white LEDs, they de-
liver warm, pleasant light. Thanks to the new
chip’s higher efficiency, they will provide more
light for the same power consumption.
iemens has de-
veloped soft-
ware that enables
doctors to observe
the volume of the
blood in the brain
during treatment of
a stroke. Doctors
can thus respond
immediately to
changes in blood
vessels and initiate
targeted therapeutic
measures more
quickly. A stroke is
an inadequate flow
of blood in a part of
the brain and can
result in permanent damage or death. The sooner a patient is treat-
ed, the smaller the chance of significant damage. In the past, it was
possible to produce a detailed image of the flow of blood through the
brain only by means of computed tomography or magnetic resonance
tomography prior to treatment. The future solution will be based on
the use of Syngo DynaCT, which — after injection of an approved
contrast substance — produces detailed images of the brain from
various angles, within 40 seconds.
4 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 5
Microcultures can be harvested every few hours.
Osram’s prototype LED is 30 percent more efficient.
From Turbines to Transmission Systems High-voltage direct-current systems (top) can dramatically reduce transmission losses. Similarly,
Siemens gas turbines (bottom) can vastly increase
the efficiency of combined cycle power plants.
erating, maintenance, and investment costs over the turbines’ life cycle.
When operated in a combined cycle with a steam turbine, the new gas
turbine has a previously unheard of efficiency rating of 60 percent. The
average efficiency of combined-cycle power plants in the U.S. is current-
ly less than 40 percent. If all of the combined-cycle power plants in the
U.S. were outfitted with the new turbine, they would generate enough
additional electricity per year to provide power for 25 million Americans
without producing any additional carbon dioxide. These two examples from
China and the U.S. illustrate the crucial role of innovative technologies in
improving the efficiency of energy generation and transmission. What’s
more, HVDCT is expected to play a groundbreaking role in terms of un-
leashing the potential of renewable energy projects — projects ranging
from offshore wind parks to solar thermal facilities — which may require
electricity transmission over thousands of kilometers (p.64). ak
Siemens’ newest license plate recognition system
can monitor two lanes simultaneously.
Algorithms create detailed images of the flow of
blood through brain tissue. Pictures of the Future | New Jobs with Green Technologies
f you drive north in rural southeast Iowa on
Highway 61, you can see the wind turbine
rotor blades from a distance. Just before the
small town of Fort Madison, the blades are
lined up on metal blocks like swords — except
that these blades are 45 meters long and are
going to be used in wind turbines. Around five
are added every day — and at least once a
week a freight train takes a score of them to
windy places all around the U.S. and Canada.
Operations Manger Allan Luers grew up not
far from Fort Madison. “Five years ago semi-
trailer tractors were being made here — then
the operation was closed,” says Luers. “Other
companies in Fort Madison have also shut
down in recent years: a fertilizer plant, a sheet
metal factory, an electronics firm.” However,
many people found a new job when Siemens’
wind turbine blade manufacturing plant
opened. In just three years, Siemens Wind
Power has become the largest employer in Fort
Madison with more than 600 employees. Two-
thirds of them were previously unemployed.
An estimated additional 350 jobs — in
restaurants, grocery stores, and so on — were
created as a direct impact of the new plant.
This success was reason enough for President
Barack Obama to visit the factory in April 2010.
He is the first U.S. president to visit a Siemens
plant in the company’s 163-year history.
Iowa and the Midwest are the “heart of
America.” Here, roads are drawn as if by a ruler
and lead through endless corn fields and occa-
sionally a small town with wood-framed hous-
es and American flags in the front yards. In the
19th and 20th centuries, industry started to
spring up — from small “manufactories,” as
they used to be called, to the car manufactur-
ers in Detroit. But during the last decades, in-
dustry in the Midwest has gone downhill.
More and more companies closed permanent-
ly or moved production overseas. In the fifties,
17,000 people lived in Fort Madison — today
there are only 11,000.
But green technology is filling the vacuum
in this and other economically-compromised
regions. In 2005, Siemens had only one wind-
energy employee in the U.S.; today there are
over 1,000 — from the U.S. headquarters for
Siemens Wind Power in Orlando, Florida, to an
R&D department in Boulder, Colorado, and the
manufacturing plant in Fort Madison. In addi-
tion, a Siemens subsidiary in Illinois delivers
generators to the wind energy industry, while
a new plant under construction in Kansas will
assemble wind turbine nacelles.
In April 2010, U.S. President Barack Obama visited
Siemens’ wind blade manufacturing facility in Fort
Madison, Iowa. In Norwood, Ohio, (right) Siemens
produces high-efficiency electric motors.
6 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Green Jobs in the Heartland
The Midwest is in the middle of the wind
corridor that stretches from Texas in the South
to the Great Lakes in the North and into Cana-
da. Thus, Iowa’s neighboring states are also
potential customers. Iowa produces about
3,600 megawatts (MW) from wind power, sec-
ond only to Texas, whose capacity is 9,400
MW. California comes in third with 2,800 MW,
followed by Washington with 1,850 MW.
Harvesting Wind on the Sea. There aren’t
any offshore wind farms in the U.S. yet. But off
the coast of Massachusetts the first wind farm,
which will be named “Cape Wind,” is being
planned. And Siemens, the worldwide leader
in offshore wind energy, has been chosen to
supply its turbines. More offshore wind parks
are being planned for Rhode Island and New
Jersey. And the potential in the U.S. is great —
so far, only about 35 gigawatts (GW) of wind
power have been installed. But the National
Renewable Energy Lab in Golden, Colorado,
estimates that by 2024, including offshore fa-
cilities, 300 GW could be produced. That
equals 20 percent of U.S. electricity consump-
tion. For this reason, the government is sup-
porting the wind sector with tax breaks, grants
and other incentives.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 7
With environmentally-friendly technology Siemens is
not only creating jobs in the U.S. Midwest, but also
helping to change North America’s energy mix.
During his tour of the Fort Madison plant,
President Obama saw how the gigantic wind
turbine blades are made mainly by hand, with-
out automation and in a single piece made of
fiberglass, resin and balsa wood (Pictures of
the Future,Fall 2009, p. 16). This seamless
technique enhances blade durability by avoid-
ing potential break points. Robert Gjuraj, the
plant manager who conducted the president’s
tour, pointed out how efficient the plant is —
with its energy-saving LED-lighting and its en-
vironmentally-friendly air conditioning system.
What’s more, shipping the blades by train re-
duces their carbon dioxide-associated emis-
sions by 80 percent compared to truck-based
During his visit to Fort Madison, President
Obama made it clear that this work greatly
supports his own energy policy vision. “Here,
you manufacture blades for some of the most
advanced wind turbines in the world,” he said.
“Each of them is capable of powering hundreds
of homes, just by harnessing the wind. You’re
helping stake America’s claim to a clean energy
future. You’re blazing a trail.”
The vision of a future based on clean ener-
gy is supported by the people who work at the
plant. “I’m proud that our work is important for
the energy future of America and is also help-
ing the world climate,” said Chris McPherson,
who was unemployed before he joined
Siemens and is now responsible for bolting
blades to turbines.
Siemens is building a green future. The
company has installed 9,000 wind turbines
worldwide with a capacity of 11,000 MW. In
only means wind farms. Siemens also invests
in other green technologies here, which in turn
means more jobs. An example, is Siemens’
electric motor facility in Norwood, Ohio, a few
miles north of Cincinnati. In the 1950s, the city
claimed that no other U.S. city produced more
goods per capita. At that time, around 35,000
people lived there, 15,000 more than today.
But the city came close to bankruptcy when
General Motors shut down a production plant
in 1986.
Tom Williams, Mayor of Norwood, looks out
the window of the Siemens plant and points to
an area where GM once assembled cars. The
factory was torn down and new buildings rose
in its place. “It was a difficult time,” says
Williams, who was a policeman back then. “But
we are an attractive location that is well con-
nected to transport routes.” In 1985 Siemens
took over the plant. Today, with 380 employ-
ees, it produces large electric motors — for ex-
ample, for water pumps, compressors, and
fans for power plant cooling towers. Siemens
is the market leader in the U.S. in this area. Following expansion and modernization
work costing $30 million, the plant was pre-
sented the “Factory of the Year 2009” award by
Plant Engineering magazine. The award not
only recognizes the plant’s use of green tech-
nologies — for example, the recycling of in-
dustry materials, such as metals and plastic.
The company also uses an efficient power con-
trol system in its manufacturing and adminis-
trative buildings. Its electric motors are also
highly efficient. “They convert more than 95
percent of electrical energy into movement,”
says William Finley, Director of Engineering
and Technology in Norwood. “But we still want
to make the motors more efficient — up to 98
percent. We also build traction motors for the
600 employees work for Siemens in Fort Madison —
around two-thirds of them were previously unemployed.
the U.S., it is one of the three biggest wind tur-
bine manufacturers. In 2006, it delivered 160
wind turbines to the country’s largest wind
farm, Hollow II, in Texas. Since then there have
been many more orders, for which the blades
now come from Fort Madison. By the fall of
2010, for example, 87 Siemens wind turbines
will be commissioned at a wind farm in San
Patricio County in Texas. By the end of this
year, 66 Siemens wind turbines will become
operational at a wind farm in Oklahoma.
Success with Environmental Technology.
Green technology in the Midwest states not
New York subway system that are recognized
for their extremely low maintenance require-
ments. And we plan to produce generators for
Siemens gearless wind turbines.”
With its green technology, Siemens is reaf-
firming the industrial tradition of the Midwest.
Mike Revak, Siemens Wind Power’s first em-
ployee in the U.S., is not surprised. “When
Siemens went looking for a location in the
U.S., the goal was to find an environment that
offered tax incentives and provided qualified
workers who are down to earth, hardworking,
dedicated, and reliable. That’s what we found
in the Midwest,” he says.Hubertus Breuer
14 Trains on Trial
The world’s largest inspection and approval facility for rail vehicles is operated by Siemens. The objective is to optimize safety.
16 Better than Humans
Demand for efficient mobility
solutions is growing in step with population. That’s especially true of railroads, an area where new software-based control concepts, optimized scheduling, vehicle sys-
tems, and train modernization are
taking shape. Pages 16, 18, 22
24 A Toll Booth in Every Truck
Road pricing for trucks, real-time
park-and-ride information, hybrid
buses, and convenient charging
for electric cars are major trends
that are set to transform the way
we travel. Pages 24, 26, 31
28 Destination: Energy Savings
Cruise liners and container ships
are major sources of pollutant
emissions. State-of-the-art control
systems, thermal recovery, and
LED lighting can significantly reduce their impact on the environment.
34 Get a Charge!
Siemens researchers are
developing technologies that will make it possible to recharge electric vehicles in just a few minutes. They’re also developing powerful and highly efficient electric motors for an all-electric series of racing cars. Pages 34, 37
Mahesh Devgan’s research focuses on ways to
deal with traffic congestion and thus reduce
air pollution in megacities worldwide. He
finds what he’s looking for in New York City,
which in 2030 has one of the world’s most advanced transportation systems. Electric
taxis and buses are everywhere, efficient subways connect the boroughs in record time, and high-speed trains link the city with other urban centers.
I’ve finally found the answers to these chal-
lenges in this city. Its urban structures leave
hardly any room for new transportation sys-
tems, but it has nonetheless managed to find
new solutions that make its mass transporta-
tion so attractive in terms of comfort, speed,
and safety that there’s hardly a sensible New
Yorker who still wants to drive a car. This has
Green Arteries
New York 2030. The city has successfully completed
the modernization of its transportation system.
Many New Yorkers have already stopped driving,
and exhaust emissions have noticeably diminished.
Indian journalist Mahesh Devgan is reporting on
this unique project. Right now he is writing a letter
about his discoveries to an old friend.
Dear Gajendra,
reetings from the city I’ve wanted to visit
for so many years. As promised, I’m going
to write a few lines to you every day so that
you can share some of the fascination of this
world-class city with me. As you know, I had
one major reason to make this journey: I want-
ed to see one of the world’s most advanced
transportation systems up close and report on
my impressions in an article for the Digital
Times of Rajasthan.You and I have spent
many evenings discussing transportation poli-
cy in detail. We were looking for ways to re-
solve chaotic traffic patterns and thus reduce
the resulting air pollution in our home towns
and all the major cities worldwide whose traf-
fic arteries are chronically congested. 8 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 9
S u s t a i n a b l e Mo b i l i t y | Scenario 2030
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 11
In Spain, some farmers still rely on carts drawn by mules. But the country is also a pioneer in modern transport solutions, such as the Velaro E
train, which has a maximum speed of 350 km/h.
be shifted to rail system, says Hans-Jörg
Grundmann, CEO of Siemens’ Mobility Divi-
sion. “We need to invest in new efficient trains
and infrastructure,” Grundmann says. Entire
regions in Asia are still without modern rail sys-
tems, for example, and road traffic is all the
more prevalent as a result. “The average speed
for cars in many large Asian cities is now less
than ten kilometers per hour, which is leading
to a huge increase in CO
emissions,” says
Grundmann, who believes that expanding the
rail network is the best way of achieving sus-
tainable mobility. Expanding Networks of Rail Lines. China is
already moving in the right direction. The
country, which has the most extensive rail net-
work in Asia (even larger than India’s), is get-
ting its system ready for the future — mainly to
ensure that it can accommodate rising freight
and passenger volumes. To this end, China
plans to expand its rail network from the cur-
rent 86,000 kilometers to 120,000 kilometers
by 2020. An associated investment of approxi-
mately €560 billion will flow mainly into the
construction of high-speed rail lines.
In the U.S., the rail system is largely out of
date. Although the United States has an exten-
sive network, little has been done to improve
infrastructure in many regions over the last
hundred years. Rural railroads, in particular,
are often marked by poorly maintained lines,
abandoned stations, and old and slow trains.
What’s more, there are no high-speed trains
like those found in Europe and Asia. Develop-
ment over the last 50 years has focused on the
highway system rather than on railroads,
which has made the U.S. the automobile na-
tion par excellence — with all the conse-
quences that poses for the environment. Ac-
cording to the American Lung Association, in
2007 air pollution was higher in the greater
Los Angeles area than in any other urban re-
gion in the United States. This isn’t surprising,
given the huge number of cars and the under-
developed public transport system in LA. But the U.S. rail system is now getting a sec-
ond look. President Barack Obama has an-
nounced plans to invest $13 billion in expan-
sion projects. The U.S. government’s stimulus
package will provide $8 billion of the total,
with the remaining $5 billion to be added over
New mobility solutions have made our
world smaller. But population growth has
made it necessary to travel faster, which in
turn increases pressure on resources and the
environment. Around two billion people lived
on the planet 100 years ago; today there are
nearly seven billion. Each year, the world’s
population increases by around 80 million —
and most of these people will also want to go
on vacations, and travel on business. According to the International Energy
Agency, the transport sector already accounts
for 28 percent of global energy consumption.
But there’s a price to pay for all this mobility.
Each year this sector emits some 6.4 billion
tons of CO
into the atmosphere — 23 percent
of worldwide energy-related CO
Personal transportation is the biggest polluter.
More than 50 percent of the transport sector’s
energy consumption can be attributed to cars,
while road freight traffic accounts for 30 per-
cent. At 13 percent, air traffic’s contribution is
relatively low, while rail systems account for
only two percent of the sector’s energy use. If the world is to grow closer together in a
sustainable manner, transport volume should
Moving in the Right Direction
t times in the past, societies have come
very close to achieving sustainable mobili-
ty. One hundred years ago in Spain, for exam-
ple, orange growers brought their harvests to
market on mule-driven carts. Such vehicles
were made of renewable materials and their
drive system was an economical creature
whose “fuel” could be found in abundance at
the side of the road. Whenever this “engine”
quit, a slap on the side was all it took to get it
going again — something drivers today can
only dream about. That mobility system didn’t
threaten the climate, since emissions of harm-
ful gases were limited to the products of the
mule’s digestive process. Today, oranges from Spain end up not only
in local markets but also on supermarket
shelves 1,000 kilometers away. On the way
there, they produce tons of CO
, and the peo-
ple who pick them often come from different
countries rather than neighboring villages.
Farmers have also become more mobile. For
example, they may visit relatives hundreds of
kilometers away in Madrid. But a trip that once
took a week can now be completed in a couple
of hours on a new high-speed Velaro train. | Trends
Nearly seven billion people inhabit our planet, and that figure is growing by 80 million
each year. Yet the world is also growing closer together.
To minimize the impact of an
associated increase in mobility,
scientists are developing technologies designed to increase the efficiency of public and private transportation.
for its subway system and the express subway I
just mentioned. Here, the satellite network is
reproduced with so-called “pseudolites” con-
sisting of radio antennas, receivers, and glass
fiber lines. The municipal authorities have also trans-
formed the city’s road traffic. One key change
was the introduction of a satellite-supported
city toll system that automatically registers the
precise number of kilometers traveled by all
cars and trucks and calculates the resulting toll
for each vehicle. The aim was to use the rev-
enues to protect the climate and the environ-
ment, and of course to encourage people to
use public transportation. In recent years the
entire bus and taxi fleet has been replaced by
tens of thousands of electric vehicles. You can’t
imagine how clean the air is now. After driving for 250 kilometers, the taxi
drivers either go to an expensive rapid charg-
ing station, where they can recharge their bat-
teries in ten minutes, or they connect their ve-
hicles to the power grid for a couple of hours
and take a break. During this time, vehicles not
only recharge their batteries but can also feed
excess electricity into the grid and thus earn
money. For private vehicle owners that’s a
good source of income, because in many cases
their cars can be connected to the grid for 22
hours a day. If they make their cars available as
energy storage units, they can earn about
$1,000 a year. That’s because the power com-
panies need intermediate storage units, which
make it possible to integrate many more fluc-
tuating energy sources, such as wind farms
and solar power units, into the power grid.
Thanks to this technology, several outdated
coal-fired power plants have already been tak-
en out of service in the region around New
York City. Incidentally, I’ve never had a more comfort-
able ride than in these taxis. One taxi driver
told me that’s because of the wheel hub mo-
tors — that is, motors that are directly installed
in each of the four wheels. This makes com-
pletely new design concepts possible, as it
gives you much more space inside the vehicle. My friend, I’ll have to stop writing soon. I’m
writing this letter in the integrated Internet ter-
minal of my electric taxi, which has taken me
from Manhattan to South Richmond Hill in
Brooklyn much faster than I expected. It only
took 19 minutes, even though it’s the evening
rush hour! This is where my cousin Ajith and
his family live, and tonight they’ve invited me
over for dinner. I’m looking forward to some
delicious matar paneer! I’ll write again tomor-
row to let you know my latest impressions of
this exciting city. All the best, Mahesh
Sebastian Webel
10 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Scenario 2030
resulted in a huge drop in emissions and an-
other surprising — a boost for the economy.
That’s because most of the money that people
save by not having their own cars is generally
spent on other consumer items. You might be wondering what has made
this possible, so I’ll tell you what I’ve found out
today in my interviews with representatives of
the city government. Let me start with the sub-
way, which took me to the headquarters of the
New York City Transit Authority this morning.
The subway system is 125 years old, and in
spite of all the modernization efforts, it some-
times shows its age. But the only thing that re-
ally counts is the fact that it works. The new
trains purr like kittens even when they’re trav-
eling at top speed, and in spite of the broiling
summer temperatures outside, the subway
cars are pleasantly cool — a luxury I’d love to
see in India as well. All the trains have been
modernized, and their energy balance has
been revamped, for example by recovering
braking energy. Part of this energy powers the
trains’ air-conditioning systems, and the rest is
fed back into the grid. Just imagine — the en-
ergy saved in this way would be enough to
cover the needs of a small town.
To supplement the metropolitan subway
system, the authorities have built an under-
ground express ring that connects all parts of
the city. These trains stop twice in every bor-
ough, at most. This enables them to cover
huge distances in record time — much faster
than a car could ever drive. You can get from
Brooklyn to the Bronx or from Manhattan to an
airport in less than 15 minutes. Another highlight of the transportation sys-
tem is the link to the high-speed rail network.
Ever since the expansion of the long-distance
rail network in the past ten years, high-speed
trains have been zooming from New York to
many metropolitan regions — directly from
Grand Central, which received a new set of un-
derground platforms for this purpose. These
trains are a great alternative to flying. If you
take the trip to the airport and the check-in and
waiting times into account, these low-emis-
sion rocket trains are faster on many routes
than a plane — and they’re cheaper besides. It’s no wonder that these trains were fully
booked so quickly that they had to be sched-
uled at shorter intervals in order to meet the
tremendous demand. Today that’s made possi-
ble by satellite-supported location systems,
which record the position of each high-speed
train to within a meter. Integrated driver assis-
tance systems also make it possible to plan
ahead to optimize energy consumption — and
they enhance safety as well. The system is so
successful that the city is using versions of it
Could high-speed rail be as transforma-
tive as the Interstate Highway network
that fundamentally changed the way
Americans lived and worked?
I believe it will. High-speed rail impacts
on so many different things: economic devel-
opment, jobs, the environment, congestion re-
lief. Florida has historically been extremely re-
liant on the car. High-speed rail, together with
commuter rail, has the potential to dramatical-
ly change that. Why has it taken so long for America to
embrace this technology? Dyer:
Part of the American Dream has always
been “two cars in every driveway,” and for a
long time gasoline was cheap and it was easy
to own and operate a car in the U.S. As a re-
sult, most of our communities weren’t really
designed for people without cars, except per-
haps cities like New York. But rising fuel prices
and congestion, together with rising environ-
mental awareness, have now made it easier
for Americans to embrace new technologies
like high-speed rail.
Is the “efficiency argument” the best way
to convince Americans to switch to rail? Dyer:
Some people will make their decisions
based on environmental concerns. But for a lot
of people their reasons are personal and prac-
tical, for example it’s cheaper or quicker. One
big advantage of high-speed rail is that there’s
some certainty. When you get in your car you
never know if there’s been an accident that’s
shut down the Interstate. With high-speed rail,
you know when you’re going to arrive at your
Some of the most memorable attractions
in Orlando are the images of the future
you can see at the EPCOT Center and at
Disney ‘s Tomorrowland. Is high-speed
rail an example of the City of Orlando
making “tomorrow” a reality today? Dyer:
I like to say that Orlando is a young city
where we dream big dreams. So many cities
around the world have a much longer history
than we do, but we’re making our history right
now. Valladolid, Spain, is one of our sister
cities, and I was there a couple of years ago
talking to their mayor about redevelopment in
our downtowns. I told him about a fire that
had destroyed some buildings in our down-
town core. He then told me about a similar
event that had happened in Valladolid. I was
talking about an event that had happed six
months ago; he was talking about something
that took place 400 years ago!
Interview by Thomas Jakobsh.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 13
| Interview
Buddy Dyer (52) has
served as mayor of Orlando since 2003, making him the dean of
Florida’s big-city mayors.
He is one of the most
prominent and effective
advocates of a national
high-speed rail network,
and his leadership and
skill at building partner-
ships have helped to make
Orlando the center of
America’s “Rail Renais-
sance.” Dyer has revital-
ized Orlando’s downtown
with world-class sports,
arts and entertainment
venues. Prior to being
elected mayor, Dyer
served for a decade in the Florida Senate. Before entering public life he
worked as an environmen-
tal engineer and practiced
law for more than 20
Orlando: Igniting a Vision of High-Speed Rail in America
Earlier this year President Obama an-
nounced that your city would be the
“jumping off point” for America’s nation-
wide high-speed rail network. When did
you become a convert to high-speed rail? Dyer:
I’ve had the opportunity to ride high-
speed rail and I’ve always been a huge sup-
porter. And now we’re ready to catch up with
cities in Europe and other parts of the world.
We’re going to have the first true high-speed
rail in America here on the Orlando-Tampa cor-
ridor, with trains traveling upwards of 170
miles per hour. And this will be the first step
toward a nation-wide network. A big part of
the reason we’re now making such progress is
regional cooperation and partnerships. That’s
what the U.S. Department of Transportation
was looking for when awarding high-speed
rail grants.
Orlando is a city without a long history of
rail travel, and lacks some of the rail in-
frastructure of a city like, say, Chicago. Is
this a handicap?
Actually, more than a century ago much
of Florida was developed based on Henry Fla-
gler’s Florida East Coast Railway, which ran
down the coast to the Keys. But much of it
was destroyed by a hurricane. So in some
ways Florida does have a long history in rail -
but it was interrupted for a century or so! But I
don’t think this lack of history is a handicap.
Central Florida will double in population by
2050, so today it’s a necessity as well as a
boost to the economy.
The U.S. Conference of Mayors has said
that high-speed rail could increase
tourism and convention spending in Orlando by up to $250 million...
Yes, high-speed rail will definitely help
tourism. And the technology itself is going to
attract people. It wouldn’t surprise me if peo-
ple going to Tampa choose to fly into Orlando
instead just so they can experience the high-
speed rail connection. But it also plays a key
role for the clusters that we’re developing
along the high-speed rail route — digital me-
dia, biomedical life sciences, simulation and
training, and others. 12 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
the next five years. Most of the funding will be
used to build high-speed rail lines. And a study
conducted by Siemens has shown that it’s not
just the environment that will benefit from the
project (p.20). It turns out that the expansion
will create as many as 145,000 new jobs in the
regions surrounding Los Angeles, Chicago, Or-
lando, and Albany alone. Businesses in those
meters. That amount of fuel could fit into a can
of soda. Moreover, on routes of up to 1,200
kilometers, passengers travel faster in the Ve-
laro than they would in a plane. Trams are a slower mode of transport —
but are nevertheless also very energy efficient.
The Ecotram research project, which was
launched in March 2010 by Siemens, the Vien-
The Velaro consumes the equivalent of 0.33 liters of
gasoline per seat per 100 kilometers.
regional trains, locomotives, and complete
high-speed units from various manufacturers
through their paces. Experts at the center also
simulate future technologies, such as the new
Europe-wide ETCS train control system, which
will replace the hodgepodge of national sys-
tems currently in use. Rail and Road. The vision of sustainable mo-
bility cannot be made a reality with rail sys-
tems alone. That’s because a large portion of
transport volume is handled by road traffic —
and this will continue to be the case in the fu-
ture, according to Germany’s Ministry of Trans-
port. For example, motorized personal trans-
portation is expected to increase by around 19
percent by 2025 in Germany alone. Experts
around the world are therefore working on so-
lutions to make buses, cars, and the road infra-
structure more sustainable. Measures range
from new toll and traffic guidance systems
(pp. 24, 26) to hybrid buses whose diesel
Sustainable transport solutions are needed around
the globe — whether for trains (Frankfurt) or individual vehicles ( Seattle).
“Having two cars in the garage was always part
of the American dream,” says Dyer. “That’s why
most of our cities were designed solely with
motor vehicle traffic in mind.” Still, rising gaso-
line prices and increasing pollution have
caused many to reconsider their way of life.
“People today are more open when it comes to
accepting new and efficient technologies,”
Dyer explains.
Ensuring that the railroad renaissance
strengthens will require a solid infrastructure
and, above all, modern and energy-efficient
trains that can transport freight and passen-
gers rapidly (pp. 16, 20). One such train is the
Velaro, a Siemens rail vehicle designed like a
racehorse to ensure high performance, despite
its very economical operation. Although it has
a top speed of 350 kilometers per hour, the Ve-
laro boasts an energy consumption equivalent
of 0.33 liters of gasoline per seat per 100 kilo-
ergy consumption can be reduced. “In extreme
cases, these can account for up to 40 percent
of a tram’s total energy requirements,” says Dr.
Walter Struckl from Siemens Mobility. The
study’s results will be used to create energy-
saving proposals, which will then be imple-
mented in a follow-up project. “If you used all
possible energy-saving measures for both the
vehicle and its infrastructure, you could cut
tram energy consumption in half by 2030,”
predicts Struckl. Such trams will probably make a stop in
Wegberg-Wildenrath before they enter service.
The town in western Germany is home to the
world’s most modern rail vehicle testing cen-
ter, which Siemens established in 1997 (p. 14).
The 35-hectare test site is used to put local and
drives are supplemented by electric motors (p.
31). Scientists are focusing especially on elec-
tric vehicles, which will usher in the age of
zero-emission driving. Siemens researchers,
for example, are testing new electric motors
and developing technologies that will make it
possible to completely charge batteries in just
a few minutes (p. 34), as opposed to several
hours, which is roughly the time required at
present. Over the next few years, electric vehicles
will gradually become commonplace on city
streets. As they do so, noise and pollution lev-
els will decline. At the same time, many people
will switch to subways and new high-speed
trains. As that happens, society will be travel-
ing back to the future — toward an ideal sys-
tem of sustainable mobility that Spanish or-
ange growers practiced with their mules 100
years ago.Florian Martini
areas can also expect to see annual sales in-
crease by as much as $19 billion, while CO
emissions could decline by as much as 2.8 mil-
lion tons per year. Orlando Mayor Buddy Dyer firmly believes
that car-loving Americans will switch to rail
transport (p. 13). Dyer’s city will be the site of
the first high-speed trains in the U.S. in 2014.
na University of Technology (Austria), local Vi-
ennese transport operators, and other part-
ners, is looking to make trams even more ener-
gy efficient (p. 22). Between now and mid-2011 project ex-
perts will closely examine conventional Vienna
trams to determine how their heating, air con-
ditioning, and ventilation systems-related en-
Sustainable Mobility
| Trends
Sustainable Mobility
| Rail Vehicle Testing
Trains on Trial
The world’s largest, most modern inspection and approval facility for rail vehicles is operated by
Siemens in the Rhineland region of Germany, not far from the Dutch border. The test center simulates
border crossings at record-setting speeds and uses satellite signals for train navigation applications.
The objective is to optimize the safety of rail vehicles used by millions of people every day.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 15
At the Wegberg-Wildenrath center, trains are tested
for roll behavior (left), electrical system response
(top), and noise levels (bottom). The facility’s central
control station (middle) monitors the tests. 14 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Linking Europe. Still, testing so many differ-
ent types of trains from so many different
places at one location under real conditions is
easier said than done. Around 25 different sig-
nal systems are currently used in Europe alone,
for example. And the situation is no less chaot-
ic in terms of the voltages used in individual
European countries. But that’s no problem for
the PCW. “We have several transformers and in-
verters that enable us to generate the voltage
needed for any rail system in the world — and
we can also use different types of European
signal systems on our test tracks,” says Groot-
ings. The facility is thus not only able to test
trains from different countries; thanks to the
two voltage segments on its large oval, it can
also simulate any number of border crossings
using multi-system locomotives — and it can
do so once every three minutes. Such flexibility makes the PCW an ideal lo-
cation for international train manufacturers to
prepare for the future, above and beyond tradi-
tional testing procedures. This is all the more
important given the fact that the new Euro-
pean Train Control System (ETCS) is set to
gradually eliminate the hodgepodge of signal-
ing technologies across the continent after it’s
introduced in 2014. “ETCS will make it possible for trains to cross
borders easily and without having to switch lo-
route between Denmark and Italy in nine min-
utes, which would be a world record,” Eßer re-
Precise Positioning. Rail systems aren’t the
only things that will be tested at PCW over the
next few years. The facility will also soon be
taking a close look at satellite signals. That’s
because the Galileo satellite navigation system
is scheduled to enter service in 2013, and it
will then outperform today’s GPS in terms of
reliability and precision. Galileo will be able to
determine a vehicle’s position with a granulari-
ty of less than one meter. By comparison, the
civilian GPS system is only accurate to within
ten to 15 meters. Rail companies have now joined automak-
ers in their enthusiasm for Galileo, because
such precision makes it possible to realize com-
pletely new types of rail traffic positioning and
safety systems. “Safety plays a key role in rail
management,” says Martin Pölöskey from Au-
tomotive Innovation Center in Aachen, Ger-
many. “Galileo’s precision, in combination with
driving assistance systems, will enable train in-
tervals to be substantially shortened, which
means more trains can travel along a single rail
corridor during a given period of time.” To ensure that such applications will be
ready when Galileo is launched, Pölöskey and a
t’s a place that a train enthusiast can only
dream of. Dozens of trains of the most di-
verse designs — from all over Europe — stand
ready on the tracks. A regional train from the
UK’s First Scotrail company has no sooner de-
parted than a freight locomotive from France’s
SNCF arrives to take its place. On the next
track, a new commuter train from Nederlandse
Spoorwegen (NS) waits its turn. The high-
speed Velaro RUS train from Russia and Spain’s
Velaro E have also stopped by — and the new
ICE high-speed train for Germany’s Deutsche
treme conditions, either on stands or in actual
motion,” says Grootings. “We can provide this
testing for any engineering design, rail vehicle,
system, or market — around the clock, 365
days a year.” Wegberg-Wildenrath has played host to an
enormous number of trains from countries as
far away as the UK, Bulgaria, Spain, and even
Vietnam. Subway trains destined for Munich,
Bangkok, and Athens have been approved for
operation here, as have trams for Paris and
comotives, which takes a lot of time,” says
Franz Eßer, who is responsible for ETCS retro-
fitting for locomotives. The new Europe-wide
guidance setup will not only lead to a replace-
ment of train signal and communication sys-
tems but also control infrastructures along rail
lines. This will be a very complex process, says
Eßer: “Antennas, radar systems, and the signal
receiving devices used to recognize trains and
determine their positions are just a few of the
components that will have to be replaced in
every train and along every route in Europe
within the ETCS framework.” These systems
are being produced throughout Europe by vari-
ous manufacturers, including Alstom, Bom-
bardier, and Siemens. “This means all devices
in Europe must be compatible with one anoth-
er. PCW’s testing facilities are perfect for ensur-
ing that.”
The different voltage sections on the large
test oval allow rail experts to optimally test the
interaction between various ETCS systems. “If
all goes well, we’ll be able to simulate the
The PCW can simulate all the border crossings between Denmark and Italy in just nine minutes.
Bahn rail company is scheduled to pay a visit
early in 2011. Hidden among farms, fields and forests in
western Germany’s Rhineland region, about
five kilometers from the Dutch border, this is
neither a movie set nor an international
switching yard. Instead, it’s the “Test and Vali-
dation Center Wegberg-Wildenrath” (German
acronym: PCW), which is part of Siemens’ Mo-
bility Division. It also happens to be the world’s
largest, most modern train inspection and ap-
proval facility of its kind.
“The PCW is an internationally recognized
inspection facility for rail vehicles, and its tests
are government certified and accredited,” ex-
plains the center’s director, Robert Grootings.
At the PCW, subway trains, locomotives, and
commuter and regional trains are put on plat-
forms where they are turned, tipped, braked,
exposed to power outages and grid overloads.
They are also subjected to multi-week runs on
a test oval where they travel at up to 160 kilo-
meters per hour. The results of each trial are
meticulously documented and evaluated.
The facility determines whether braking be-
havior, tilt angles, safety and electronic sys-
tems, and even toilets are technically advanced
enough and meet the appropriate standards to
allow them to be launched on the market. This doesn’t apply just to Siemens trains,
but also to rail vehicles from other manufactur-
ers, who can have their models tested here
down to the smallest detail and then approved
in accordance with globally-recognized stan-
dards. Manufacturers can even test them
themselves. “We’re part of Siemens, but our in-
dependence is the bread and butter of our suc-
cess,” says Grootings. “In fact, 25 percent of
the rail vehicles we test aren’t Siemens trains.”
Hosting a World of Trains. Siemens estab-
lished the PCW in 1997 at an approximately
35-hectare site formerly used by the UK’s Royal
Air Force. The facility has two test ovals, one
large (6.1 kilometers) and one small (2.5 kilo-
meters), several test tracks, and a total of 28
kilometers of standard gauge track. The site
also features several workshops, and two train
formation halls in which multiple units can be
coupled, up to lengths of up to 220 meters. “Our workforce of approximately 250 can
carry out nearly all types of development,
type, and unit tests on local, regional, and
long-distance trains under standard and ex-
transport consortium led by RWTH Aachen
University are now planning a project for road
traffic applications, and an endurance test for
airborne signals that is scheduled to start at
the PCW in 2011. The signals will be produced
by “pseudolites,” palm-sized transmitters
mounted on masts about 30 meters high at
the PCW. “The pseudolites will simulate Galileo
signals,” Pölöskey explains. “These will be re-
ceived by onboard units in test trains, which
we will equip with different types of software
and applications, creating ideal conditions for
the development of various navigation-based
systems. Along with shorter train intervals, this
will allow us to, for example, produce a system
for automatic train shunting.”
After ETCS becomes established, Galileo
and its precise positioning function will help to
ensure detailed monitoring of train traffic
throughout Europe. Then, when trains from
Scotrail, NS, SNCF, and Deutsche Bahn meet, it
won’t be in Wegberg-Wildenrath, but instead
at stations all over the European continent. Sebastian Webel
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 1716 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Efficient Rail Systems
Better than Humans
Software-based control systems are now indispensable for modern rail transport. Such systems help trains travel safely, on time, and in an energy-efficient manner, while automatically optimizing schedules in real time. Energy consumption can be reduced by 30 percent compared with human drivers. and with an industrial rail line for transporting
ore in Australia. “Experience shows, however, that comput-
er-generated processes rarely function opti-
mally when the machines involved are operat-
ed by people,” says Horst Ernst, who is
responsible for product and portfolio strategy
at Siemens Rail Automation. That’s why rail
driver assistance systems are increasingly tak-
ing over the controls. Such systems enable the
greatest possible number of trains to run on a
single line by optimizing headway distances.
They also ensure maximum energy efficiency
and punctuality. One example here is ATO (Automatic Train
Operation), which was developed by Siemens
and can be integrated into the Trainguard MT
control system. With ATO, a train operator only
sends out a signal for departure or stopping,
and only intervenes in the train’s operation in
the event of danger. A stored route profile en-
ables the system to calculate how rapidly it
should accelerate a train or brake it for curves
to ensure that it arrives at the next station on
time while using the least amount of energy
possible. Tests show that ATO reduces energy
consumption by up to 30 percent versus hu-
man drivers, who tend to brake too sharply
and thus have to reaccelerate. A new standard known as “moving block”
operation enables very short headways in con-
junction with Trainguard MT. With previous
therefore doesn’t necessarily have to stop, but
can instead just be slowed. When used in a
subway system, this technology can shorten
headways to between 90 and 100 seconds,
corresponding to a 50 percent increase in the
transport capacity of a subway line. Trainguard
MT is now deployed in 21 subways around the
globe, making it the most widely used train
control system. Trainguard MT with ATO is in
use in several major Chinese cities, including in
the Guangzhou and Beijing subway systems.
Subway riders in Nuremberg are also bene-
fiting from the system. The city’s transit au-
thority has operated its U2 and U3 lines fully
Good-bye to Locomotive Switching. The
European rail system is still waiting for the
broad scale introduction of ETCS (European
Train Control System). ETCS will eventually re-
place national control systems for regional and
long-distance trains, enabling cross-border
travel without having to change locomotives.
Siemens has played a key role in defining the
system’s standards and also supplied equip-
ment for the first regular service ETCS route
(Jüterborg-Halle-Leipzig) in 2005. With 50 mil-
lion operating kilometers through 2009, the
company also has the most extensive experi-
ence with ETCS technology. “Moving block” operation ensures optimal
headways in Chinese subways (far left) and in
Nuremberg. ETCS will allow long-distance
trains to dispense with locomotive switching. ules, adapt them during operation to any dis-
turbance, and implement them in real time. The software also simulates energy con-
sumption and CO
2 emissions for a variety of
routes. What’s more, Falko can coordinate the
braking and acceleration of different trains on
the same line so precisely that the energy fed
back into the grid by electric motors during
braking can be utilized by other trains for ac-
celeration. This eliminates the need for expen-
sive temporary energy storage units along
routes or in trains, resulting in energy savings
as high as 25 percent. Falko is already in use in
21 local transport systems around the world,
“fixed block” systems, each route was divided
into sections delineated by balises — small
metal plates equipped with transponders that
are placed along tracks. The units register pass-
ing trains and then switch signals in the previ-
ous section to “stop.” Only after the train has
passed over subsequent balises, and the first
section is free, can the next train enter that
section. But in moving block operation, balises not
only register passing trains but also their
speed, which enables the required safe dis-
tance between two trains to be calculated
much more precisely. The next train on the line
are often joined and decoupled every day.” Be-
cause moving block operation requires com-
plete trains with no decoupling of cars along
the route, such solutions are therefore only
possible at the moment for specific applica-
tions involving complete trains, like the high-
speed ICE. “Rail system innovation cycles are
relatively long,” says Ernst. “Once something’s
procured, it has to remain in service for 20 or
25 years.” A
s Brigitte Schäfer leaves her house in
Nuremberg, Germany, she thinks about a
headline in her morning paper that says, “The
world is growing closer together.” While this
may be true in a cultural sense, it doesn’t
change the length of her trip to the office,
where she works as a business consultant, or
to her meeting in Paris the next day. Today
she’s taking her car to the office; tomorrow
she’ll fly to Paris. Still, the mode of transport
that would yield the best energy balance for
both trips would be a train. That’s because
Schäfer’s drive to work generates three times
the CO
emissions of a subway ride — and her
flight to Paris will produce emissions roughly
seven times higher than the same trip by train.
Reliability and comfort are very important to
Schäfer, however, which is why she has no de-
sire to stand in an overcrowded subway car or
wait for a train that’s been delayed. Experts predict that, on a global level, travel
will increase by around 1.6 percent per year
between now and 2030 — and that only mass
transit systems such as railroads and subways
can prevent an equivalent rise in primary ener-
gy consumption and CO
2 emissions. One way
to make rail travel more dependable and thus
more attractive would be to introduce real-
time schedules for transit authorities. Siemens
Mobility’s Falko software, for instance, is a
planning and dispatch system that uses opti-
mization algorithms to generate new sched-
New technologies increase rail line capacity by 50 per-
cent and lower energy consumption by 30 percent.
automatically and without drivers since mid-
2008. Trainguard MT allows the company to
react very flexibly to an unexpectedly sharp in-
crease in passengers and place additional
trains in service in record time, if necessary.
The problem of overcrowded trains has thus
largely been eliminated (see Pictures of the Fu-
ture, Spring 2008, p.74). “It’s relatively easy to automate a subway
line in this manner because all train parame-
ters are known,” says Ernst. “Things are more
difficult on long-distance lines, where trains
ETCS stores all route data, including grades
and maximum permissible speeds. The system
continually checks whether a train is traveling
on the right route and in the right direction. It
also examines whether a train is suitable for its
route and is adhering to stipulations such as
speed limits through construction sites and in
station approaches. ETCS is divided into several
levels. Depending on its configuration, the system
ensures adherence to route signals (Level 1),
eliminates the need for such signals through
continuous transmission (Level 2), and can
support moving block operation in the future
(Level 3). An ETCS-equipped train could thus
travel from Nuremberg directly to Athens,
Greece, without switching locomotives, some-
thing hardly possible these days due to the
very different national control systems still in
use. The system would therefore significantly
reduce travel times.
Europe is still a long way from full transition
to ETCS, however, with initial widespread im-
plementation not expected until 2014. Never-
theless, ETCS technology is already helping to
make train connections safer, more reliable,
and in some cases more energy efficient.
Spain’s Velaro train, for example, uses ETCS
technology from Siemens to cover the roughly
650 kilometers from Madrid to Barcelona in
under three hours. In China, new high-speed
trains equipped with ETCS technology have an
on-time performance of 98 percent. Such figures make trains more attractive to
new customers. Brigitte Schäfer, for her part,
has decided on the spur of the moment to take
a train to Paris because she needs to prepare
for her meeting — and that can be done more
comfortably in a train than in a cramped plane,
not to mention a car.Bernhard Gerl
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 1918 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Sustainable Rail Travel
All Aboard the Efficiency Express
High-speed trains for long-distance travel, platform concepts
for commuter service, and cable liners for links to airports —
the Siemens lineup includes rail vehicles to meet every need.
Thanks to the latest technologies, the environment is one of
the biggest beneficiaries of the trend toward trains. four active power supply blocks to provide all
the energy required for operation. Nearly all
the fans on board are speed-controlled or can
operate at two different speeds. As a result,
the volume of air flowing through the train is-
n’t greater than is actually required. When the train is at rest, most electrical
consumers are turned down as far as possible
or even switched to standby mode. “The result
of all of these measures is that the Velaro is
very economical in terms of energy use,” says
Low Drag. A train’s aerodynamics are crucial
for high speeds, and here the Velaro also repre-
sents a major advance compared to its prede-
cessors. Previous trains had a variety of struc-
tures protruding from the roof, such as air
conditioning units, which cause turbulence
when the train is moving at high speeds. “The
latest Velaro has a smooth, high roof that
largely prevents turbulence,” says Mayer. “Its
new contour also enabled us to reduce the
mass of air that a train pushes ahead of it and
which causes substantial drag particularly in
tunnels and when passing other trains.” Devel-
opment engineers were able to reduce the
train’s drag by about 15 percent, resulting in
an energy savings of between six and eight
The engineers’ ingenuity also carried over
to the interior. Light-emitting diodes (LEDs)
have replaced the halogen spots previously
used for lighting. LEDs consume much less
electricity at the same level of brightness and
also generate less waste heat, reducing the
load on the air conditioning system and saving
even more energy. And when the Velaro has to
Before the Velaro D took on its current form at a plant
in Krefeld (above left), it underwent virtual testing
(bottom left). The Desiro regional train (above center
and right) also sets environmental standards.
rains are an indispensable part of any sus-
tainable mobility concept. Commuter
trains, subways, and streetcars help to prevent
cities from drowning in traffic. Commuters
can’t get by without them, and they are an en-
vironmentally-friendly alternative to cars and
airplanes for trips between major cities. New
technologies have turned this traditional mode
of transportation into the environmental
choice for travelers around the world.
With its Velaro, a fourth-generation high-
speed train that uses only 0.33 liters of fuel per
100 kilometers per seat — a figure no carpool
can match — Siemens is sending a particularly
frugal and fast entrant into the fray for long-
distance rail service. Velaro gets its passengers
from A to B very quickly. The standard version
of the train reaches a speed of 320 kilometers
per hour, and some models, such as the one
used in Spain, hit 350 kilometers per hour and
more. Velaro thus represents serious competi-
be braked, the train turns into an electrical
generator. Almost all of the roughly 8,000 kilo-
watts of power at the wheels can be fed back
into the electrical system during “generative
braking.” In practice, up to 30 percent of the
energy consumed can be reused.
Driver assistance systems in the Velaro pre-
vent unnecessary braking and acceleration;
their instructions to the train engineer help to
achieve energy savings of about six percent.
Technology alone is not enough, however. As
with driving a car, the human factor also plays
an important role in a train’s energy consump-
tion. And with an increasing number of
freight-forwarders training their truck drivers
to drive more fuel efficiently, rail service opera-
tors in countries such as Germany, Austria,
France and Switzerland are training their train
engineers to drive economically, which can
yield a good ten percent in additional energy
savings. “If the train engineer stops accelerat-
Why Cable Cars Are Coming Back
A familiar technology from days gone by is enjoying a renais-
sance as the world’s energy-saving champion on short routes in
urban areas. The Cable Liner developed by Siemens and Doppel-
mayr, an Austrian cable car specialist, is a train system drawn by
cables that can reach a top speed of 50 km/h. “Because there’s no traction technology in the cars, they are one-third lighter than
powered vehicles,” explains Christof Albrecht of DCC Doppelmayr Cable Car GmbH & Co KG in Wol-
furt, Austria. “That reduces energy costs by 20 percent.” In addition, the lightweight vehicles don’t require expensive concrete guideways. Less expensive steel construction is sufficient to handle their
low weight. “If you add up the investment costs and the operating costs, the Cable Liner is unbeat-
able for short routes,” says Albrecht. That argument has also swayed customers in Las Vegas, Toronto,
Mexico City, Doha, and Birmingham, UK, where the train is already in service as a quiet, efficient
feeder shuttle. These were joined in April 2010 by an 870-meter route in Venice, Italy, which can
transport 3,000 passengers per hour in both directions from the manmade island of Tronchetto to the Piazzale Roma in the historic city center. The Cable Liner is thus helping to relieve a shortage of
parking spaces while providing visitors with a comfortable ride to and from their destination.
tion for airliners. “On routes of up to about
1,200 kilometers, passengers travel faster in
the Velaro,” says Ralf Mayer of Siemens Mobili-
ty. “This is assuming that the train connects the
downtown areas of the departure and arrival
cities directly, so that travel to and from air-
ports and associated waiting times are obviat-
ed.” In addition to saving time, the train is also
a big plus for the environment. According to
Mayer, a Velaro trip in Spain generates only
around 14 grams of carbon dioxide per person
and kilometer, compared to 140 grams for an
Such efficiency doesn’t just happen by acci-
dent. A range of technologies help Velaro to
systematically save energy and minimize car-
bon dioxide emissions. Take the train’s on-
board energy management system, for in-
stance, which only activates the next power
supply block when power reserves drop below
a defined threshold. This enables just two of
ing about two kilometers before the crest of a
hill, the train’s speed remains relatively con-
stant due to its momentum, and the down-
ward slope on the other side allows the train to
continue on its way unabated,” explains Mayer.
Environmentally Optimized. In addition to
energy consumption, another important factor
is use of resources. The wood used in the Ve-
laro’s interior comes from sustainably man-
aged forests; the coolants — such as esters
rather than mineral oil in the transformers —
are certified to be environmentally safe; and
98 percent of the plastic used can be recycled.
Velaro’s steadily growing list of customers
demonstrates that it has not only been opti-
mized for the environment, but is also a very
economically-competitive product. It has been
operating between Madrid and Barcelona
since 2006; China followed in 2008; and it has
been operating under the name “Sapsan”
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 21
range of solutions for airports — we’ve got all the re-
quired products and expertise.” Such networking, which is
made possible by technologies for sensor, telematics, and
communication systems, can be promoted with relatively
modest services, such as providing drivers with targeted
information on Park+Ride facilities, avoiding traffic jams,
and providing real-time train departure times (see p. 26). While Europe and the U.S. are focusing mainly on
modernization of infrastructure and harmonizing solu-
tions, China, India, and the Tiger Countries are concerned
with major expansions and efficient, new infrastructures.
“The average traveling speed for cars in many large Asian
cities is currently less than ten kilometers per hour,” says
Grundmann. That shows just how important it is to ex-
pand commuter rail and subway networks. Siemens offers
solutions in this area as well. The company plans to hand
over a turnkey rail system in Delhi by 2012, for example,
and is providing everything from the rail vehicles to com-
plete electrification and signaling systems, as well as sys-
tem integration solutions — all from a single source. China wants to expand its nationwide rail network
from a total length of 86,000 to 120,000 kilometers and
ensure that ten percent of the network will be able to ac-
commodate high-speed trains. In order to achieve this
goal, the country will invest more than $250 billion be-
tween now and 2012 in the construction of 42 high-
speed routes. A train boasting what is currently the
world’s highest average speed (350 kilometers per hour)
recently began operating in China. The Harmony Express
requires only three hours to travel the 1,000 kilometers
between Wuhan and Guangzhou.
Russia is also expanding its rail network, especially for
freight trains to move its abundant raw materials, among
other things. The country will invest up to $500 billion in
the modernization of its rail system between now and
2030. Plans include high-speed routes and the establish-
ment of links to areas rich in natural resources. The latter
will require procurement of one million freight cars and
20,000 locomotives, as some of the locomotives used to-
day were built in the 1920s and 1930s. Why the Market for Transportation
Infrastructures is in High Gear
The huge increase in transport and traffic volume
around the world is also having an effect on the automo-
tive sector. Germany plans to have one million electric ve-
hicles on the road by 2020, and the U.S. wants to reach
that figure by 2015. China is now investing €2 billion in
pilot projects involving thousands of electric cars. Siemens
is also very active in the field of electric mobility, offering
everything from intelligent energy and traffic infrastruc-
ture solutions to battery charging technologies and high-
performance IT systems, as well as conducting research
into the required drive system technologies (see p. 37).
For the most part, electric vehicles will be operated in
cities. Simply electrifying existing vehicles won’t be
enough. For one thing, electric cars must connect to
power grids in order to recharge their batteries. What’s
needed therefore is a sustainable and standardized infra-
structure suitable for the mass market. The various modes
of transport also need to be reorganized and coordinated
with one another — in other words, we need “Complete
Mobility.” Gitta Rohling
Transport Infrastructures by Country
Source: CIA — World Factbook 2007
No. of airports per 1,000 km
Kilometers of railway/10 km
Kilometers of paved road/km
Transport CO
2 emissions per capita (tons)
Road transport
Passenger rail
Index (2000 = 100)
Freight rail
Light duty vehicles
Comparative Mileage by Modality
Source: 2008 version of the IEA/ETP’s MoMo model
Worldwide passenger/ton-kilometers
Percentage of Electric Cars Expected
“Don’t know”
“Less than 5%”
“Between 5 and 10%”
“Between 10 and 20%”
“Greater than 20%”
Survey of partici-
pants at the 2010
International Trans-
port Forum:
In 2020, the share of electric vehicles in new car sales in
OECD countries will
Comparative Emissions by Modality
emissions in millions of tons per year
Source: ITF based on 2008 version of the IEA/ETP’s MoMo model
Light duty vehicles
2–3 wheelers
t was railroads that made it possible for the North
American continent to be settled in the 19th century.
Those pioneering days are long gone, however — and un-
like in Europe or China, trains offer no real alternative to
planes in the U.S. today. This is set to change, however, as
U.S. President Barack Obama plans to invest $13 billion to
improve the country’s rail network, in particular by build-
ing new high-speed routes. The U.S. government’s stimu-
lus package will provide $8 billion of the total, with the re-
maining $5 billion to be added over the next five years. A
recent study carried out by Siemens highlights the bene-
fits the planned rail network expansion can offer. The in-
frastructure project could create up to 145,000 new jobs
in the regions surrounding Los Angeles, Chicago, Orlando,
and Albany — and businesses located there could gener-
ate as much as $19 billion in additional annual revenue as
a result. The study focused on these four metropolitan ar-
eas because they are considered representative for the
country in terms of size, location, and economic condi-
Expanding the U.S. rail network is expected to also
boost economic productivity by reducing travel costs and
time. And it would enable specialists from industry and
university research centers to meet more often — an in-
dispensable competitive factor even in the digital age. In-
novative industries and new residential and recreational
areas would establish themselves more easily near new
train stations, leading to an increase in offices, hotels, and
technology parks. In addition to creating jobs, the expan-
sion would also stimulate the tourism industry. Not to be
forgotten is the fact that rail network expansion would re-
duce CO
emissions by as much as 2.8 million tons per
year. “High-speed rail transport is the most efficient and en-
vironmentally-friendly way to strengthen the economies
in these U.S. regions,” says Hans-Jörg Grundmann, CEO of
Siemens’ Mobility Division. “We see ourselves as a market
leader, and we’re prepared to expand our production facil-
ity in Sacramento in order to meet demand for fast, state-
of-the-art trains.” All sustainable transportation policies focus on shift-
ing the lion’s share of freight and passenger transport
from roads to environmentally friendly modes of trans-
portation. Siemens is relying here on “Complete Mobility,”
which involves the intelligent networking of rail, road, and
air traffic flows. “There’s no other company in the world
besides Siemens that can offer all of that from a single
source,” says Grundmann. “From power supply to rail and
road traffic control systems, rail vehicles for local, re-
gional, and long-distance transport, and even a broad
| Facts and Forecasts
20 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Sustainable Rail Travel
(Russian for “peregrine falcon”) between the
Moscow and St. Petersburg since mid-2009.
Velaro is scheduled to begin operation in Ger-
many in December 2011. With its four (electrical) system technology,
the Velaro can operate throughout Europe,
which doesn’t have a standardized grid voltage
for trains. The “Velaro D” can handle direct cur-
rent at 1.5 or three kilovolts as well as alternat-
ing current at 15 or 22 kilovolts. It is also
equipped for the train protection systems used
in different European countries. These systems
work with different communication protocols
and even require installation of different an-
tennas. Regional Train with Global Success. For
shorter routes, Siemens’ lineup includes the
“Desiro” platform, which encompasses a wide
range of commuter trains configured as either
electric or diesel multiple units. Desiro trains
are currently in operation in Austria, Bulgaria,
Denmark, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Slove-
nia, the UK, and the United States. The newest
member of the Desiro family is the Desiro ML,
The diesel-electric version of the Desiro ML
uses an intelligent engine management sys-
tem to ensure that the drive systems run at
their optimal operating point whenever possi-
ble. In other words, if maximum power isn’t re-
quired, the control unit shuts down individual
engines so that the rest operate close to a ther-
modynamic optimum. This results in a fuel sav-
ings of between ten and 15 percent. “And the engines already meet the strin-
gent III B European emissions standard for
diesel motors, which will limit emissions of
substances such as oxides of nitrogen and sul-
fur starting in 2012,” says Kopp. “We have
achieved this thanks to an exhaust treatment
system with the aqueous carbamide solution
AdBlue, which is also used in cars and trucks.”
AdBlue reduces oxides of nitrogen to pure ni-
trogen and water vapor. A few adaptations to
the traction system also can prepare it for the
even stricter Tier 4 emissions standard that will
take effect in the U.S. in 2016.
Even the base version of the ML is an envi-
ronmentally-friendly means of transportation.
But customers interested in maximum sustain-
When braking, the Velaro turns into an electrical gener-
ator and “recycles” up to 30 percent of the energy used.
which has been zipping along the rails in Ger-
many at speeds of up to 160 kilometers per
hour since late 2008. The Belgian national rail-
road will take delivery of 305 Desiro ML trains
between 2011 and 2016, and Desiro MLs are
also to begin operation in Austria, Russia, and
The Desiro has also been optimized for low
energy consumption, starting with its structur-
al design. Manufactured from lightweight alu-
minum, the train’s body satisfies two conflict-
ing requirements. “On the one hand, a train
should be as light as possible, but at the same
time it must comply with strict crash specifica-
tions and satisfy more demanding expecta-
tions in terms of comfort,” says Michael Kopp
of Siemens Mobility in describing an apparent
contradiction in rail vehicle requirements. “We
have managed to pull this off. Desiro trains
haven’t become any heavier despite improved
safety and more comfortable appointments.” The latest computational methods were
used to optimize the vehicles for maximum
crash safety while keeping weight to a mini-
mum. Many other improvements, such as the
latest power electronics, helped to save
weight, for instance, as did structural compo-
nents that need less heat and sound insula-
ability can reduce energy consumption and
emissions even further. One example of how
to do this is a water cooling system that uses
the waste heat of the engines for the heating
system, thereby reducing energy consumption
by as much as five percent. Another is the use
of better-insulated windows, which helps to
save energy for heating and cooling.
Frugal Future. The latest Desiro trains are
also prepared for future energy-saving options.
For instance, lithium-ion batteries and high-
performance capacitors (ultracaps) can be
used as energy storage devices in these trains
in order to temporarily store braking energy
and release it when needed for acceleration.
The investment costs for these technologies
are still relatively high, however. Driver assistance systems could also be
used to help train engineers who drive com-
muter trains to save electricity and fuel, just as
they do in the Velaro. Depending on route
topology and the schedule, this could mean
additional energy savings of five to ten per-
cent. Savings as high as 35 percent could be
achieved by combining regenerative braking
and a driver assistance system as described
above with an existing engine management
system. Christian Buck
Sustainable Mobility
| Rail Vehicle Optimization
Tough Tests for Trams How can you reduce the electricity use of a tram’s climate control system without making the vehicle less comfortable? Siemens and its partners in the Ecotram research project are developing
effective energy-saving measures that require no sacrifices in terms of passenger comfort. Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 23
Whether in an ice chamber (below left), under UV exposure (facing page), or undergoing passenger
simulations using heated pads, Vienna’s trams are
subjected to extreme tests to optimize their systems.
22 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
mal behavior on any number of different
routes, enabling them to optimize the climate
control systems. Climatic Chambers for Trams. Rail Tec
Arsenal is a unique climatic test facility for rail
vehicles. Experts have fitted Vienna’s latest
tram with measurement systems at the facility,
which is co-owned by Siemens (see Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2009, p. 4). The site’s two
chambers (100 and 34 meters long, respec-
tively) can expose entire trains to extreme
weather conditions. Here, giant rotors gener-
ate airstreams, and powerful halogen lamps
simulate hot summer days. Technicians can al-
ter humidity, and even make it rain or snow.
The facility is even used by elite athletes, ac-
cording to Gregor Richter, a project manager at
Rail Tec Arsenal. “Ski jumpers from the Austrian
national team suspended themselves in climb-
ing harnesses in 120 kilometer-per-hour
winds, to find out which jump-off posture
would give them the best lift,” says Richter.
Thanks to the facility’s weather simulation
capabilities, Ecotram has been tested under
typical Vienna conditions, at temperatures
ranging from minus 20 to plus 32 degrees Cel-
sius. Tram doors have been opened and closed
during tests, and different speeds have been
simulated to account for the fact that heat es-
capes to the outside more rapidly at higher
speeds. Heating pads were put on the seats to
electric devices register the number of people
entering and leaving the tram at each stop.
Passenger comfort has been measured by ana-
lyzing temperature, air velocity and carbon
dioxide content (see Pictures of the Future,
Spring 2006, p. 68). While the tram is in service, Kozek is devel-
oping a thermal behavior simulation model.
It’s based on a physical model that describes
the processes occurring at specific operating
points — for example, heat losses caused by
airstreams. Results obtained under real condi-
tions will be compared with the measurements
from wind tunnel tests. Data from the field
tests will help the program simulate typical op-
eration, including tunnel segments, tram
stops, and varying passenger counts. The com-
pleted software will send trams on virtual runs
and calculate the impact on energy use and
comfort of different energy-saving concepts.
Siemens will be able to use the model to
demonstrate which measures are most eco-
nomical. “I expect that this will help to provide
evidence against the preconception that ener-
gy efficiency drives up costs and reduces com-
fort,” says Struckl. “The model will also boost
energy transparency under a range of condi-
tions. Many tram operators scale their systems
in line with extreme situations such as a rush
of festival-goers in the summer, but forget that
they have to pay for that added weight and en-
ergy use all year long,” he says.
t’s a summer day and Vienna’s trams are
packed. The air conditioning is running full
blast. But the question is: does the AC really
need to be set at maximum to ensure a com-
fortable ride? “In extreme cases, heating, air
conditioning, and ventilation systems can ac-
count for 30 to 40 percent of a tram’s total en-
ergy use,” says Dr. Walter Struckl, an expert on
sustainable public transport systems at
Siemens. That’s ample reason to think about
energy conservation. There’s no lack of ideas in this area, but the
usefulness of such ideas depends on many fac-
tors. “Good insulation reduces the heating en-
ergy needed in winter, but it also increases
reflective exterior paints. Project manager Prof.
Martin Kozek of the Vienna University of Tech-
nology’s Institute of Mechanics and Mecha-
tronics believes predictive control units can
play a key role here. “If it’s summer and you
know a tunnel is coming, you can turn down
the air conditioner and ventilate the tram with
cool air from the tunnel. The tram runs the
same route every day, so you can quickly
achieve big energy savings,” says Kozek.
Struckl believes a lot can be gained by using
carbon dioxide sensors for air regulation, since
carbon dioxide content provides an indication
of how many passengers are on board. He’s
also thinking about the color of the light used
to illuminate the trams. “With cold lighting,
people feel like it’s around two degrees cooler
than it actually is. Using the type of lighting
provided by LEDs, for example, would con-
serve a lot of energy because it would enable
you to alternate between warm and cold-white
colors as needed,” Struckl says. Many energy-saving measures are geared
to specific situations, such as cooling a crowd-
ed car. That means they can be effective only if
the given situation occurs frequently and/or
causes the tram to use a lot of electricity. Eco-
tram experts are therefore measuring the ener-
gy balance of a tram in a climatic lab and un-
der normal operating conditions. The resulting
data flows into a program that manufacturers
and operators will use to simulate tram ther-
simulate body heat and a varied number of
passengers. As during normal operations, the
climate control and ventilation systems auto-
matically adjusted temperatures to target val-
ues. Richter continually monitored external
and internal temperature, wind speed, sun-
light, and the power input of climate control
and ventilation components. “For the first time
we are seeing how much energy individual
systems use,” he says. Richter has already de-
vised initial energy-saving approaches. “Some-
times it gets cooler than it should in the trams
because the air conditioning doesn’t step
down until it actually registers temperatures
that are too low,” he says, adding that this can
be solved by optimizing the control software. On-the-Job Testing. After leaving the test fa-
cility in May 2010, Ecotram entered regular
service for six months of evaluation in the real
world. During that period, its sensors have
been collecting data 24 hours per day. Photo-
If you combine all energy saving measures, tram energy consumption could be cut in half by 2030.
mbH, and climate control system manufactur-
er Vossloh Kiepe teamed up in March 2010 to
launch the Ecotram research project. The proj-
ect will run for 18 months and is being funded
by Austria’s Climate and Energy Fund. “We’re
focusing here on heating, air conditioning, and
ventilation because these systems account for
a large share of energy consumption,” Struckl
explains. “Our project partners cover all perti-
nent technologies — from air conditioning
units to climatic test labs and the production
and operation of rolling stock.” Climate and ventilation systems for a state-
of-the-art tram use about 100,000 kilowatt-
hours of electricity per year. The Ecotram proj-
ect will show how much this figure can be re-
duced. Günter Steinbauer, the managing direc-
tor of the city’s transportation authority,
believes it can be lowered by at least ten per-
cent. Applying that figure to the city’s 300
modern trams alone would yield annual sav-
ings of over 3,000 megawatt-hours, the equiv-
alent of the electricity consumed by 1,200
households during the same period. Ecotram partners plan to study the effec-
tiveness of 20 energy-saving ideas. These pro-
posals range from improved insulation to the
use of waste heat, floor heating systems, and
The results will be incorporated into an eco-
tram prototype in a follow-up project, and pas-
senger reactions will then show if all the work
was worth it. “The key is to save energy in such
a way that nobody notices,” says Struckl. What might the energy-efficient streetcar
of the future look like? “The trend is toward
high-efficiency climate control and ventilation
systems, lightweight design, and onboard en-
ergy storage,” says Struckl. “The latter involves
regaining and storing energy released by brak-
ing and waste heat from climate control units.
The energy can be stored in the trams or re-
turned to the grid and made available to other
rail vehicles. This is already possible in some
places. That’s why the intelligent power grids
now being developed in conjunction with re-
newable energy systems are a key issue for rail
traffic. If you combine all possible energy-sav-
ing measures for the vehicle and infrastruc-
ture, tram energy consumption could be cut in
half by 2030.” Christine Rüth
tram weight, so it’s not necessarily economi-
cal,” says Struckl. “Tram ventilation systems are
designed for maximum occupancy,” he says,
“but any incoming air also has to be heated or
cooled. If you use sensors to calculate the
number of passengers at a given time, howev-
er, you can provide the right amount of fresh
air and still maintain optimal air quality.” So how can climate control be made energy
efficient while at the same time keeping costs
under control and satisfying passengers? To
answer that question, Siemens, the Vienna
University of Technology, local Vienna trans-
port-related companies, consulting firm SCHIG
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 25
A Toll Booth in
Every Truck
Siemens is developing a toll collection system that utilizes state-
of-the-art satellite technology. The system opens the door to
flexible, real-time, international tracking and charging of com-
mercial vehicles depending on their route, weight, and emis-
sions, thus helping to reduce congestion and increase safety.
hristoph Wondracek needs just a few
moves to start the system. First he uses
suction cups to fasten a small non-descript box
to the windshield, after which he inserts a plug
into his vehicle’s cigarette lighter. “Now we can
get going,” he says as he turns the key. The car
Wondracek is now driving through the streets
of Vienna is a laboratory on wheels. Siemens is
using the vehicle to test its latest ideas for mak-
ing future road traffic more economical and
more environmentally friendly.
“This onboard unit contains all the technol-
ogy we need,” Wondracek explains. The unit’s
navigation system utilizes satellite signals to
pinpoint the vehicle’s current location, and
then sends the positioning data to a central
computer via GSM technology familiar to cell
phone users. This technology can be employed
to set up a highway toll system for trucks or an
inner-city congestion charge system for reduc-
ing traffic during rush hours.
Siemens is developing these state-of-the-
art solutions in Vienna, Austria, where it oper-
ates a Toll Systems Competence Center that it
established in 2006. “We were already working
on toll systems before that,” says the center’s
director, Dr. Karl Strasser, “but developments
didn’t start moving toward extensive complex
systems until a few years ago.“ That’s why
Siemens is utilizing the center as a base for
pooling the required expertise from through-
out its worldwide organization. As a result, ex-
perts from the fields of satellite navigation,
mobile data transfer, traffic guidance, and oth-
er areas are now working together in Vienna. Research at the center’s labs is both virtual
and physical. Specialists not only design on-
board units that incorporate the latest naviga-
tion and data transfer technologies but also
develop software that enables the reliable col-
lection of hundreds of thousand of data sets.
Whenever an urban congestion charge or
highway toll system is being planned any-
where in the world, technicians in Vienna go
to work on customized solutions that are in-
cluded in the company’s bids.
No Toll Plazas Required. Strasser’s core team
comprises 40 specialists. Once a project is up
and running, the teams are expanded to in-
clude experts from related areas. The acid test
involved the introduction of a state-of-the-art
truck toll system in Slovakia in the spring of
2010, for which Siemens supplied the onboard
units and software. “One hundred of our peo-
ple refined the various technologies before the
system was launched,” Strasser reports.
Toll fees in Slovakia vary depending on
whether a truck travels on a major highway or
a state road. In similar projects, such as in the
A satellite-supported onboard unit (left) enables a toll
system to calculate the length of trips not only on
major highways but also on minor roads.
24 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Road Pricing
Czech Republic, toll plazas used to be set up
along roads in a complicated and expensive
process. Devices at the plazas receive a mi-
crowave signal transmitted via a small box in
vehicles that use the roads. But in Slovakia, Siemens embarked on a dif-
ferent approach — one that, for the first time,
made it possible to eliminate the high level of
investment required for toll plazas. Instead,
trucks that travel on toll roads must now be
equipped with an onboard unit like the one in
Wondracek’s car. This system can precisely
measure the distance traveled, and thus the
amount each shipping company will be
charged for each vehicle. There are other po-
tential benefits. For example, a country could
decide to track the exact location of shipments
of hazardous goods or animals in real time.
“The flexibility of this technology is unri-
valled,” says Wondracek. For example, an on-
board unit can be programmed in line with a
truck engine’s emission class and whether or
not a trailer is being used. The toll fee can then
be adjusted according to the vehicle’s impact
on the environment and road surface. A simple
alteration to the software on the central com-
demonstrations with his vehicle and its equip-
ment. France is planning a toll system similar
to the one in Slovakia, as are Poland, Slovenia,
the Netherlands, and Belgium. “Demand is so
high we can barely keep up with the work,”
says Wondracek.
Highway toll systems are one of two areas
that Siemens experts in Vienna specialize in;
the other is city toll systems, the most well-
And the same goes for thousands of other
cities. Around the globe, metropolitan areas
are growing so fast that a large portion of their
infrastructure can’t keep up with traffic vol-
ume. But intelligent toll system technology of
the type Siemens offers can help cities flexibly
manage traffic in response to real-time de-
mand, and thus reduce travel times while cut-
ting air and noise pollution.
A minor alteration to central computer software is all
it takes to expand the toll system to additional roads.
puter is all that’s required if a government de-
cides to extend the system to other roads.
The Slovakian system has been successfully
launched and 200,000 onboard units
equipped with Siemens technology are now
on the road in that country, which has to ac-
commodate a high volume of international
transit traffic. Domestically-registered trucks
have a built-in onboard unit, while trucks pass-
ing through are issued a mobile device at the
border. “This is a breakthrough,” says Won-
dracek, who has already been invited by gov-
ernments all over Europe to carry out driving
ious communication and computer systems
(for more, see Pictures of the Future, Spring
2007, p. 28).
Strasser’s business trips to major cities
around the world have given him a sense of
just how important such systems are. “Take
Paris,” he says. “There’s so much traffic in the
center of that city that the average traveling
speed is now as low as it was when the streets
were filled with horse-drawn carriages.” Which system is the best? Siemens and the
Technical University of Denmark (DTU) used
various traffic parameters to simulate three toll
system options for Copenhagen. The result is a
special “Eco Care Matrix” that allows re-
searchers to determine which system is best
for the environment and which one is the most
economical. The researchers found that both
the combined system and the distance-based
version produced the best result forecasts at a
relatively short amortization period for the
Danish capital. “The results differ from city to
city, however, because many factors are at
known of which is to be found in London.
Every vehicle that enters the center of the UK
capital now has to pay a flat fee. As a result,
traffic congestion in the City declined by ap-
proximately 26 percent shortly after the sys-
tem was introduced, and public transport has
become a more attractive option. This, in fact,
was precisely the effect officials wanted to
achieve. In addition, Siemens has provided the
London congestion fee authority with an auto-
matic license plate recognition feature and var-
There are a number of customized city toll
systems from Siemens. One involves dividing a
city into segments and charging drivers a set
fee to enter each one. This setup is similar to
the system used in London. It’s also possible to
charge tolls based on the number of kilometers
driven. That’s the principle behind the on-
board-unit system. The third possibility is a
combination of the first two in which individu-
alized tolls are charged depending on the time
of day, type of vehicle, and route . An Affordable Track-and-Charge System Satellite-based toll system Source: Siemens AG
Route is determined
Central computer
Virtual toll plaza
Truck with onboard unit
Road and vehicle type?
Hazardous materials?
= Charges
*“Electronic Tolling Back Office” computer
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 27
minutes in line with traffic levels, which are
measured using induction loops. “Every traffic
light responds to induction loop data and
switches to red, for example, if no cars have
passed from a certain direction for a given peri-
od of time,” explains Mück. “At the same time,
Motion MX also tells each traffic light how
long it should remain switched to green and
how long the cycle should take in between two
green lights in the same lane.” Achieving a green wave was a complex
mathematical optimization task for Mück. “It’s
about minimizing waiting times and the num-
ber of stops,” he says. Even if vehicles can only
drive in two directions along a route with ten
traffic lights, there are so many possible ways
of changing the green phases, waiting times,
and other variables that it would take the
world’s best computer millions of years to cal-
culate all the combinations of solutions.
This is why other control systems haven’t
differentiated between cars on the main route
and vehicles on side streets, to simplify the
math involved. “If you don’t do this, you can
have a situation where drivers have no difficul-
ty turning off onto another street, while mo-
torists on the main route are continually held
up at a traffic light,” says Mück. To ensure that
drivers on the main route can travel unimped-
ed, Mück’s team developed an entirely new
method. “To do that, you need to depict the ve-
hicles together as a group at several signaling
stations,” he says. Other models didn’t use this
approach, Mück says. “We are the only ones to
calculate what drivers expect,” he adds. A study by Ruhr University in Bochum, Ger-
many showed that the new system reduces the
time drivers lose at traffic lights on Albersloher
Weg by one-third and that 20 to 30 percent of
the traffic light stops can be eliminated per
trip. Public transit also benefits from the sys-
tem, because transit buses can now stick to
their schedules even during rush hour. Mück calculated that the smart control sys-
tem cuts CO
emissions by several hundred
tons a year. “On weekdays the measuring loops
in a central part of the route count over 14,000
vehicles moving in each direction,” says Mück.
“A cautious estimate thus shows that between
25,000 and 30,000 stops are eliminated.” This
success far exceeded expectations. As a result,
Münster is now equipping another thorough-
fare with Siemens’ adaptive control system. Us-
ing adaptive control, Motion MX is now also
smoothing the flow of traffic in other Euro-
pean cities, including Warsaw, Vilnius, and
parts of Copenhagen. Ute Kehse
Green Wave. Environmentally-compatible
mobility is also a primary concern for trans-
portation planners in the northern German city
of Münster. The city has started to modernize
its traffic light control system, parts of which
were built in the 1980s. City planners would
like to create the perfect “green wave,” in
which motorists from outside the city would
be able to drive through the downtown area
with as few red lights as possible. “Fewer stops
mean reduced fuel consumption, air pollution,
and noise. So creating a wave of green lights is
essential for sustainable urban traffic manage-
ment,” explains Dr. Jürgen Mück, a technical
cybernetics engineer at Siemens Mobility. The city decided to test the system on Al-
bersloher Weg, a major thoroughfare with 24
traffic light intersections along a six kilometer
route that had already been outfitted with
Siemens’ Sitraffic Motion MX adaptive network
control system back in 2008. “Now, however, a
mathematical method is being used here for
the first time to calculate a green wave. It’s a
key innovation that sets us apart from our
competitors,” says Mück.
As an adaptive control system, Motion MX
adjusts traffic light intervals every five to 15
public transit, the distance traveled by car
would quickly be cut by millions of kilometers
a day.
Havag believes that’s reason enough to take
action. “We are committed to merging public
transit systems with individual transport,” says
Kolbert. To achieve this goal, Havag will set up
additional P&R lots with information panels,
and also speed up the trams by modifying traf-
fic light switching times — and possibly even
using Galileo, the planned satellite navigation
system. Very large numbers of people still travel by car, particularly in cities the size of
Halle, which has 235,000 inhabitants. “If we
can provide these people with better informa-
tion, we can use relatively simple ways of mo-
tivating them to switch from driving to using
public transit systems,” says Kolbert.
A Better Way to Count Cars
A new detector has been developed to greatly simplify the transition to Motion MX. The Sitraffic Wimag
detector (see Pictures of the Future,Spring 2010, p. 100) counts vehicles by using the interruption they
make to the earth’s magnetic field. The detector reports traffic density and vehicle speed. What’s more, it
requires no maintenance and is easy to install. But it’s biggest advantage is that, unlike conventional in-
duction loops, it doesn’t require any wiring. The detector box is simply inserted into a ten centimeter
wide hole in the road surface. Wimag transmits the data by radio, and the batteries last for a good ten
years. The sensor, which was developed by Sensys Networks in California, has been incorporated by
Siemens into its Sitraffic system and tested in a number of cities, including Stuttgart and Munich. Münster Moves Faster
Traffic light stops for all road users
Source: Ruhr University Bochum, Lehrstuhl fur Verkehrswesen
Morning peak
7:00 to 9:00 a.m.
Afternoon peak
4:00 to 6:00 p.m.
With fixed-time control
With conventional
With adaptive
Reduction in %
28 20 26 22
-13% -38%
-26% -37%
| Intelligent Traffic Management
Faster Commuting
The average driver in Germany spends 60 hours a year in traffic jams, and much of it takes place in cities. Siemens engineers are developing advanced information systems and
traffic light management systems that reduce congestion.
In Halle, sensors supply real-time traffic data to this in-
formation panel, which helps to motivate drivers to use
park-and-ride services. In Münster, an adaptive traffic
light control system creates “green waves” (right).
raffic on Dölauer Street in the northern
German city of Halle is typical of many
cities. On weekdays an endless line of cars
crawls toward the inner city during the morn-
ing rush hour. “It takes about 25 minutes to
drive a distance that would normally take less
than ten minutes,” says Peter Kolbert, project
manager for communications systems at the
city’s public transit operator, Havag. Back in
2005, Havag set up a park-and-ride facility to
enable drivers to ride downtown on trams. Un-
fortunately, it wasn’t very successful. “There
were at most 20 cars on the lot,” says Kolbert.
Since 2008, however, the lot’s 85 parking
spaces have been used much more. That’s be-
cause an information panel was set up at the
entrance to the parking lot showing how many
spaces are available and when the next tram
departs. The panel also informs motorists of
the current traffic level on Dölauer Street. If
traffic is heavy, drivers can still spontaneously
decide to take the tram.
Behind this apparently simple system is so-
phisticated technology from Siemens. It in-
cludes two infrared sensors known as the “Traf-
fic Eye Universal,” which register traffic density
and report it to the city’s “Concert” traffic man-
agement system, which was specially devel-
oped for individual transport. Concert uses the
sensor data as a basis for generating informa-
tion on traffic jams. Software developers faced
the challenge of linking Concert to the opera-
tions control system and the special traffic
management system for Havag bus and tram
routes, in order for the actual departure times
of the trams to also be displayed. “It marked
the first time that data had been exchanged
between two such systems, and the first time
that communication took place via a standard
public transit interface,” says Lutz Koch, sales
director for Transportation Systems at the
Siemens Mobility Division in Leipzig. But the effort has paid off. A recent study
showed that 15 percent of the drivers who are
free to choose whether to go by car or tram
now use the latter. Thanks to the information
panel, around 550 car trips are being saved
each week, which adds up to about 270,000
kilometers per year. According to Germany’s
Socialdata Institute, about eight million com-
muters in Germany could travel to work each
day using public transit instead of by car. If in-
formation panels such as the one in Halle per-
suade 15 percent of them to actually switch to
26 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
work,” explains Dieter Geiger from Siemens’
Mobility Division. “Factors include road capaci-
ty, weather and population and traffic density.” Tolls that Shape Behavior. Another trial be-
ing carried out by Siemens — this one in Den
Haag in the Netherlands — shows how pre-
cisely traffic flows might be controlled in the
future using toll system data. Siemens has
equipped several hundred passenger cars with
an onboard unit in a test designed to simulate
the influence tolls have on driving behavior.
Do, for example, test subjects avoid rush hours
to reduce their tolls? Do many of them switch
to public transport?
“I believe this is the wave of the future,”
says Dr. Alexander Renner, head of Develop-
ment at the Vienna Competence Center. “If cer-
tain roads became expensive during peak traf-
fic periods, we could ease congestion. That in
turn would speed up traffic flows and lower
emissions.” The onboard unit Wondracek is us-
ing on his trip through Vienna demonstrates
that such technically-complex solutions can al-
ready be implemented today. Back in his office, Wondracek points to a
screen. “The onboard unit sent my trip data to
this computer,” he says. The system software
can reconstruct the route down to individual
lanes, thereby providing the basis for toll calcu-
lation. Nor is privacy a problem, according to
Wondracek, because all data is sent to a cen-
tral computer that collects the information in
accordance with the onboard units’ anony-
mous registration numbers. This computer for-
wards only information on the number of kilo-
meters driven on toll roads to a second
computer center, which then calculates the toll
for the user based on the device number.
“Our goal is to merge the different systems
and achieve European-wide compatibility over
the next few years,” says Renner. Satellite-
based systems could play the key role here. “In
the long run, every car and truck will be
equipped with an onboard unit,” Renner says.
At that point, many of the different approach-
es used today will be combined into a single
system, which means the same devices used
to determine highway tolls for trucks will also
do the same for city toll systems and those
used for bridges, tunnels, and mountain pass
roads. Because Siemens’ system can be used
across borders, drivers won’t need a different
onboard unit for each country. “It will thus be
possible to regulate personal transport so that
it is more economical and less polluting,” says
Renner. “Moreover, the combination of differ-
ent features in a single system will make life
easier than ever before as far as drivers are
concerned.” Kilian Kirchgeßner
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 2928 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Cruise Liners and Container Ships
Destination: Energy Savings Cruise liners and container ships use huge amounts of energy. But with modern lighting technology, intelligent control systems, and recovery of thermal energy, the efficiency of these floating behemoths can be improved considerably.
s that a ship? Or should it really be called a
floating city? The luxury cruise ship Celebrity
Solstice of the U.S. cruise line Celebrity Cruises
has room for over 2,800 passengers and even
features a 0.2-hectare golf course. Inside this
floating hotel there are ten restaurants and a
theater that seats over 1,100 passengers.
That much luxury turns a trip into an unfor-
gettable experience — but it also costs a great
deal of energy. According to the Hamburg Uni-
versity of Technology, a modern cruise ship
lamps can therefore make a big difference. On
the Celebrity Solstice, for example, energy-
saving lamps are used for general lighting in
the cabins. These lamps use 80 percent less
energy than conventional incandescent bulbs
and last up to 20 times longer. Highly efficient
halogen bulbs from Osram are being used
in built-in ceiling lights. They have a special
infrared coating that transmits heat, which is
inevitably produced, back to the filament,
thereby reducing energy consumption by as
much as 35 percent.
Engineers have even tweaked conventional
fluorescent lamps to bring their energy con-
sumption down to a minimum. These are
mostly used to illuminate non-public areas
such as the corridors to the crew cabins and
the engine room. All fluorescent lamps require
ballasts that limit the flow of current. The con-
ventional version uses a relatively inefficient
coil, but on the Celebrity Solstice, electronic
Solstice. At the end of 2010, the two compa-
nies will launch a research project devoted to
cabin lighting of the future, with LEDs playing
a central role. And it isn’t just the environment
that stands to benefit from this. “With oil prices
high, the somewhat greater acquisition costs
of modern lighting technology can be paid for
in only two years,” Kaase calculates.
The Power of Prediction. In addition to light-
ing, modern engines and equipment for con-
trolling and monitoring on-board systems are
also essential for reducing energy consump-
tion. Cruise ships have very quiet, low-vibra-
tion diesel-electric propulsion systems. Four to
six diesel engines, usually housed in pairs in
separate rooms for safety reasons, drive gener-
tions in Hamburg. “It’s important that the en-
tire system always operates as close to the de-
sign point as possible, because that maximizes
efficiency.” Using neural networks, developers want to
make the system adaptive, so that it can learn
from its data and give the crew recommenda-
tions for energy-efficient operation based on
specific situations. It is conceivable, for exam-
ple, to establish the sequence of operating
situations in advance and then optimize power
generation accordingly — by, for instance,
partially shutting down wellness areas during
public events like dinner or theater perform-
ances. “The system is currently under develop-
ment, and a few cruise lines have already
expressed interest,” says Tigges. One of the biggest power users on cruise
ships is air-conditioning. Plenty can therefore
be saved if individual units are switched on
only when passengers are in the rooms. “
tions on board. They create lighting effects
that can’t be matched by conventional lamps.
Each module consists of 200 three-color LEDs,
and the light they produce can be used to mix
almost any color. At the same time, they con-
sume far less energy. Compared with neon flu-
orescent lamps — one of the light sources
used for accent lighting in the past — they
consume approximately 60 percent less power.
“LEDs are also smaller and lighter,” says
Kristina Kaase of Osram Sylvania in the U.S.
consumes between ten and 12 kilowatt-hours
per passenger every day for propulsion, air-
conditioning, lighting, and the other ameni-
ties, which is equivalent to the energy use of a
German household of three persons on land.
Well aware of this discrepancy, the newest lux-
ury liners, like the Celebrity Solstice, are turn-
ing to lighting systems from Siemens sub-
sidiary Osram. The result: reductions in energy
consumption and related CO
emissions of
about 12 percent — that represents 3,000
metric tons of CO
reductions and $300,000 in
savings per year. In addition, the such lighting
systems reduce the total weight of the ship by
up to eight metric tons. On the Celebrity Solstice, light-emitting
diode (LED) modules from Osram provide
mood and accent lighting in the casino, dis-
cotheque, restaurants, and at many other loca-
“And since they’re not rigid and don’t have a
predefined color and shape like neon lamps,
they’re also easier to replace.” In the future,
these innovative light sources will also be used
for general-purpose lighting on ships — which
is currently difficult because of a lack of global
standards for such lamps. In the case of halo-
gen bulbs, technical lighting parameters such
as color, beam angle, and luminous flux are
standardized, but there is still great variation in
this regard among LEDs. “We’re working with
other companies on a standard,” says Kaase.
“In a few years, LEDs will be very common in
general-purpose lighting.”
There’s a simple reason why dockyards and
ship operators are so interested in energy-effi-
cient lamps. On a cruise liner, up to 40 percent
of the fuel not used for propulsion is con-
sumed by lighting systems. Energy-saving
ballasts are used. Their circuits operate the
lamps at a frequency of between 40 and 50
kilohertz instead of the 60 hertz mains fre-
quency — that doubles the service life of the
lamps and cuts their power consumption by up
to 40 percent. But without a doubt the future of lighting
belongs to LEDs and their younger siblings, or-
ganic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which can
be integrated into window panes and mirrors
as transparent light sources (see Pictures of the
Future, Spring 2010, p. 52). “Osram already of-
fers the first OLED panels. They open up entire-
ly new possibilities in accent lighting,” says
Kaase. Since 2007, Osram has had an agree-
ment with the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papen-
burg near Germany’s North Sea coastline. Mey-
er Werft is one of the global market leaders in
cruise ships and is the builder of the Celebrity
ators that provide electricity for the propulsion
system’s electric motor and for equipment that
consumes electrical power. Power-management systems from Siemens
switch individual diesel engines for the genera-
tors on or off depending on energy needs. This
allows the active engines to usually be run at
their optimal operating point, corresponding
to between 85 and 90 percent of maximum
output. Systems of this kind are used on board
the AIDAdiva and other cruise ships operated
by AIDA Cruises, for example. In the future, a predictive technology could
also remove individual users of energy from
the network for short periods and thus achieve
an even higher level of optimization. “In order
to handle load peaks, for example, we could
shut down the refrigerated hold for a short
time,” says Kay Tigges of Siemens Marine Solu-
Siemens technology makes AIDA series ships leading
energy-savers (left and bottom left). Siemens also ensures sustainable climate comfort in the Grand Espernay restaurant on the Celebrity Solstice
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 31
| Hybrid Drives for Buses
Next Stop: Bonus for Braking
With a view to helping big cities get a handle on their traffic problems while reducing fuel consumption, engineers are working on environmentally-compatible means of mass transit. Buses, for instance, could operate more efficiently if their diesel drives were supplemented with an electric motor that charges itself with braking energy. With its highly efficient “ELFA” hybrid drive, Siemens now has a leading role in hybrid bus technology. I
f it were up to the environment, the good
old combustion engine would have been put
out to pasture long ago — for a number of rea-
sons. For example, the unbridled use of gaso-
line and diesel fuel is depleting oil reserves.
And, of course, engine exhaust contains car-
bon dioxide, which is heating up the earth’s at-
mosphere. And let’s not forget the fact that
fine particulates and oxides of nitrogen irritate
the human respiratory system.
But there is another reason for retiring the
combustion engine. More than half of the
world’s population already lives in cities, and
traffic is becoming denser and denser. This, in
conjunction with environmental concerns, ex-
plains why even more buses will have to take
to the streets in the future. After all, fuel con-
sumption per passenger in a full bus is as much
as one-third less than the equivalent figure for
a full car. Many people already use buses to get
around big cities, and not just in developing
countries, where a privately-owned vehicle is a
luxury. Even in industrialized nations like Ger-
many, buses account for roughly half of all
public transportation — every second mass
transit kilometer is driven by a bus. The more densely populated big cities be-
come, the greater the desire for clean and qui-
et vehicles. London, for example, has been re-
stricting access to its downtown since 2003.
The first City Hybrid buses from MAN are now on the road in Munich. Equipped with drive technology from Siemens, they use up to 30 percent less fuel than conventional buses.
30 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Sustainable Mobility
| Cruise Liners and Container Ships
On the Westerdam, a luxury liner belong-
ing to U.S. cruise operator Holland America
Line, air-conditioning-related savings have
gone even further. “We’re using carbon dioxide
sensors in the restaurant. These give us an in-
dication of how many guests are present,” says
Danny Cummins of Siemens Building Tech-
nologies in Zug, Switzerland. “This allows the
system to respond dynamically to changes in
demand, and that saves a lot of energy.
Siemens’ QPA series CO
sensors ensure
greater comfort and increase energy efficien-
cy. Many cruise operators haven’t yet taken
advantage of this dual benefit.”
Cruising to Intelligence. There are many
other improvements that also contribute to en-
ergy savings. Fans and pumps can be run at
and air-conditioning don’t play a major role.
But the hot exhaust gases from diesel engines
can be a rich source of energy in themselves.
In the past, they have usually been blown into
the atmosphere unused, but a waste heat re-
covery system from Siemens Industry can now
put an end to that. Waste heat can be used to produce steam,
which, in turn, can be used by turbo-genera-
tors to make electricity. In addition, the diesel
engine can be outfitted with a “booster” — an
electric motor that is mounted around the
drive shaft and supports the compression-igni-
tion engine. “In this way, we use the ship’s ex-
haust gases to generate up to nine megawatts
of power, depending on how big the diesel en-
gines are. The extra power can be used to sup-
ply the on-board electrical system or the boost-
er supplies for ships that are in port. In the
past, on-board diesel engines usually provided
power. “But that produces a lot of exhaust gas-
es,” says Jürgen Moser of Siemens Energy in Er-
langen. “This can be avoided if the power is
drawn from land instead.” A ship produces
11.8 grams of nitrogen oxides per kilowatt-
hour, while an average of only about 0.35
grams is produced by power plants on land in
Europe. According to ship classification firm
Det Norske Veritas, the situation is similar
when it comes to soot (0.3 grams instead of
0.03 grams) and CO
(634 grams instead of
415 grams).
It would therefore be much more environ-
mentally friendly to supply the ship with elec-
tricity via a cable from land during its time in
port. In Lübeck, that’s already being done. In
varying speeds. When a cabin window is open,
the air-conditioning system should shut off au-
tomatically, and even weather reports can be
used to ensure that the 2,000 to 3,000 fans on
a ship are on for the shortest possible time. Al-
though they are already being used in building
automation, these predictive systems from
Siemens are not yet standard equipment on
ships — but they pay for themselves here as
well, and deliver greater economic efficiency
together with the other building technologies.
“Per ship, Holland America Line saves about
$200,000 in fuel costs every year with them,”
says Cummins.
In addition to luxury liners, there are thou-
sands of container ships on the high seas, and
their owners are also looking to save money
through fuel efficiency. In this case, lighting
er drive,” says Ernst-Christoph Krackhardt of
Siemens Marine Solutions in Hamburg. In the
case of a Danish shipping company, the fuel
consumption of eight ships was reduced by
more than ten percent just by using exhaust
gases to generate power. The system is worth-
while even when retrofitted. “This investment
pays for itself after about two and a half years,”
says Krackhardt. “So assuming a ship has a
service life of 25 to 30 years, it’s definitely
In Port and Linked to the Grid. Another plus
for the environment is the use of onshore pow-
2008, Siemens and local utility Stadtwerke
Lübeck started up Germany’s first onshore
power supply for commercial shipping in the
harbor there. As a result of this move, the city is now
spared a lot of smog, because paper-carrying
ferries can turn off their diesel generators
while they are in port. In contrast to most
ships, their on-board electrical systems operate
at a frequency of 50 hertz — just like the sys-
tems used on land. In shipping, however, it’s
more common to use 60 hertz on board, and
in these cases the frequency must be electroni-
cally converted between land and ship. This
conversion can be performed by Siemens’
Siplink system, which is already in use by ship-
builders Flensburger Schiffbaugesellschaft and
Lürssen-Werft. Christian Buck
Pools and theaters (left) on Meyer Werft cruise ships
count on energy-saving lighting. Efficient engines
and onshore power supplies (right) result in major
energy efficiencies for cruise and container ships.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 33
With a serial hybrid bus, on the other hand,
fuel savings as great as one-third can be
achieved — with a corresponding reduction in
carbon dioxide (CO
) emissions. Depending on
the number of hills and bus stops on a route, a
typical bus consumes between 40 and 60 liters
of fuel per 100 kilometers. Assuming roughly
60,000 kilometers per year, this amounts to
30,000 liters of diesel fuel. With a hybrid, how-
ever, this figure is just 20,000 liters. Because
the combustion of one liter of diesel fuel pro-
duces 2.6 kilograms of carbon dioxide, a hy-
brid bus can save around 26 metric tons of car-
bon dioxide each year compared with a
conventional bus.
Siemens engineers employ a trick to throt-
tle back this diesel fuel consumption even fur-
ther. The drive typically includes two three-
phase, asynchronous machines that are “linked
together” by a combining gearbox. If synchro-
nous machines based on permanent magnets
are used instead, less electricity has to be fed
Too quiet? Some passengers still react skeptically
when a silent bus approaches. Nevertheless, the City Hybrid isn’t just quiet. It is also economical and comfortable.
into the machine to generate the magnetic
field that then turns the motor. This reduces
losses, the machine has a higher efficiency and
transfers more energy to the axle, which re-
sults in an additional 10 percent savings of
diesel fuel. In addition, such a setup also re-
duces wear. Granted, a hybrid bus is still more expensive
than a conventional diesel bus that costs
around €250,000. Schmidt estimates the
added cost for the hybrid bus to be around
€100,000. However, he is convinced that
economies of scale resulting from mass pro-
duction will cut the added cost in half, in
which case the price would be only about
20 percent above the normal price.
The subject of hybrid buses is picking up
steam. If the Chinese capital city Beijing man-
ages to follow through on its announcement
and replace half of its bus fleet with hybrids by
2015, this alone would represent tremendous
demand for the vehicles. “Interest around the
world is already extremely high,” says Schmidt.
“In fact, we can hardly keep up with orders.”
Siemens in Nuremberg is working with numer-
ous bus manufacturers, with ELFA orders com-
ing not only from MAN, but also from Mer-
cedes, Belgian commercial vehicle
manufacturer Van Hool, and Indian transporta-
tion giant Tata Motors. In Use around the World. Wrightbus, a bus
manufacturer from Northern Ireland, has or-
dered Siemens’ drive technology for double-
decker buses in London. When London Mayor
Boris Johnson presented the plan for the new
vehicles in May 2010, he raved not only about
the slick design, but also about “innovative
green technology.” Johnson said that London-
ers would have every reason to be proud of
their new, fuel-efficient, and quiet means of
transportation. He predicted that hundreds of these hybrid
buses would be ferrying passengers around
the streets of the United Kingdom’s capital in
the future. ELFA buses are now in operation
throughout Europe in Spain, Belgium, the
Netherlands, and Italy. In addition, they can
also be seen in Turkey, the U.S. and Brazil. In
Germany, Hamburg’s municipal transport com-
pany is planning to deploy ELFA-based Mer-
cedes hybrid buses that use a combination of
batteries and fuel cells. Beginning in 2020,
every new bus in Hamburg is to be a hybrid
model. “The development of Emission-free inner
city areas is a political issue,” says Schmidt. In
this case, even garbage trucks would be suit-
able candidates for the hybrid drive. MAN al-
ready offers a 12-ton truck with a 220-hp four-
cylinder engine and 60 kW electric motor. The
vehicle is primarily suited for longer distribu-
tion runs with frequent stops. And Faun, a
German company, offers a garbage truck with
ELFA. The “Roto press Dualpower” is currently
hauling waste to a disposal facility in Leipzig. “Ultimately,” says Schmidt, “hybrid buses
are just a stop along the way to zero-emission
transportation.” After all, the goal is zero-emis-
sion traffic. Schmidt sees two possible ways to
achieve this: with battery-powered buses,
whose energy storage devices are charged at
the terminal station or at the depot, or with a
hybrid model that uses both a battery and a
fuel cell for motive power. The fuel cell would
be used to charge the battery during opera-
tion. However, Schmidt is reluctant to predict
when and where which buses will be used.
“Whether hydrogen or electricity is ultimately
used as fuel will depend on how and where we
produce our electricity in the future,” he says. Jeanne Rubner
32 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
There and in Stockholm, Sweden, cars have to
pay a toll, and gas-guzzlers are charged an ex-
tra levy. In Munich, Germany, trucks are no
longer permitted to drive in the inner-city
zone. It’s very plausible that many communi-
ties will decide to issue even stricter emissions
regulations for inner cities in the future. In such a case, only extremely fuel-efficient
vehicles or vehicles with electric drives would
be permitted to travel in city center areas. But
buses drive two to three hundred kilometers a
day and thus require many times more energy
than an electric car. “A battery capable of pow-
ering a bus all day long is still very heavy and
expensive,” says Manfred Schmidt of Siemens
Industry’s Drive Technologies division in
Nuremberg, Germany, where electric drives
are developed.
That’s why Siemens is putting its faith in the
hybrid bus. Hybrid means the combination of a
combustion engine with an electric drive. The
bus doesn’t have to be plugged in, though.
Whenever the driver steps on the brakes, the
energy that would otherwise be lost as heat is
fed into an electrical storage system. This is the
same principle that hybrid cars have been us-
ing since the late 1990s. Schmidt is convinced that “hybrid technolo-
gy makes even more sense in a bus than it
does in a car.” Not only is a bus in operation all
day long, it also spends between 25 and 40
percent of its time standing still at bus stops
and red lights. It is thus constantly braking and
starting. For the latter, buses can use stored
braking energy to quietly accelerate without
producing any emissions.
A hybrid bus emits up to 26 tons less carbon dioxide per year than a conventional bus.
used today, both a combustion engine and an
electric motor drive the axle via the drive shaft.
But with a serial hybrid the drive shaft is turned
solely by the electric motor that preferentially
draws its energy from a storage device called
an UltraCap — a high-performance capacitor
installed on the roof of the bus. The UltraCap’s
high energy density and high efficiency make
it superior to a conventional battery (see
Pictures of the Future, Fall 2007, p. 74). The UltraCap can therefore store a lot of en-
ergy in a small package. It is also largely main-
tenance-free and has a substantially longer
service life than conventional lithium-ion bat-
teries. When the UltraCap is depleted, the
diesel engine springs to life and powers a gen-
erator, which in turn produces electricity for
the energy storage unit. A hybrid bus of this
type can generally drive an average of 200 me-
ters from a bus stop before its UltraCap is emp-
ty. The UltraCap is then ready to store all of the
energy generated during the next braking
phase. Added up over the course of the day,
that amounts to major fuel savings.
More Storage. Hybrid technology enables
more braking energy to be fed in than is the
case with conventional parallel systems “be-
cause the dimensions of the electric motor can
be larger,” explains Schmidt. When a bus
brakes, it typically provides around 150 kilo-
watts of power. In a parallel hybrid drive, the
electric motor is too small to deal with this lev-
el of power. Typically, it can only handle be-
tween 50 and 80 kilowatts. Ultimately the mo-
tor cannot be made any larger due to space
constraints. “As a result, up to two-thirds of the
valuable braking energy is wasted and the sav-
ings effects are relatively slight,” says Schmidt. MVG, Munich’s public transport company,
currently operates two hybrid buses on its
routes. One of these is the City Hybrid from
MAN, for which Siemens supplies the drive
technology. “We want to test and compare dif-
ferent hybrid buses,” says Herbert König, who
heads MVG. “By doing so, we are supporting
the manufacturers as they strive to develop
this innovative vehicle technology.” Drivers and
passengers are enthusiastic everywhere hybrid
buses are in operation. There is no revving up
noise while the bus is starting off, and in con-
trast to the sometimes jerky ride typical of con-
ventional vehicles, hybrid buses seem to glide. What makes ELFA, as the Siemens drive
technology is known, so special is its serial hy-
brid solution. With the parallel hybrids typically
Sustainable Mobility
| Hybrid Drives for Buses
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 35
Automakers around the world are therefore
trying to increase the charging power of charg-
ers in electric vehicles — for example, through
the use of three-phase, 400-volt supply termi-
nals with currents of up to 63 amps (44 kW).
This would enable a 30 kWh battery to be
charged in less than an hour. “Charging with
AC from a plug is basically feasible for everyday
use,” says Sven Holthusen, a Siemens product
manager specializing in electric mobility infra-
structures. Automakers have announced that
they will begin introducing electric vehicles in
large volumes by 2014. When they do so, such
technologies will usher in a new age of electric
This puts a great strain on the battery, how-
ever, because the higher the charging power,
the faster the electrons and ions in the battery
move around. Cell power losses then increase,
and the cells begin to heat up. Rising tempera-
tures then disrupt the chemical processes in
the battery, which is why today’s standard bat-
teries with an energy capacity of 30 kWh, for
example, are only charged at a rate of 1/3 C
per hour. In this case, that means a power of
10 kW, which increases the charging time to
three hours. “That’s why, together with our automotive
partners, we are trying to determine how we
can charge batteries more rapidly in the fu-
and IBM. The goal of the partnership is to de-
termine how frequently unused wind energy
in Denmark can be temporarily stored in elec-
tric car batteries and later returned to the grid.
Siemens is responsible here for fast charging
technologies, among other things. Battery Management. The experts who
work for Barlag and Holthusen enjoy ideal test
conditions at Risø. “We can test all components
individually in a closed power grid,” Barlag ex-
plains. Siemens developers have already inte-
grated the first 10 kW charger into a testing
device, along with lithium-ion batteries and a
battery management system. Communication
Energized Tanks. AC technology also has
drawbacks that should not be underestimated.
For one thing, the inverters it requires become
larger and heavier as output increases, which
in turn drives up energy consumption during
operation and thus overall operating costs.
That’s why Siemens is pursuing a different
goal, namely that of having vehicles “fill up” di-
rectly with DC rather than converting AC inside
the vehicle to the DC needed for batteries.
Here, the heavy equipment required for AC-DC
conversion would be housed in the charging
station itself. Holthusen explains the benefits
of this approach: “It enables us to achieve very
high charging powers of several hundred kilo-
watts, which means an electric car could be
recharged in only a few minutes — just like a
vehicle with a combustion engine.” ture,” says Holthusen. “We need batteries that
are designed for higher temperatures, exhibit
lower power losses or have better cooling
properties.” Such developments will take some
time to achieve, according to Holthusen. Until
the breakthrough comes, Siemens researchers
are looking to further optimize the charging
process — for example, by participating in a
Danish research project known as EDISON (see
Pictures of the Future,Spring 2010, p. 92). The
acronym stands for “Electric vehicles in a Dis-
tributed and Integrated market using Sustain-
able energy and Open Networks.” Other EDISON project partners include the
Technical University of Denmark (DTU) and its
Risø research center, as well as Denmark’s
Dong Energy and Østkraft power utilities, the
Eurisco research and development company,
between the battery and charger is controlled
by a Risø lab computer program. Plans call for
trials to continue with a 90 kW charger in the
fall of 2010. Such a unit would act as a 3 C
charging device for a 30 kWh battery, which
could then be recharged in 20 minutes.
“We want to find out which charging algo-
rithms can be used to optimally charge batter-
ies in various states,” says Barlag. That’s be-
cause the speed at which a battery can be
charged depends on both the charging power
and the state of the battery, whereby a com-
pletely discharged battery can generally ac-
commodate a higher power than one that is
partially charged. Researchers are therefore testing the most
diverse types of charging techniques, one of
which is known as pulse charging. Here, a bat-
34 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Below: Prof. Gernot Spiegelberg hooks up an electric
car in a Siemens lab, where the battery charging
process is closely monitored. Right: Testing a liquid
battery as part of the EDISON project.
Get a
It still takes hours to recharge
an electric-vehicle battery. Obviously, at the charging sta-
tions of the future, this process
will need to be much faster.
Siemens researchers are there-
fore developing devices that
will make it easy for drivers to
recharge their car batteries
within minutes.
parks can sometimes fly in the Siemens En-
ergy Sector labs in Erlangen and Fürth,
both of which are located in southern Ger-
many. When several hundred amps flow
through testing systems consisting of large in-
verters, capacitors, and transformers, techni-
cians have to be extremely careful — in order
to protect not only themselves but also the
components they’re testing. “We develop stationary direct-current (DC)
chargers with an output of between 12 and
100 kilowatts (kW),” says Heike Barlag, who
manages the tests. “The devices are designed
for traction batteries in electric vehicles.” Bar-
lag’s goal is to develop charging units for use at
highway rest stops or parking lots that all driv-
ers will be able to use safely and easily as a
type of electric-vehicle filling station. “Here,
we’re using components that Siemens normal-
ly manufactures for industrial applications and
are adapting them to our requirements,” she
But why DC? Wouldn’t a conventional alter-
nating current (AC) socket like those found in
households suffice? “No, because charging
times would be much too long,” Barlag says,
and she offers a simple calculation to demon-
strate her point: A normal 230-volt, 16-amp
European household socket supplies an output
of around 3.7 kW. That’s enough to charge a
30-kilowatt-hour (kWh) traction battery in
around eight hours — in other words,
overnight. Charged in this manner, an average
electric car could travel up to 200 kilometers,
which is enough for city use but not for longer
trips. Obviously, drivers will want to recharge
their batteries in just a few minutes. Sustainable Mobility
| Electric Vehicles
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 37
High-Speed Insight
Siemens researchers are working with French company Segula Matra Technologies to develop a drive system for an electric single seater race car designed for Formulec, a new world racing series. Testing the prototype under racing conditions will provide insights that will help promote the development of electric cars for everyday use.
ockenheimring, Circuit de Monaco, and
Silverstone are names that evoke images
of the fascinating and glamorous world of mo-
tor sports. On the other hand, a small produc-
tion hall at Siemens’ research center in the
south of Munich, is quite another matter. At
first glance, all you see are a few computers
and a pallet holding several metal boxes.
Nonetheless, the researchers who work here
on a test rig run by Siemens Corporate Tech-
nology (CT), might one day end up thoroughly
transforming auto racing worldwide. The researchers are developing a drive sys-
tem for an electric race car named Electric For-
mula EF01 that is to take part in the new For-
mulec race series scheduled to start in 2011.
Formulec is comparable to the GP2 race series,
which is considered to be the last step before
Formula 1. Drivers such as Nico Rosberg and
Lewis Hamilton had their first successes in this
series. The concept for the new series was devel-
oped by the Alternative Energies Commission
of the International Automobile Association
(FIA) and was drawn up in close contact with
advisors to FIA’s President. Formulec is plan-
ning the new electric car racing series and
French company Segula Matra Technologies
has commissioned several firms to develop the
required components. As part of this Electric Formula EF01 proj-
ect, Siemens CT is responsible for the power-
train, which encompasses the electric motor;
the inverter, which converts the direct current
from the battery into three-phase alternating
current; and associated control units. “We had
basically already developed electric motor
building blocks for different applications such
as trains, machine tools, and cars,” says Prof.
Gernot Spiegelberg, who is responsible for
electric mobility at Siemens CT. “However, this
race car needs a motor that is not only power-
ful, but light and compact.”
Excellent Efficiency. And that’s exactly what
Spiegelberg’s team is developing. CT re-
searchers are optimizing existing drives and
designing a twin-motor drive system for the
EF01 project. “We coupled two engines to
achieve twice the output,” says Spiegelberg,
pointing at one of several metal boxes. The
box contains the two motors, each of which
has a peak output of 125 kilowatts (kW). How-
ever, the power input is limited by the battery,
which is why a total of 180 kW (the equivalent
of 245 hp) is actually available for driving pur-
poses. With that level of output, the two-motor
drive system can propel the race car at speeds
of up to 250 kilometers per hour (km/h).
Karl-Josef Kuhn, a member of Spiegelberg’s
team and the manager of the electric mobility
projects at the test rigs, adds, “What’s crucial,
however, is of course the mechanical output
power, and by that I mean what actually makes
it to the wheels after subtracting any losses
along the way.” The Electric Formula EF01 sys-
tem has an output power of 176 kW, corre-
sponding to an efficiency of 98 percent.
“That is an extremely good value,” says
Kuhn. Normally, electric cars have an efficiency
of 95 percent at best. By contrast, convention-
al combustion engines have a thermodynamic
The EF01 drive system includes a transmission and
two 125 kW electric motors. Designed for race cars,
the system is now being analyzed on a test stand by
Siemens Corporate Technology researchers.
| Electric Race Cars
36 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
tery is charged at a high current for a short
time, after which the heated cells are cooled
down and the charging process begins anew.
“Our rapid charging tests in Risø will show us if
we can save time and transfer a higher output
with pulse charging, or whether a continuous
charging curve would be better,” says Barlag.
“We expect to have initial results by the end of
this year, and we’re hoping to achieve a charg-
ing rate of two to three C.” Managing Charging Peaks. In addition to
determining how quickly batteries can be
charged, Siemens researchers are also striving
to evaluate what effect charging will have on
ment work to do, especially because we still
don’t have very many standardized procedures
and technologies for DC charging.” Standards
will be required, however, if DC charging is to
become the established international norm. Siemens is therefore working with the auto-
motive industry in various standardization
commissions. Among other things, these bod-
ies focus on safety concepts designed to pre-
vent drivers from starting their vehicles or
the grid infrastructure. This is important be-
cause the German federal government expects
one million electric vehicles to be on the road
by 2020. Because these cars will obtain their
energy from the power grid, there’s a risk that
load peaks will occur — for example when
hundreds of vehicles simultaneously recharge
at airports or stadiums. To ensure the grid
doesn’t fail, energy suppliers will have to com-
pensate for such peaks with expensive electric-
ity from pumped storage or gas-turbine power
“There are different ideas for counteracting
this problem,” says Holthusen. “For example,
we could use a setup in which several DC
charging stations are not directly connected to
the grid but instead operate via a large interim
battery that acts as a buffer. This solution
would make DC charging more expensive,
however. So we’ve still got a lot of develop-
pulling out plugs during the charging process,
for example. The key thing here is that com-
munication between charging units and vehi-
cle batteries should function properly. For ex-
ample, the charger needs to know what power
level the battery can handle — information
that it will receive from the battery manage-
ment system. This procedure therefore also
needs to be standardized, given the variety of
electric vehicles that will be on the road in the
future. It remains to be decided which communica-
tion channel will be used to exchange data be-
tween chargers and batteries. There are basi-
cally three possibilities. The first involves the
CAN (Controller Area Network) bus technology
already used in cars to digitally link their con-
trol devices. The second option is to utilize a
communication standard known as Powerline
Communication (PLC), which would allow per-
tinent information to be transmitted “piggy-
back” on the charging current by low or high-
frequency signals of up to 30 megahertz. Siemens is now testing this concept in sev-
eral projects, including one launched in Sep-
tember 2010 with BMW and the Munich mu-
One of the things being tested in the EDISON
project is how wind energy can be integrated into
the power grid. Electric car batteries could be the ideal intermediate storage medium.
Communication between external charging units and a
vehicle’s battery management system will be a must.
nicipal utility. For this project, a prototype DC
charging unit is being used with a modified
BMW 1 Series model. The third option is wireless communication
via a system such as Bluetooth. “We’re looking
into all of the possibilities,” says Barlag. “The
standardization commission will decide which
one will ultimately be utilized, but Siemens al-
ready has the expertise required for all three
technologies.” Despite the extensive work being carried
out on charging technologies with cables and
plugs, specialists like Barlag and the members
of her team are also exploring other charging
techniques, such as battery replacement at fill-
ing stations, a process that could be carried out
by robot-controlled devices within just a few
minutes. Siemens experts already have a con-
cept for such an approach. Electricity in the Air. It’s also possible that
the electricity needed for recharging tomor-
row’s cars might be delivered wirelessly — in
other words, inductively via electrical and
magnetic fields. This is already possible at the
low powers that are needed to recharge elec-
tric toothbrushes, for example. Holthusen also
finds this idea appealing because inductive
charging would be much more convenient for
drivers, who would no longer have to handle
plugs and could enjoy the benefits of a largely
automated charging procedure. On the other hand, this alternative is ex-
pensive compared to the plug-in model. “There
still aren’t any sufficiently advanced solutions
for higher outputs in the kilowatt range,” says
Barlag, “but we’re working on initial ideas in
the lab.” These ideas are already flowing into
the “Contactless Charging of Battery-Electric
Vehicles” project with BMW. The project is fo-
cusing on the development of inductive charg-
ing stations that are scheduled to undergo
testing at the end of 2011 in Berlin.
Rolf Sterbak
Sustainable Mobility
| Electric Vehicles
bilities of the Electric Formula EF01 prototype,”
says Kuhn. But the limiting factor is still the
battery. Even though the car’s braking energy
is fed back into the battery, the latter’s capacity
of 35 kWh only suffices for a race lasting 20
minutes at most. And recharging such a high-
performance car during a race with today’s
technology would still take too long. Spiegel-
berg’s team is therefore investigating a num-
ber of possible solutions (p. 34), but even the
most advanced systems take at least 15 min-
utes for a recharge.
It’s not just their fascination with auto rac-
ing that gets Spiegelberg and Kuhn excited
about the project. “Here, at the boundary of
what is technologically feasible, we are learn-
ing things about the construction of high-pow-
er-density electric motors that could be of cru-
cial importance for the development of mar-
ket-ready road vehicles,” says Spiegelberg.
“Countries such as China and Israel that don’t
have a well-established automotive industry,
are particularly interested in these technolo-
gies,” he adds. The smaller and lighter electric motors be-
come, the more freedom vehicle designers will
have. They might even eventually be able to in-
corporate the motors into the wheels (Pictures
of the Future,Spring 2009, p. 96). The re-
search and development work now being per-
formed at CT in Munich could therefore have a
significant impact not only on race cars, but
also on the road to defining the electric cars
we will all be driving. Dagmar Braun
38 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
efficiency of only about 30 percent — the re-
maining energy is lost as waste heat. If you ex-
amine the entire functional chain from the
source of energy to its consumption (the “well-
to-wheel” value), electric cars using renewable
energies achieve a value of over 70 percent,
whereas the value for combustion engines just
barely exceeds 20 percent.
100 km/h in Three Seconds. Pioneering feats
were also achieved for another powertrain pa-
rameter, in that the gears for the twin motor
are changed by means of a central two-speed
transmission. This is unusual because electric
cars have a high torque across the entire rpm
range. As a result, electric vehicles designed
ularly quickly. And indeed, shifting takes place
in an eye-popping 150 milliseconds (ms) in the
Electric Formula car. Dr. Tilo Moser, manager
of the Segula Matra project and its research
team are especially proud of this parameter. “A
highly precise control system is needed in or-
der to achieve this value for our clutchless
transmission,” says Kuhn. “This, in turn, re-
quired us to optimize the control software.” No
other manufacturer that has tried to develop
transmissions for electric motors has achieved
a similarly effective solution so far. The vehicle’s switchable transmission,
which was developed by Hewland Engineering
Ltd., also makes it possible to enhance the
twin motor for a smaller rpm range and thus
might one day even take place on inner-city
circuits, such as the AVUS in Berlin or the
Champs-Élysées in Paris. Auto races were
banned from such venues long ago because of
their emissions. The team originally didn’t set
out to develop a race car drive system. “When
Siemens began addressing electric mobility is-
sues, all we wanted to do was create a world-
class drive system with which we could explore
all the technological possibilities,” says Kuhn.
Experts are currently using their test rig to
determine the motor’s output curve and the
control system’s switching behavior. The drive
system will subsequently be sent to France,
where it will be assembled using components
from other manufacturers. The result will be
for road use can generally get moving and ac-
celerate to their top speeds without needing
gear changes or even a transmission.
“In principle, the Electric Formula EF01 car
could also take part in most races in second
gear,” says Kuhn. However, on racetracks with
very tight curves, such as the Circuit de Mona-
co, drivers have to temporarily reduce the vehi-
cle’s speed so much that it is advisable to
change gears by means of a rocker switch in
order to achieve optimum racing conditions. In first gear, the EF01 twin motor acceler-
ates the car from 0 to 100 km/h in three sec-
onds, while in second gear it can achieve
speeds of up to 250 km/h. To keep the inter-
ruption of the tractive force at the wheels as
short as possible, the car’s specifications stipu-
lated that gear changes must take place partic-
saves weight. Each of the two motors weighs
52 kilograms (kg). Since each motor has an
output of 125 kW, the power density is 2.4
kW/kg — a world record, according to CT.
Kuhn walks over to a glassed-in room situ-
ated at the production hall’s back wall. “Now
let’s switch on the motor,” he says while oper-
ating the control computer. A loud whirring
noise is heard. “That’s just the cooling system
for the back load machine, which simulates
the load on the drive in the vehicle. The elec-
tric motor itself is very quiet.” Although the re-
searchers don’t yet know how much noise the
completed race car will produce, they are cer-
tain that it won’t be anything like the ear-split-
ting roar heard at today’s auto races. And be-
cause the cars won’t produce any smelly
exhaust gases, races with electric vehicles
the first Electric Formula EF01 race car, which
Segula Matra will subject to additional trials
and test drives. If the prototype is a success,
Spiegelberg’s team will deliver the drives for a
series of race cars. All of the teams taking part
in Formulec’s electric vehicle races will use the
same car model for the first two years — the
EF01. If the results of the races are promising,
they might then be followed by open FIA
races, in which each team would take part
with its own model electric vehicle.
Short but Fast. “The first few races will still be
organized in line with the technological capa-
Before the drive can start its test run, the Siemens-
Matra team has to optimally set up, adjust, and connect the vehicle’s test rig. A trial is then carefully monitored in the test rig. Sustainable Mobility
| Electric Race Cars
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 39
In Brief From high-speed trains for long-distance travel
to platform concepts for commuter rail service —
the Siemens lineup includes rail vehicles for every
need. Thanks to modern technology and recycling,
the environment is one of the greatest beneficiaries
of the new trend toward trains. This is also the view
of Mayor Buddy Dyer of Orlando, Florida, one of
the most prominent advocates of a nationwide
high-speed rail network in the U.S. (pp. 13, 18)
Siemens operates the world’s largest and most
modern train inspection center. Among other
things, the center simulates border crossings and
utilizes satellite signals for train navigation appli-
cations. Its aim is to optimize rail safety. (p. 14)
The trend toward the increased use of trains
can be made environmentally friendly through
new rail systems and the modernization of exist-
ing tracks. Siemens and its partners in the Eco-
tram research project are attempting to develop
effective energy saving measures that require no
sacrifices in terms of passenger comfort. (p. 22)
To reduce traffic-related pollution in cities. En-
gineers are developing green mass transportation
systems. In particular, buses could operate more
efficiently if their diesel drives were augmented
with electric motors. Siemens engineers are also
developing smart solutions that reduce traffic
congestion while preserving the environment.
These solutions include toll systems that utilize
cutting-edge satellite technology to reduce traffic
in metropolitan areas. (pp. 24, 27, 31)
Cruise liners and container ships use large
amounts of energy. However, thanks to modern
lighting technology, intelligent control systems,
and the recovery of thermal energy, the effi-
ciency of these floating behemoths can be im-
proved considerably. (p. 28)
Electric mobility is undergoing rapid develop-
ment, and Siemens is working with partners to
create an electric motor for single-occupancy race
cars that will be driven in an electric racing series.
The results will provide important insights that
will facilitate development of electric cars for nor-
mal road use. Here, Siemens is developing charg-
ing devices that will recharge batteries within
minutes. (pp. 33, 36) PEOPLE:
New vehicle concepts for trains:
Ralf Mayer, Industry
Michael Kopp, Industry
Wegberg-Wildenrath Test Center:
Robert Grootings, Industry
Dr. Walter Struckl, Industry
Satellite-based toll systems:
Dr. Karl Strasser, Industry
Christoph Wondracek, Industry
Traffic management systems:
Lutz Koch, Industry
Jürgen Mück, Industry
Hybrid buses:
Manfred Schmidt, Industry
Efficient solutions for ships:
Kristina Kaase, Osram
Kay Tigges, Industry
Electric racing motors:
Prof. Gernot Spiegelberg, CT
Karl-Josef Kuhn, CT
Quick charging systems:
Dr. Heike Barlag, Energy
Sven Holthusen, Energy
Buddy Dyer:
Website of Siemens Mobility:
Plans for high-speed rail network in the U.S.:
Website of the City of Orlando:
Segula Matra’s website:
Pictures of the Future | Waste Heat and Biomass | Power and Heat from Biomass
he King of Sweden expressed his pride
when the Igelsta biomass power plant en-
tered service in Södertälje, west of Stockholm
in March 2010. “The time has never been bet-
ter for an investment like this,” stated Carl XVI
Gustaf. “The plant we have built sets an exam-
ple for Sweden, for Europe and for the whole
world.” Compared with a conventional power
plant fired by fossil fuels, the new biomass fa-
cility saves as much carbon dioxide as is emit-
ted by 140,000 cars per year.
To promote green energies, the Swedish
government decided in favor of the “carrot and
stick” approach years ago. Economic incentives
for renewable energies and financial sanctions
for conventional technologies make the con-
struction of new coal-fired power plants un-
profitable. Swedish utilities reacted quickly by
investing in power plants that burn biomass or
waste instead of fossil fuels. Sweden’s targets are ambitious. By 2020,
fossil fuels are to be eliminated from electricity
generation. But nature is helping here. Hydro
power already covers nearly half of Sweden’s
electricity needs; nuclear power provides a sig-
nificant share; and two percent was generated
by wind turbines in 2009. More than eleven
percent is generated in combined heat and
power plants (CHP) and this proportion is ex-
pected to rise to 15 percent by 2015. Waste
heat is used in industrial processes or fed into
district heating systems. Particularly in cooler
aper, plastic, glass — today all of these
products are collected and recycled. But a
lot of forestry wastes are not reused, even
though they would make excellent fuels. Simi-
larly, much of the industrial waste heat from
the cement, glass, and steel industries, for ex-
ample, goes unused. In both cases, combined
heat and power (CHP) plants based on ORC
(Organic Rankine Cycle) technology from
Maxxtec, a company based in Sinsheim, Ger-
many, could be used to generate electricity
and heat inexpensively. Maxxtec uses a ther-
regions, the overall efficiency of this technolo-
gy is unbeatable (Pictures of the Future,Spring
2010, page 32). Like Igelsta, more and more of
these plants are using biomass as a fuel. Mats Strömberg, the project manager re-
sponsible for the development of the power
plant at power company Söderenergi, had al-
ready worked on a similar project in Gävle,
north of Stockholm. As in Södertälje, a
Siemens SST-800 steam turbine is in use there.
Three quarters of the fuel for Igelsta consists of
biomass, mainly residual products from forest
clearing; the other quarter consists of recov-
ered waste materials from offices, shops, and
industry. From this fuel mix, the plant pro-
duces 200 megawatts (MW) of heat and 85
MW of electricity. “Siemens simply made the
best offer in both Gävle and Igelsta — the
price, performance and technology were all
right,” says Strömberg. “Performance is the key
aspect, because the power plant is designed to
operate for 40 years. Our efficiency gains over
that period will be enormous.” Payment Required. In 2003, a system of
trading in green certificates was introduced in
Sweden, promoting the use of renewable en-
ergies and making fossil fuels more expensive.
“These certificates are just one of the regulato-
ry measures applied to the energy mix,” says
Jan-Erik Haglund, environmental manager at
Söderenergi. “A carbon tax and the consistent
Maxxtec turbine units are compact energy recyclers.
They can be integrated into production systems
while requiring very limited space.
Waste wood (right) is the most important fuel at
Sweden’s Södertälje power plant (center), where a
high-efficiency steam turbine from Siemens (left)
sharply cuts carbon dioxide output.
40 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
What a Fireplace! application of the pan-European emission-
trading system are the other mechanisms.” This means that users of fossil fuels are sub-
ject to three different disincentives in Sweden.
The Swedish carbon tax was introduced in
1991 and currently adds about 50 percent to
the cost of each kilowatt of energy produced
with fossil fuels. And when the EU-wide emis-
sion trading system was introduced, the car-
bon allowances allocated to electricity produc-
ers covered only some 70 percent of their
requirements; they had to buy the rest. Since 2003, in parallel with these restric-
tions, Sweden’s national electricity certificate
system has also been in force. Such certificates
are allocated for free to producers that use re-
newable energies (one certificate for each
MWh produced). All suppliers of electricity
must acquire such certificates in line with their
total sales of electricity. The quota is set by the
state and increases over time; for 2010 it is
17.9 percent. The certificates are freely traded;
their prices rise as demand increases.
In this way, the “invisible hand” of the mar-
ket is used to promote those types of green en-
ergy that can be produced most economically.
But not all emission-free technologies are part
of the national certificate system. Nuclear
power and existing large hydroelectric plants
are excluded, for example. Haglund sees this
state regulation in Sweden as a model to be
emulated. “The state stepped in and removed
an assumed market dysfunction, the relative
underpricing of fossil fuels. The results speak
for themselves. Without this system, Igelsta
would most likely have been designed to burn
gas rather than wood waste,” he explains With their enthusiasm for biomass, the
Swedes are both pioneers and traditionalists.
During excavation for the Igelsta power plant’s
foundations, workers found a Stone Age fire-
place. To keep themselves warm, the people of
Södertälje are burning wood just as their an-
cestors did thousands of years ago. But thanks
to the latest technology, they are doing it ex-
tremely efficiently. Andreas Kleinschmidt
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 41
In order to accelerate a planned phaseout of coal and
gas, Sweden utilizes market-oriented incentive systems
and innovative technologies. The country’s biggest biomass power plant was recently opened in Södertälje. A Siemens turbine is helping to enhance its efficiency.
Recycling Energy
New fully-automatic combined heat and power (CHP)
plants can generate energy from industrial waste heat or biomass. Siemens has invested in Maxxtec, one of the world’s leading suppliers of such plants.
160 degrees Celsius, it can then be used im-
mediately over a broad range of temperatures
to drive a generator. This enables the genera-
tor to be operated at partial load — all the way
down to just 15 percent of its maximum out-
put. Furthermore, the CHP plant can be started
up and shut down in a matter of minutes. This
is advantageous in situations where industrial
waste heat is only available at certain times.
The entire cogeneration plant is so reliable that
personnel don’t have to be present at the plant
full-time. (kW) and a thermal output of 5,780 kW —
enough electricity for 2,700 households and
heat for 15,400 households. The plant is fu-
eled with chips made from forestry wood
waste, such as tree tops and branches, as well
as landscaping wood waste collected within a
100 kilometer radius around Bielefeld. Ideal Partner. Maxxtec currently offers plants
with electrical outputs ranging from 300 kW to
2.5 megawatts (MW); smaller units up to 80
kW are under development. The company
would like to further expand production and
international distribution. The market is there.
For instance, some 1,000 plants fired with
waste wood could be built in Germany alone. Capital for Maxxtec’s growth was provided
by Siemens Venture Capital (SVC), which ac-
quired a 20 percent stake in Maxxtec in 2009.
This marked the first occasion on which SVC
had provided growth capital financing — in-
vestment in a more mature company in the ex-
pansion phase. Maxxtec and Siemens are a
good fit, since both have a lot of experience in
the energy sector but serve different capacity
ranges. “Siemens is the ideal partner for us. We
mal oil to transfer heat to an ORC module,
where a silicone oil vaporizes at temperatures
of around 240 degrees Celsius. The silicone oil
vapor drives a generator, and a condenser is
used to transfer the residual heat of the vapor
to a district heating system. The remarkable thing about such a plant is
that it can be operated at a much lower tem-
perature than a steam power plant using water
vapor. Water must be heated to well above the
boiling point (over 500 degrees Celsius) in or-
der to prevent the steam from condensing into
droplets, which act like tiny projectiles and
would destroy turbine blades over time. Sili-
cone oil is different. Although it vaporizes at
A total of 120 such power plants have been
brought online in Europe since 1989. Maxxtec
has delivered components, including patented
systems developed in-house, for more than
two-thirds of them. The company has built
more than 50 CHP plants and 500 heat transfer
systems worldwide since 2005. It is the only
company anywhere offering heat transfer sys-
tems and ORC modules from a single source. In Bielefeld, Germany, for instance,
Maxxtec erected an ORC biomass CHP plant
with an electrical output of 1,350 kilowatts
benefit from both know-how transfer and con-
tact with Siemens customers and suppliers
worldwide,” says Rolf Schleicher, founder and
Chief Executive Officer of Maxxtec. Siemens also expects a good return on its
investment, since Maxxtec combines rapid
growth in an attractive market segment with
comprehensive project experience and an in-
novative technology. “Maxxtec’s ORC technolo-
gy permits the use of valuable industrial waste
heat, thereby enabling further expansion of re-
newable energy infrastructures. Clearly,
Maxxtec is operating in a sustainable growth
market,” says Rudolf Ohnesorge, an invest-
ment parter at SVC.Bernhard Gerl
47 Rebirth of a Metropolis
Rio de Janeiro will host the 2014 Soccer World Cup and the 2016 Olympic Games. Investment in associated infrastructures has already begun. Brazil’s growing economic strength is helping to ensure that things run smoothly.
50 Bright, Young, and BRIC
They are young, well-educated,
and come from the economic superpowers of the future — Brazil, Russia, India, and China. Pictures of the Future caught up with four of them in London to learn about their hopes and plans.
53 Greener than You Think
Mexico City is often regarded as
being an urban jungle, but coura-
geous environmental policies
have changed things for the bet-
ter. Now you can even see cyclists
on the streets.
58 Budget Scanner When it comes to purchasing medical equipment in rural areas of China, price is often the key is
sue. Siemens is developing cus-
tomized products for these and other growth markets. Such prod-
ucts are also in demand in more established markets. 64 Desert Vision
Morocco is getting ready for an
energy revolution. Instead of importing coal, the country plans to generate its own electricity on solar thermal and wind farms.
Drinking coffee on the new Bosporus bridge
certainly beats sitting in a traffic jam for
hours. And during the coffee break, you can
“fill up” your electric car at a nearby battery
charging point. In 2023, Istanbul is not only
the financial center of one of the world’s
most important economies, it’s also home to
clusters of industrial innovation. Turkey is an
excellent example of how an emerging mar-
ket can become an economic powerhouse.
Istanbul in 2023, the Turkish
Republic’s 100th anniversary.
Electric vehicles running on
power from wind farms are the norm — as is the fact that
many of the vehicles and a
large part of the electromobility
infrastructure are developed
and manufactured locally.
42 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 43
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Scenario 2023
eride would be able to see a vast field of
tulips, Turkey’s national flower, if only she
hadn’t lost her eyesight many years ago. And
from where she’s now sitting it’s a spectacular
view indeed. From a cafe on the new bridge
high above the Bosporus, Hagia Sophia is visi-
ble, and so are the wind turbines to the west of
Istanbul. The bridge was completed only re-
cently, just in time for the 100-year anniver-
sary of the founding of the Turkish Republic.
Feride, with her usual appetite, is eating a slice
of baklava, a popular Turkish pastry. Her friend
Elif refuses to have any. “My doctor forbade it.
You know I’m on a strict diet,” she says, a bit
crossly. However, she can’t resist loading some
crumbs onto her fork and devouring them hap-
pily. And maybe she’ll have some more shortly.
But most of the pastries, including the last one
on the plate, end up in the mouth of Feride’s
great-grandson, Emir. He seems to have inher-
ited her sweet tooth. “Are there any more of
those?” he asks, his mouth still full.
Catching Up The global economy’s centers of gravity are shifting. Many products are no longer merely manufactured in emerging markets; they are also being developed in these markets, thus accelerating economic progress. Siemens is supporting the opportunities that arise from this trend with an international innovation network focused on development of affordable products. Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 45
In India, affordable healthcare is taking the form
of Siemens microphone technology, which is
more portable and less costly than ultrasound.
Result: Higher availability of healthcare services.
of the “next eleven.” These are nations with
good growth prospects, including Bangladesh,
Egypt, Nigeria, Vietnam, Indonesia, the Philip-
pines, Mexico and Turkey. Although the latter
two have suffered recently, high growth rates
have already been predicted for them again in
2010. (See page 53.) Mexico, a country that intends to set an ex-
ample for effective climate protection, is cur-
rently investing substantial amounts in wind
farms and energy-efficient technologies. In
late 2010, Mexico will host the World Climate
Summit and will be able to present its achieve-
ments to guest countries. A trip to Querétaro,
two hours by car north of Mexico City, could be
worthwhile in this context. There, Santander, a
major international bank, has set up a call cen-
ter where energy use is minimized thanks to
the latest technology from Siemens. According to McKinsey, a major manage-
ment consulting company, climate protection
technologies could create up to half a million
additional jobs in Mexico by 2030. Other
emerging economies, many of them in the
Middle East and North Africa, for example,
have also discovered this opportunity.
Morocco is a case in point. There, the first
power plants are being built as foreseen by the
Desertec initiative. These include wind farms
and solar-thermal plants, which may one day
provide energy for export to Europe. By 2020,
Morocco plans to generate some 2,000
megawatts of power using solar facilities and
another 2,000 from wind. (See page 64) But the BRIC nations are still the most im-
portant drivers of the global economy. Enor-
mous domestic markets are taking shape in
these countries, together with an increasingly
affluent middle class. More and more products
are not only manufactured in those markets,
but are also developed in them. This is giving
rise to industrial Goliaths, which are learning
to dominate markets within and in some cases
outside their own borders. Jamshed J. Irani, a
member of the board of directors of Tata Sons,
sees the fact that the emerging economies
have lagged behind Europe and the United
States in their development as something of a
blessing in disguise: “India does not need to re-
peat each stage of development — and each
mistake — of the established industrialized na-
tions. We can decide in favor of the latest tech-
nologies instead. Renewable energy sources
are an example.” (See page 52) The emerging economies are not only
catching up with the industrialized nations,
but are in fact poised to overtake the devel-
oped world with new business models and in-
novations that are “made in BRIC.” In many cas-
es, these are products that do not match the
performance of high-end products from estab-
lished suppliers, but are instead much cheaper
and open up entirely new market segments in
emerging markets, such as cars for $3,000,
computers for $300, and mobile phones for
$30. At established business schools, these de-
velopments are not regarded merely as
changes in the global division of labor, or as
minor shifts in where value is created. Experts
speak of disruptive changes. In other words,
the familiar economic landscape may be facing
something as dramatic as the dawning of a
new era. J
anaina de Sauza Silva was looking forward to
attending the Olympic Games in London in
2012. But she will have to wait a long time be-
fore she can do so. The reason: Siemens re-
quested that she return to her native Brazil in
June 2010 — much earlier than originally
planned. “Business was booming in my home
country and my colleagues there were desper-
ately searching for qualified people — so I’m
going back early and will be in charge of a ma-
jor project,” says Janaina, who is 34. As a re-
ward, Janaina will be able to watch the 2016
Olympic Games in her own country, because
they will be held in Rio de Janeiro, including
volleyball matches on the legendary beach at
Copacabana. The country began developing
the infrastructure needed for the Games some
time ago (see page 47). The global economy’s centers of gravity are
shifting. That much is obvious from examples
like Janaina’s career, as well as from a spec-
trum of macroeconomic data, such as public
debt, demographic developments and eco-
nomic growth. By all of these criteria, most of the emerg-
ing economies are performing better than in-
dustrialized economies. Countries such as Chi-
na and Brazil seem to have passed through the
global financial and economic crisis un-
scathed. The OECD predicts that the emerging
economies will overtake the original industrial-
ized countries in terms of aggregate economic
output by 2030 (see page 56). | Trends
This calculation includes not only the BRIC
nations (Brazil, Russia, India and China), but
other countries such as Colombia (see page
67). Meanwhile, it has become fashionable to
identify the economic-miracle countries of to-
morrow. Investment bank Goldman Sachs,
which coined the BRIC acronym, now also talks
44 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
For Emir and his schoolmates, the new
bridge has become a popular meeting place.
Landscape architects carefully designed the
top level of the bridge, which is accessible only
to pedestrians and cyclists. It features dozens
of small shops, cafes, and playgrounds, and
small trees offer shelter from the sun. On the middle level of the bridge, trains
whiz past at high speeds. The bottom level of
the bridge consists of a road that is open to
electric vehicles only. Many of these vehicles
have been developed by the booming domes-
tic electric car industry. The vehicles swiftly
make the crossing. And because the ideal
distance between them is regulated automati-
cally, throughput has been optimized.
“A trip from Bakirkoy to Emirgan now takes
only 25 minutes,” says Elif. Back in the days of
her youth, Feride recalls, the same trip to visit
her Armenian school friend took about half a
day. However, back then, when the two girls
would spend hours producing wreaths of flow-
ers only to throw into the waters of the
Bosporus, time didn’t seem to be such a limited
Emir’s dream is to build huge wind parks,
just as his mother does now. Such projects
have allowed Turkey to diversify its energy pro-
duction away from fossil fuels, which it used to
import, toward renewables. Today, much of
the country’s ample renewably-produced pow-
er is sold abroad. Wind power is produced in
the west, solar power in the south, and hydro
power is generated in the mountainous center
of the country. Turkey has also become one of
the leading members of the International
League of Emerged Economies, which was
founded in 2017. The country currently enjoys
an excellent reputation as a global business
hub that links Europe and the Middle East.
Strong growth and innovative industries — es-
pecially green technologies — have basically
gotten Turkey where it is today.
“Emir, are you stuffing yourself with sweets
again?” A stern voice disrupts the ladies’ discus-
sion. The boy turns around — and starts to
smile. His mom, Zeynep, has just arrived. Her
electric car is parked in one of the garages at
the bridge’s eastern entrance, where its batter-
ies are being recharged. His mother is in an elated mood. During her
trip from home she had watched the news,
while the autopilot took care of driving and fi-
nally parking. And the news was very good in-
deed. Morocco has announced that it will en-
large one of its huge wind farms, and Zeynep’s
employer, an engineering company, has a fair-
ly good chance of winning the upcoming bid. The company produces many parts for
Turkey’s wind turbines; others are produced in
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Scenario 2023
its factory in Morocco. Zeynep is a member of
her company’s Istanbul-based research and de-
velopment team. The R&D center was inaugu-
rated a few years ago in Kartal, a part of town
that has transformed itself into a true hub for
high-tech industries.
Zeynep has come up with ideas on ways to
further enhance the efficiency of the turbines
and thus gain an advantage over the competi-
tion. In any case, it seems that her Master’s de-
gree in wind power engineering from Tsinghua
University has finally paid off.
“Oh, no!” screams Elif. “The buzz again!”
Microsensors in her earclip have just detected
high sugar levels in her bloodstream, meaning
that she has overdone it with sweets. Her
mobile device indicates that a subcutaneous
device will adjust the problem with a small
dose of insulin. She has gotten used to this
procedure over the years, and feels lucky that
her condition can be so easily managed.
Elif’s predisposition to diabetes was discov-
ered during a routine genetic screening a few
years ago — just in time to avoid the worst
consequences of the ailment. Preventive care
and adaptations to her lifestyle — give or take
a few crumbs of baklava — make the condition
more bearable. Dealing with Elif’s predisposi-
tion to the illness is also less expensive for the
health system than dealing with diabetes and
its many consequences. Endemic shortages of
nurses could only be overcome by using more
and more intelligent technologies. These in-
clude electronic patient files that can be ac-
cessed everywhere around the clock — be it in
Istanbul, Ankara, or Izmir.
“If only genetic screening had been avail-
able in the 1990s,” Feride says. That’s when I
started to lose my eyesight due to glaucoma,
without being aware of it at first.” On the other
hand, she feels she has lived long enough to
accept the fact that life is not about regrets but
about going forward. “Can I have another piece
of baklava?” Emir asks.
The little group gets to its feet and starts
moving along, as the check has already been
settled electronically. Suddenly Feride stops
and carefully bends down. She plucks one of
the tulips and inhales its perfume, closing her
blind eyes. Feride remembers what Hagia
Sophia looks like. Linking arms with Emir and
Zeynep, she slowly takes one step after the
other toward the balustrade, while the wind
gently ruffles her white hair. There she stands,
above the huge waterway that divides Istanbul
in two. She raises her arm, briefly holds the
flower up, then drops it into the Bosporus.
Feride will have to get home soon and rest.
After all, tomorrow is her 100th birthday.
Andreas Kleinschmidt
| Brazil
Rebirth of a Metropolis A booming economy, oil discoveries off the coast, the
Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro in 2016 – Brazilians are extremely optimistic about their future, even though the
national soccer team failed to excel at this year’s World Cup.
But they will have a second chance when the event takes
place in their country in 2014. The infrastructure renewal
for such coming mega events is already in full swing, especially in Rio – with support from Siemens. Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 47
Rio de Janeiro is both a Brazilian myth and a tourist magnet. However, basic infrastructure is lacking in many parts of the city. Siemens is helping to build it.
avela, that’s a city within a city — but com-
pletely disorganized,” says 57-year-old
George Vidor. When he looks out the window
of his apartment in Botafogo he sees one of
many such cities that exist within Rio de
Janeiro: the favela Santa Marta. “In 2008, that
was still a war zone,” says Vidor, a business
journalist who is also a genuine “carioca,”
someone born in Rio, that is. Rival drug gangs
regularly had gun battles in Santa Marta and
often shot innocent bystanders. “Two years
ago, the police went in with heavy weapons.
That was part one of the ‘pacification’ of the
favela, as it’s described in Rio.” Part two was the cable car line that was built
and now runs up and down the steep hillside. It
penetrates deep into the slum, which is home
to 8,000 people and a samba school. For the in-
habitants, it is an opportunity to get to work a
little earlier. That can often be at the other end
of the city, because work is rare in Rio and peo-
ple take whatever they can get. But thanks to
could be generated; above all, to develop the
city’s neglected infrastructure and to promote
future-oriented industries. In general, Brazil is a place that has plenty of
experience with innovations. Siemens, for in-
stance, operates six development centers in the
country, where innovations are adapted to mar-
ket requirements. For example, the company
has adapted a steam turbine to the needs of
the Brazilian market. The turbine is produced
locally in Jundiaí near São Paulo and will soon
the new cable car line, the favela is slowly be-
ing integrated into the rest of the city. For Vidor, this positive development is part
of a bigger story — a story about Rio’s decline
and rebirth. “Rio used to be the pearl of Brazil,
and it was the capital city for a long time,” he
proudly explains. In the nineteen-forties, other
parts of the country were quickly industrialized
and caught up with Rio. São Paulo became the
country’s industrial heart, Brasilia later became
the new capital (see interview with Oscar
Niemeyer, Pictures of the Future, Spring 2010,
p. 42). “Rio gradually became less glamorous,
until it seemed that the impressive scenery of
the Sugar Loaf Mountain and Corcovado were
all that was left.” But Vidor is convinced that
this process has meanwhile been reversed. In
2014 and 2016, Rio will host visitors from
around the world during the soccer World Cup
and the Olympic Games, and many expect the
city to become the pearl of Brazil once again. The discovery of oil off Rio’s coast has also
sparked new hope. This treasure is still buried —
it lies deep below the seabed and the cost and
risk of exploiting it still remains to be estimated
reliably. But Rio is in need of the money that
46 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Innovations originally designed for emerging
economies are finding their way into high-end markets.
As always, change brings risks and opportu-
nities. This is particularly true for the blossom-
ing industrial trendsetters that are being
formed in emerging markets. But it is also true
for the multinationals of today from the estab-
lished industrialized nations, which are now
reorganizing their businesses and innovation
processes in order to shore up their competi-
tive advantages. In India for example, Siemens has devel-
oped a portable device for monitoring fetuses’
pulse rates, an indicator of health. Instead of
using ultrasound, much more economical mi-
crophone technology is used. In rural environ-
ment where ultrasound devices are unavail-
able, this simple technology can help to save
lives. In Jundiaí in Brazil, Siemens engineers
have tailored the design of a steam turbine to
S.M.A.R.T. innovations are also finding their
way into high-end markets. In St. Petersburg,
Russia, for instance, Siemens is developing
economical dike monitoring systems (see page
68). And in the healthcare sector, Siemens
teams in China, the UK and Germany have de-
veloped the Magnetom Essenza, an MRI scan-
ner that uses 50 percent less energy than oth-
er MRIs and yet is priced significantly lower
(see page 58). “We were able to reduce costs
considerably through design alterations, local
manufacturing and shorter transport routes,”
says Pan Huaiyu, Managing Director of Siemens
Mindit Magnetic Resonance Ltd. The project was coordinated by Huaiyu’s
team in Shenzhen, China, where the devices
are now produced for customers all over the
world (80 percent are exported). In addition to
Asia and South America, they are also used in
North America. In some hospitals, for instance,
they are used as inexpensive backup units,
thus increasing throughput for routine exams.
velopment also take place there. The resulting
increase in value added helps them to become
established as newly industrialized nations.
This process creates enormous opportunities.
Siemens, for example, is strengthening its own
global network of innovation by setting up re-
search and development facilities in emerging
markets such as India and China. Products are
developed in these countries specifically for
the needs of low-price market segments.
Siemens is committed to producing more and
more products that are simple, maintenance-
friendly, affordable, reliable, and timely to market (S.M.A.R.T.) — in other words, products
that are perfectly adapted to these countries’
needs (see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2009,
page 72). cent and opened the door to a growing export
market. At a Siemens production plant in Gör-
litz, Germany, on the other hand, specialized
turbines are produced for the high-end energy
market. And the order books in Görlitz are also
full. The lesson appears to be that the S.M.A.R.T.
concept can create and penetrate new mar-
kets. It’s sort of like Swatch watches. When
they were launched, instead of ousting tradi-
tional Swiss watches from the market, the rela-
tively cheap new competitors actually revived
interest in Swiss watches in general, thus indi-
rectly helping legacy watchmakers. On the other hand, they cannot be used for
high-end applications such as creating high-
definition images of a beating heart. Add up all of these developments and it be-
comes apparent that the key question is: who
will profit from the shifting global economic
landscape? Obviously, in addition to the thou-
sands of people who are benefitting from new
and expanded employment opportunities, it
will be those companies that understand how
to work effectively on the basis of marketable
innovations in the context of new competitive
structures. But the biggest beneficiaries will be
consumers in both the emerging and industri-
alized economies. They will have access to
products that are more affordable and of high-
er quality.Andreas Kleinschmidt
The rise of emerging economies usually
takes place in three phases. First, such coun-
tries import advanced technology from Europe
and North America. Then they start their own
production with the advantage of low labor
costs. Finally, creative processes migrate to
emerging markets, and product design and de-
the specific requirements of local sugar refiner-
ies by reducing the number of rows of blades
and the thickness of the blades where appro-
priate. Although these modifications have re-
duced the turbine’s applicability spectrum and
cut its efficiency to some extent, they have
also lowered its price by approximately 30 per-
Emerging economies such as Brazil’s need to invest
in creaking infrastructures (left). However, many
have started to innovate, as is the case in Shenzhen
(right), where Siemens engineers are helping.
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Trends
Luiz Fernando de Souza
Pezão (55) is Vice Gover-
nor of the state of Rio de
Janeiro. Pezão, who holds
a degree in economics
and business manage-
ment, first gained recogni-
tion as a local politician in
the small town of Piraí, 70
kilometers from Rio de
Janeiro. There, he distrib-
uted laptops in schools
and had the entire com-
munity connected to the
Internet. He has received
awards for his services as
mayor of Piraí from the
UNESCO and the Getúlio
Vargas foundation.
Education is the Answer What’s that yellow armband you’re wearing? Pezão:
That’s a saint’s band I got in Salvador
de Bahia. You make three wishes when you
put it on, then you leave it on your wrist until
it falls off. After that, your wishes are fulfilled,
one after another. May I guess? Your wishes are for less
poverty in Rio, a fast urban railway system to all parts of the city, and clean
water for all? Pezão:
One mustn’t say what one has wished
for — otherwise the wishes don’t come true.
But seriously, those are three good wishes. Infrastructure is the biggest issue for Rio de
Janeiro. That applies to the slums, the favelas,
and also to the more wealthy parts of town.
Over the past 50 years, Rio has missed so
many chances to make a positive impact on its
development through sustained investment.
So we mustn’t fail to take this last chance. The soccer World Cup in 2014 and the
Olympic Games in 2016 are a present and at
the same time an obligation for us. These events will give rise to conflicting
goals. On the one hand, it’s important to
expand the infrastructure as quickly as
possible for large numbers of visitors. But
sustainable solutions often require high-
er advance investment and long con-
struction periods. Pezão:
Sure. A bus route can be created
faster, but an urban railway can move more
people and cope with more population growth
in the future. The resolution to such seemingly
conflicting goals is simple. We have to do
both. We have a long way to catch up — par-
ticularly in the field of public transport — and
the upcoming events will make the situation
worse; we can’t afford to make any mistakes in
this area. The International Military Games will
be held in Rio in 2011, then the Confedera-
tions Cup in 2013, the World Cup in 2014 and
finally the Olympic Games in 2016. For Rio,
this represents a big opportunity to play a key
role in Brazil’s development once again in six
or seven years. We will be at the focus of at-
tention. Basic infrastructure is lacking in many respects. Has the time really come for
Brazil to seek resource-efficient solutions that will pay off only over a long period of time? Pezão: If energy is saved, less energy needs to
be produced. That’s why I have a clear answer
to that question. Of course we have to seek
energy-efficient solutions from the start. I’m
also very keen on alternative energy sources
— as all other Brazilians probably are. After all,
also be exported. A space-saving transformer
for electricity substations has also been devel-
oped specifically for the local market by Brazil-
ian Siemens engineers in Jundiaí. It will be used
in the São Paulo metropolitan area, where land
is extremely expensive. Just a few hundred meters from Vidor’s
apartment on the other side of the hill, beyond
the Santa Marta favela that is, lies the home of
author and moderator André Trigueiro. He has
published numerous books on the subject of
sustainability. “About 1.3 million people live in
favelas in Rio, which is, in absolute numbers,
more than anywhere else in Brazil. In fact, the
word favela was coined in Rio,” explains
Trigueiro. Some of Rio’s slums are in the middle
of the city, right next door to the wealthy sub-
urbs in the south. For decades, makeshift huts
spread up the hill, without any building per-
mits. In heavy rainfalls, some of the huts are
washed away. Infrastructure improvements are
essential in these areas; but in Triguerio’s opin-
ion, they will only be sustainable if social condi-
tions also improve, poverty is alleviated and
drug-related crime is reduced. Major investment is necessary for the up-
coming mega events in Rio, especially in local
transport. “Buses will just not be sufficient to
cope with growing traffic volumes. Even if they
use dedicated lanes, they will still be far slower
than rail traffic,” says Trigueiro. “Another prob-
lem is that their capacity is too low to keep up
with the growing population — and they will
increase emission of pollutants in the middle of
the city. We simply need more urban railways in
Rio.” Today, the network has a total length of 37
kilometers and 34 stations — in a conglomera-
tion of 12 million people. Even without additional urban railway
routes at peak times, the city needs more elec-
tricity than the network can safely transmit. “To
prevent blackouts, we need a more intelligent
network,” explains Trigueiro. The year 2001
was burned into Brazilians’ collective memory.
After a long dry period, hydroelectric power
plants produced far less electricity than in nor-
mal conditions, with the result that nationwide
consumption had to be reduced by about 20
percent within a short time. “With smart-grid
solutions, fluctuations can be balanced better
within the network. This will be particularly im-
portant as the proportion of renewable energy
in Brazil rises,” explains Sergio Boanada, who
coordinates Siemens’ business in Brazil with re-
gard to the upcoming megaevents. In a pilot
project, Siemens is currently equipping the na-
tional electricity supplier’s regional control cen-
ters with smart-grid technology. New software
will help to recognize dangerous network fluc-
tuations instantaneously and thus help to avert
power cuts. Another problem that could be solved with
the help of smart grids is that of “gatos,” which
48 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
we mainly use hydroelectric power to gener-
ate electricity. But in the future, we will also
use more solar energy and wind energy.
There’s good potential for the latter in the
north of the federal state of Rio. Many cariocas see the future of the city in
so-called creative industries, that is, in IT,
media, design etc. What are you doing to
promote this development? Pezão: The first part of the answer is easy:
more education. But how can it be realized?
Poor people in the favelas often have too little
access to education, or the distance to school
is just too far for children to go. Ultimately, we
have to bridge the gap between rich and poor,
also in terms of education. There are several
very practical ways to get there. When I was
still a councilor in Piraí, we handed out laptops
to all school students. The first of them were
handed out at the school in our district that
had the worst assessments in the Brazilian ed-
ucation index. That school doubled its score in
the index within two years. One of the reasons
was certainly that children suddenly wanted
to go to school on weekends as well, because
they could only charge their laptops there. And they simply didn’t want to do without
their laptops any more. They didn’t even want
to go on vacation. Interview Andreas Kleinschmidt
means “cats” in Portuguese, but the word is
used in Brazil as a surprisingly cute nickname
for electricity and water thieves. They are an
enormous problem for Wagner Granja Victer,
former energy minister of the federal state of
Rio de Janeiro and President of CEDAE, Rio’s wa-
ter supply company. “The city’s growth has
been uncontrolled over recent decades, espe-
cially on its periphery. People just hooked up to
the electricity network illegally without a meter.
So a lot of electricity was used free of charge,”
says Victer. Meanwhile, the authorities have
cracked down on the “cats” — and tamperproof
electronic smart meters could put an end to
this practice in the future. According to Victer, Brazilians have a lot to
learn in this respect. “We always say God is
Brazilian,” he explains. “So much is given to us:
the sun, water, wind, and now oil as well —
nearly too much of everything. As a result,
many Brazilians have a very wasteful attitude
toward these gifts. But our rapid economic
growth and in particular our high urban growth
level mean that we have to deal with our re-
sources more carefully.” In the metropolitan
area of Rio de Janeiro alone, the population in-
creased between 2000 and 2006 by about 1.5
percent each year on average. The unbridled
growth of conurbations without infrastructure
economy still grew by an annual average of 2.9
percent between 1995 and 2009. The Interna-
tional Monetary Fund expects an annual aver-
age of 4.5 percent for the next three years,
which adds up to strong growth compared to
the rates of the developed countries. And as
the new darling of the international financial
markets, Brazil has been attracting so much
capital that some economists have issued
warnings that the currency, the real, may be
overvalued and that the economy may be over-
Brazil’s ongoing upswing has so far been
driven by a remarkable increase in international
investors’ confidence. Many of them believe
that Brazil has overcome the cycles of boom
and bust, which were accompanied by high in-
flation and political instability. Its rich resources
are driving an export boom. China in particular
is buying iron ore and other raw materials and
shipping them across the Ocean to its construc-
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 49
Rio is a picturesque place, as the view from George
Vidor’s terrace (left) and one of the city’s old
tramways (center) illustrate. However, traffic jams
are a sign of the city’s creaking infrastructure (right).
Rio’s population has grown by 1.5 percent per year
without a corresponding expansion in infrastructure. expansion is a recipe for the slow but sure dete-
rioration of everyone’s quality of life. But Rio is investing. Now, people can travel
to the legendary Ipanema Beach conveniently
by urban railway instead of in stiflingly hot bus-
es. An addition to Line 1 was completed in De-
cember 2009. The stations are even equipped
with video-monitored bicycle stands. Siemens
supplied important components for the new
section. These included the surveillance sys-
tem, lighting, the emergency power supply sys-
tem, the control room, and the communica-
tions infrastructure. Nevertheless, a lot more
remains to be done to improve transport and to
curb petty crime and violence.
The fact that Brazil is actually able to invest
is due to its healthy economic situation. The
country emerged from the financial and eco-
nomic crisis virtually unscathed. Although
Brazil is lagging behind China and India, its
tion sites on the coast and in the hinterland.
This is one example of how economic networks
are created between BRIC countries. But this rapid growth could burn out if the
crumbling infrastructure reaches its limits. A
poorly developed railway network makes the
transport of goods unnecessarily expensive.
Brazilian airports are operating at full capacity.
Power generation, transmission and distribu-
tion need to be expanded. But Rio will want to
show its new face to the world in 2014. And if
Brazil really wins the World Cup, there will be a
year in Rio with two carnivals. The great hope
and opportunity is that when the parties are
over, an improved infrastructure will be in place
– and not just a hangover. The cariocas are con-
fident, including George Vidor, who says:
“Brazil’s biggest moment in world history has
arrived. To be young now – that would be
Andreas Kleinschmidt
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Brazil
Bright, Young, and BRIC
They are young and the future is in their hands. They are people from emerging economies
who seek education and work experience abroad in order to leverage these experiences at
home. What does the term BRIC mean for students and young professionals from Brazil, Russia, India and China? Pictures of the Future met four of them in London, a place that epitomizes the very globalization that is setting the pace for the current rise of the BRICs.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 51
As globalization evolves, London remains a melting
pot for international talents, including those from
BRIC countries. However, it is in these countries in
particular that the future of globalization is shaped.
50 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Talents from BRIC countries
The Brazilian: Janaina de Souza Silva (34)
She had her own beauty parlor
and a lab for dental protheses be-
fore she decided to start a legal
career. While studying law in Belo
Horizonte she worked as a recep-
tionist at a company that later be-
came Siemens VAI. She made her
way into the legal department.
From January 2009 until June
2010 she worked in the UK as a
delegate for Siemens VAI, drafting
international contracts. Her stay
in the UK was supposed to take
much longer. However, recently
she had to go back to Brazil on the
spot – as a commercial manager
for a large project.
The Russian: Alexander Smotrov (29)
Smotrov studied journalism at
Moscow State University, where
he obtained his Master’s degree
and worked as a lecturer later on.
His thesis dealt with local media
in Sweden. He also underwent
training at the Danish School of
Journalism in Århus. Since 2000
he has worked for the the Russian
News Agency RIA Novosti. He is
currently Chief UK correspondent.
His interview partners have in-
cluded numerous top politicians.
In 2010 he was a member of the
Russian delegation to the G20
Youth Summit in Toronto.
The Indian: Vithal Mittal (22)
Vithal Mittal attended high school
in New Delhi, where he did intern-
ships for an Indian property devel-
oper and for a large Indian IT com-
pany, where he focussed on cost
management. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Management
at the London School of Econom-
ics. During that period he was
chosen to join a select group of
students from Oxford, Cambridge
and the London School of Eco-
nomics to visit half a dozen invest-
ment banks in Hong Kong and
Singapore. Subsequently, in 2010,
he studied Law at the London City
Law School.
The Chinese: Li Tan (22)
Li Tan was among the best five
percent of students at Huazhong
University in Wuhan, where he
studied Engineering and organ-
ized calligraphy competitions dur-
ing his free time. In 2008 he com-
missioned the control device of a
lake rubbish cleaning robot while
attending Hong Kong University
as a research fellow. He was also
a visiting scholar at Nanyang Uni-
versity in Singapore. In 2010 he
obtained his Master’s in Manage-
ment and Strategy at the London
School of Economics. During the
summer of 2010 he was an in-
tern with an investment bank in
What does the acronym BRIC mean to you?
It represents a great opportunity and an obligation at the same time. My home
country is booming and may well make it to
the next level in a fairly short time. When I realized this a few years ago and talked about
it enthusiastically with my friends, they just
called me a dreamer. Now they have become
infected with my exuberance. My practical reaction to this development, however, appeared somewhat counterintuitive: I left
Brazil. I went to Europe in order to gain international experience.
Some people suggest Russia
might not be fit to remain in the group of
BRICs. Russia did not go through the financial
crisis unscathed and still has a fairly unbal-
anced economy. But I strongly believe that
BRIC should be BRIC and not BIC. There are
similar opportunities and challenges for these
four countries. The last G20 summit shows it
clearly. The BRICs do collaborate effectively on
the international stage and they can do so be-
cause they share many interests.
Here in London I have met many indi-
viduals from other BRIC countries. In the be-
ginning I thought of the acronym simply as a
basket of four countries with certain similari-
ties. Now it appears way more profound to
me. We see here four countries that share a
similar sort of destiny, a destiny for greatness.
These are up-and-coming superpowers. I feel,
being from India now means people attach
positive notions to you, like being professional
and dedicated.
The financial crisis showed that BRIC coun-
tries are on the whole not only dynamic, but
also resilient. They will lead the world in the
future. Be it in manufacturing, high tech and
services. But the West is still ahead of the
game in many areas. For me this means I have
to learn the ways of the West, to make them
fruitful in my home country eventually. Did the fact that you are a student or a
young professional from a BRIC country
affect your personal development?
Absolutely. I had expected to come
to the UK and stay here for many years to gain
experience. But in Brazil things evolved even
more dynamically than expected. Change is so
fast, and Siemens in Brazil is profiting from
strong growth. That means increased demand
for skills. So they asked for my return to Brazil.
That’s why I will not follow the Olympics 2012 in
London, but rather the Olympics of 2016 in Rio. Alexander:
The fact that Russia on the whole
fared well over the past ten years meant a lot
of opportunities for me. I was able to go
abroad, pursue an international career, while
still working for a Russian company. And al-
though I have been in London for seven years
now, I am still Russian first of all. Vithal:
Being exposed to this great diversity in
London taught me what it is to be Indian. This
sense of being Indian is actually hard to achieve
while being in India, not only because of the
regionalism which is still prevalent within my
country. This kind of greater conscience of my-
self is to an extent a beautiful aspect of the
very globalization that so strongly and posi-
tively affects my home country economically.
I have been very lucky. I am from a small
town and had to work very hard to make my
way to a good university, then abroad to
study. Chinese of my generation work on the
assumption that there is opportunity out
there. The main question is whether you work
hard enough to make it work out for you.
Some people feel there are more coun-
tries that should qualify for BRIC status.
Which country would you include?
I would say South Africa. They did a
marvelous job for the World Cup and proved
that they are on a good track. It cannot be a
coincidence that the Chinese – who are ex-
tremely successful in the Brazilian market –
are also highly active in Africa.
I go for Mexico. Macro-economi-
cally they are on a good path and with Mexico
City they have one of the largest cities in the
world, which can evolve into a genuine inter-
national hub. On a more general note I think
that emerging economies do have to think
more about urbanism and about how to deal
with growing megacities.
My pick is Vietnam. The country appears to
me a bit like China 20 years ago – although,
obviously, on a much smaller scale. They are
now growing very competitive in manufactur-
ing. This can bring them to the next level. For
China, however, relying on manufacturing and
export to a large extent may not prove to be
sustainable anymore. Therefore the country is
making a great effort to upgrade to high tech
industries, such as green energy.
I’d say South Korea. The right things
are working for them. They have a good edu-
cational system, they are close to China, a fu-
ture world leader, and they have a sound mod-
el both economically and politically.
Interview by Andreas Kleinschmidt
Greener than You Think The next United Nations Climate Change Conference will be held in Mexico in late 2010. With
one eye on the conference and the other on the high price the country may pay for global warming, Mexico has established itself as a pioneer in the field of climate protection. Of all
places, the formerly highly polluted capital city is set to become the greenest city in Latin America —
with a little help from Siemens technology.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 53
Mexico City recently introduced a bicycle rental system (bottom left). New cycle paths make commuting safer (center), and bike taxis are becoming increasingly popular (right). N
o one is surprised any more when Rober-
to Vázquez takes off his helmet at the en-
trance to Universidad Autonoma Metropolitana
(UAM) in Mexico City and pushes his bicycle
through the corridors. Things weren’t always
this way. For several years now, Vázquez has
Environment Minister Martha Delgado reports
(see interview on page 55). “Just a few years
ago, people thought I was a suicidal maniac,”
recalls Vázquez. He says it with a certain assur-
ance, because he knows that he was one of
the avant-garde
. | Mexico
been cycling seven kilometers to work, to the
Azcapo-tzalco Campus where he organizes
waste recycling, traveling through a city with
20 million inhabitants and more than four mil-
lion vehicles — a city where the air used to be
so poisonous that birds fell from the sky, as
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Interview
52 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Jamshed J. Irani (74) is a
member of the Board of
Directors of Tata Sons, the
parent corporation of the
Tata Group. He studied in
Nagpur, India and in
Sheffield, UK, where he
obtained his PhD. He began his career as a scientist with the British
Iron and Steel Research
Association, and after returning to India, he
joined Tata, an eminent
multinational that employs 357,000 people
worldwide. In terms of
market capitalization and
revenues, Tata Group is
the largest private corporate group in India. It has interests in
steel, automobiles, information technology, communications, power,
tea and hospitality. Irani
was conferred honorary
knighthood in 1997 by the
Queen of England for his
contribution to the Indo-British Partnership.
Sustainability: More than
Just Cutting CO
What is your definition of sustainability?
Sustainability is more than just cutting
-emissions. In industrialized countries,
business is generally conducted by the private
sector, while the government assumes respon-
sibility for public services such as education,
healthcare, and communications. This model
provides fertile ground for sustainability in a
broader sense. In India, however, the private
sector must help to bridge the gap between
what the government would like to do for the
than imitating the path more developed na-
tions have taken. The use of renewable ener-
gies is certainly a good example. We’ve seen
what has worked well and what has failed in
Western countries. One big advantage that
latecomers have is that they can avoid many
of the traps that others have fallen prey to.
What does Tata do as far as the environment is concerned?
First we have to make sure the mindset
changes. We have come a long way over the
past 100 years in catching up. Initially we had
to get the quality of the products right; then
we had to fix the processes; now we can dedi-
cate our energies to mitigating undesired side-
effects of our activities, like pollution. Frankly
speaking, we used to be quite happy sending
smoke up the stacks, as long as what we pro-
duced was successful on the market. We were
not that concerned about the fuels we were
burning, as long as our energy costs came
down. However, nowadays, we go to great
lengths to reduce our carbon footprint and we
look at best practices. My membership in the
Siemens Sustainability Advisory Board is one
element of this learning exercise, which is
meant to be mutual.
What are some examples of sustainable
practices within the Tata Group?
Nowadays we are concentrating on us-
ing less and less coal and more and more gas,
in comparison a relatively clean fuel. Some of
this gas we generate in our own factories. So
we now make use of a resource that was wast-
ed in the past. Also, we expect our companies
to be among the top three in their industry
segment in India as far as their environmental
track record and their carbon dioxide emis-
sions are concerned. Drawing on the help of
outside agencies, we determined the carbon
footprint of each of our businesses. We are
never shy about learning. And we have trained
so-called “champions” who dedicate them-
selves to sending the message of sustainability
to workers and officers throughout our com-
pany. Now there are 200 in the whole group
and we are training 200 more.
Interview conducted by Andreas Kleinschmidt
people and what its financial resources allow.
You cannot be a spike of prosperity in a sea of
poverty. You do have to share as a corpora-
How does Tata “share”?
Our slogan is: ‘What has come from the
people, will go back to the people.’ We help
communities to build the infrastructures they
need. In the long run, this fosters sustainability.
This is not a marketing exercise. We regard this
as an investment, not as a cost. In certain ar-
eas, we provide basic education, in others we
build hospitals. Half of the population still does
not have electric power, and coal is currently
the most important fuel. Renewable sources
of energy such as solar and wind power have
not yet been developed. This is one area where
we can take a giant leap forward — by imme-
diately developing clean technologies and
thus completely avoiding many of the environ-
mentally unsound technologies that have
been prevalent in the industrialized countries. That hints at the potential for leapfrogging.
Yes, India will be able to leapfrog in
many areas; we will go for the most advanced
processes and technologies right away, rather
In 2010 Irani joined the Siemens Sustainability Advisory Board.The Board is composed of ten leading figures in science and industry from a range of disciplines and different parts of the world. It was formed with the goal of helping Siemens become a leader in sustainability and to facilitate valuable interaction from various external perspectives. In addition to professional exchanges, Board Meetings are
held at least four times a year to focus on concrete initiatives.
54 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Martha Delgado (40) is Mexico City’s Minister of the Environment. As
such, her goal is to make
the City the greenest metropolis in Latin America. Mrs. Delgado
holds an undergraduate
degree in education with
a focus on environmental
and civic education and
several postgraduate degrees in environmental
and public policy. How a Megacity Faces Monumental Challenges
Mexico City has declared that its goal is to
become the greenest city in Latin America by
2022. Bicycles are one part of that strategy.
Nowadays, cycle-taxis circle round the Zócalo,
the enormous plaza in the city center. There
are 85 city-bike stations and cycle paths are be-
ing introduced in ever more parts of the ag-
glomeration. To Vázquez’ satisfaction, one was
recently built along the route between his
apartment and the UAM. He now travels faster
than most cars, without having to worry about
being knocked down in the heavy traffic. The valley in which Mexico City is located is
at an altitude of 2,310 meters above sea level.
Due to the thin air, cars burn fuel less efficient-
ly than at lower altitudes. And the chain of vol-
canoes surrounding the city makes it difficult
for the wind to blow exhaust fumes away.
About 20 years ago, the United Nations de-
scribed Mexico’s capital as the most polluted
city in the world. Since then heavy industries
have been relocated and a refinery near the
Azcapotzalco Campus was closed. But traffic
has continued to grows and is now responsible
for most of the city’s air pollution. Although 80 percent of trips in Mexico City
are made via public transport, traffic jams are
getting worse every day. “Many of the dirty
‘camiones’ — extremely inefficient small buses
— were taken off the road, but far too many
Top and middle: Thanks to Siemens technologies,
the Santander Call Center in Querétaro uses 40 per-
cent less energy than similar buildings, and trains in
Monterrey and Guadalajara are highly efficient.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 55
You grew up in a small village near the
sea. Now you call Mexico City home. How
do you compare the two, what is it like
living in this megacity? Delgado: It’s as different as chalk and cheese.
As a child, I was surrounded by nature all day.
Now I live in a city of 20 million people. Collec-
tively, we use 35 cubic meters of water every
second and we produce 13,000 tons of waste
every day, putting great pressure on municipal
service to meet associated demands. In addi-
tion, there is added pressure on public services
due to the unplanned rapid growth of the city
and the complexity of the intergovernmental
coordination of the three separate states that
comprise the greater metropolitan area.
What are the three most important challenges facing Mexico City in coming
years? Delgado: I would say mobility, water supply,
and waste disposal. The transportation situa-
tion is the most talked about topic in daily
conversations. How long it has taken to get
somewhere, which route was chosen, how
bad the traffic jams were. It’s more important
as a topic than the weather. In the past 15
years, very little was invested in public trans-
port, while the number of cars significantly in-
creased. From 1990 to 2007, the average
speed of road traffic fell from 17 km/h to 11
km/h. We traveled at that speed in 1910 in
horse-drawn carriages. Cyclists now average
18 km/hr, which is significantly faster than au-
tomobiles. I ride a bicycle on average twice a
week, usually to go to a restaurant during a
lunch break.
Can bicycles offer a realistic solution for
megacity transport problems? Delgado: They are part of the solution. Of
course, not many Mexicans would want to cy-
cle 20 kilometers or more to work every day in
heavy urban traffic. But the last few kilometers
from the metro station to the workplace, or a
few blocks in the city center — those dis-
tances are more suitable. And conditions for
cycling are actually not bad. This is a warm
country, there are few hills in the city. We are
building more and more cycling paths, and
passing new legislation so that cyclists have
more rights. We estimate that approximately
100,000 trips are made by bike every day. Does Mexico City have enough water? Delgado: No. It is difficult to provide enough
clean water for all residents in one of the
world’s highest cities. We are at an altitude of
more than 2,300 meters. Some of the water is
piped over distances of 200 kilometers and we
have to pump it up from 1,500 meters below
our own altitude. We are constantly expand-
ing our catchment area for fresh water be-
cause the city’s population has been rising an-
nually by about four percent for the past 40
years. We are also tapping into our ground wa-
ter to a greater extent than we should. Our
water availability is falling and craters are ap-
pearing in the city because the earth is subsid-
ing. Bursting pipes are becoming common. On
the other hand, when rainfall is heavy, roads
quickly flood in many neighborhoods. Climate
change is making the situation even worse. So
the need for investment is enormous. What does Mexico City do with its waste? Delgado: It goes into landfills. Our most im-
portant landfill site — the largest in the world
— is nearly full. So we need to make radical
changes in this respect. In the future, we need
to more effectively sort and recycle our waste.
We are working on ways to do that. Not all Mexicans are enthusiastic about
investing in a sustainable infrastructure.
Some people would prioritize transfer
payments for the poor and more schools. Delgado: What value would you place on
your future if you thought you didn’t have
one? A very low value. Unfortunately, there
are many people in Mexico who have no ac-
cess to education and little opportunity to im-
prove their situation. They may be facing inad-
equate housing or not have money for food.
For such people, the fight against climate
change is less important than the struggle to
get their next meal. So we are also promoting
sustainability and environmental awareness —
albeit indirectly — by fighting poverty and im-
proving the education system. But failing to
invest in sustainable technologies now would
be a waste, because those technologies will
help us to save money in the long term, first
by simply reducing energy consumption.
Interview by Andreas Kleinschmidt
still cause traffic jams,” says Susana García, a
student at the UAM. For her dissertation, she
calculated the carbon-dioxide balance of the
daily commutes made by her fellow students
and lecturers between their homes and the
campus. The surprising result is that those per-
sons using the “camiones” can cause more pol-
lution than drivers of modern cars, even if the
car drivers are alone. “The city urgently needs
more urban railways,” concludes García.
With a total length of 450 kilometers, Mexi-
co City already has one of the longest urban
railway networks in the world. But many re-
gard it to be inadequate. It is now being ex-
panded and modernized, as is the case in other
big Mexican cities such as Monterrey and
Guadalajara, which have two and four million
inhabitants respectively. Monterrey, an indus-
trial metropolis in the north of the country,
opened an extension of its urban railway line 2
in late 2008; Siemens was responsible for pro-
ject management and supplied systems for
power supply, operational safety and commu-
network has been using signal systems from
Siemens for many years. Francisco Padilla, Managing Director of Si-
teur, the local transport company, jokes that
“Our trains are now getting their long-overdue
‘manita de gato,’ or cat-lick.” He sees the ex-
“We don’t have a mobility problem in Mexican cities,
we have an immobility problem.”
nications infrastructure. In Guadalajara,
Siemens is modernizing some of the fleet of
metro trains. The trains are being fitted with
new traction systems that consume ten per-
cent less energy. And the city’s urban railway
pansion of the public transport system as es-
sential in Guadalajara. “Generally speaking, we
don’t have a mobility problem in big Mexican
cities, we have an immobility problem. The
fact that it’s particularly dramatic in Mexico
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Mexico
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 57
complemented by government investment, it is also due
to the rise of a new middle class. China will lead the way
here, according to Goldman Sachs, as it is expected to in-
crease per capita income from $3,463 in 2010 to $8,829
in 2020 and $17,522 in 2030. The latter figure would cor-
respond to 28 percent of the U.S. per capita income of
$62,717 that is expected for 2030.
The BRIC nations’ rich resources are another reason to
expect long-term economic expansion. Brazil, for exam-
ple, is the world’s leading supplier of iron ore, and Russia
delivers natural gas to Western Europe and elsewhere.
The BRIC states now also export high-tech products. Brazil
can compete with the world’s best in aircraft production,
and India is a major center for innovative ideas, with two
thirds of the country’s GDP now generated by the service
sector, especially the software, IT, and biotech industries.
India is also the world’s fourth-largest producer of medica-
tions in terms of quantity (specialized in generic brands),
and its business process outsourcing sector is expected to
nearly double its 2008 revenues to $110 billion by 2013. China has long been considered the “workbench of
the world,” but in the future it will manufacture more and
more high-quality products. To date, China has primarily
exported electronic devices, machines, clothing, and iron
and steel products. In the future, however, the country
will increasingly also export rail technology financed by
state-run Chinese banks. For instance, China Southern
Rail exports reached $1.2 billion in 2009, as compared to
just $59 million eight years earlier. China is also set to in-
crease its exports of sophisticated power plant and infra-
structure technologies to regions such as Eastern Europe.
China’s expansion is resulting in a high level of foreign
currency reserves. At over $2.4 trillion, China has the
lion’s share of the total BRIC currency reserve of $3 trillion,
according to Deutsche Bank Research. Thanks to the large
BRIC current account surpluses, these reserves are ex-
pected to continue increasing rapidly. China also aims to
become the “world’s leading scientific power” by 2050 —
a goal it has made official in a national directive. Its re-
search investments have grown by 20 percent a year since
Emerging Markets: Amazing Growth Ahead
1999. Still, this budget remains low in relation to GDP, ac-
counting for 1.5 percent in 2007. By contrast, Germany
spent 2.5 percent of its GDP on research in 2007, and the
U.S. spent 2.6 percent. China plans to catch up by 2020.
This is reflected by the increase in China’s patent regis-
trations. An analysis by the Cologne Institute for Econom -
ic Research found that in 2007 some 160,000 Chinese en-
gineers registered patents worldwide — in comparison to
130,000 engineers from Germany. Just ten years ago,
German inventors filed six times as many patents as Chi-
nese scientists. No other country is experiencing such
rapid growth in scientific publications as is China today. Its
current 70 publications per one million inhabitants puts it
well behind industrialized nations like the U.S. (960) or
Germany (930). Nonetheless, if Chinese researchers con-
tinue at their current pace — i.e. increasing their publica-
tions more than fourfold from 1997 to 2006 — China will
be publishing more than the U.S. in ten years and more
than the EU-27 nations in 15. Most nanotechnology pub-
lications already originate in China. Sylvia Trage
Growth in BRIC and N-11Nations
World’s Biggest Economies in 2007 and 2050
There are currently
approximately 800
million people with
an annual income of at least $6,000
living in the BRIC
nations — but this
number could double in ten years. Source: Goldman Sachs Global ECS Research, IMF (Dec. 2009)
Brazil 2005
2010 2020 2030 2040 2050
Turkey Vietnam 0
BRIC is Expected to Overtake
the G7 after 2030
Source: Goldman Sachs (2007)
BRIC 2020: A Middle Class of
1.6 Billion People
Number in millions Source: Goldman Sachs (2010)
Source: Goldman Sachs (2008)
GDP in US$ bn BRIC
N-11 (7 sample countries)
% yoy
Russia India China BRIC G7
GDP in US$ bn 2007
he acronym BRIC was coined in 2003 by Jim O’Neill,
head of Economic Research at Goldman Sachs invest-
ment bank. It is made up of the first letters of Brazil, Rus-
sia, India, and China — four countries whose combined
population of 2.8 billion accounts for about 40 percent of
the global total. According to Deutsche Bank Research,
these nations will post a combined gross domestic prod-
uct (GDP) of $10.5 trillion in 2010, or around 17 percent
of the gross world product (GWP). By contrast, the G7 nations (U.S., Japan, UK, Germany, France, Italy, and
Canada) account for just under 52 percent of the GWP.
But even in the aftermath of the financial crisis, BRIC
growth rates of 4 to 10 percent far outpace those of the
G7. According to a June 2010 estimate by the Interna-
tional Monetary Fund (IMF), anticipated global economic
growth of 4.6 percent this year will largely be driven by
China (10.5 percent), India (9.4 percent), and Brazil (7.1
percent). Even the BRIC “problem child,” Russia, will prob-
ably achieve more than 4 percent growth after experienc-
ing an 8 percent decline in GDP in 2009. Experts at Gold-
man Sachs believe the BRIC nations will account for nearly
half the growth of the GWP by 2020. BRIC is sometimes expanded to “BRICK” to include
South Korea or “BRICS” to include South Africa. In Decem-
ber 2005 Goldman Sachs published a list of 11 countries
that may experience a similar type of dynamic growth as
the BRIC nations. These “Next Eleven” (N-11) countries are
Vietnam, Bangladesh, Pakistan, the Philippines, South Ko-
rea, Indonesia, Mexico, Turkey, Iran, Egypt, and Nigeria.
This grouping has generated some controversy, however.
For example, as a member of the OECD, South Korea has
long been considered by many to be part of the group of
industrialized nations that record stable growth.
O´Neill predicts that most of the N-11 countries will
be among the world’s top 20 economies by 2050. “After
the BRIC nations, these countries have the largest com-
bined populations and the highest growth rates,” he says.
Goldman Sachs evaluated the sustainable growth poten-
tial of 170 nations using an indicator that takes into ac-
count factors such as inflation, public debt, openness of
the economy, technological capability, life expectancy, ed-
ucation, political stability, rule of law, and corruption. The
study found that Vietnam has the best chance to achieve
above-average growth. The N-11 nations already account
for 11 percent of global economic growth, as opposed to
only 1 percent before the economic crisis. According to
Goldman Sachs, the combined N-11 GDP will be around
two thirds that of the G7 by 2050. Experts consider rising mass consumption to be the
most important factor for BRIC growth. Although this is
| Facts and Forecasts
56 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
City is something like a blessing for the coun-
try’s other big cities. That shocking example
makes it clear to us how important it is to in-
vest sustainably in a timely way.” Rail transport is more environmentally
friend ly than private transportation not only
because there are no local emissions, but be-
cause electricity in Mexico is increasingly gen-
erated without any CO
emissions. In the state
of Oaxaca, there are strong and constant
winds, sometimes even strong enough to blow
trucks off the road. Wind conditions for elec-
tricity generation are among the world’s best.
And in the northern states of Tamaulipas and
Baja California, the winds are strong enough
for wind parks to be operated profitably.
One company that has already invested in
renewable energy is Wal-Mart. Despite all its
efforts to improve energy efficiency, the retail
chain’s 348 supermarkets in Mexico still have
to operate a lot of power guzzlers such as re-
frigerated display cases. Wal-Mart therefore
had its own wind park built with a total output
of 67.5 megawatts. Siemens supplied the in-
frastructure for the park’s connection to the
national grid.
Siemens will also supply the turbines for
another operator’s wind park in Los Vergeles,
achieved by 2030, half a million new “green”
jobs could be created. But that will not be pos-
sible without support from abroad, says Mexi-
can chemist Mario Molina, who also advises
the U.S. president on climate issues. Molina received the Nobel Prize partly for
showing that chlorofluorocarbons are respon-
sible for the depletion of the ozone layer. The
production of those chemicals has since
ceased as a result of successful international
coordination. Molina’s hope is that this success
can be repeated with regard to the reduction
of CO
. “Renewable energies and CO
tration and storage are essential for Mexico.
But we can also save a lot of energy by using
energy more efficiently,“ he says.
How this can be done — on both a small
and a large scale — is demonstrated by two
buildings in Querétaro, north of Mexico City.
At the “Pan de Vida” orphanage, which is sup-
ported by Siemens with donations in kind, tiny
wind turbines generate electricity to illuminate
the facility’s corridors at night, and solar collec-
tors heat water for the showers. Because the
orphanage has been able to cut its purchases
of gas, it saves about 50,000 pesos each year
— money that it uses to pay for more dental
treatment for the children.
Tamaulipas. Located on the Caribbean coast,
the park is designed to produce more than 160
megawatts. Late this year politicians and activists from
all over the world will travel to Mexico for the
World Climate Conference — most of them by
airplane. Those landing at the new terminal at
Benito Juárez International Airport will be able
to take solace from the fact that numerous sys-
tems there that are from Siemens, including
power distribution, meet the highest energy
efficiency standards.
Mexico could be particularly hard hit by sus-
tained global warming. In July 2010, a hurri-
cane transformed the Monterrey region into a
disaster area. But at the same time, the coun-
try has excellent conditions for the production
of renewable energy. In addition to wind and
sun, for example, there are also good condi-
tions for geothermal energy, which has been
responsible for nearly two percent of Mexico’s
electricity supply since 2008. President Felipe Calderón has set the goal
of halving the country’s CO
emissions by
2050. According to McKinsey, a consulting
company, if a reduction of 25 percent is
A few kilometers away, Santander Bank op-
erates a call center that uses about 40 percent
less energy than comparable conventional
buildings. This is made possible by the combi-
nation of intelligent architecture and efficient
building technologies — most of the latter
supplied by Siemens. As explained by David
Romero, the local Santander executive respon-
sible for the building, “In Mexico, construction
costs are still the sole criteria for many proj-
ects. But at Santander, we see the advantages
of higher efficiency and therefore decided in
favor of Siemens right from the start.” In all
segments of the building, lighting and air con-
ditioning can be controlled separately; and im-
portant error messages are automatically sent
to Romero’s mobile phone. “Our building never sleeps — that’s why we
wanted only the very best equipment for it,”
says Romero, while looking over the city from
the call center’s roof garden. The building has a
large parking garage. But a few bicycles have
been spotted on the streets of Querétaro. The
example set by Roberto Vázquez may be slowly
catching on in Mexico. Andreas Kleinschmidt
“We saw the advantages of higher efficiency and therefore decided in favor of Siemens from the start.”
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Mexico
Budget Scanner
Drawing on expertise from its global development network, Siemens has succeeded in producing a highly economical MRI scanner in China. Not only has the product been a hit in local hospitals with small budgets, it is also selling well in developed markets.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 59
Before a magnetic resonance scanner can leave Siemens’ Shenzhen plant, technicians (from left) assemble the neck coils, wind the magnetic coils, and perform a system check. I
n 1946 Felix Bloch discovered nuclear mag-
netic resonance, a discovery that trans-
formed the field of chemical analysis and
earned him the Nobel prize in Physics in 1952.
But it was not until the late 1970s that Bloch’s
discovery percolated into the field of medical
diagnostics, eventually evolving into the
remarkable technology we know today as
magnetic resonance imaging.
Today, Bloch looks down with his penetrat-
ing gaze from a picture on the third floor of an
office building on the edge of the southern
Chinese industrial city of Shenzhen, watching
over the work of his “descendants” in science.
The headquarters of Siemens Mindit Magnetic
Resonance Ltd. (SMMR) is home to some of
the most recent diagnostic imaging technolo-
gy, whose development was first made possi-
ble by the principles identified by Bloch some
six and a half decades earlier.
MRI scanners, which are among the most
expensive pieces of equipment found in mod-
sales even during the recent recession, which
shows how timely this machine is.” The scan-
ner was co-developed in China and Germany
and is manufactured in China. But it isn’t just in
developing countries and emerging markets
such as China that healthcare is facing cost
pressures. Of the close to 500 magnetic reso-
nance scanners produced by the Shenzhen
plant so far, roughly 80 percent have been ex-
ported, with most going to Asian countries,
but many going to Europe and North and
South America.
SMMR was founded in 1998 by a group of
Chinese scientists who had obtained their doc-
torates in the U.S. and Europe and then decid-
ed to work on MRI systems for the Chinese
market. They developed an entry-level model,
but since they lacked the know-how for more
sophisticated systems, they joined forces with
Siemens in 2002. Siemens acquired a 75 per-
cent stake in the startup. At the time, the com-
pany had approximately 90 employees; today
ern hospitals, enable doctors to produce sharp
images, especially of soft tissues without radi-
ation. But thanks to the global Siemens devel-
opment network in Erlangen, Germany, Ox-
ford, United Kingdom, and Shenzhen, China,
even institutions with relatively restricted
budgets can now afford magnetic resonance
imaging technology. MAGNETOM ESSENZA, a typical S.M.A.R.T.
(simple, maintenance-friendly, affordable, reli-
able, and timely-to-market) product that offers
an alternative to high-end systems without
compromising product quality, has been built
at the Shenzhen plant since 2008. Siemens de-
velops such products for emerging markets,
but they also have great potential for success
on the global market. (see p. 60 and Pictures of
the Future, Spring 2009, p. 78).
“Our magnetic resonance scanner has be-
come a remarkably successful product in a very
short time,” says Pan Huaiyu, President and
CEO of SMMR. “We succeeded in doubling unit
58 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| MRI from China
it has roughly 500, half of whom work in pro-
duction, while 150 engineers work in develop-
ment. So far SMMR has submitted around 200
patent applications for innovations related to
such things as control systems and magnet
In the joint venture’s early days only MRI
scanners with permanent magnets were man-
ufactured in Shenzhen, and they remain a part
of the product lineup today. One example is
the Magnetom C!, 100 to 150 units of which
are produced annually. As this model does not
need liquid helium, it is very attractive for
small hospitals in rural areas. The Magnetom
C! uses permanent magnet blocks to generate
its magnetic field, which provides a relatively
moderate magnetic flux density of 0.35 Tesla.
International Development. By comparison,
MRI scanners in the upper market segment use
superconducting coils to generate their mag-
netic fields. Such coils are more powerful and
duction costs of MRI scanners in order to satis-
fy the requirements of the S.M.A.R.T. segment.
A decisive step was the simplification of the
control system for the complex matrix coils.
Simple MRI systems have only a single recep-
tion coil, with which only a certain region of
the body can be examined. But Siemens’ Total
imaging matrix technology enables flexible
configuration of up to four coils, making it pos-
sible to image different parts of the body con-
tinuously without the inconvenience of having
to reposition the patient or exchange the re-
ception coils. Researchers in Shenzhen incorporated this
technology into their scanner by integrating a
dedicated switching matrix into the examina-
tion table, with which up to four reception
coils can be used simultaneously. This ap-
proach combined cost reduction with modern
imaging technology (parallel imaging), which
allows for tremendously reduced measure-
ment times and delivers a corresponding sav-
tems in the higher market segment, it delivers
impressive results for the majority of applica-
tions in daily hospital operations.” This makes
the scanner an affordable alternative for cus-
tomers who don’t require the broadest range
of clinical applications. “The scanner is an at-
tractive and successful system worldwide —
and not just for emerging markets such as Chi-
na,” says Dr. Richard Winkelmann, product
manager at Siemens Healthcare.
Quality Made in China. Collaboration be-
tween Siemens locations has been so effective
that it will be continued and extended beyond
development to production. “A major advan-
tage of the Shenzhen site is local sourcing,”
says Pan. While nearly all the components
were imported initially, today they are almost
all procured from Chinese suppliers. “In order
to establish our local supplier base, we had to
invest a lot of time and effort into ensuring
proper quality,” says Pan. “But the hard work
lighter, but require liquid helium for cooling.
But it is precisely in this area that SMMR has
been making a name for itself as an innovation
hotbed since 2008, thanks to what is still a
unique development collaboration. The Shen-
zhen team worked closely with Siemens
Healthcare sites in Erlangen and Oxford on the
development of the scanner, the most eco-
nomical system ever in the 1.5-Tesla class.
ings potential for hospitals. As a result, a com-
plete examination of the central nervous sys-
tem, for instance, can now be performed in
less than ten minutes.
Other innovations enable users to save
space, energy, and money during installation.
For instance, the use of a lightweight, 3.2-ton
magnet, which was developed in Oxford but is
today manufactured in China, enables associ-
paid off. Local production and short transport
distances have enabled us to significantly re-
duce production costs.” Additional savings are expected by produc-
ing some parts at a single site. These savings
can be achieved through higher volume pro-
duction or the expanded use of inexpensive
raw materials or labor. In addition, Siemens
sales units from around the world will continue
to work together. Pan hopes that close working
relationships with Chinese hospitals — which
traditionally have to perform a balancing act
between high quality and low costs — will
make it possible to recognize trends even earli-
er than in other countries. “To meet the needs of our customers, we
have to work very closely with them and react
quickly to their feedback in all markets,” says
Pan. “This requires us to be every bit as present
in an emerging market such as China as we al-
ready are in the developed markets of Europe
or America.” Bernhard Bartsch
High-performance electronics allow energy savings
of up to 50 percent compared with older systems.
“All three sites contributed key areas of ex-
pertise to the project,” says Pan. Erlangen sup-
plied the system integration know-how — in
other words, the overall technological design.
Oxford is Siemens’ base for the development
of superconducting magnet coils. Shenzhen
concentrated on significantly reducing the pro-
ated scanners to be installed on higher floors
of a building. In addition, high-performance
electronics allow energy savings of up to 50
percent compared to older systems. “With the
MAGNETOM ESSENZA, we developed a prod-
uct that didn’t previously exist,” says Pan. “Al-
though it doesn’t offer all the functions of sys-
Let the Revolution Begin!
Siemens is developing healthcare solutions for rural areas in China. A pilot project in Luochuan,
a county seat, shows that a hospital’s daily routine is the best research laboratory.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 61
Patients in Luochuan can now visit a local hospital
for specialized diagnostic tests, such as computed
tomography (top) and ultrasound (center) scans,
says hospital Director Li Xiaolong (bottom).
n Luochuan, a city with around 200,000 in-
habitants and a county seat in the northern
Chinese province of Shaanxi, people are accus-
tomed to revolutions. They’ll tell you it was
here that Mao once conducted his first large-
scale land reforms. It was also here that he
launched the campaign to establish the
People’s Republic in the prefecture capital of
Yan’an, which is located approximately 100
kilometers away. “As you can see, we have
long been a base for revolutions,” says Yan
Yongxin, the director of Luochuan’s public
health department, with a laugh.
Now, more radical changes are about to
take place in his city, but they have nothing to
do with class conflict. Instead, they’re exam-
ples of the progress resulting from China’s re-
forms. At Luochuan’s county hospital, Chinese
health experts are working with Siemens on a
pilot project that could revolutionize medical
care in rural regions. Residents of rural areas
could benefit in the future from high-tech de-
Professor Li Xiaolong, Director of Luochuan’s
county hospital. “However, the real world is
the most effective lab available.” As he stands
in the lobby of the drab building, patients are
picking up their appointment cards at a barred
window. Many are farmers from surrounding
villages; others are workers from Luochuan’s
small factories. And all of them belong to Chi-
na’s large majority — people who no longer
need to fear hunger and poverty thanks to the
boom of recent decades, but whose wealth so
far doesn’t include more than a television and
a refrigerator.
“When people here get sick, they can’t af-
ford to pay much for their treatment,” explains
Li. “So to help them to nevertheless get access
to good medical care, the government requires
that we offer them treatment at very low cost.” As a consequence, budgets for procuring
modern equipment are extremely limited. Es-
sentially, there is only one reason why Lu-
ochuan’s county hospital got an opportunity to
velopments in medical technology, which until
now have been accessible only to residents of
China’s major cities. “We want to support the
effort of Chinese hospitals on all levels to have
access to high-quality medical devices at af-
fordable prices,” says Dr. Bernd Ohnesorge,
Head of Siemens Healthcare in Northeast Asia.
“Our goal is to significantly raise the standard
of rural healthcare.”
As part of its S.M.A.R.T. initiative (see p.
58), which primarily targets emerging markets,
Siemens has been developing products for
years that are Simple, Maintenance-friendly,
Affordable, Reliable, and Timely-to-market. At
the Siemens Rural Center of Medical Excel-
lence, which was established in Luochuan in
2008, researchers and their Chinese partners
are now field testing devices and gaining the
experience needed to make a range of prod-
ucts even smarter.
“This probably isn’t what you imagine a de-
velopment laboratory should look like,” says
60 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Rural Healthcare in China
cally that previously required the patients to
make the long journey to the prefecture capital
of Yan’an.”
The numbers speak for themselves. In its
first year with the new devices, the radiology
department produced 20 percent more images
than was the case in the past. What’s more,
this figure is almost certain to increase even
more quickly as soon as Li manages to hire ad-
ditional radiologists. Being able to produce CT
scans, on the other hand, is something com-
pletely new for Luochuan, and the mammog-
raphy machines allow the hospital to offer
breast cancer screenings for the first time. “It’s
a huge step forward for the women of our re-
gion,” says Li.
Hardware isn’t the only major change; soft-
ware is also playing an important role in mak-
ing improved healthcare more accessible. For
instance, since the Siemens devices produce
digital images these datasets can be e-mailed
to Yan’an University Affiliated Hospital, where
specialists can then make a diagnosis. “Modern
technology is helping us to network hospitals
and make better cross-regional use of available
expertise,” adds Li. Instead of being limited, as
in the past, to locally-available know-how, it is
now possible to make faster, more accurate di-
agnoses thanks to the Internet. Patients who
used to have to plan on long trips can now re-
ceive targeted treatment without having to
leave their home towns. And digital images en-
chine. Repairs were time-consuming and ex-
pensive because an engineer had to make a
special trip, and the unit could not be used to
perform examinations. Siemens researchers
have already begun to investigate this case,
and in the future they will devote even more
attention to such details when designing med-
ical devices for rural areas. Need to Adapt. Fluctuations in the power
supply are another hurdle for rural Chinese
hospitals, according to Yan. As a result, the
hospital had to install expensive transformers
for its medical devices, generating additional
costs. The development of devices or complete
solutions that are less susceptible to power
supply instability is therefore also on the re-
search agenda for Siemens experts. Another factor is the need to maximize the
operational simplicity of medical devices. And,
of course, sources of human error must be
minimized. This is because hospitals like the
one in Luochuan have to make do with person-
nel who are not as highly trained as their coun-
terparts in major, well-developed cities. In the
past, for instance, Luochuan hospital had only
one radiologist, and the radiology department
nurses had no professional training.
The government is trying to improve incen-
tives for doctors to practice in small towns.
“But anyone who has studied at the best uni-
versities generally wants to live and work in
modernize a large share of its medical equip-
ment at a single stroke: Siemens chose it for
the development of strategies for the future.
To realize this objective, Siemens is working
with the Chinese Association of Medical Equip-
ment (CAME) and the Clinton Global Initiative,
as part of a project that was initiated in 2007
in collaboration with the Chinese Ministry of
Health. The participants intend to use the
knowledge gleaned from the project to not
only make medical equipment in rural regions
less expensive, but also to optimally adapt it to
local conditions. New Category of Technology. Since 2009,
Siemens has donated and delivered a broad
range of diagnostic equipment to Luochuan’s
county hospital, including a CT scanner, X-ray
machines, and ultrasound and mammography
devices. “That’s a completely new class of tech-
nology as far as we are concerned,” says Yan.
“We can now perform many examinations lo-
able the hospital to reduce costs as demand for
printing and archiving images diminishes. But the people of Luochuan aren’t the only
ones benefiting from the project. Experience
acquired by doctors in their daily routines is
providing Siemens with valuable information
about rural hospitals’ requirements in terms of
equipment and devices — not only with re-
spect to their functions, but also with regard to
the design of hardware.
In rural China, as in many other areas, pro-
curement costs are a major criterion, but not
the only one. “Development engineers need to
keep in mind that medical devices are subject-
ed to a lot of stress in an environment like
ours,” says Yan from the health department.
“Reports based on our experiences will help
engineers to adapt these systems to the re-
quirements of rural regions. The devices have
to be much more robust than in modern, big-
city hospitals.” In Luochuan, for instance, mice
have chewed threw the cables of an X-ray ma-
one of the big cities,” says Li. He speaks from
experience but is himself an exception. After
studying medicine at the renowned Beijing
University, he joined Yan’an University Affiliat-
ed Hospital.
Li came to Luochuan when several hospi-
tals were placed under the authority of Univer-
sity Affiliated Hospital a few years ago. “Com-
bining rural hospitals into regional clusters is
part of the development strategy for the med-
ical sector,” he explains. “Because our re-
sources are limited, we have to use them wise-
ly.” The county hospital itself has 17 small
district hospitals under its authority, and they
are all benefiting from the improved equip-
ment. “Health agencies throughout the coun-
try can learn a great deal from the model we
have developed here in collaboration with
Siemens,” says Yan. The potential is enormous
— after all, Luochuan is just one of 1,866
county seats. Let the revolution begin!
Bernhard Bartsch
The hospital now offers breast cancer screening — a huge step forward for Shaanxi Province.
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Healthcare in South Africa
Hope on the Cape
South Africa’s public health system faces severe challenges. While HIV/AIDS may be the most pressing issue, it sometimes diverts attention from other problems,
such as persistent staff shortages in the healthcare sector.
Part of the solution is modern equipment and
public-private partnerships.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 63
Lynda Bleazard (left) runs the Walter Sisulu Initiative, which is designed to help pediatric cardiology patients. Equipment is provided by Siemens.
62 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
hen Lynda Bleazard walks along the cor-
ridor in the basement of the Netcare
Sunninghill Hospital in Johannesburg, she is
greeted by women who queue in a long line,
waiting for their turn to enter the ward and vis-
it their children. The women, some black,
some white, some wearing traditional Indian
dress, wave their hands and smile at Lynda,
somewhat nervously though. Before dedicating her energy to the Walter
Sisulu Pediatric Cardiac Surgery Centre for
Africa at Netcare hospitals, Lynda was a nurse
in pediatric cardiac intensive care units for over
20 years. Without the Walter Sisulu Initiative,
the women know that many of their children
might be dead by now or remain severely sick,
“We have embraced telemedicine because it is a great
answer to the unique challenges of our country.”
South Africa is debating the introduction of
compulsory health insurance, with contribu-
tions from taxpayer money making up for all
those who cannot afford their own contribu-
tions. While only about 20 percent of the pop-
ulation receives medical care in the private sec-
tor at the moment, under a new program,
everybody should have access to high quality
healthcare. Private healthcare providers could
provide services in the context of the new sys-
tem, bringing some of the patients who do not
have private insurance coverage into private
hospitals and billing the public funding system
at predefined rates.
On the Eastern Cape, in the city of Graham-
stown, Netcare has already started a large-
scale cooperative project with the public sec-
tor. There, Settlers Hospital is run by a private
consortium in which Netcare has a 50 percent
stake. Treatment is covered by the govern-
ment. “Due to efficient planning and modern
equipment, certain procedures are performed
more economically in the private sector than in
the public sector,” says Litlhakanyane.
However, there are problems that afflict
both the private and public sectors. One such
challenge is staff shortages since highly quali-
fied healthcare professionals receive much
higher wages abroad. Netcare therefore helps
to provide support to its physicians in order to
increase retention rates. For example, the
company helps doctors to prepare and publish
scientific papers. It also gives them the oppor-
tunity to work with the most modern equip-
ment. Recently, for instance, Netcare ordered a
complete new electrophysiology lab from
Siemens, including Axiom Artis Magnetic Navi-
gation technology, the first of its kind to be in-
stalled in Africa. The system allows catheters to
be navigated by magnetic force toward the af-
fected areas of the heart. Sunninghill Hospital
is also upgrading its other cath labs, once
again drawing on Siemens technology.
braced telemedicine because it is a great an-
swer to the unique challenges of our country.
For example, it would not be feasible to have
radiologists in all the rural regions in which we
are present,” he says. So instead of spreading
this rare human resource even thinner, X-ray
scans and other digital media are taken in dis-
trict hospitals and transferred digitally to larger
facilities. For example, with the help of
Siemens technology, X-rays taken at Settlers
Hospital in Grahamstown are transmitted digi-
tally to radiologists based in Port Elizabeth,
about 130 km west, where the data can be
evaluated by specialists to determine whether
follow-up exams may be required.
One of South Africa’s major referral centers
and one of the African continent’s leading car-
diac care centers is Netcare Sunninghill Hospi-
the trailer and the medical equipment inside it
are sponsored by Siemens.
Such examples illustrate how public and
private systems have started to learn from one
another. Building a bridge between them can
be one element in bringing affordable health-
care to as many South Africans as possible.
Modern, highly efficient equipment, which al-
lows for larger throughput can be another. But one core element in all of this is some-
thing that cannot be purchased. It is a factor
that may be alien to many health economists.
It is the passion of healthcare professionals. It
is the smile of Lynda Bleazard, whose heart
beats for the children in the Walter Sisulu ward
every time she walks through her part of the
hospital and looks at the long lines of hopeful
mothers. Andreas Kleinschmidt
like six-year-old Linus, who has four lesions in
his heart and dozes in one of the beds in the
ward. In the pediatric cardiology unit at Sun-
ninghill, private patients are treated alongside
public sector patients admitted under the Wal-
ter Sisulu Initiative. They get the same level of
care and the same modern equipment, such as
ultrasound systems from Siemens.
This exceptional project helps to save the
hearts and lives of the youngest. The pediatric
cardiology unit at Netcare Sunninghill Hospital
is made up of 16 beds in which children and
babies, some just a few weeks old, fight for
survival. Many patients were born prematurely
and have deformities of their hearts. Neverthe-
less, the procedures that save their lives often
“This is a perfect example for the potential of
public-private partnerships in the South
African healthcare sector,” explains Victor Litl-
hakan yane,Executive Director for Stakeholder
Relations at Netcare, the largest private health-
care provider in the country. “There are capa-
bilities in the private sector that can supple-
ment the public sector. We really have to
overcome the division in healthcare in this
country. South Africa needs a system that
caters to all people with quality care.” The
strain on the overall system is not likely to be
eased any time soon. Birth rates are stable,
immigrants keep pouring in, and the endemic
HIV/AIDS epidemic increases the need for diag-
nostics and expensive treatment.
amount to nothing more than standard sur-
gery. But for many South African parents pri-
vate insurance is unaffordable. And for many
of their children, public health system waiting
times of up to 30 months are longer than they
are likely to survive.
The patron of the Walter Sisulu Initiative is
former South African president Nelson Man-
dela. The Initiative is run by Lynda Bleazard. “In
rural areas, these children do not get diag-
nosed. They simply die,” she explains. The rea-
son is that many clinics in such areas lack expe-
rienced staff. In other African countries the
situation is even worse, which is why the Wal-
ter Sisulu Initiative has started training doctors
from other parts of the continent, such as
Ghana. After their stay in South Africa, doctors
take new knowledge back to their home coun-
tries. More than 350 children have already
been treated through the project, but around
3,000 more are on waiting lists for heart sur-
gery in South Africa’s public health system. The
Walter Sisulu Initiative can ease that backlog a
little bit by drawing on the private sector.
Sharon Preddy is in charge of Medical
equipment procurement for Netcare. She
spent many years working as an operating
room nurse, both in South Africa and the UK,
so she knows what it’s like to be in an operat-
ing room or a Cath lab. Her decisions are driv-
en by economic considerations, but she also
knows what the teams really need in order to
help their patients. “What I like about Siemens is that they real-
ly discuss my needs and deliver on time in a
truly transparent process,” says Preddy. “And
after delivery of new equipment they are not
simply gone, but they are always there when I
have a question. That’s a partnership, not a
mere business-to-business relationship.”
Modern equipment helps Netcare to stream-
line processes in other areas as well, explains
Litlhakanyane. “For instance, we have em-
tal in Johannesburg. The hospital’s infrastruc-
ture fully matches those of hospitals of similar
size in Europe and the United States. “We
should not forget that the world’s first heart
transplant was performed in Cape Town more
than 40 years ago,” says Litlhakanyane. “We do
have a history of great healthcare provision in
South Africa and we’re building on that.” But Litlhakanyane also adds that “We are
aware of discrepancies in healthcare in South
Africa and are doing our best to step in and
help with pro bono projects and by acting as a
good corporate citizen.” For instance, he
points out that one example of collaboration
between the private and public sectors is a mo-
bile diagnostic unit for mammography screen-
ings, staffed with Netcare professionals, that
will tour many of the underprivileged areas of
South Africa, including the townships. Both
Desert Vision
Wind and sun will not only supply electricity locally in North Africa but might also cover a large part of Europe’s
energy needs. Morocco is now building initial facilities.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 65
Siemens technology is being used at the Essaouira wind farm (below) in Morocco. Engineers
are also focusing on renewable energy sources. Bottom: Driss Zejli and his students.
r. Driss Zejli cuts back the cold stream of
air from his air conditioner at the Centre
National pour la Recherche Scientifique et
Technique,a national research center in Rabat,
Morocco, where he is the director of the Renew-
able Energy unit. “For decades, we searched
for energy sources in Morocco,” says Zejli. “We
looked in the right places, but we were looking
for the wrong things, namely oil and gas.” Mo-
rocco covers over 95 percent of its energy
needs through imports, mostly coal from
South Africa. Neighboring countries, such as
Algeria and oil-rich Libya, are blessed with fos-
sil fuel deposits. So it’s not surprising that Mo-
rocco searched intensely for oil and gas within
its own borders. link with Algeria and power lines to Spain with
a capacity of 1,400 MW. So one day we’ll be
able to export electricity rather than purchas-
ing it as we do now.”
Such optimism has gripped not only experts
like Zejli but also a new generation of environ-
mentally conscious engineers that is coming to
the fore. These specialists believe the future
belongs to green energy. Khadija Ezaoui and
Sanaa Essabar are two such engineers. Both
young women are studying at the Ecole Na-
tionale de l’Industrie Minérale in Rabat and
took special courses on renewable energy
taught by Zejli. “I’m from Ajun,” says Ezaoui,
“and the only resources we’ve used profitably
so far have been fish from the sea and phos-
phate deposits in the desert. Now, a 50-
megawatt wind power facility is being built
near Foum El Oued, not far from my home
town. Renewable energy is starting to create
jobs and new growth industries.”
Plans call for Siemens wind turbines to be
used at the new plant. Siemens also offers al-
most all the components and systems needed
for solar thermal power plants (see Pictures of
the Future,Fall 2009, p.19, and Spring 2010,
p.8). Its main goal is to further reduce the
costs of this technology. Now that wind power
has been made cost-competitive, the next step
64 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Renewable Energy | Interview
Paul van Son (57) has
been head of the Dii international consortium
since 2009, which started
out as the Desertec Industrial Initiative. Dii’s
goal is to establish the
conditions that are necessary for sustainable
and climate-friendly power generation in the
deserts of North Africa
and the Middle East. Dii’s
plan is to provide the
countries that generate
the energy and Europe
with CO
-free electricity.
Van Son studied electrical
engineering at Delft University of Technology
and corporate governance
at Nyenrode Business University in Breukelen
(both Netherlands). Before joining Dii, he
worked for more than 30 years in the gas and
electricity industry and
was employed by Siemens
as well. He is currently president of the European
Federation of Energy
What are the biggest challenges facing
solar power from North Africa?
Van Son: There are three major challenges.
First of all, solar technology still can’t compete
on the market on its own, by which I mean
that electricity generated by solar thermal or
photovoltaic plants remains much more ex-
pensive than electricity produced at fossil fuel
plants. Secondly, despite the great interest in
this issue in Africa, many of the players there
still have little experience with large solar facil-
ities and the requirements for linking them
with the grid and the markets. Finally, more
work needs to be done on the transmission of
electricity from Africa to Europe because there
are still a lot of bottlenecks in the grid.
What can be done to overcome these obstacles?
Van Son:
Major companies like Siemens will
play a key role here. They drive developments
— not just in the Dii consortium, but also in
terms of expanding renewable energy produc-
tion in general. Such companies help establish
technology paths, and their intelligent invest-
ment in innovation reduces the costs of apply-
ing the technologies. They also create a mar-
ket that offers opportunities to small players.
But one thing is clear: Solar thermal power will
not achieve a breakthrough in Africa without
government stimuli — in other words, subsi-
dies in the early stages, like those in Europe
for wind and solar power. Such initial support
can not come from Africa alone; some of the
money also has to come from Europe.
Wind power is already competitive in Morocco. So why doesn’t the country sim-
ply go with that source, rather than more
expensive solar thermal applications?
Van Son:
Morocco isn’t the only country with
sensational locations for wind farms; Egypt
has also been blessed by nature in this regard.
There’s no doubt that wind power will experi-
ence a burst of momentum. Still, the long-
term potential for wind power is more limited
than that for solar power. Just consider the
sheer vastness of the Sahara. We believe wind
energy will be overtaken by solar power over
the medium and long terms in North Africa.
Solar energy also has a big advantage in that
the heat produced by solar plants can be
stored in units near the facilities and then
used to generate electricity at night as well —
in other words, energy around the clock. Still,
none of this will happen if the cost of solar
thermal power isn’t reduced. That still won’t solve the problem of
Demonstrating the Feasibility of Renewable Energy from North Africa
Van Son:
That’s true. So how do we get green
energy from Africa to Europe? The biggest ob-
stacle here isn’t even the Mediterranean, since
there are already cables near Gibraltar and ad-
ditional ones will be added. There are many
grid bottlenecks in Europe itself, however, like
the Pyrenees — and there are also weak spots
in Italy and Spain. European grid operators will
therefore have to work together and step up
their investment.
What activities is Dii planning for the
coming years?
Van Son:
We will stay mainly in the conceptu-
al phase between now and 2012. We’re now
working at our offices in Munich on a rollout
plan for renewable energy production in the
MENA region and the export of green electrici-
ty to Europe. We are developing specific refer-
ence projects to demonstrate the fundamental
feasibility of electricity from the desert. We are also building a network that links all of the
participating parties in Africa and Europe, and
are already continuously exchanging informa-
tion with the relevant governments, agencies,
energy suppliers, and grid operators. The
number of members in Dii is also constantly
increasing — at the moment there are 17
shareholders and 24 associated partners. The latter can not vote at shareholder meet-
ings, but they are an important part of the Dii
family. Actually, Dii isn’t really that important.
More than anything else, it’s a vehicle to turn a
vision into reality — the vision of green power
for the Mediterranean region and Europe. This
can only work if governments and companies
from the countries involved believe they can
benefit, and therefore work together across
national borders. Interview by Andreas Kleinschmidt.
is to do the same with solar power, even
though subsidies may be needed in the first
few years. That’s the opinion of Said Mouline,
managing director of Morocco’s Renewable En-
ergy Development Center. “Solar thermal pow-
er needs help getting started,” he says. “When
we build power plants we learn more about
the technology. That will help us reduce costs
in the future. European countries can also im-
prove their climate protection performance
and promote North African solar energy pro-
duction by buying electricity from the region
and trading in CO
Morocco has already passed laws to enable
European investment and financial support in
the country, thus laying the groundwork for
electricity to be transmitted from Morocco to
Europe. The country is thus putting in place an
important component of Desertec. Of course
this doesn’t mean it plans to lease its desert to
foreign power plant developers. “We want to
learn, and then some day establish our own in-
dustry for renewable energy and power plant
components,” says Essabar. Morocco is turning
its lack of fossil fuel deposits into a strength.
Someday people may look back on this scarcity
as a blessing. For Ezaoui and Essabar, in any
case, the Sahara’s green future has already be-
gun.Andreas Kleinschmidt
When oil prices temporarily rose to $148
per barrel in 2008, the cost of the country’s en-
ergy imports doubled. “This was a healthy
shock that made us rethink our approach,” Zejli
explains. “Now we’re focusing on identifying
and exploiting our own wealth of energy, as
the conditions here for generating electricity
from the wind and sun are excellent.” Ideal lo-
cations for wind parks can be found in north-
ern Morocco near the city of Tangier, as well as
on the west coast, where strong trade winds
blow constantly with intensities up to 50 per-
cent higher than in the best locations in Eu-
rope. Morocco already produces around 280
megawatts of wind power, and a call for bids
has been issued for large solar thermal plants
with a capacity of 500-1,000 MW.
In November 2009 the country’s energy
hopes received a clear directive when a royal
solar energy plan was issued that calls for Mo-
rocco to generate around 2,000 megawatts of
power with solar facilities by 2020. That equals
the output of two large conventional power
plants. Wind power output is also expected to
reach 2,000 megawatts by then. “Morocco has
two trump cards,” says Zejli. “First, we can
store electricity in pump hydro units in the At-
las Mountains; one such facility is already up
and running. Secondly, we have a high-voltage
| Production Technology
Bogotá’s Efficiency Hub
In South America, more and more companies are investing in environmentally-sustainable production technologies. A new Siemens plant near Bogotá, for instance, has cut water use by one third and lighting-related electricity use by two thirds compared to conventional factories.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 67
In emerging economies, production processes are increasingly focusing on how to minimize energy consumption. An example is Siemens’ transformer production line in Bogotá.
Kibbutz Ketura is home to a campus dedicated to environmental technologies. With help from Siemens, it is building Israel’s first commercial photovoltaics plant.
he large white buildings look unspectacu-
lar. American semitrailers with long hoods
are parked outside. Far away, the Monserrate
can be seen, a small white church high above
Bogotá. But the commercial buildings in the
foreground are something special. They are
part of a new Siemens plant located in Tenjo
just outside Colombia’s capital city, and could
set an example not only for South America, but
for the world.
The Tenjo plant is a “green” factory with its
own sewage system, intelligent illumination,
low energy requirements and extremely low
water consumption. About 1200 people work
there, manufacturing various products for all
of Siemens’ sectors. This includes the assembly
of transformers and electronics for power
transmission networks, electric motors and
hearing aids. The plant in Tenjo was built in ac-
cordance with LEED, the stringent U.S. envi-
ronmental certification system for new build-
ings that examines various metrics such as
water and energy consumption and carbon-
dioxide emissions. Thanks to water-saving pro-
duction processes, the plant’s own sewage sys-
tem and waterless urinals, the plant uses just
32 percent of the water required by compara-
ble factories. The sewage system cleans 250
cubic meters of water each day. Energy consumption is approximately two
thirds less than that found in a conventional
factory. There is so much daylight inside the
factory that hardly any artificial lighting is re-
quired during the day. At twilight, the lights
are turned on and off automatically as re-
quired. Osram T8 fluorescent lamps are used,
which consume 63 percent less electricity than
those in the old Siemens plants in Bogotá. And
the compressed-air system is more efficient as
well. It operates at 18 kilowatts instead of 24
kilowatts as in old factories. Siemens has been active in Bogotá for 55
years and used to operate several factories
within the city. They were originally located on
the outskirts, but were gradually swallowed up
by the growing metropolis. When the new
plant opened, the old ones were closed and
their operations were transferred to Tenjo, in-
creasing productivity and reducing costs. An-
other advantage of the new area is that it has
space available for future expansion, unlike the
sites in the city. And increasing traffic volumes
were also a factor. Transporting 70-ton trans-
formers through crowded streets was too inef-
ficient. This problem no longer exists thanks to
the new Tenjo location. Trucks leaving the
plant turn straight onto a highway. The plant is classified as being in a special
economic area, where the Colombian govern-
ment has granted Siemens some degree of tax
relief. “With Tenjo, we have created a produc-
tive site for Central and South America,” states
Daniel Fernández Krappmann, the Siemens ex-
ecutive responsible for the region. “Approxi-
mately 75 percent of our products are destined
for export.” And the market is growing. The UN
Economic Commissioner for Latin America and
the Caribbean estimates the volume of invest-
ment required in the South American energy
sector until 2030 to add up to more than a tril-
lion U.S. dollars. This will include tremendous
investments in power transmission and distri-
bution technology – solutions that Siemens
Energy is in a position to satisfy. Furthermore, Siemens plans to develop its
wind energy business in the region, which will
also boost demand for transformers. A delega-
tion of environmental scientists from Germany
was recently invited to visit the unusual site in
Tenjo by the Federal Ministry of Education and
Research (BMBF). “Colombia suffered from in-
ternal political turmoil for a long time,” says
Marc Bovenschulte, coordinator and innova-
tion researcher for the BMBF. “But for several
years now, the country’s development has
been very dynamic. Commitment to Colombia
such as that shown here by Siemens sends just
the right message.” About 70 million euros has
been invested in Tenjo – a site that will serve
the growing demand for technical products in
the South American continent in coming years
with a range of environmentally-friendly prod-
ucts. Tim Schröder
Israel’s Newest Cash Crop K
ibbutz Ketura has seen the light and dis-
covered that it is inexhaustible and free.
All its residents will have to do is locate their
solar panels well away from the shade of their
many date palms. Located in southern Israel,
Ketura has already earmarked an appropriate
site. With help from Siemens, a five-megawatt
photovoltaic facility is to be built in the desert
this year. And the facility could be expanded to
40 MW in the future. It will be the first-ever
commercial photovoltaic plant in Israel — a
country that has demonstrated that economic
growth in this part of the world is possible,
even without rich resources, by investing in
high technology. The new plant will eventually
be linked to a new high-voltage transmission
line to Eilat, a tourism resort at the southern
tip of Israel. Here in the Arava, a desert region between
the Red Sea and Dead Sea, conditions for solar
power couldn’t be better. The region enjoys an
annual average of 2,200 hours of sunshine per
year, which is very much on a par with the Sa-
hara. Germany, by contrast, only gets around
1,600 effective hours of sunshine annually. The Arava administrative district accounts
for 13 percent of Israel’s total surface area, yet
is home to only 3,000 people. Many of them
live in kibbutzim — communal settlements
originally based on an economic model in-
spired by socialism. Yet they haven’t proved im-
mune to the forces of social change. In recent
years, in fact, some kibbutzim have blossomed
into tightly run, highly profitable business en-
terprises that are prepared to invest in future-
oriented industries. Ed Hofland, Chairman of
Arava Power, himself a member of Kibbutz Ke-
tura, explains that Arava Power has managed
to persuade 15 other kibbutzim to partner with
the company and enjoy the benefits of solar
power and the associated earning opportuni-
ties. They have agreed to lease land to Arava
Power, which wants to build photovoltaic
Founded in 2006, Arava Power is owned by
Global Sun Partners, Kibbutz Ketura, Siemens,
which holds a 40-percent share, and a number
of other investors headed by Yosef
Abramowitz, President of Arava Power. The
network of solar plants will be lucrative for all
concerned, in addition to helping Israel cover
its growing power needs. Diversification into
renewable energy will help to ensure a more
secure supply of electricity in the region. In
2008 Israel was still meeting 99 percent of its
energy requirements with fossil fuels. The
country hopes to cover around ten percent of
its power needs with renewable energy by the
year 2020.
In late 2009 Israel passed legislation that
creates incentives in the form of feed-in tariffs.
Building on this, by the end of this year Ketura
hopes to supply energy to the Israeli power
grid. Apart from the solar panels themselves,
which are being supplied by China’s Suntech,
almost all the components for the first plant
will come from Siemens. As engineering, pro-
curement and construction partner, the com-
pany will be responsible for overall project exe-
cution, from basic design to delivery of a
turnkey solution with performance ratio con-
Siemens’ investment in Arava Power, which
totals $15 million, is being handled through its
holding company, Siemens Project Ventures
(SPV). “It’s the biggest foreign investment ever
made in an Israeli solar power company,” re-
ports Johannes Schmidt, CEO of Equity Invest-
ments & Project Finance at Siemens Financial
Services. Mike Green, Chief Electrical Engineer of Ar-
ava Power, sees significant environmental ben-
efits deriving from the project. The Red Sea re-
sort of Eilat, about 50 kilometers south of the
kibbutz, needs around 200 MW of power, most
of which is now transmitted from the north of
the country. In the future, this demand could
be increasingly covered by solar power gener-
ated in the Arava desert region. “I’m proud to
be a pioneer for green energy in Israel,” says
Green. “My hope is that this will be the begin-
ning of a big future for renewable energy
here.” Andreas Kleinschmidt
66 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Solar Power
Emerging economies in the Middle East are ideal locations for harvesting the sun’s energy — not
only with solar thermal power plants, but also with photovoltaic systems that promise significant
yields. Siemens has taken a 40-percent stake in one of the region’s leading developers.
Bulwarks with Brains
When a levee breaks, it endangers not only human life but also the infrastructure of entire regions. As part of the international UrbanFlood project, Siemens in Russia is researching a detection system that monitors levee condition and issues a warning before danger develops.
A sensor system (right) can register levee damage and warn of an impending break — for example, by
comparing data with measurements from actual tests
(center). Left: A dam near St. Petersburg, Russia.
very year, we see images from around the
world of huge stretches of land submerged
under water. Many of these floods — whether
in New Orleans, China’s Jiangxi Province, or on
the Oder River at the German-Polish border —
have something in common: the breach of a
levee or dam. Today, infrastructures in 136
coastal cities with populations of more than
one million rely on the protection offered by
dikes and levees. The danger here is steadily
increasing, as climate change is resulting in ris-
ing sea levels. Up until now, a relatively simple technique
has been used to ensure that levees remain in-
tact, despite the abrasion and wear they are
exposed to: their walls are built higher and re-
inforced. “Simply reinforcing levees that are of-
ten hundreds of kilometers long is not an ef-
fective solution,” warns Prof. Robert Meijer, a
levee protection expert and information tech-
nology specialist at the University of Amster-
dam and the Netherlands Organization for Ap-
plied Scientific Research (TNO). “First of all,
this involves an upgrade of the entire levee.
That costs a lot of money— €2,000 and up per
meter, in fact. The second problem is that this
method only buys time, and even after that
you still won’t have any idea when a specific
section of the levee is in danger of breaking
apart,” says Meijer.
That’s one of the reasons why Meijer
launched UrbanFlood with TNO. The idea be-
hind the project, which is being funded by the
European Commission, is to make bulwarks so
vide us with information on when specific fac-
tors will result in levee damage.”
Lang and his team constructed several test
levees and dikes along the Dutch-German bor-
der in Emsland, fitted these inside and out
with sensors, and then intentionally destroyed
them using different methods. “We eroded the
back of one dike by deluging it with water, for
example, which is exactly what happened dur-
ing the great North Sea flood of 1953,” Meijer
explains. “In another test, we simulated piping
— one of the main causes of levee damage
and failure. Piping occurs when water persist-
ently penetrates a levee, creating a small tun-
nel. Huge forces are released during this
process, and eventually, within just a few min-
utes, the barrier falls apart like a house of
cards.” Piping was in fact one of the reasons
why New Orleans suffered such severe flood-
ing during Hurricane Katrina.
Team members calibrate their software in
line with the parameters measured during
tests, such as water and air pressure, levee
widening, and humidity and temperature dif-
ferences between the dike interior and exteri-
or. “Destroying the levees provided us with
data that’s indispensable for reliable monitor-
ing,” says Lang, whose work recently won him
first prize in the Sustainable Portfolio Ideas cat-
egory of a Siemens-wide sustainability compe-
tition. “When we program our software with
these parameters, it will be able to recognize
and forecast dangerous situations before any-
thing serious happens.” “intelligent” that they present a better alterna-
tive, both economically and physically, to huge
dike expansions and upgrades. To this end,
Meijer went looking around the world for tech-
nologies that could monitor levee stability
down to the last meter in order to predict frac-
tures or the damage that would result from
flooding, thereby allowing measures to be tak-
en in advance. Synergies with Industrial Solutions. Meijer
found what he was looking for in 2009 — at
Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) in Russia
and the State Polytechnical University in St. Pe-
tersburg. The CT team, which is headed by
Bernhard Lang, has made a name for itself,
among other things with a self-controlling
software system that uses measurement sen-
sors to monitor the operation of production fa-
cilities. This adaptive system is fed with all
available production data. Using this input, the
system then independently monitors manufac-
turing activities by comparing the information
with data obtained from sensors mounted on
machines. It is thus able to recognize errors in the
making, and issue an alarm before they occur
(see Pictures of the Future, Spring 2010, p. 96). “Monitoring a levee is similar to monitoring
a production process,” says Lang. “It’s only the
definition of the problem to be solved that’s
different. The challenge with the UrbanFlood
project was to generate the data we needed to
program our sensor system. In this case, we
needed empirical data. These parameters pro-
68 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Emerging Markets on the Move
| Levee Protection
Once the software has been updated, it will
be tested at Livedijk, near the Dutch port of
Eemshaven. The two-year trial will teach the
intelligent software from CT Russia how to cor-
rectly interpret dike-sensor data under real-life
wind and weather conditions. This will also in-
volve incorporating into the analysis seasonal
and daily influences, such as precipitation lev-
els and winds from various directions. The goal
of the research is to ensure that the system can
automatically provide information in a timely
fashion on whether and when a levee or dike
section is becoming porous and beginning to
shift, thereby indicating that it may be at risk
of breaking. Cell Phone Alarm. Researchers are also work-
ing on alarm notification options. Sensor posi-
tioning technology, for instance, would make
it possible to inform authorities of the precise
location of a damaged levee section, which
would allow them to repair it as quickly as pos-
sible. If a levee breach could no longer be pre-
vented, residents of the surrounding area
could be informed via cell phone and then
evacuated. Such a system would notify all cell
phones operating in the affected area. It would
even be possible to instruct vehicle navigation
systems to guide vehicles around and away
from area deemed to be at risk. For the next project phase, Lang and his
team plan to equip levee and dike sections in
London, Amsterdam, and St. Petersburg with
the monitoring system and then use a distrib-
uted Internet-based software platform to mon-
itor and evaluate the levee and dike sections.
“Effective levee protection is not a local issue
but a global task,” says Lang. “That’s why the
long-term goal of UrbanFlood is to achieve re-
dundant Internet-based levee monitoring
worldwide.” Lang therefore hopes that in the
not-too-distant future, the project might help
reduce the severity of the flood disasters that
occur each year.Sebastian Webel
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 69
In Brief Although emerging markets are performing
well worldwide, Latin American countries have
been posting stable growth over the past few
years. One of them, Brazil, is among the world’s
most promising up-and-coming economies. Rio
de Janeiro is currently investing heavily to expand
its infrastructure in time for the World Cup in
2014 and the Summer Olympics in 2016. Mean-
while, energy-efficient technologies are gradually
being introduced in Mexico. And in Bogotá,
Colombia, a highly efficient new factory from
Siemens is making products for emerging Latin
American markets. (pp. 47, 53, 67)
A higher aggregate GDP can be an indication
that an emerging market has become an industri-
alized nation. High value-added production steps
are increasingly being transferred to emerging
markets. Focusing on innovation instead of just
production means more domestic R&D and
boosts demand in the home market. Emerging
markets often strive for solutions that are more
cost-efficient than those used in industrialized
nations. Siemens is responding to this trend with
“S.M.A.R.T. Products” that are specially developed
for these markets. (pp. 44, 58)
China and South Africa have shown that
greater prosperity leads to better healthcare. In
China, sophisticated imaging systems are being
introduced in rural hospitals. Siemens is actively
supporting this process. In South Africa, more
and more clinics are using telemedicine solu-
tions — and in the country’s high-end medical
facilities the focus is on equipment from
Siemens. (pp. 60, 62) More prosperity leads to increased energy consumption. In the area of energy, emerging
markets should avoid repeating the development
mistakes made by the industrialized nations,
says Jamshed J. Irani, who, as a member of the
Board of Directors of Tata Sons, helps direct India’s largest conglomerate. Renewable sources
of energy are part of the solution and their exploitation is being expanded in areas such as North Africa and the Middle East. As a result
of this development, different technologies, including photovoltaic and solar thermal energy,
can bring their respective strengths to bear. (pp. 52, 64, 65, 66)
S.M.A.R.T. Products: Lennart Ruhl, Top plus
Infrastructure in Brazil:
Sergio Boanada, Energy
Rail transport in Mexico:
Julián Brasero, Industry
Wind energy in Mexico:
Edgar Runnebaum, Energy
S.M.A.R.T. Products from China:
Christiane Bernhardt, Healthcare
Healthcare in South Africa:
Carlo Blanckaert, Healthcare
Renewable sources of energy in Morocco:
Sif-Dine El Meliani, Energy
Photovoltaics in Israel:
Haim Stapler, Energy
Dike monitoring:
Bernhard Lang, CT
United Nations Climate Change Conference 2010 in Mexico:
Green City Index:
Rio 2016 Olympic Games:
Website of Martha Delgado, Mexico City:
Tata Group:
Website of dii (Desertec Industrial Initiative):
Arava Power (photovoltaics in Israel):
New Healthcare Technologies | X-Ray Diagnostics
Computed tomography has established itself as a reliable method for cardiac examinations. But concerns about the possibility of excessive radiation have prevented its routine use for the
early detection of coronary artery disease. The latest generation of CT scanners promises to
change that. The newest scanner helps to reduce the dose to just three to ten percent of the values that were typical only ten years ago. A
ccording to the World Health Organiza-
tion, heart diseases are the leading cause
of death in high-income nations. In Germany
alone roughly 130,000 people die each year as
a result of an insufficient supply of blood to
the heart muscle. What can be done to detect
these diseases earlier? Health-conscious peo-
ple who go to a screening with no complaints
generally first undergo a cardiac stress test.
Details about the patient’s heart beat are
measured while the patient pedals a stationary
bicycle. If irregularities occur, the patient is re-
ferred to a specialist for additional tests. One alternative to this would be an exami-
nation with a computed tomography (CT)
scanner. Such scans can help to reveal calcifi-
cations and constrictions in blood vessels. To
perform such an examination, the patient is
placed inside a tube in which X-ray sources and
detectors circle the body at very high speed.
Despite their high accuracy and reliability,
these devices are barely used for early detec-
tion or routine examinations because of their
X-ray radiation. When it comes to examining
the heart and the coronary blood vessels, CT
scanners are used primarily in emergency
medicine, with at-risk patients such as heavy
smokers, or with patients who are exhibiting
initial possible, but still unclear, symptoms of
heart disease. That could change, however. For over ten
years, researchers at Siemens Healthcare in
Forchheim, Germany, have been developing
solutions designed to help reduce the radia-
tion associated with CT examinations. They
have now set a new record with the latest line
of CT scanners, the Somatom Definition Flash. The scanners can perform a complete scan
of an adult human heart in only 0.25 seconds
— significantly less time than with convention-
al machines. In fact, it is so efficient that it can
reduce radiation dose to less than one mil-
lisievert (mSv). Just a few years ago, the dose
for a coronary examination was ten to 30
times higher. One millisievert is substantially
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 71
The Somatom Definition Flash can produce detailed
images of the heart with a dose of less than 1 milli-
sievert (e.g., 1st image, right). This is far less than the annual background dose from the environment.
less than the global average background dose
of 3.1 millisieverts that a person absorbs from
the environment over one year. In view of this, CT scanning could finally be-
come established as a routine tool for cardiac
examinations in the near future. Many experts
agree. In a survey of 363 radiologists associat-
ed with the dual source CT community
( users were asked what the mini-
mum exposure dose would have to be in order
for them to order a computed tomography
exam for the early detection of coronary heart
diseases. Half indicated values between three
and ten millisieverts. Forty-two percent were
even more strict. For them the magic threshold
is below one millisievert. The Definition Flash is thus the only CT scan-
ner to currently satisfy the strict requirements
of particularly radiation-conscious users. Al-
though ideal exposure values may occasionally
be exceeded in the case of very large or heavy
patients, it is important that reducing the dose
below the one millisievert threshold becomes
routine rather than being the exception. “The
fact is that particularly with young patients,
the majority of cardiac scans with the Defini-
tion Flash can remain below one millisievert,”
measuring systems revolve. The combination
of revolution and forward movement result in
a spiral scan pattern. The two X-ray sources complement one an-
other during data acquisition, so that the pa-
tient can be moved forward at a rate of up to
45 centimeters per second. This allows the en-
tire volume of the heart to be scanned much
faster than with conventional machines with a
single X-ray source that has to revolve around
the heart several times. “Flash Mode” is the
70 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Low-Dose Cardiac Diagnostics
in the remaining parts of the image. This
process is repeated three to five times until the
details have been reliably resolved. The entire
IRIS analysis is completed in just fractions of a
second. As the method enables more image in-
formation to be extracted from a scan, the im-
age can be recorded with less radiation. “The
dose can be lowered by as much as 60 percent
compared to scans without IRIS,” says Thomas
Flohr, Head of the CT Physics department in
Forchheim. “And that’s a big reduction.” says cardiologist Prof. Stephan Achenbach of
the University of Erlangen.
Two Sources, Two Detectors. This enormous
reduction is achieved through the combination
of three technologies. First of all, a particularly
important role is played by the dual-source
scanner, which Siemens introduced a few
years ago. With this technology, two X-ray
tubes and two detectors offset at 90 degrees
from one another revolve around the patient in
a single machine. The patient’s body is thus
photographed from two different angles si-
multaneously. The patient glides through the
tube on the examination table while the two
noisy image and sharpen them. A CT image is
made up of many hundreds of individual im-
ages taken at different angles as the measur-
ing system circles the patient. Normally the fi-
nal image is computed all at once from these
individual images. However, for physical rea-
sons each recorded value is subject to a certain
inaccuracy that is visible in the form of noise,
which is a bit like the static on the TV picture
you get when reception is poor. The IRIS method helps to produce a more
detailed image by post-correcting the data in a
multistep process. It identifies details such as
blood vessels and the bone edges in an initial
image, sharpens these, and reduces the noise
are kept from dispersing in the same way that
a horse’s field of view is restricted by blinders.
As a result, the dose is reduced by between ten
and 35 percent, depending on whether the en-
tire chest or just the heart is being scanned. The combination of all of these methods re-
sults in an astonishing overall reduction. “Just
a few years ago, the dose for a cardiac exami-
nation was ten to 30 millisieverts,” says Flohr.
“Our goal is to get the radiation exposure
down to less than one millisievert for more
than just heart scans. We want to significantly
reduce it for all types of examinations in the
medium term.” The X-ray dose for an abdomi-
nal examination is currently about eight to ten
Less than one millisievert is required for an exam,
rather than three to 20 with conventional machines.
name of the technique that substantially re-
duces the X-ray dose due to its high scan speed
and short exposure time. Less than one mil-
lisievert is required to examine the heart,
rather than the three to 20 millisieverts re-
quired with conventional machines. A second key innovation is the IRIS method
(Iterative Reconstruction in Image Space),
which involves sophisticated image processing
software. Its job is to detect structures in a
The third technology is known as Adaptive
Dose Shield. Here, X-rays are focused on the
target with an accuracy of a thousandth of a
millimeter, thus helping to cut dose. Anyone
who has ever tried to trace the outline of an
object with a flashlight knows how much light
spills over the edges with a wide beam. It is a
similar situation with X-rays — the surround-
ing tissue is exposed unnecessarily to radia-
tion. In the Definition Flash, however, X-rays
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 7372 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
New Healthcare Technologies | Hospitals
millisieverts. Flohr hopes to reach two to three
millisieverts in the near future. “I even think it
will be possible in the near future to perform
all routine examinations with a dose below the
natural annual background dose.” Measuring Individual Photons. Siemens is
already working on the development of addi-
tional dose-reducing technologies. A photon-
counting detector, for instance, which converts X-ray radiation into image informa-
tion directly and efficiently is an example. Af-
ter passing through the body, X-ray quanta cur-
rently first strike a ceramic layer that converts
the energy into pulses of light. These are de-
tected by a photodetector and counted. The
problem is that the light quanta can zoom off
in different directions, interfere with adjacent
photodetectors, or be lost entirely, thus blur-
ring the image. Another disadvantage of the
ceramic is that because the material lumi-
nesces briefly, it is difficult to differentiate be-
tween individual quantum events — and the
detector takes an average of several incident
quanta arriving one after the other. In the photon-counting detector, a proto-
type of which is currently undergoing testing,
X-ray quanta strike a semiconducting layer,
where they trigger an electrical voltage pulse
that is measured directly. The advantage of
this method is that it allows the energy of each
individual X-ray quanta to be measured, which
increases the efficiency of the detector and sig-
nificantly reduces radiation dose. “Further-
more, we can now detect X-ray quanta with
different energies,” says Flohr. This opens the door for the first time to us-
ing computed tomography to deduce the na-
ture of the substance scanned. It is sometimes
barely possible to differentiate between bones
and blood vessels filled with a contrast agent
in a CT image. But thanks to precise quantum
analysis, tomorrow’s medical personnel may
be able to tell what substance the radiation ac-
tually scanned. Low-radiation CT will also help to reduce
costs. Today, patients who exhibit equivocal
symptoms of heart disease are often examined
using an expensive, catheter-based interven-
tional procedure in which the position of the
catheter in the body has to be monitored using
X-rays. A CT scan could be an alternative. “In
roughly 60 percent of all catheterizations, it
turns out that there is no serious pathology,”
says Peter Seitz, head of CT Product Marketing
at Siemens. All told, a CT exam takes just a few
minutes and is vastly less expensive than
catheterization, despite the fact that it is based
on the use of scanner that can cost up to two
million euros.Tim Schröder
Barcelona’s Partner of Choice
Siemens has launched an exciting medical collaboration in the heart of the Catalonian metropolis of
Barcelona, which is located in northeast Spain. Since December 2008, Siemens Healthcare Diagnos-
tics has been working with Hospital Clinic Barcelona in a pioneering project that integrates lab diag-
nostics, image processing, and information technology. The initial phase of the project focuses on
applications for liver fibrosis, prenatal care, and colon cancer. The goal of this collaboration, which
will run for three years, is to help to develop innovative methods for the early diagnosis and treat-
ment of diseases and deformities. This goal is to be achieved primarily with the help of individual ex-
amination results obtained from imaging systems and laboratory data, which are then consolidated
and linked via hospital IT systems such as an electronic database. “We plan to use IT technology to
combine the results of in vivo and in vitro examinations in a manner that enables us to produce
faster and more precise diagnoses and offer patients effective treatment at an early stage,” says Dr.
Aurea Mira, Manager of the Diagnostic Biomedical Center Hospital Clinic of Barcelona. Both partners
hope their work will, among other things, enable them to replace painful biopsies with a combina-
tion of chemical analyses and imaging techniques — for example, to determine the extent to which
fibrous connective tissue has proliferated in a liver fibrosis. They also hope to be able to recognize
prenatal diseases in a fetus or a pregnant woman at an earlier stage. Another goal is to aid in the de-
velopment of biomarkers that can be used to pre-
dict the reaction of cancerous growths to various
chemotherapy treatments. The Hospital Clinic of
Barcelona plans to merge diagnostics, imaging, and
IT solutions over the long term in order to establish
and apply a completely new integrated concept of
patient care — one that goes beyond the areas of
liver fibrosis, prenatal medicine, and colon cancer.
Siemens also plans to channel the knowledge
gained from this collaboration into new develop-
ments for the future and to use it to improve the in-
teraction between its various medical devices. The
Hospital Clinic of Barcelona, which was founded
more than a century ago, is an ideal partner for this
project, as it already uses state-of-the-art technolo-
gy from Siemens. Its facilities include a fully auto-
mated diagnostics lab, ultra-modern imaging sys-
tems for digital radiology and angiography, and in-
tegrated information systems that have made the
hospital a virtually paper-free institution today.
“What’s more, our clinic has been receiving top an-
nual ratings in the fields of diagnosis and treatment
for years now from the Spanish medical consulting
body,” Mira reports. “One reason for this is that we
always quickly introduce new technologies and
methods to make our patient care more effective.”
Siemens is the hospital’s partner of choice here, as
it is now the only company that can offer integrated
healthcare solutions ranging from lab diagnostics to
imaging and IT systems. The collaboration not only
provides more efficient patient care but also has an
economic aspect. Siemens and the Hospital Clinic
of Barcelona are convinced that the integration of
in vivo, in vitro, and IT data will lead to cost reduc-
tions in the healthcare sector. “I’m convinced that
it’s going to be a win-win situation,” emphasizes
Mira. “After all, patients will receive high-quality,
customized treatment that both they and the hospi-
tal will be able to afford.” Sebastian Webel
From independent power supplies and water management to
fire safety and air purity controls, hospitals require absolutely
dependable systems. Thanks to building automation systems
from Siemens, Dell Children’s Medical Center of central Texas
is not only exceptionally efficient, but has also become the
world’s first LEED Platinum Hospital.
Exceptional Efficiency
ell Children’s Medical Center of Central
Texas is the first healthcare facility in the
world to achieve a LEED (Leadership in Energy
& Environmental Design) Platinum Certifica-
tion from the U.S. Green Building Council. With
over 46,000 square meters, the facility, which
is located in Austin, Texas, is the largest pedi-
atric hospital in the region. Dell’s campus
opened in July 2007 and is part of the Seton
Family of Hospitals, the largest health-care
provider in central Texas.
Hospitals are tremendous energy users. In
fact, according to statistics furnished by the
U.S. Department of Energy in 2009, hospitals
in the U.S. required 2.5 times as much energy
and emitted 2.5 times as much carbon dioxide
as commercial office buildings.
This makes the LEED achievement all the
more significant, says Phil Risner, PE (Profes-
sional Engineer) and LEED AP (Accredited Pro-
fessional) project manager and building sys-
tems network engineer for Seton. “We had a
vision for LEED Platinum, as we sought to cre-
ate the optimum environment for our patients
as well as our employees. There was no doubt
in our minds that being green had real, posi-
tive effects on both the environment and our
healthcare delivery capability,” Risner said.
Alan Bell, AIA (American Institute of Archi-
tects) and Seton’s LEED AP director of Design &
Construction, echoed that sentiment. “Some
parts of this 169-bed facility were opened in
mid-2007. Then nearly two years later, we re-
ceived the official LEED Platinum Certification
in early 2009. To achieve this goal, we were
rated in the six key LEED categories: Sustain-
able Site Development, Water Efficiency, Ener-
gy & Atmosphere, Materials and Resources, In-
door Air Quality, and Innovation & Design.”
Here a key issue was the conception, integra-
tion, and implementation of the building au-
tomation system (BAS).
Complete Solution. Seton selected the Build-
ing Technologies Division of Siemens Industry,
Inc. to install and integrate Siemens’ APOGEE
suite of building automation and controls
across the new facility. APOGEE is an overall
building system and energy management so-
lution that includes fire detection and alarm
and emergency air handling system control. It
is designed to tightly integrate systems as di-
verse as security access, staff communications,
emergency power, fire detection and suppres-
sion, IT and, of course, lighting. In the Dell clin-
ic BAS monitors a range of energy consumers,
including pumps, fans, cooling systems, hot-
water systems and the 60,000-liter therapy
pool of the clinic’s rehabilitation center.
Austin’s subtropical weather conditions
pose a constant challenge to maintaining in-
door air quality. In view of this, Siemens BAS
closely monitors and controls Dell’s air condi-
tioning and use of outside air, as well as adjust-
ing air-handling devices based on predeter-
mined night setback and other occupancy
conditions. The system automatically gener-
ates daily reports on any failed setpoints or
specific location abnormalities throughout the
facility, thus helping service engineers to keep
systems running optimally while meeting reg-
ulatory requirements for air purity and quality.
BAS also controls the building’s own highly
efficient 4.5 MW cogeneration unit and pro-
vides the information needed to make com-
plex energy-related decisions. As a result, sig-
nificant energy savings have already been
made. “Thanks to Siemens’ expertise, it has
been possible to introduce a range of new
technologies,” says Bell. For comparison, the
energy efficiencies achieved at Dell Children’s
currently save enough energy to power ap-
proximately 1,800 Austin homes. Right Environment for Personnel. “Unfortu-
nately, there are a lot of times that you can’t
necessarily cure an illness, but you can always
heal the soul and that’s what we try to do,”
says Sister Teresa George, Dell Children’s Vice
President and CEO. “We try to do it with staff;
we try to do it with our programs and our work
environment.“ Dell’s good reputation as a “green” hospital
attracts highly motivated and well-trained per-
sonnel — including specialized pediatricians
and nurses. Personnel fluctuation is very low.
Overall in the U.S. between ten and 15 percent
of healthcare employees change per year. But
the figure for Dell’s nurses is just 2.4 percent.
Employee productivity is also higher. Seton es-
timates that all these effects together have re-
sulted in savings equivalent to an entire year’s
energy bill. Steven E. Kuehn
Pediatric patients get first-class treatment at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin, Texas. The facility is a leader in energy and water efficiency.
79 Killers under Attack
Three of the major killers of the elderly are aortic valve disease, atrial fibrillation, itself a leading cause of stroke and heart failure, and aneurysms. Soon, all three
may be treated more safely thanks to new technologies. 84 Reading the Brain Scientists at MIT are using MRI to decipher the activities of the human brain. On tap are techno-
logies for spotting strokes and
identifying molecules associated with Alzheimer’s disease. 87 Alzheimer’s Epidemic Thanks to molecular imaging and other diagnostic technologies, scientists are inching closer to understanding the mechanisms that drive this deadly disease.
90 Duplicating Daylight
Researchers are recreating natural
light cycles with lighting systems. The result: Improved mood and health, especially among seniors.
102 Sound Approach
Thanks to sophisticated technology, the latest hearing aids adapt automatically to almost any situation. 104 This Joint’s for You
Wear on bones and joints can be debilitating. Solutions from Siemens make it possible to produce personalized replace-
ments that maximize comfort. Highlights
Forty years from now people will be living
longer than ever. Thanks in large part to tech-
nologies that are now in the research and de-
velopment pipeline, most of the major causes
of disability and death, including heart failure,
high blood pressure, stroke, diabetes, cancer,
Alzheimer’s disease, and many mental illnesses
will be detected early and successfully man-
aged. For those who invest in a healthy life-
style, the golden years could last a long time.
Flying High
2050. The owner of a successful chain of combination clinics and senior fitness clubs gets a special thrill out of leading his
healthiest customers on extended jet-powered sky diving expeditions. What keeps this 80-year-old workhorse and other retirees flying high? Answer: Everything from exoskeletons and
driverless, collision-free road travel to decades of medical advances that have virtually eliminated most major illnesses. 74 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 75
othing beats it. It’s the supreme rush. The
ultimate dream. And all you have to do is
close your eyes, take one big step, and you’re
there – sailing through the sky, the flexible mi-
cro-surfaces of your wings responding to every
fluctuation in the wind, their cilia gathering
energy from it, while the movements of your
shoulders and the pressure of your fingers on
“joy spheres” trigger mini jets that steer you ef-
fortlessly through the blue, sometimes for
hours, if you wish.
D e mo g r a p h i c C h a n g e | Scenario 2050
Sure, I could do this by myself or with a cou-
ple of buddies. But in point of fact, it’s a special
kind of thrill to guide a group of my customers
— the ones who’ve achieved the highest level
of fitness at one of my centers — on these
high-flying excursions. And yet people still sometimes ask me why
I don’t sell the company and retire. Retire and
do what? This is what I like! Seventy-five would
have been the normal age to call it quits, they
say. But I feel as fit as a fiddle, am still enjoying
| Trends
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 77
Worldwide, life expectancy is increasing. For a baby
born in 2050, it is expected to be 29 years longer than
in 1950. People are also becoming more self sufficient
—in many cases thanks to new technologies. Siemens’ Osram lighting subsidiary is also
focusing on home and work environments that
take older customers’ needs into account. For
instance, since blue light has been found to re-
duce production of melatonin, a hormone that
can cause drowsiness, and since our lenses
tend to become yellowed with increasing age,
thus diminishing the effect of blue wave-
lengths, researchers are developing lighting
systems that produce brighter, bluer light
throughout the first half of the day, while grad-
ually dimming down and increasing the level
of red wavelengths in the late afternoon (see
pages 90 and 92). The idea is to enhance the
user’s natural rhythms and thus help to avoid
sleep disorders. Personalized Joints.Almost everybody com-
plains about getting older. But the fact of the
matter is that a lot of the bumps are being tak-
en out of the lengthening road to old age. Take
hearing aids, for instance. The newest tech-
nologies from Siemens make it possible to
clearly hear someone talking to you even from
the back seat of a moving car (see page 102).
What’s more, such instruments automatically
learn to adjust themselves to the user’s pre-
ferred volume by remembering preferences for
different classes of sounds, such as speech in a
loud environment or music. One of the painful facts about growing old-
er is that joints often become so worn out that
they require replacement. Until recently, pros-
thetic joints were produced in standardized
sizes. But thanks to the impressive three-di-
mensional precision of the latest Siemens CT
scanners and the ability to transmit and trans-
form the resulting data into exact duplicate
joints by means of computer aided manufac-
turing, it is now possible to manufacture truly
personalized ersatz joints, thus avoiding a
major cause of post-operative discomfort (see
page 104). What’s more, since the first incar-
nation of such joints is in the virtual world,
they can be tested there in relation to the
patient’s unique biomechanics, thus providing
conditions to stay in their own homes and
avoid superfluous doctor visits. For those who need a hand around the
house, robots and exoskeletons are on the
drawing board (see page 98). Now under de-
velopment at Siemens, for instance, are visual
systems that can translate what they see into
measurements that are precise enough to al-
low a robotic arm to pick up a glass or slide a
slice of bread into a toaster. More muscular ro-
bots are being designed to lift people from
wheel chairs or out of bed, thus avoiding the
risk of injury to home assistants. Meanwhile, in the context of an EU smart
home project, researchers with European
home appliance leader Bosch und Siemens
Hausgeräte GmbH (BSH) in Zaragoza, Spain
are developing senior-friendly appliances such
as refrigerators that automatically keep track
of the expiration dates on products outfitted
with radio frequency identification (RFID) chips
and washing machines that respond to RFID-
based information on clothing (see page 96). Surfing the Demographic Wave
From specialized lighting, home appliances and robots to Alz heimer’s disease detection systems and minimally-invasive
treatments that will cure arrhythmias, replace calcified
valves and disarm aneurysms,
technologies are being devel-
oped to help an exploding population of seniors live
longer, more self sufficiently,
with less pain and more mobility than ever before.
hether they’re surfing Costa Rica’s Playa
Grande, running the New York marathon,
or just taking a leisurely bike ride around the
block, you can see them everywhere: healthy
people who are 60 and above. But things
weren’t always so rosy. According to the U.N.,
the average life expectancy of a baby born in
1950 was only 47. Today, however, it’s 68. And
by 2050 it’s projected to reach 76. As a result,
the number of people who are 60 and older is
due to rise from roughly one-in-ten today to
about two-in-nine by 2050. And in the devel-
oped countries, that ratio will zoom from one-
in-five to one-in-three.
Not only are people living longer, they’re
enjoying a higher level of self sufficiency, and
thus quality of life. For instance, Siemens re-
searchers are working with partners in indus-
try and the German government to develop a
wrist-based sensor system that will wirelessly
transmit a user’s vital signs to a nearby hospital
(see page 100). The technology is expected to
help thousands of people with serious medical
76 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
the singles scene, and continue to love my
work — even though I just uncorked my 80th
year. Business has been outstanding since day
one. After all, wasn’t it clear even decades ago
that there would be steadily-mounting demand
for services that would help keep older people
— the fastest-growing segment of our popula-
tion — looking and feeling great? So when I
was 40 I expanded my orthopedics and sports
medicine practice to include an associated sen-
ior fitness club called “Perfect Fit.” The formula
worked like a dream. Before long, I set up a
franchise and have been opening clinic-club
combos every year. Members start out with a
round of magnetic resonance-based physical,
psychological and emotional health assess-
ments, receive a rating, and then sign up for a
personalized road map to holistic health that
includes exercise, diet, sleep and lifestyle
measures along with regular follow-up assess-
ments. Years ago, many of my customers were lucky
to achieve a level 3 or 4 on our 10-point whole-
fitness scale. But the numbers have climbed
steadily over the decades. Today, the fortunate
folks who were born in the 1980s and later
have benefitted from all sorts of improvements
in the workplace, at home, in vehicles, and of
course in medical care. Take household and travel-related acci-
dents, for instance, which used to injure and
kill millions of people per year. Today there are
things such as personalized exoskeletons that
help to increase the number of people who
reach retirement age in vigorous condition.
People who simply need to move heavy ob-
jects around a house, business or farm without
risk of pulling a muscle or harming their backs
can slip into a fashionable power-suit (pink for
the ladies is still popular!) and thereby increase
their strength ten to twenty-fold. And for those who, in the past, were driven
to desperation out of solitude or sickness, there
are soft-skin, human-faced robots that will lis-
ten tirelessly, and “snuggle-bots” — personal-
ized cuddly animal-like robots that respond in
emotional ways to people’s needs.
Cars, which used to sit uselessly in garages
or clutter up streets waiting for a person to use
them — and then cause literally millions of in-
juries per year worldwide — have become the
most useful of all our robots. They travel about
independently in navigational networks that
optimize flow and eliminate the potential for
collisions. They take older people wherever
they need to go regardless of weather or light-
ing, take care of errands ranging from manag-
ing household and business supplies to picking
up friends at the nearest metro stop or, as the
case may be, meeting a group of senior high
fliers after a glorious day in the wild blue yon-
der. And when they’re not in service for their
owners, they automatically switch to a kind of
community mode, billing others for their use. Did I forget to mention health problems?
Back in 2010 over 60 percent of people over
63 had atrial fibrillation, one of the major caus-
es of stroke and heart failure. But only ten
years later those numbers had diminished dra-
matically thanks to early detection systems,
breakthroughs in medical imaging, and the
ability to actually see the areas in people’s
hearts that cause arrhythmias and eliminate
them using tiny ablation catheters. Atrial valve
problems and aneurysms — two other major
causes of declining health and death in people
over 60 — have been largely eliminated thanks
to image-guided placement of artificial valves
and blood flow diverters. In both cases, the
ability to simulate blood flow dynamics under
different conditions has given doctors a power-
ful tool in optimizing the selection and place-
ment of these devices. Many other major causes of declining health
and death, including cancers, high blood pres-
sure and diabetes, have declined into insignifi-
cance over the decades with the introduction
of personalized, injectable, wireless sensors
based on the user’s genetic predispositions.
Such sensors detect the first signs of these ill-
nesses, notify the user, and help to ensure ear-
ly treatment. Looking back over the last 50 years, I have
to say that Alzheimer’s disease was the last
major hurdle. I saw a lot of my best friends and
many loyal customers go down that road. It
seems to me that it was around 2025 before
the first really effective drugs became avail-
able. By then there were close to 50 million
people worldwide who were dying of the dis-
ease. Ten years later, thanks to widespread ge-
netic screening, most cases were being caught
and treated before the onset of symptoms. To-
day, AD is something for medical historians. As for psychological ailments, particularly
the depressions that governed the lives of mil-
lions of older people in the past, but also con-
ditions such as obsessive-compulsive and ad-
dictive behaviors, and even phobias such as —
God forbid — fear of flying, relief has come not
in the form of drugs, but through medical im-
aging. Today, people can see a depiction of
their condition using magnetic resonance im-
aging and learn how to willfully control it
through real-time feedback. It’s worked for a
number of my customers who once said that
they could never imagine being way up here
with nothing beneath them but thin air.
Arthur F. Pease
Demographic Change | Scenario 2050
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 79
Thanks to technology developed by Siemens that allows doctors to see the exact location and angle of a prosthesis, many patients can have a diseased aortic valve replaced by means of a catheter.
Killers under Attack
They are three of the biggest killers of the elderly: aortic valve disease, atrial fibrillation — itself a leading cause of stroke and heart failure — and aneurysms. Soon, all three may be treated far less invasively than ever before thanks to technologies now being researched and developed by Siemens and its partners.
| Cardiovascular Technologies
or tens of thousands of people each year it
is the end of the line. If they are too frail to
survive open heart surgery, many patients
with aortic valve disease only have about two
to three years to live. An ongoing stenosis of
the valve resulting from calcification of the
leaflets that allow oxygen-rich blood to flow
from the left ventricle of the heart into the
circulatory system, aortic valve disease affects
about four percent of people 65 and older.
Indeed, some 60,000 open heart aortic valve
replacement operations are performed each
year in Europe and even more in the United
States, where the procedure costs approxi-
mately $140,000. Now, however, there’s hope not only for
those deemed healthy enough to survive ma-
jor surgery, but also for the roughly one third
of prospective aortic valve replacement candi-
dates who are not. Thanks to clinical coopera-
tion between Siemens Healthcare, the Leipzig
Heart Center, and the German Heart Center in
Munich, as well as Siemens Corporate Re-
search (SCR) in Princeton, New Jersey, a new,
78 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
an optimized fit in the very real world of the
user’s body.
New Hope for Aging Hearts. Help is also on
the way for a range of potentially life-threaten-
ing cardiac conditions. Atrial fibrillation, for in-
stance, which accounts for over 60 percent of
all arrhythmias and is one of the major causes
of stroke and heart failure in people over 65, is
being targeted with a new noninvasive proce-
Princeton, New Jersey, a new, smart visualiza-
tion and guidance technology is making it pos-
sible to aid in replacing the valve by means of a
catheter, thus sparing patients the trauma of
surgery, and cutting costs. Already clinically in-
troduced on a prototype-procedure basis in Eu-
rope, the technology may be available in the
U.S. in the future (see page 79).
Procedures such as catheter-based atrial fib-
rillation ablation and aortic valve replacement
Minimally-invasive treatments are making it possible to
help many who would not survive conventional surgery
. of different therapies (see aneurysms, page
81). For instance, using high-resolution angio-
graphic images as a starting point, Siemens
researchers have produced exact 3D models of
aneurysms and subjected the models to algo-
rithms that simulate blood flow. The research
is designed to help clinicians understand the
key factors that affect the probability of rup-
ture, and therefore help to optimize personal-
ized therapies. Siemens researchers in Germany
and the U.S. are now developing a software
platform that clinicians will be able to use to
validate simulated results by comparing them
to actual patient measurements.
Never to be underestimated in any discus-
sion of aging populations is the threat of
Alzheimer’s disease (AD) — a degenerative ter-
minal illness that affects over 20 million people
today, 95 percent of whom are 65 and older
(see page 87). At Siemens’ state-of-the-art
Molecular Imaging Biomarker Research center
in Culver City, California, researchers led by
Hartmuth Kolb, PhD, Vice President, Siemens
Medical Solutions, are focusing on development
of molecules that are designed to seek out and
the catheter is in exactly the right place, abla-
tion can begin,” explains Dr. Nassir F. Mar-
rouche, Executive Direc tor of the Comprehen-
sive Arrhythmia Research & Management
Center at the University of Utah in Salt Lake
City (see interview, page 82). According to Siemens researchers, another
major cause of disability and death in people
65 and older is aortic valve disease. Now, how-
ever, thanks to clinical cooperation between
Siemens Healthcare, the Leipzig Heart Center,
and the German Heart Center in Munich, as
well as Siemens Corporate Research (SCR) in
are living into their 70s and 80s implies in-
creased medical costs for society,” he adds.
“One way of holding down these costs is to de-
velop clinical methods that are minimally inva-
sive. Such procedures tend to reduce hospital
stays while improving outcomes.”
Comaniciu adds that another strategy that
holds the promise of cutting medical costs is
the use of simulation in predicting the effects
“light up” Alzheimer’s disease biomarkers when
scanned using positron emission tomography
(PET). In imaging such biomarkers, Kolb and
his colleagues are working with pharmaceuti-
cal companies that are eager to collaborate
with Siemens to determine the effects of their
newest compounds on disease pathology. “As soon as we can accurately image a
marker,” says Kolb, “we can also begin to see
whether a medication is affecting it. Within ten
years we may have the knowledge to slow
Alzheimer’s down or even bring it to a halt.”
Arthur F. Pease
dure by specialists from Siemens, SurgiVision,
a Tennessee-based medical device company,
and the University of Utah’s School of Medicine
(see page 80). Instead of using X-rays and their
relatively indistinct images, the procedure will
use a 3-Tesla Siemens MR scanner. For the first
time, the physician will see continuous, real-
time 3D images of the patient’s heart and the
exact location of a SurgiVision catheter. “When
are examples of the growing trend toward
minimally-invasive treatments — a trend that
is being driven by the need to provide thera-
peutic solutions for a rapidly-aging population.
“People who are older are simply not as resist-
ant to surgery as younger people,” says Dorin
Comaniciu, PhD, head of the Medical Informat-
ics Global Technology Field at SCR. “The fact
that more and more people around the world
Whether assembling wind turbines or playing with
grandchildren, thanks to advances in healthcare,
more and more people are working longer and enjoying an enhanced quality of life.
Demographic Change | Trends
80 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
smart visualization and guidance technology
facilitates implantation of a replacement valve
by means of a catheter, thus sparing patients
the trauma of surgery and cutting total per-pa-
tient costs. Already clinically introduced on a
prototype-procedure basis in Europe, the tech-
nology may also become available in the U.S.
in the near future.
The new procedure is based on the use of
Siemens’ DynaCT 3D cardiac angiographic im-
aging system. Normally used for so-called “in-
terventional” procedures, such as inserting a
stent in a clogged artery, X-ray based DynaCT
provides exquisitely detailed images of the
thorax. But during aortic valve implantation,
what the surgeon wants to see in particular is
the device so that it covers the old valve with-
out permitting leakage or covering the end
points of the coronary arteries, which would
cause an immediate heart attack.” When the
prosthesis is in precisely the right position, a
balloon inside the catheter (see illustration,
page 79) unfurls, thus opening the prosthesis
and pressing it firmly against the aortic wall.
To date, the procedure has been performed
on over 150 patients in Europe with an aver-
age age of 78. One of the few cardiac surgeons
who has extensive experience with it is Prof.
Dr. Rüdiger Lange, Director of the German
Heart Institute of the Technical University of
Munich. “The great advantage of the new soft-
ware,” he says, “is that it allows you to clearly
With more and more people living longer
lives, the number of people with atrial fibrilla-
tion is expected to double over the next ten
years. In view of this alarming trend, Siemens
has teamed with SurgiVision, a Memphis, Ten-
nessee-based medical device company, and
with the University of Utah’s School of Medi-
cine (for more see page 82) to develop a new,
minimally-invasive procedure that will allow a
cardiologist to see fibrous tissues and ablate
them with extreme precision using a special-
ized catheter that enters the heart from a tiny
incision and is guided using real-time magnet-
ic resonance imaging. Still under development, the procedure is
expected to offer significant advantages over
the aortic root. With this in mind, Siemens re-
searchers have developed a technology “that
automatically identifies the aortic valve area in
a DynaCT data set and segments it — that is,
eliminates everything that is not important,
such as the rib cage, from the picture,” ex-
plains Dr. Jan Boese, who heads innovations
and prototyping at Siemens Healthcare’s An-
giography Business Unit. As the replacement valve approaches the
area of interest wrapped in the tip of a
catheter, unique software makes it possible to
identify the optimum angulation of the new
valve. “This is the key to the new procedure,”
says Dr. Rui Liao, who, with Dr. Yefeng Zheng,
co-developed the software at SCR. “It automat-
ically detects anatomical landmarks in the aor-
tic valve area and provides visual confirmation
of the exact angle of the prosthesis. This infor-
mation is crucial in terms of correctly placing
see the angle of the prosthesis. This is terribly
important because the aortic valve is some-
times twisted, making it very risky to guess
what is right. With this procedure, accuracy
makes all the difference, and this software is
very accurate.”
Operating in the Imaging Space.It is one of
the quintessential diseases of old age. Like the
nicks and scratches that accumulate over the
years on the once shiny surfaces of our cars,
our hearts, for reasons that are still not fully
understood, often build up fibrous scar tissues.
Such tissues can cause electrical anomalies
known as arrhythmias; and 60 percent of all ar-
rhythmias develop on the thin inner walls of
the left atrium, causing an often asymptomatic
condition called atrial fibrillation (AF) that is a
leading cause of stroke and heart failure
among people 65 and older.
existing ablation treatment, which also relies
on catheters, but is X-ray-based, takes over
four hours with significant radiation exposure
to the patient and the clinician, and is charac-
terized by difficult visualization, poor precision,
and a success rate of only 50 to 75 percent. “By
comparison, with the new MR-based guidance
procedure, we expect to see a significant im-
provement in quality and a marked reduction
in procedure time,” says Walter Märzendorfer,
CEO, Magnetic Resonance, at Siemens Health-
care. Associated research under the direction of
Dr. Nassir F. Marrouche, Executive Director of
the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research &
Management Center at the University of Utah
in Salt Lake City, has already resulted in an MR-
based pre-treatment evaluation system (see
image above, left) that groups AF patients into
one of four categories, with stage 1 having an
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 81
excellent prognosis and stage 4 representing
such an advanced condition that ablation
would not help. “This methodology gives the
attending cardiologist a better decision tool in
determining whether it makes sense to treat a
particular patient. The result is that for the first
time cardiologists can more confidently ex-
clude patients that would have no benefit from
such a procedure,” says Märzendorfer.
Although the new MR-based AF ablation
procedure has made significant progress in an-
imal studies, more work remains to be com-
pleted before it can head for clinical trials. “To-
gether with the University of Utah team and
SurgiVision, we are fine tuning the pulse se-
quences on our MR scanners for continuous
real-time acquisition of MR images and catheter
tracking,” says Christine H. Lorenz, PhD, Direc-
tor, Center for Applied Medical Imaging, a col-
laboration between Siemens Healthcare and
Simulations of aneurysms reveal a range of characteristics that affect the probability of rupture.
Siemens Corporate Research based in Balti-
more, Maryland. Siemens is also developing
navigation software that makes it possible to
visualize catheters and the heart in 3D space –
the key technology in allowing cardiologists to
position their catheters for precise ablation of
Essential to all of this is the development of
ablation and mapping catheters that are com-
patible with the powerful magnetic fields typi-
cal of MRI and can interact with a scanner’s sig-
nals and software in order to be tracked and
visualized in real time. With this in mind, Sur-
giVision has developed a family of catheters
outfitted with tiny MR micro transmitter coils.
“With our minimally invasive catheters in the
body and the patient resting in the scanner,
the signals produced by the catheter’s coils are
picked up by the scanner’s pulse sequences,
giving us the real-time position and orienta-
tion of each catheter in three dimensions,” ex-
plains SurgiVision CEO Kimble Jenkins. “At that
point, the cardiologist will see the exact posi-
tion of the catheters along with high resolu-
tion images of the patient’s cardiac anatomy in
the same 3D space. In short, the imaging space
will become the surgical space.”
Aneurysms: Shedding Light on Risk. It is
used for designing everything from coffee
makers to oil and gas pipelines. A well-estab-
lished tool in industry, computational fluid
dynamics (CFD) is now being investigated by
Siemens researchers to determine its applica-
since the worldwide price tag for aneurysm
treatments is estimated to be around $1.8 billion.
Aneurysms come in all shapes and sizes.
The most commonly affected areas are the
brain, the abdomen and the aorta. And with
the growing sensitivity of angiographic imag-
ing systems — the newest of which can re-
solve structures down to 150 microns — more
and more are being discovered. But you can’t
necessarily tell whether an aneurysm is dan-
gerous by just looking at it, which is where CFD
comes in. Using high-resolution images as a
starting point, Princeton, New Jersey-based
Siemens researchers Bogdan Georgescu, Viorel
Mihalef, and Puneet Sharma have produced
exact 3D models of aneurysms and subjected
them to algorithms that simulate blood flow.
“Preliminary research indicates that the proba-
bility of rupture is based on factors that include
blood flow and pressure changes as they relate
to vessel wall characteristics,” says Georgescu.
Adds Redel: “This is an important step toward
the eventual personalization of aneurysm
treatment.” As Siemens researchers simulate different
combinations of parameters in an effort to un-
derstand what can trigger an aneurysm to rup-
ture — and what can keep it from doing so —
they are testing the effects of so-called “flow
diverters.” Unlike conventional therapy, which
is designed to clip an aneurysm at its neck, but
can result in a life-threatening perforation,
flow diverters merely redirect some blood to-
bility to a range of medical questions. Take
aneurysms, for instance, which are potentially
life-threatening balloon-like structures that
form on arterial walls. If an aneurysm bursts in
your brain, it can leave you disabled or dead.
Indeed, only about one third of those who ex-
perience an aneurysm rupture recover com-
pletely. Experts estimate that between one and
five percent of the population — with the pro-
portion growing steadily with age — have an
aneurysm. On the other hand, the vast majori-
ty of aneurysms never rupture. Thus, accord-
ing to Dr. Thomas Redel, an expert on angio-
graphic imaging systems at Siemens
Healthcare, “The key question is, if an
aneurysm is discovered in the course of a rou-
tine angiographic or magnetic resonance im-
aging test, how does the attending physician
determine its level of threat?” The answer
could have significant economic consequences,
ward other vessels. “We believe that CFD can
play an important role here,” says Dr. Jan Boese,
who heads innovations and prototyping at
Siemens Healthcare’s Angiography Business
Unit. “Before introducing a diverter, doctors
could perform simulations to optimize its
placement.” With this in mind, Siemens re-
searchers in Germany and the U.S. are now de-
veloping a software platform that clinicians
will be able to use to validate simulated results
against actual patient measurements.
Further down the road, researchers hope
that, by identifying potential hemodynamic
risks, CFD will help to predict a patient’s risk of
heart attack, and will support optimized thera-
pies, such as selection and placement of pros-
thetic aortic and mitral valves and the localized
delivery of therapeutic substances, not to
mention helping to train the next generation
of physicians.Arthur F. Pease
Left atrium of the human heart showing four levels of scarring, a major cause of arrhythmias. Left and
below: A cerebral aneurysm. Blood flow simulations
may make it possible to estimate an aneurysm’s risk.
Demographic Change
| Cardiovascular Technologies
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 8382 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Dr. Nassir F. Marrouche
(41) is Executive Director
of the Comprehensive Arrhythmia Research &
Management Center and
directs the Cardiac Electro-
physiology Laboratories at
the University of Utah
School of Medicine where
he is an Associate Profes-
sor of Medicine. Dr. Marrouche is recog-
nized worldwide for his pioneering research on
new imaging techniques
for the treatment of atrial
fibrillation. He and his
team are the first re-
searchers in the U.S. to
use magnetic resonance
imaging (MRI) to refine
techniques for ablating
damaged heart tissue. As more people live longer, the incidence of atrial fibrillation (AF), an often asymptomatic heart-rhythm disturbance that can lead to stroke, is growing day by day. A worldwide patient evaluation program, and new technologies based on the use of magnetic resonance imaging, are setting the stage for early detection and safer, more personalized treatment.
Dr. Rob MacLeod (54) is
Associate Director of the
Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research
and Training Institute
(CVRTI) at the University
of Utah School of Medi-
cine in Salt Lake City. He is
also Associate Director of
the University’s Scientific
Computing and Imaging
Institute (SCI), Director of
Undergraduate Studies,
and Associate Professor of Bioengineering, College
of Engineering. In addi-
tion, he is a Research As-
sociate Professor of Inter-
nal Medicine,Division of
Cardiology, and Co-Direc-
tor of the NIH NCRR Center
for Integrative Biomedical
Computing. A Strike against Stroke
much higher chance of sudden cardiac death
compared with patients who do not have it. So
this disease is a major concern. In the U.S. we
spend around $15.4 billion per year to treat
fibrillation-caused strokes and associated hos-
pitalizations. How has AF been treated until now?
Most patients are managed with
anti-arrhythmic drugs and medications to
avoid clotting. But statistics show that these
regimens do not improve the incidence of
stroke and mortality rates. In the U.S., a small
minority of patients, about 60,000 per year,
are treated with ablation therapy — the use of
a catheter to ablate, or burn, parts of the sur-
face area of the left atrium to make it electri-
cally inactive and incapable of causing a
rhythm disturbance. The procedure can cure
AF. However, there are a number of concerns.
Since it is performed using X-ray fluoroscopy,
the images are somewhat indistinct and have
a 2-second delay that can result in either ex-
cessive or insufficient ablation. Consequently,
arrhythmia recurrence and procedural compli-
cation rates can be very high. You are introducing a new methodology
and treatment for AF…
Correct. There are two parts to
this. The first is an evidence-based patient
classification system, with four stages. The
fourth stage, “Utah 4,” represents a very ad-
vanced disease state. Classification begins
with an MR scan designed to determine the
actual extent of damage, or fibrosis, in the
heart. In fact, starting in May 2010, the Uni-
versity of Utah officially established a network
of 28 medical centers around the world that
have begun using this classification system to
stage AF patients. This is the first step toward
personalized management of this condition. How many people suffer from atrial fibrillation?
AF is the most common cardiac
arrhythmia or heart-rhythm disturbance. It ac-
counts for over 60 percent of all arrhythmias.
Officially, more than three million people in
the U.S. have it. Unofficially, the number is
probably closer to five million. And since we
have a rapidly aging society, the number of
people with AF is expected to double by
around 2020. The longer we live, the more
scarring we have in our hearts. This scarring,
or fibrotic tissue, can cause rhythm distur-
bances. In the U.S. alone, we expect to see ten
million cases of AF by 2020, and perhaps 20
million by 2030. What’s more, the numbers
are growing at about the same rate world-
wide. Overall, about 1.9 percent of the 6.8 bil-
lion people alive today have atrial fibrillation.
Additionally, about 28 percent of AF episodes
are completely asymptomatic, meaning you
don’t feel them at all and you don’t know you
have a serious heart disease. If you do have
symptoms, they could be shortness of breath,
chest pain, and most commonly, palpitation. Can AF cause stroke?
Yes. Today in the U.S., at least
one out of five people who arrive in emer-
gency rooms with a stroke are there because
of AF. Here’s what happens: With AF, the left
atrium of the heart beats about 500 to 600
times per minute. But the lower chamber, the
left ventricle, moves more slowly. As a result,
some of the blood pools in the left atrial ap-
pendage, and that blood can form clots. At
some point, part of a clot may be pumped out,
go to the brain, and cause a stroke. Additional-
ly, 30 percent of AF patients go on to develop
heart failure, a condition in which the heart is
unable to supply sufficient blood flow to meet
the body’s needs. AF is also associated with a
The second part is the ablation procedure.
If a patient turns out to be “Utah 1,” meaning
that less than five percent of their left atrium
is fibrotic, we ablate the damaged tissue and
the cure rate is nearly 100 percent. The classi-
fication system is designed to catch patients
early — before fibrosis becomes widespread —
and treat them right away. Additionally,
thanks to the system we have developed, we
can definitively tell patients what their risk of
stroke is and take corrective actions immedi-
ately. You are also developing a new treatment
for AF, right?
Yes. We have teamed with
Siemens and SurgiVision, a Memphis, Ten-
nessee-based medical device company, to de-
velop a new procedure. Instead of using X-rays
and their relatively indistinct images, the new
procedure will use a 3-Tesla Siemens MR scan-
ner. For the first time ever, the physician will
see continuous, real-time 3D images of the pa-
tient’s heart and the exact location of a Sur-
giVision MR-compatible catheter. When the
catheter is in exactly the right place, ablation
can begin.
Where are we on the road to clinical introduction?
We are getting close. We know
how to make the procedure safe. My hope is
that next year we will begin performing it on
humans under an investigational device ex-
emption. In fact, as we speak, we are building
a dedicated electrophysiology MRI ablation
suite in Utah for this purpose. What role has Siemens Healthcare played
in all of this?
Siemens is a natural partner be-
cause the University of Utah’s Medical School
Demographic Change
| Interview
has transitioned to Siemens products across
the imaging spectrum. Our relationship with
Siemens has focused on the development of
real-time image acquisition and MRI-guided
ablation techniques. The resulting software
they have developed has become the center-
piece of all of our MRI experiments. It allows
us to continuously acquire and display images
from the scanner. This in turn makes it possi-
ble to visualize the ablation lesions as they are
formed by the therapy and it allows the physi-
cian to determine exactly where and how
much energy should be deposited in a specific
area of the heart. Where would you like the technology to
be in five years?
We would like to have a system
that would give us the same kind of temporal
resolution as ultrasound, about 30 frames per
second. Our best temporal resolution today is
around 5 frames per second with acceptable
image quality. At the same time, we need a
slightly higher level of spatial resolution than
what is currently possible in order to distin-
guish regions within the posterior wall of the
left atrium, which is only two to four mm thick
and is where the disease tends to be located.
Further ahead, our vision is to develop a marker
that can identify those regions with tissue
characteristics that make them vulnerable to
electrical disturbance but which are not pres-
ent in a healthy heart. In what ways do you expect the new procedure to change outcome and costs?
The new procedure will improve
patient outcomes because it will reduce the
incidence of strokes and increase the cure rate
for ablation procedures. As for costs, I can’t
predict exact numbers, but it will be a major
change.Interview by Arthur F. Pease
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 85
Advances in data transfer technologies allow patients with severe depression to receive nearly instantaneous feedback (thermometer), thus helping
them to modulate their feelings during MRI.
Learning to Read the Brain
Like a book written in some long-lost language, the activity of the human brain is being
deciphered. Using a variety of emerging techniques in magnetic resonance imaging, researchers at MIT and MR specialists at Siemens are discovering how to spot the areas
of the brain affected by a stroke before serious damage occurs. Other age-related conditions, such as Alzheimer’s disease are also coming into focus as researchers zero in
on the signals produced by associated molecules. I
magine if your car had no visible controls,
operated on an obscure mixture of biochem-
ical substances, and yet somehow managed to
take you exactly where you wanted to go. Our
minds are a lot like such a vehicle. At any given
instant, innumerable processes are at work in
our heads that we are neither aware of nor
have any objective way of controlling. That’s
fine most of the time. But when trouble crops
84 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Neurological Research
up — severe depression, anxiety, obsessive-
compulsive disorders, or one of a vast range of
other potentially debilitating psychological
conditions — the only controls we have access
to are counseling sessions and medications
with mile-long lists of side effects. Now, a new road to managing such condi-
tions has opened up — one that empowers pa-
tients while potentially obviating many expen-
rects for geometric distortion and maximizes
feedback times. We still have up to a five-sec-
ond lag in the feedback loop, but that’s be-
cause of the brain’s own hemodynamic re-
sponse to stimulus.” The technology could
eventually also be used to empower patients
to control addictive urges — including smoking
and excessive eating, manage some forms of
pain, and even improve concentration. What-
ever its future applications, the technology
that has made real-time fMRI patient feedback
possible is a valuable tool on the road to devel-
opment of next-generation MRI systems.
Better Images. Another major Siemens-MIT
research effort is the development of an array
of radio-frequency transmitters. “This project
has enormous promise,” says Michael Hamm,
who heads Siemens’ MR research group in
Boston. “Normally, you would transmit only
one radio frequency into the body, switch it off
and generate an image from the signals pro-
duced by a change in the spin of hydrogen nu-
clei, otherwise know as protons,” explains
Hamm. “But with our array you can transmit
multiple frequencies — also known as pulses
— in parallel. The overlaying of parallel pulses
can be used to shorten excitation duration,
which may result in clearer, more reliable im-
ence at MIT. “Its deployment to human imag-
ing will be a breakthrough because its applica-
tions are so broad.”
An associated Siemens-MIT project that is
also designed to accelerate scan times while
producing higher-resolution images has fo-
cused on receiving MR signals as they return
from the body. To image a patient’s brain, for
instance, the head is surrounded by antennas
— also known as coil elements. Each antenna
receives a signal from nearby tissues on its
own channel. “The more coil elements — com-
bined with newly-developed acquisition tech-
niques — the higher the speed and resolution,”
says Hamm, who points out that, “when imag-
ing shallow areas, a 128-coil-element proto-
type system can accelerate signal processing
by a factor of seven compared to a commer-
cially-available 24-coil-element system.” Improvements in resolution resulting from
the use of more coil elements offer potential
advantages for doctors and patients. Before
brain surgery, for instance, surgeons want to
know exactly where the patient’s visual cortex
is located in order to avoid any possible dam-
age. “In this regard, we compared a twelve-
channel head coil system with a 32,” says Triantafyllou. “We found that in order to deter-
mine the functional boundaries of the visual
sive medical therapies. Thanks to a close re-
search collaboration between Siemens and the
Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT),
scientists at MIT’s McGovern Institute for Brain
Research in Boston are in the process of devel-
oping tools that hold the promise of allowing
many patients to manage their conditions by
learning to voluntarily modulate otherwise in-
accessible processes. al feedback,” explains Triantafyllou, who is also
the Center’s chief MRI physicist. “To achieve
this, we developed a real-time data transfer
system capable of keeping up with the sub-
stantial data stream generated from a 32-
channel phased array head coil. We used a
Siemens motion correction algorithm to re-
duce post-processing requirements and proto-
type real-time software from Siemens that cor-
Can You Modulate Your Amygdalae? Take
depression, for instance. Thanks to a substan-
tial body of knowledge, MRI can now support
diagnosis of this condition. “We know that if
patients with depression respond to treat-
ment, their amygdalae — two almond-shaped
structures located deep beneath the temples
— will demonstrate a reduced level of activity,”
says Dr. John Gabrieli, Grover Herman Profes-
sor of Health Sciences, Technology and Cogni-
tive Neuroscience at MIT and Director of the
Athinoula A. Martinos Imaging Center at the
McGovern Institute. Building on this knowl-
edge, Gabrieli and others at the Martinos Im-
aging Center are working with Siemens to pro-
vide almost instantaneous feedback (in the
form of a projected thermometer) to patients
during functional magnetic resonance scans
(fMRI). The feedback allows them to literally
see if they are modulating their amygdalae in
such a way as to reduce their depression. “We
have shown that people can learn to master
this. But the ability to do so depends on techni-
cal issues such as the speed at which feedback
occurs,” says Gabrieli. In order to provide nearly instantaneous
feedback with MR — a technology that is known
for its long scan times — Associate Director of
the Martinos Center at McGovern Dr. Christina
Triantafyllou worked closely with Siemens.
“The idea was to get the data from the scanner
to an external computer as quickly as possible,
process it, and forward it to the patient as visu-
ages at higher field strengths." The result is
clearer images because the array can tailor the
MR signal excitation profile and thus compen-
sate for image inhomogeneities. “The array ap-
proach is one of the key elements of our col-
laboration with Siemens,” says Dr. Elfar
Adalsteinsson, associate professor of health
sciences and technology and associate profes-
sor of electrical engineering and computer sci-
cortex, we needed five scans with a twelve-
channel head coil, but only one scan with a 32-
channel system. This allowed us to reduce the
time for this study from 24 to four minutes.”
(For more on the development of multi-channel
systems, see Pictures of the Future, Fall 2005,
page 62).
Pictures of Mental Illness. Thanks to the re-
duced scanning times and higher-resolution
imaging that result from parallel transmission
arrays and the ability to process information
from more and more channels — not to men-
tion more powerful MR scanners — researchers
are beginning to use improved brain mapping
to objectively identify the unique “signatures”
of activity that characterize different psycho-
logical conditions. For instance, working with
Siemens and Massachusetts General Hospital
in Boston, Triantafyllou has used a specialized
Siemens 32-channel coil for the study of chil-
dren with dyslexia, autism and attention
deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). “The
idea,” she explains, “is to document the devel-
opment of the MR signature of each of these
Thanks to nearly immediate feedback, patients can
see if they are modulating depression downwards.
Conscious or in a Vegetative State?
It’s your worst nightmare. Following a catastrophic traffic accident, you “wake up” in a hospital only
to find that you are unable to move or communicate in any way. How can doctors determine
whether you are in some way conscious – as opposed to being in a vegetative state? That was the
question that researchers set out to answer in a study conducted at the MRC Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit and the Wolfson Brain Imaging Centre, both in Cambridge, UK, and at Liège University
Hospital, Belgium. Published in the February 9, 2010 New England Journal of Medicine, the study
used a 3T Magnetom Trio Tim Siemens functional magnetic resonance imaging application to assess
54 patients who had been diagnosed as having “disorders of consciousness.” During scanning, pa-
tients were given mental imagery tasks (imagine hitting a ball in a tennis court, for instance) that
elicited reproducible blood-oxygenation levels in specific brain areas in healthy control subjects. The
researchers then developed a technique designed to determine whether such tasks could be the ba-
sis for yes-or-no communication in response to simple questions. The study found that five of the patients could “willfully modulate their brain activity” and that one of them could produce a neu-
roanatomical signal revealing a yes or no answer to questions – but of course only during functional
MRI. “The technique,” says study lead author Martin M. Monti, PhD, of the Cognition and Brain Sciences Unit of the UK’s Medical Research Council, “may be useful in establishing basic communica-
tion with a very limited number of patients who appear to be unresponsive.” 86 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Neurological Research
Heading off an Epidemic
As the proportion of people over 65 continues to rise, the number of people with Alzheimer’s disease is expected to double every 20 years. By 2040, there may be over 80 million cases worldwide. Thanks to molecular imaging and other diagnostic technologies, scientists are inching closer to understanding the
mechanisms that drive this deadly disease.
magine a city with 100 trillion intersections,
no stop lights and virtually no accidents. Re-
place the intersections with synapses and
chemical pulses and you have a picture of a
healthy human brain. Allow the pavement in
an ever-growing number of intersections to
crumble and be replaced by potholes and you
have a very different picture – one that reflects
conditions in Alzheimer’s disease (AD), a de-
generative neurological ailment that accounts
for 60 to 89 percent of all dementias.
In the U.S., 5.3 million people, 95 percent
of whom are 65 and older, are crippled by AD,
and every 70 seconds, according to the
Alzheimer’s Association, a public health organ-
ization based in Chicago, Illinois, someone in
the U.S. develops it. Meanwhile, in Germany,
according to a recent study by the Fritz-Beske
Institute for Healthcare System Research, the
number of AD patients is set to double from
the current figure of 1.1 million to 2.2 million
by 2050. Projections for other regions are no
brighter. According to findings published in
the December, 2005 Lancet, Latin America and
Africa will experience an increase of between
235 and 393 percent in the incidence of de-
mentias by 2040, while India, China and much
of Asia will experience an increase of between
314 and 336 percent for the same period. “We
estimate that 24 million people have dementia
today,” say the authors, “and that this amount
will double every 20 years to 42 million by
2020 and 81 million by 2040.”
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 87
How close are we to seeing very early-stage
stroke-related damage? “We are now at the
point where we are building models of the rate
at which the brain consumes oxygen in differ-
ent areas and for different tasks,” says Adal-
steinsson. “We need to quantify this in ab-
solute units of energy consumption.” He
cautions, however, that this is far more com-
plex than it may seem: “Basically, all we have to
go on in MRI is how much water is in a given
location. That’s not a lot of information. But
there are factors in the local environment that
affect that signal in subtle ways, such as its
rate of decay, which in turn can be linked to
levels of oxygenation through careful model-
ing. Imaging of appropriately-selected MRI sig-
nal sources in the brain, followed by estima-
tion of their characteristic decay rates, can be
used as a basis for a model of how the brain
consumes oxygen. Doing this reliably requires
very high quality MRI machines.”
Although water molecules constitute the
major compound that responds to MR signals,
there are other compounds that offer tantaliz-
ing prospects as new sources of diagnostic and
research information. One such molecule,
which, according to Adalsteinsson, offers a sig-
nature for “happy, healthy neurons,” is N-
acetyl-aspartate (NAA). In patients with brain
injury, stroke or Alzheimer’s, NAA’s signal will
diminish over time, and could, for example, be
used to detect the first signs of disease or track
a patient’s response to treatment. “These are some of the questions we are ex-
ploring with Siemens and with our colleagues
at Massachusetts General Hospital,” says Adal-
steinsson. “In my opinion,” he adds, “what we
are doing here is a prime example of what you
can get out of a tight collaboration between
academia and industry. As we turn the corner
on new technologies and begin to deploy, we
need the resources of industry, and that’s
where our synergy with Siemens comes in.”
Arthur F. Pease
“If we could quantify the rate of oxygen
consumption in the brain, we could, for exam-
ple, treat early-stage stroke much more effec-
tively than is now possible,” says Adalsteins-
son. “A radiologist would be able to see exactly
where oxygen consumption was abnormal and
recommend targeted treatment virtually on
the spot.” The implications for this are huge.
Each year, according to the American Heart As-
sociation’s “Heart Disease and Stroke Statistics
2010,” nearly 800,000 Americans “experience
a new or recurrent stroke…and on average,
every 40 seconds, someone in the United
States has a stroke.” conditions over time with a view to improving
diagnostic accuracy.”
Working along similar lines, Triantafyllou
and Institute Director Gabrieli are studying MR
signatures to determine whether it is possible
to predict which dyslexic children will respond
to treatment. “Some get much better, others
don’t improve. And conventional tests can’t
predict outcome,” says Gabrieli. “But with im-
aging we have been able to predict with 92
percent accuracy which children would do a lot
better. This is real evidence-based medicine;
and it is based on the development of fMRI sig-
natures that are strong predictors for improve-
ment for certain conditions. We can digitally
quantify the areas of the brain that are affect-
ed and compare results. All in all, this is a new
field with huge social and healthcare cost im-
Rapid Localization of Strokes? As objective
signatures for a range of conditions affecting
the brain come into focus, they will be based
on information pertaining to the precise
anatomical distribution and quantification of
physiological processes such as blood oxy-
genation — an area now being intensely stud-
ied by Dr. Adalsteinsson and his engineering
PhD and M.D./ PhD students using Siemens
scanners and specialized support. Right column: Amyloid precursor proteins break
away from neurons and form plaque. Bottom: Tau
protein is transformed, leading to neuronal death.
Top: Alzheimer’s brain (left) and normal brain. Signs of age-related memory loss? Thanks to technologies from Siemens, MIT researchers were
able to reliably identify working memory (red areas)
more quickly and accurately than ever before.
Research regarding the rate of oxygen consumption
in the brain could lead to targeted stroke treatment. Healthy Neuron Diseased Neuron Microtubules Disintegrating Microtubules Microtubule
subunits fall apart
Stabilizing Tau Molecules Tangled Clumps of Tau Proteins Cell Membrane Cell Interior Beta-Amyloid Beta-Amyloid-Plaque
APP Molecule Enzymes Leistungsschub: Mit Siemens-Tech nik verbrauchen
die Bosporus-Fähren weit we niger Treibstoff. Die
Formel-1-Renn strecke (Mitte) und seine Fa brik für
Schalt an la gen hat Siemens ebenfalls auf Vorder-
mann gebracht.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 89
care, and lower physical stress due to less manual labor
are all leading to an increase in the average age of popu-
lations — particularly, in industrialized countries. As a re-
sult, the UN expects the proportion of people over 60 to
increase from the current 11 percent to nearly 22 percent
by 2050. This means that whereas 737 million people
were 60 or older in 2009, nearly two billion will be in this
agegroup in 2050. Life expectancy in China, for example,
has increased from 41 to 72 over the last 50 years, and to-
day more than 100 million Chinese — or over eight per-
cent of the population — are over 65. According to the
UN, this number will grow almost fourfold by 2050. This is already leading to greater demand for medical
diagnostic services and treatments. China, in fact, is see-
ing a rise in chronic illnesses brought about by a higher
standard of living and an associated lack of exercise and
unhealthy diets. Health care costs in the country are now
rising faster than the economy is growing. Traditionally,
grown-up children have cared for their elderly parents in
China — but the long-term consequences of the One-
Child Policy will make such care more and more difficult
to manage in the future. According to the European statistical agency, Eurostat,
the proportion of EU citizens who are 65 or older will in-
crease from the current 17.1 percent to 30 percent by
2060. This means that for every person over 65, there will
be only two people of employable age, as opposed to the
one-to-four ratio at the moment. In addition, one out of
every seven Germans will be over 80 in 2050. The popula-
tion structure in the industrialized nations already looks
more like a mushroom than the classical pyramid, and this
is putting a tremendous strain on pension systems. The
European Commission therefore recommends that EU
member states significantly raise their retirement ages. Aging populations also have an impact on gross do-
mestic product (GDP) because the latter is dependent
upon employment levels and productivity. As a result, it
will become more difficult to achieve economic growth if
the number of employed individuals declines. It’s often
believed that an aging population leads to a decrease in
innovation due to a lack of dynamic, youthful energy and
ideas. There’s more to innovation than just ideas, how-
ever. The most important thing is the implementation and
successful marketing of innovations — and older people
in particular possess a wealth of knowledge and experi-
ence in this regard. In its annual study of innovation activ-
ity and capability (“Innovation Barometer”), the German
inspection services provider Dekra found that companies
in which there is no exchange of knowledge between em-
ployees of various age groups successfully transform less
than ten percent of all their ideas into marketable prod-
ucts. However, companies that have a regular exchange
of information between young and old successfully place
around 20 percent of their ideas on the market. In addi-
tion, organizations with more employees over 49 than
employees under 36 are able to market 30 percent of
their ideas. Sylvia Trage
Age Distribution by Region
Population in total and according to region in 2009
Population Trends by Region over Time
Regional distribution of global population
Comparison of Demographic Trends
Population distribution according to age scales
Population under 15 years of age
North America 341 million
3 106
16 713
Europe 738 million Asia 4.12 billion
Latin America/Caribbean 580 million
Africa 999 million Oceania 36 million
6.81 billion
9.421 billion
World 6.81 billion
2009 2050
Population over 65 years of age
Remaining population
Male Female
Source: DSW Data Report 2009Source: DSW Data Report 2009
Source: United Nations (2009),
36 million (0.5%)
Latin America/Caribbean
580 million (8.5%)
Africa 999 million (14.7%)
North America
341 million (5.0%)
738 million (10.8%)
4.117 billion (60.5%)
58 million (0.6%)
Latin America/Caribbean
724 million (7.7%)
1.994 billion (21.2%)
North America
481 million (5.1%)
702 million (7.4%)
5.461 billion (58.0%)
95 – 99
90 – 94
85 – 89
80 – 84
75 – 79
70 – 74
65 – 69
60 – 64
55 – 59
50 – 54
45 – 49
40 – 44
35 – 39
30 – 34
25 – 29
20 – 24
15 – 19
10 – 14
5 – 9
0 – 4
50 5010 20 30 4060
Millions of men
Millions of women
203030 10
he world’s population has doubled over the last 40
years, and now stands at 6.8 billion. Some 60 per-
cent of these people live in Asia, and according to the
United Nations, an additional 2.3 billion human beings,
most of them from developing countries, will inhabit the
earth by 2050. Birth rates are particularly high in Africa,
where the population will double to nearly two billion by
2050. Women in Niger, for example, bear an average of
seven children today — although nearly 117 of 1000
newborns die, mainly as a result of malnutrition. In China,
on the other hand, the country’s One-Child Policy —
which has been relaxed somewhat to allow for exceptions
— has led to a fertility rate of only 1.8 children per
woman. “China’s current population of more than 1.3 bil-
lion will rise to a relative peak of 1.47 billion in 2040 be-
fore beginning to decline,” says Jiang Weiping, Director
General of the China Population and Development Re-
search Center. At that point, the Chinese will account for
“only” 15 percent of the global population — that’s five
percent less than today. With an average fertility rate of 2.1 children per
woman, the population of the United States will grow
from nearly 310 million today to 392 million by 2050,
whereby this development will largely be due to immigra-
tion. According to the European Commission, the popula-
tion of the EU-27 nations might also increase through im-
migration from the current 500 million or so to 528
million in 2030. At the current fertility rate of 1.5 children
per woman, such growth in the EU would not be possible
without immigration, as a rate of 2.1 children per woman
would be required to prevent the population in the EU
from declining. The low birth rate in the European Union is a result of
younger people studying longer, a high number of
women in the workforce, an increasingly uncertain labor
market, and widespread access to modern contraceptives.
However, a slight uptick may take place here in the long
term. According to a recent study by the Max Planck Insti-
tute for Demographic Research in Rostock, Germany, and
the Vienna Institute of Demography (Austria), birth rates
in many industrialized nations are now slowly rising
again. Experts say this is due to the fact that women are
not waiting as long to have babies as they did in the
1990s. In addition, many countries, such as France, offer
extensive support, financial aid, tax breaks, and other in-
centives to help young mothers quickly return to the
workforce. Changing demographics doesn’t just mean rising pop-
ulations but also an increasing number of older individu-
als. Declining infant mortality rates, improved medical
A World of Demographic Changes __
And a Spectrum of Consequences
| Facts and Forecasts
88 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Alzheimer’s Disease
Considering these dire predictions, efforts
to understand, diagnose and treat this treach-
erous and invariably fatal disease are in high
gear. At Siemens’ state-of-the-art Molecular
Imaging Biomarker Research Center in Culver
City, California, for instance, researchers led by
Hartmuth Kolb, PhD, Vice President, Siemens
Medical Solutions, are focusing on develop-
ment of molecules that are designed to seek
out and “light up” AD indicators when scanned
using positron emission tomography (PET). Specifically, Kolb’s team is in hot pursuit of
two key brain pathology hallmarks associated
with AD: the beta-amyloid plaques that form in
the brains of AD patients, and neurofibrillary
tangles (NFTs), which are made up of abnor-
mally phosphorylated tau proteins. Derived
from amyloid precursor protein (APP), which is
essential for the growth and repair of neurons,
beta-amyloid oligomers and fibrils (the con-
stituents of plaques) should not exist inde-
pendently in the brain. Their presence is there-
fore a powerful indicator of a process that is
characteristic of AD in which APP is cleaved
into fragments, the beta-amyloid sections of
related to the severity of the illness,” says Kolb.
“It might just be a side effect.” With this in
mind, Kolb’s emphasis has shifted to an investi-
gation of the tau protein that has been linked
to the development of tangles. “We suspect
that tau may be a more linear diagnostic indi-
cator than beta-amyloid plaque,” says Kolb.
“But we will know much more once we have a
probe that binds to it, thus making it possible
to image it.” Indeed, a radioactive probe is now
being tested on slices from human AD brains,
and an optimized variant of this probe is ex-
pected to become available for clinical trials in
the future.
Whether Kolb and his colleagues are at-
tempting to image tau, plaque or any other
AD-associated biomarker, pharmaceutical
companies are eager to work with Siemens to
determine the effects of their newest com-
pounds on disease pathology. The reasons are
clear. Not only is Siemens a leader in biomark-
er discovery; it is also the worldwide leader in
PET, CT and MR imaging. Indeed, as these mo-
lecular and anatomical imaging technologies
are combined, researchers will be able to see
“As soon as we can accurately image a marker, we can
also begin to see whether a medication is affecting it.”
which form plaques. Another change that is
closely associated with AD is transformation of
the tau protein, which is involved in forming a
neuron’s cytoskeleton (protein "scaffolding"
contained within the cytoplasm) and in assist-
ing cellular transport. In AD, this important
protein is abnormally phosphorylated, leading
to the formation of aggregated filaments,
which make up the NFTs, thus impeding the
normal function of tau and leading to neuronal
death. In the course of the last two years, Kolb’s
team has developed a fluorine-18 probe that
attaches to beta-amyloid plaques. When inject-
ed into a person with AD, the probe is de-
signed to aggregate in plaque, making it visi-
ble during a PET scan, and thus providing
objective evidence of this particular pathologi-
cal hallmark of the disease. Now in early stage
clinical trials, “the probe is being tested for
safety in humans and compared with other
beta-amyloid probes,” says Kolb. But the AD research community, which is
primarily interested in discovering and hope-
fully treating the disease before it has a chance
to cause irreversible damage, has become
skeptical that beta-amyloid plaque testing can
provide all the answers. “Recent studies have
indicated that the quantity of plaque is not cor-
AD-related physiology and pinpoint its location
in a fused information environment – a capa-
bility that is set to accelerate the drug discov-
ery process. “As soon as we can accurately im-
age a marker,” says Kolb, “we can also begin to
see whether a medication is affecting it.”
And as researchers investigate new com-
pounds in clinical trials, they are learning more
and more about the differences between nor-
mal and AD brains. Not only are there well-
known anatomical changes in AD, such as dra-
matic brain shrinkage and cell loss; there are
also physiological changes such as reduced
glucose metabolism and neurotransmitter ac-
tivity that, once more deeply understood, may
serve as early warning signs for the disease
when imaged over time. Precisely what mechanisms trigger and
drive the development of Alzheimer’s disease
are not yet clear. But until they are understood,
doctors will continue to be powerless to pro-
vide anything but palliative solutions. “I think
Alzheimer’s will eventually turn out to be driv-
en by a combination of beta-amyloid plaque,
hyperphosphorylated tau and their precur-
sors,” says Kolb. “If so, we will be on track to
early detection, and within ten years we may
have the knowledge to slow it down or even
bring it to a halt.” Arthur F. Pease
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 91
Blue components in light are like a shower of daylight. They are ideal in retirement homes (left).
Special light glasses (above) and NapCaps at airports (right) also have a refreshing effect. Duplicating Daylight
Real daylight is entirely different from conventional artificial
light. Daylight continually changes its color spectrum and intensity, keeping us awake during the day and relaxing us in the evening. Osram researchers have recreated this cycle with lighting systems. The result: improved moods and health — especially among older people. 90 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Chronobiology
hen Andreas Wojtysiak turns on the
bathroom light in the morning in his
apartment near Munich, he’s bathed in bright
blue-tinted light shining down from the ceil-
ing. When brushing his teeth at night, though,
Wojtysiak, who holds a doctorate in biology
and is a lighting expert at Osram, Siemens’
lighting subsidiary, prefers softer light with a
lot of red in it. “Light is like an external timer
that reinforces the natural 24-hour rhythm of
our internal clocks,” Wojtysiak explains. Light
influences body functions, including sleep cy-
cles, body temperature, and hormone produc-
tion. And the kind of light that is most con-
ducive to health and well-being is the natural
light spectrum that humans have adapted to
over millions of years, and which is artificially
recreated in Wojtysiak’s bathroom using state-
of-the-art lighting technology. A few years ago Osram became one of the
world’s first lamp manufacturers to offer an
“activating” lamp, called Skywhite. The compa-
ny also produces various lighting systems that
adapt dynamically to light conditions through-
out the day. Such systems are equipped with
lamps that emit different light spectrums. They
mainly use light-emitting diodes (LEDs), as
well as halogen and energy-saving lamps. An
electronic control unit combines the output of
these units in a manner that causes the system
to alter the light spectrum in line with the time
of day. Such solutions are especially in demand
where people need to concentrate, as in
schools, colleges, and office buildings. They
can thus be found in a conference room at the
University of Madrid and in Osram plants in
Augsburg and Eichstätt, Germany. “Our sys-
tems are also being tested in hospitals and ho-
tels, and initial results have been very promis-
ing,” says Wojtysiak. Even NASA and the
European Space Agency are testing the sys-
tems. Osram has also developed a lighting system
for examination and treatment rooms in doc-
tors’ offices and hospitals. “Healthcare Light-
ing” allows patients to select a lighting color
they find pleasant, as well as an illuminated
scene, like a vacation landscape, that will dis-
tract their attention from an examination. Os-
ram LED lamps are also used to enliven or tone
down the ambience in relaxation cabins at air-
ports, which are equipped with an upholstered
bench, a table, and Internet access, and can be
rented while you wait for your plane.
Blue for Breakfast. One color is particularly
responsible for the biological effect of light on
the human nervous system: blue. “Blue has as
an effect similar to that of your morning cof-
fee,” Wojtysiak explains. In fact, scientists have
found that the color blue stimulates a tiny cell
system deep within the brain called the
suprachiasmatic nucleus. This system func-
tions as the body’s clock, sending out signals
that regulate our day-night rhythm. Knowl-
edge of this process is relatively new, as the
light receptors responsible for its functioning
were discovered only about ten years ago. Lo-
cated in the retina, the receptors are mounted
like rods and cones and contain melanopsin, a
pigment that reacts only to blue light. Rather
than enabling vision, this light sensor is only
responsible for biological reactions. Since this discovery was made, scientists at
Osram — Wojtysiak, physicist Dieter Lang, and
Light treatments make retirement home residents more
active during the day, and improve their sleep at night.
pigments absorb the blue spectrum of light.
“Older people also tend to stay indoors and are
thus not exposed to much natural light,” says
Lang. In other words, seniors often have to
function without an external timer. For the
past few years, Osram has therefore been par-
ticipating in a field study that examines the ef-
fect of dynamic daylight systems on a group of
residents in a senior citizens’ home in Vienna,
Austria. Here, white ceiling light with a high
proportion of blue is used during the day —
ing the day can help people to sleep better at
night. “This system oscillates like a pendulum,
so if it swings more sharply to one side, it will
do the same on the other. Therefore, the more
awake you are during the day, the better you
sleep at night.” The exact details of the mecha-
nism behind this phenomenon are still unclear.
“The effect we see as the indirect influence of
optimal lighting on night sleep patterns ap-
pears to be stronger than that of most sleeping
pills,” says Kunz. engineer Alfred Wacker — have been working
on using light to activate photoreceptors in or-
der to influence human circadian rhythms. The
principle behind this idea is simple. Light with
a significant blue component should be used
in the mornings and early afternoon to en-
hance awareness and performance. Then, as
evening approaches, light should be dimmed
and include warmer colors to ensure a smooth
transition from the concentration to the relax-
ation mode. In this manner, the researchers
hope to be able to prevent sleeping disorders,
chronic fatigue, and even depression.
Older people can benefit the most from
this, as vision not only becomes more blurred
with age but also more yellowed — and yellow
with successful results. “Most residents are
now more active during the day and sleep bet-
ter at night,” Lang reports. The field study builds on earlier work. For
instance, fifteen years ago, researchers
demonstrated for the first time that sleeping
disorders and the nighttime disorientation of
Alzheimer’s patients could be alleviated with
particularly high doses of light during the day.
Such exposure also reduced the incidence of
depression. These findings were recently con-
firmed by a major study in the Netherlands.
“That’s one reason why lighting systems in re-
tirement and nursing homes are now the focus
of growing interest,” says Dr. Dieter Kunz, head
of the Chronobiology task group at the Insti-
tute of Physiology at the Charité Hospital in
Berlin. Kunz, who also works closely with the Os-
ram researchers, explains how bright light dur-
However, in order to achieve the best possi-
ble effect, you not only have to coordinate
light color and brightness, but also lamp types
and positions. “Bluish daytime lighting should
come from above and be as widespread as
possible,” Wojtysiak explains. That’s because
the receptors in the retina are oriented toward
the heavens — after all, that’s where the blue
sky is. On the other hand, spotlights are all
that’s needed for the low blue, relaxing light at
night. As with any lighting system plan, de-
signers also have to incorporate window loca-
tions and wall colors into their concept. Organ-
ic light-emitting diodes (OLEDs), which seem
predestined for use as area lamps to create ar-
tificial skies, may be employed here in the fu-
ture. “We’re still a long way from that because
the lights still have to cover larger areas and
the technology needs to become more afford-
able,” says Wojtysiak. He believes that a combi-
nation of OLEDs for a more or less diffuse basic
area lighting effect, and LEDs for direct light-
ing, could be an option. Seasonal Lighting. Some of the scientific is-
sues underlying the biological effect of light-
ing remain unclear. For example, there’s the
question of whether dynamic lighting systems
should be used to turn winter into summer, so
to speak, in order to prevent winter depres-
sion, a phenomenon completely unknown in
tropical regions. “We believe that adjusting
light in line with the seasons in our latitudes
makes biological sense,” says Wojtysiak. After
all, we already adapt our clothing and eating
habits to the seasons, he explains. Still, Woj-
tysiak also points out that it’s especially impor-
tant in the winter to increase the amount of
blue in artificial light because people often go
nearly a whole day without being exposed to
daylight. “If we can prevent this lack of expo-
sure, we would probably see a decrease in win-
ter depression at our latitudes too,” he says.
It’s like Having Jet Lag Every Day
More than 85 percent of Germans live with a type of “social jet lag.” That’s because the average
chronotype has an internal wake-sleep clock that runs from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 a.m., which means
the day always starts too early. Such people are tired from the beginning and unable to achieve max-
imum performance. If left to themselves, extreme “owls” would sleep till noon and not get tired until
around five in the morning. On the other hand, early-riser types are typically ready to go just when
owls are ready to sleep. This chronotype has an easy work week but often has a problem with week-
ends. That’s because their internal clock still gets them up and running early in the morning — re-
gardless of when they managed to go to bed.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 9392 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Frequency Shift
Our internal clocks often tick to a different drummer as compared
with our daily schedules. This can create difficulties in terms of
performance and health, especially for shift workers. What’s more, the problem tends to become increasingly pronounced with age. Siemens is the first company to examine whether and how an individualized shift scheduling system can help. M
ichael Scheuerer doesn’t need much cof-
fee when he works the night shift at the
Siemens electrical device manufacturing plant
in Amberg. That’s because Scheuerer, an elec-
trician who ensures the smooth operation of
an assembly line as he alternates between
three shifts, is what is known as an “owl.”
That’s the term chronobiologists use to de-
scribe people who like to go to bed late and
sleep late in the morning. Such behavior is
caused by our circadian rhythms, a timing sys-
tem inside the body that has evolved over mil-
lions of years and is controlled by the suprachi-
asmatic nucleus, a group of cells the size of a
pinhead located deep in the brain. These nerve
cells send impulses to other brain regions to
regulate body temperature, hormone produc-
tion, and sleeping intervals. The speed at which this internal clock ticks
is genetically determined, very much in the
same manner as the color of our eyes or our
hair color. Owls like Scheuerer have quite a big
advantage when it comes to working night
shifts. “Most of my co-workers have a lot more
problems with fatigue at night,” says Scheuer-
er, who is 59. “They’d prefer to work only early
shifts.” The majority of the members of his
team apparently belong to the “lark” chrono-
type — those who like to wake up early.
It’s a well-known fact that shift work has a
negative effect on the quality of sleep and the
ability to concentrate. It also leads to increased
nervousness and fatigue. And it has been
proven that shift workers are more likely to use
alcohol and tobacco, and are more susceptible
to illnesses. One possible reason for this has to
do with their lack of exposure to the natural
daylight and darkness that normally synchro-
nizes the internal clock with external time (see
p. 90). But what influence does an individual
chronotype have — and can new knowledge in
this field be used to improve working condi-
tions? A group of researchers led by Prof. Till
Roenneberg from the Ludwig-Maximilians Uni-
versity (LMU) in Munich is examining this
question with Siemens — the first company in
the world to address the issue. “For many years, chronobiology was a topic
exclusively for science,” says Wolfgang Kloke
from Siemens Corporate Technology. However,
as Kloke points out, it’s also extremely impor-
tant for workplace organization. More than
150,000 Siemens employees are involved in
shift work around the world, and around 17
million people do shift work at companies in
Germany. Kloke believes these workers would
feel better, have fewer sick days, and work
more efficiently if they were assigned shifts in
accordance with their chronotype. “Those who
sleep well and work in tune with their internal
clocks are more productive and make fewer
mistakes,” he says. Determining Chronotypes. Initial research
results confirm this assumption, as the study’s
manager, LMU psychologist Céline Vetter, re-
ports. “We were able to demonstrate a clear re-
lationship between individual chronotypes and
reaction times during specific shifts,” she says.
The researchers found that larks react more
slowly than owls during night shifts. Moreover,
larks who work night shifts sleep less the next
day and are less relaxed afterwards. “If we
know an employee’s chronotype, we can pre-
dict how long he or she will sleep and what
their reactive capability will be like during a
specific shift,” Vetter explains. Vetter spent weeks with colleagues travel-
ing to Siemens factories, where they handed
out surveys and conducted psychological and
motor ability tests. At Siemens’ plant in Cham,
about two hours north of Munich, they exam-
ined how chronotype affects concentration.
They also took a look at motor ability respons-
es at the company’s Berlin electric motor plant.
About 180 volunteers took part in the tests.
“The first thing we did was determine the
chronotypes of the test subjects,” says Vetter.
This was done with the help of surveys in the
case of individuals who only worked days. The
parameter measured was sleeping behavior on
days off — the only time when people general-
ly sleep in line with their internal clock. “This
doesn’t work with shift workers, however, be-
cause on their days off they still may be feeling
the effects of the last shift, and may have to
catch up on their sleep,” says Vetter. The LMU researchers therefore developed a
correction formula for the five-minute ques-
tionnaires that normally allow them to deter-
mine the chronotype of a shift worker. To veri-
fy the correction, the researchers asked
subjects to wear an “activity meter” for the du-
ration of the study This device, which is worn
on the wrist, registers body movement, there-
by providing a measure of the subject’s activi-
ty. The scientists also collected data on body
temperature and sleep-waking behavior. “We
used this information to objectively confirm
the chronotype we had identified with the
questionnaire,” says Vetter.
Roennenberg points out, however, that
“The chronotype is not written in stone.” He
adds that internal clocks tick somewhat faster
as people get older, and also shift back to an
earlier period. Despite that, an owl can never
become a lark. Night shifts also become more
difficult for owls as the years go by. Scheuerer,
who will soon celebrate his 60th birthday, has
experienced this. “When I started out at age
24, working through the night didn’t bother
me a bit, but it’s not as easy today,” he says.
Sleep requirements are also genetically deter-
mined, in addition to being influenced by age.
British researchers recently found that sleep re-
quirements decline with age.
The Siemens and LMU researchers now
plan to launch a third field trial as a kind of acid
test in which, over several weeks, volunteers
will be assigned solely to shifts that are harmo-
nized with their internal clocks. This will allow
them to determine not only if the incidence of
errors does in fact decline as a result, but also
if product quality increases and workers feel
and sleep better. But putting this knowledge
into practice will be a lengthy process. “This is
not as simple as one plus one,” says Kloke. In any case, a double-shift system with an
early shift for larks and a late shift for owls
can’t function for one obvious reason: “People
also have a social life and therefore can’t and
don’t want to work only at night. “That’s why
adjusting shifts in line with chronotype can
only be done on a voluntary, individual basis,”
adds Kloke. Nevertheless, he believes it’s con-
ceivable that the portions of those shifts that
are particularly detrimental to a specific
chronotype could be reduced. Moreover, there are tricks everyone can do
to get around their daylight circadian rhythm.
Sleep researchers recommend, for example,
that night-shift workers wear sunglasses after
their shift in order to avoid the activating ef-
fect of morning light. Bedrooms can be dark-
ened to ensure better sleep during the day.
And those who are able to should do what
Scheuerer does, namely develop the ability
over the years to fall asleep anywhere and any-
time — even while sitting on a chair. “When I’m
tired and have a break,” he says, “I take a nap
for 15 minutes and then go back to work.”
Andrea Hoferichter
Also still unclear is the time of day when
people are most sensitive to blue components
in light. “It seems most important to have a
very high proportion of blue early in the morn-
ing,” says Kunz. It therefore might be sufficient
to keep the proportion of blue high for just a
few hours in the morning. Researchers also
need to take a more detailed look at how many
receptors must be reached in order to achieve
an effect — in other words, how much of the
retina needs to be exposed to the light. Such
knowledge is important to enable lighting sys-
tems to be operated as economically as possi-
ble. However, the issue isn’t just saving energy
but also ensuring better quality of life and im-
proved health. Lamp manufacturers and doc-
tors therefore agree that lamp quality should
not only be measured in terms of brightness,
service life, and electricity consumption, but
also with regard to its biological effect. “That’s why we need a binding label indicat-
ing biological effect,” says Lang, who is work-
ing on such a standard at the German Institute
for Standardization (DIN). The idea is to develop a “circadian effect factor” — which is
already being used by Germany’s Stiftung Warentest consumer advocacy group as a pa-
rameter for evaluating lamps. This factor
equals 1 when a lamp’s spectrum corresponds
to normal daylight. An incandescent bulb has a
circadian effect factor of 0.4, while the biologi-
cal effect of a blue LED shining with the same
brightness, but at a factor of 9.8, is nearly ten
times greater than that of daylight. Using such
lamps in daytime lighting systems is particular-
ly energy efficient because they need relatively
little energy to produce a biological effect.
Lang is optimistic that circadian effect factor
labeling will be included in an EU regulation
that should take effect in four years. Red for Caves. Widespread concerns about
excessive blue tint in light will surely be re-
solved by then. Blue elements have gained a
bad reputation for having a cold, uncomfort-
able effect, mostly in connection with energy-
saving lamps. Few people would choose such
light for their morning routine in the bath-
room, as Andreas Wojtysiak does. “But the un-
pleasant effect only applies to bluish light of
low intensity,” he says. “Activating” lamps that
offer a high proportion of blue tint shine very
brightly, on the other hand, so they have a re-
freshing effect, much like that of blue sky on a
sunny day. With reddish light it’s exactly the
opposite, says Wojtysiak: “We perceive it as
pleasant when it’s weak. It gives us a cave-like
feeling — but that’s certainly not the best
choice when you want to start an active day.”
Andrea Hoferichter
Demographic Change
| Chronobiology
An interactive questionnaire (left) helps researchers determine shift workers’ chronotypes.
In a meeting, the research team discusses the performance levels measured for owls and larks. ter taking some time out are better. In Switzer-
land there’s much more part-time work, even
at the executive level. The Swiss realize just
how much motivation and dedication some-
one on a 30 percent employment contract can
bring to a job. For that person, this amount of
work fits in perfectly with his or her life plan
— unlike “200 percent” employees who drag
themselves through the working day com-
pletely worn out. Interview by Nikola Wohllaib.
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 9594 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Dr. Ursula M. Staudinger
(51) has been a Professor
of Psychology and Vice
President at Jacobs University in Bremen, Germany since 2003
where she is also the
founding Dean of the Center for Lifelong Learning. Staudinger advises the German federal government on the topic of aging and was Germany’s representative
during consultations for
the United Nations’ International Plan of Action on Aging in 2002.
She is currently President
of the German Psychologi-
cal Society (2008–2010).
Staudinger received her doctorate and habilitated
at the Freie Universität
Berlin and the Max Planck Institute for Human Development, and subsequently held teaching and research appointments at Stanford
University in California and
the Technische Universität
The Hidden Opportunities of Having an Aging Population
the proportion of people over 55 years of age
who are still in the workforce is almost 80 per-
cent. In Germany that figure is only around 50
percent. By contrast, the U.S. introduced an
Age Discrimination in Employment Act as long
ago as 1967. This means that no one can be
refused a job because of his or her age. Isn’t there too big an emphasis on the
negative consequences of demographic
The increase in lifespan is some-
thing that has not yet been fully exploited. On the individual level it means that lifelong
learning can help us lead fulfilling and produc-
tive lives well into old age, and that in later
years we have more time to realize our goals
and dreams in both the professional and the
private spheres. Our current tripartite career
model — education and training in the early
years, followed by working life and then retire-
ment — has got to change. Even when their
employees are at the apprentice or trainee
stage, companies should already start thinking
about the ideal length of time employees
should spend in one position and how to bring
about more frequent job changes. We need
further training as well as more time for the
family in middle age, and opportunities to
work longer during old age. That’s the chal-
lenge posed by demographic change, which is
however also a major opportunity.
What will an aging population mean for
healthcare and pension systems?
Increased life expectancy means
that, on average, today’s 60-year-old will live
for a another 25 years rather than 13 years, as
was the case in 1900. Furthermore, people
aged between 60 and 85 are today living
healthier and more active lives. In the Joint
Academy Initiative on Aging we have focused
on the question of whether the aging of our
population will in fact pose insoluble problems
for our healthcare and pension systems. We
found that this need not be the case, provided
that changes are made in a lot of areas. This
applies to individuals and companies in equal
measure. The key factors here are flexibility in one’s working life, a healthy lifestyle, and preventive healthcare. It also means that companies must continually invest in developing the skills of their employees. In other words, education and training have to focus much more strongly on lifelong learning. And people’s working conditions
must be adjusted accordingly. Are these challenges similar all over the
Japan, the country that is most
affected by an aging population, faces exactly
the same challenges as all the other modern
industrialized countries, for example in Europe
and, to a slightly lesser degree, the U.S. China, because of its one-child policy, will find itself facing a similar situation by 2050. In India, Southeast Asia and Latin America, the question is rather how they will deal with
the challenges posed by low life expectancy
combined with high birth rates.
How are other countries dealing with
these developments?
In very different ways. The
Japanese are retiring at a younger age. However, that doesn’t leave them with
enough income to live on, so it’s normal there
to look for a follow-up career. In countries
such as Switzerland, Denmark, and Sweden
Up until what age can we still learn and
work productively?
We can continue learning as
long as we live, provided we don’t start to suf-
fer from dementia. And we can also work for
as long as we want and are able and allowed
to. We now know that training and sports re-
activate the brain and increase mental capabil-
ities. There are 70-year-olds with the mental
powers of a 40-year-old and, regrettably, vice
versa. What distinguishes older people is the
accuracy, rather than the speed, with which
they work. The older we get, the more we
want to be able to learn and work according to
our own rhythm. That’s where Internet-based
training can support individual forms of learn-
ing. Knowledge and experience can make up
for losses in our basic biological brain capabili-
ties. As we get older, it becomes increasingly
important to know the aim and the use of
learning something. That’s because learning is
a strenuous business, and adults tend to think
carefully about where they want to invest their
diminishing quantities of time and energy. How would you describe the perfect
workstation for an older employee?
There isn’t one as such, because
the older people get, the more different they
become. I also think that it makes little sense
for an individual to work in the same position
for ten years. A wealth of experience can cer-
tainly give you the self-assurance required to
make decisions, but too much routine can also
lead to wrong decisions. Are mixed-age teams the answer to all
these problems? Staudinger:
Not as a matter of principle, no.
On jobs with a fixed time cycle, there’s no
point in mixing people with different working
speeds. It’s a different situation in research
and development. In that environment the experience of older team members is an ideal
complement to the university-based knowl-
edge of the younger ones. I think we’re going
to see a much greater diversity in team com-
Demographic Change
| Interview
position in the future, with diversification
based not only on age, but also on gender,
training, and background. In what ways do labor markets need to
Greater diversity within the labor
market would certainly be a good thing. For
cultural reasons, the U.S. labor market is much
more flexible than the German one, and there
the chances of being able to re-enter work af-
It’s Back-to-School Time! Starting in the summer of 2011, lectures at Clausthal University of Technology in northern Germany
have a completely different feel about them. That’s because, mixed among the young students
crowding the benches in the lecture halls, there will also be highly qualified academics of an older
vintage. In today’s world the pace of technological change, especially in the natural sciences, can be
breathtaking. As a result, specialized knowledge that was in demand just a few years ago can quickly
grow stale and require an update. Forecasts indicate that in Germany the proportion of employees over 50 years of age will double by
2020, rising to an overall share of over 30 percent. This figure will be substantially higher in techni-
cal careers. Therefore, to prevent engineers, physicists, and mathematicians getting left behind after
age 50, Siemens Corporate Technology (CT) is planning suitable training programs. In a pilot project, Clausthal University of Technology will run a part-time course of continuing educa-
tion with an emphasis on systems engineering and an interdisciplinary approach that combines dif-
ferent engineering subjects and skills. This master’s program will offer a range of opportunities to ac-
quire a deeper knowledge of company-relevant areas such as power distribution, automotive tech-
nology, and rail systems. Studying in groups of ten, CT employees aged 45 years or more will have an
opportunity to build on their engineering studies and learn all about the latest technological devel-
opments through a combination of lectures and practical seminars, . “Experienced employees have in-depth knowledge and are better at weighing many situations,” ex-
plains Ludger Meyer, regional head of CT in Germany. “Combined with the latest technology, their
know-how and expertise are a priceless asset for Siemens.” At present, course organizers are concentrating on tailoring a syllabus to the degrees and work expe-
rience of participants. Like first-time students, they too will therefore have to complete an assess-
ment test before the start of the program. The course itself runs for two semesters, each with a total
of 34 days of attendance, which according to current plans will be divided into two long blocks and
12 weekends. If the pilot project is a success, further programs of this nature are certainly a possibility throughout
the Group. The aim, according to Meyer, is “mens sana in corpore sano — a sound mind in a sound
body.” In other words, employees should not only be taking care of themselves physically but also
doing all they can to stay mentally fit. Sabine Sauter
displayed information served no useful pur-
pose. They concluded that they had merely
been shown what technology can do, but
without reference to the specific needs of
many users.
In Potsdam they felt differently. The sample
apartment supplied by Gewoba and the Build-
ing Telematics department of Wildau Technical
University of Applied Sciences, and supported
by the German government’s “SmartSenior” research project (see p. 100), was limited to
relatively simple technology that can be easily
realized today. The apartment’s electronic entry system, in
particular, was a big hit among the visitors.
When a resident leaves the apartment, it shuts
off everything that doesn’t have to stay on.
That means fires can’t be started by coffee ma-
chines, for example, and the hall light auto-
matically turns on when someone enters.
Eberhardt hopes that enthusiasm for such
technologies will inspire consumers to act.
“Many household appliances aren’t replaced
for 20 years,” she says, pointing out that in
many cases the price of a new appliance can
be quickly recovered through reduced electric
bills. Ruth Henke
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 97
With its “Design for all” concept, BSH is developing household systems that are easy for
every generation to use, like the LiftMatic oven (at
left) and the DiscControl control panel (below).
Cooking up a Better Life
In the future, intelligent home technologies will help older people live at home as long as possible. Studies have found that seniors want products that are easy to operate but also attractive.
Companies such as Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte are developing appliances that emphasize
“Design for all,” which is the basis for their entire development process.
96 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change | Senior-Friendly Appliances
heir assignment was simple — complain.
But on this occasion they found that hard
to do. Instead, the people from online commu-
nity who had been invited
to Siemens’ Traunreut location about an hour
east of Munich had rave reviews. At the invita-
tion of Bosch und Siemens Hausgeräte GmbH
(BSH), nine men and women between the
ages of 46 and 72 were asked to gather in Jan-
uary 2010 to test the latest BSH kitchen appli-
ances for user-friendliness and user design,
and to suggest improvements.
The Feierabend “scouts,” as the testers
called themselves, tried their hands on a multi-
course menu. They stuffed chicken thighs into
a steamer, shoved flat bread and chocolate
cakes into the oven, and steamed vegetables
on the induction cooktop. By the time the test-
ing was completed, they had all become big
fans of the steam oven. “This appliance actual-
ly tells me when I need to add water,” said an
impressed Bernd Schönberg, 67. And Theresia
Kerner, 72, couldn’t get over the oven’s con-
trols. “You can just search for the program you
need and then start it by using the touch-
screen,” she said. The favorite of Christa
Meindl, 58, a nurse, was the integrated recipe
database. “It enables even amateur cooks to
prepare complicated dishes,” she said of the
BSH has optimized the “Design for all” con-
cept to such a degree that none of the test
cooks had to stop and think about how to use
the technology. The concept can be summa-
rized as follows: build appliances that are easy
to use. The “LiftMatic,” for example, has almost
nothing in common with a conventional oven.
To maximize its ergonomics, the bottom of the
unit can be lowered to eye level, with the oven
trays, and conveniently filled from three sides. Designed with ease of use in mind, is a new
range control panel called DiscControl. “It’s a
big hit not only with the iPod generation, but
also with older folks who are still used to ad-
justing a lever,” says Dr. Ingo Pietsch, Innova-
tion and Technology Manager at BSH. The ultraflat metal disc with the diameter of an
espresso cup is inset in the range’s control pan-
el and can be turned with one finger. A mag-
net transmits the movement on a display.
Appliances for Generations. IT specialist
Martin Schultz and his colleagues at BSH are
responsible for the user-friendliness of kitchen
ranges. Their observations help to ensure that
no appliance goes into production that fails to
satisfy the strict “Design for all” criteria. “With
this in mind, BSH has provided a special cata-
logue of requirements for product develop-
ment — requirements that are refined as new
scientific findings develop. Factors such as let-
tering size, contrast levels, and operating logic
and elements must meet specific criteria,” ex-
plains Schultz. “We also take into account
handicaps, such as vision impairments.” New
software called “Impairment Simulator” will
help Schultz with these tasks in the future. Schultz has copied images and video clips
of range displays into a database. Using the
software, he simulates a reduced field of vision
or color blindness. He calls up a photo of a
range’s switch elements onto the monitor,
uses a menu to set the degree or type of vision
impairment — and with one mouse click, the
image appears as it would be seen by the user
with the impairment. Impairment Simulator was developed by re-
searchers from the University of Cambridge in
the UK, who made it available to members of
the Inclusive Design consortium, which was
founded in May 2010 and counts BSH among
its members. The consortium also includes
representatives of other sectors, such as Bayer
Healthcare, Nestlé, and the BBC. For Pietsch,
the innovation manager, that’s an exciting mix.
“As a household appliances specialist, we have
contact with the food industry, and we can
learn from the BBC how to better present our
products on the Internet,” he says.
Keeping It Simple. Some industrial sectors
are still reacting hesitantly to the rapidly-grow-
ing demand for products and services that
comply with the “Design for all” concept, and
all” generates. The study’s authors surveyed
experts and looked at the market success of ex-
isting products in Germany, Japan, and the
U.S. that stand out by virtue of their “innova-
tive technology, outstanding design, and great
user-friendliness” — including the LiftMatic
oven and the EasyStore refrigerator from BSH.
They concluded “Design for all” is a source of
“considerable potential for business, although
it is not quantifiable in the scope of this study.”
Demographic trends point to increasing de-
mand. In 2030 in Germany alone, there will be
roughly 26 million people over the age of 60
— one third of the population. Thanks to the
automation of many household functions, it
could become possible for seniors to live inde-
pendently at home for longer. Already today,
27 percent of the population of Western Eu-
rope over age 65 and 45 percent of seniors
over 80 live in single-person households. Radio Signals. “In a few years there will be
appliances that can be integrated in an intelli-
gent house, including those that users will be
able to control and monitor on a display,” says
Dr. Gerhard Fuchs, who is responsible for “De-
sign for all“ at BSH’s central technology unit. Today, the youngest seniors are experi-
enced computer users and are by no means
reluctant to automate their homes — if the
price is right. Birgid Eberhardt, a gerontologist
and project manager for ambient assisted liv-
ing at VDE, an industry association, believes
that in the future mass production will result in
much lower prices in this area. Before that can happen, however, one ma-
jor obstacle must be resolved: “Binding stan-
dards must help to integrate existing house-
hold appliances from different manufacturers
into a smart living space.” Glende, the seniors
expert, believes the success of networked
technologies also depends on whether “prod-
ucts really have useful functions.” Gimmicks
have little appeal for seniors, he says.
Focusing on what’s Functional. These con-
siderations have made a profound impression
on researchers at Berlin’s Technical University.
There, retirees representing the Senior Re-
search Group evaluated high-tech solutions for
the smart homes of the future — and they
were not impressed. They found the recipes in-
tegrated in a refrigerator monitor to be imprac-
tical or useless, and in their view much of the
thus with the principles of usability. One rea-
son for this is that associated products aren’t
considered stylish. “When developers design
something for older people, the results are of-
ten products with a kind of ‘nursing home im-
age,’ which nobody wants,” complains Sebast-
ian Glende, a product ergonomics expert who
heads the Senior Research Group, a group of
retirees who test new technologies. “Older
people,” he says, “want simple, very practical
products that also look great.”
To encourage companies to develop more
such products, Germany’s Federal Ministry of
Economics initiated a study to analyze the mo-
mentum for economic growth that “Design for
With this vision in mind, the Spanish sub-
sidiary of BSH and the University of Zaragoza
recently conducted a test of RFID tags in refrig-
erators and washing machines. Completed in
April 2010, the project, which is known as Easy
Line+, is the largest EU project to date focusing
on household appliances. Its aim was to devel-
op nearly market-ready prototypes. RFID chips
in refrigerators record food expiration dates
and issue a warning if a food product has
spoiled. In washing machines these chips iden-
tify specially-labeled laundry items and select
the correct program. Sensors in the kitchen
alert an “E-servant,” the central interface, if
smoke rises while the cooker is in use.
“Older people want simple, very practical products
that also look great.” Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 99
In the future, robots will not only ease the workload of care attendants in retirement homes (right: the Care-O-bot 3 developed by the Fraunhofer Institute serves water); they will also help out around the house. Initial steps along these lines are already being taken with the DESIRE robot, which can recognize and differentiate between objects (above), and DLR’s Justin, which can make tea and serve it (at left). İ, Butler
Scientists around the world are developing robots that can help
older people with housework or ease the workload of personal
care attendants. Siemens is involved in joint projects to develop
a platform for service robots that is suitable for daily use.
eniors at the Parkheim Berg nursing home
in Stuttgart, Germany, were flabbergasted
when a robot came rolling toward them offer-
ing a cup of water. “Care-O-bot 3 has a job. It is
to offer water to older people who forget to
drink enough fluids,” says project manager Dr.
Birgit Graf from the Fraunhofer Institute for
Manufacturing Engineering and Automation
(IPA) in Stuttgart. “We were pleasantly sur-
prised by how well residents accepted the ro-
bot,” she adds. “On the other hand, they
viewed it more as a new form of entertain-
ment and didn’t necessarily feel any obligation
to drink the beverages it offered them.” Care-O-bot 3 was developed for “bring-re-
move” household services. For a one-week
practical trial at the nursing home, the robot
was programmed to autonomously move to-
ward a water cooler, press the button, use its
gripper arm to place a full cup on a tray, and
then offer the cup to residents. This seemingly
easy series of tasks actually required years of
development work by Fraunhofer researchers.
For one thing, the robot must be able to recog-
nize its surroundings and avoid potential ob-
stacles through the use of head-mounted color
HAL (Hybrid Assistive Limb) that was devel-
oped by Prof. Yoshiyuki Sankai of the Universi-
ty of Tsukuba. HAL, an artificial exoskeleton
that can support older people who can no
longer walk or whose strength is waning, is
worn like a suit of armor. When human beings
move their arms or legs, their brains send a
nerve signal to the appropriate muscle region.
HAL is equipped with electrodes that register
the resulting weak signals on the skin surface
and convert them into commands for artificial
limbs. Also quite popular are therapy robots
like “Paro” — a robotic seal that offers a friend-
ly look and a purr when caressed. Paro is also
capable of learning. Among other things, it
can behave in a way people like in order to be
98 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
million units by 2012,” says Gudrun Litzen-
berger, director of the Statistical Department
at the International Federation of Robotics in
Frankfurt am Main. “Most of these robots will
mow lawns, vacuum, and clean swimming
pools. The market for robot nurses is still very
small, but it’s expected to expand considerably
over the next ten years.” A Lot like People. Siemens has already devel-
oped a number of robotic technologies, al-
though most of these are designed for indus-
trial uses. Examples include cleaning robots for
supermarkets, automated cranes for container
ports, and robots for medical applications (see
Pictures of the Future,featured topic for Fall
2001 and Fall 2002). Also developed by
Siemens Corporate Technology and now being
used by several customers is a forklift robot
that moves around autonomously. “The brain
we developed for the forklift navigates in a
manner similar to humans,” says Dr. Gisbert
Lawitzky, who is responsible for robot technol-
ogy development at CT. “Our forklift relies on
its eyes, its brain, and a map of its environ-
ment.” A laser scanner mounted on the vehicle
determines forklift’s position and compares
this data with map information that has al-
ready been learned and stored. Siemens engineers also contributed key re-
search results on robot recordings of everyday
scenes and surroundings to the joint DESIRE
(German Service Robot Initiative) project,
which was managed by the IPA and funded by
the Germany Ministry of Education and Re-
search. The goal of the project was to develop
a reference platform for household-service ro-
bots that would be suitable for everyday use.
Lawitzky’s team addressed a key prerequisite
for a robot’s ability to grip things: recognition
of various objects within the robot’s radius of
action and identification of the objects’ precise
positions. A stereo camera and intelligent algorithms
enable the DESIRE robot to deal with even
highly complex situations, such as when an
object is partially covered. In such cases, the
robot moves in a manner that allows it to grad-
ually register the entire scene as fully as possi-
ble. The data thus collected is used by a soft-
ware program to generate a 3D model of the
surroundings, which is then used to plan grip-
per movements. By the time the DESIRE project
was completed, the robot — with the help of
Siemens technology — was able to recognize
and differentiate between 100 everyday ob-
jects. The technology used for the DESIRE ro-
bot’s gripping process was developed by the
Karlsruhe Institute of Technology (KIT), and
the lightweight arms were produced through a
Demographic Change
| Robotics
cameras and laser scanners fitted close to the
ground. And each move of the gripper arm re-
sults from a series of elaborate calculations. Robots like Care-O-bot 3 could become very
important in the future as populations age and
the number of young people who can care for
the elderly also declines. Between now and
2050, according to Germany’s Federal Statisti-
cal Office, the share of the country’s popula-
tion accounted for by people over 65 will in-
crease by 36 percent and the proportion of
those over 80 will rise by 136 percent. At the
same time, the number of people of an em-
ployable age will decline by about 25 percent. Scientists are therefore trying to ensure
that senior citizens will be able to care for
themselves in their own homes as long as pos-
sible. Many projects around the world are now
studying ways to alter apartments in senior-
friendly ways, such as by equipping them with
electronic and sensor systems that would per-
mit remote medical monitoring. Those who
can afford it may also supplement such AAL
(ambient assisted living) technologies with
household robots in the future. “We achieved a
high level of acceptance among the seniors in
the nursing home because the robot’s utility
was clear to them,” Graf explains. Some resi-
dents initially feared that the use of the robot
would reduce their personal contact with care
attendants or place them at the mercy of the
machines. But these concerns soon proved to
be groundless. A robot like Care-O-bot relieves
attendants of time-consuming routine activi-
ties and actually gives them more time to
spend with residents.
For the technology-loving Japanese, there
is absolutely no problem with accepting ro-
bots. Very popular in Japan at the moment are
humanoid robots equipped with a head, two
arms, hands, and legs — just like humans. “The
Japanese are moving ahead rapidly with robot
research,” says Siemens manager Dr. Peter
Mertens, who until recently headed the com-
pany’s Corporate Technology (CT) office in
Tokyo and thus has had extensive contact with
many Japanese robotics scientists. “More than
160 teams are now working on service robots
in Japan,” he says. Researchers at Waseda Uni-
versity in Tokyo, for example, are developing a
robot known as “Twendy-One” that has
enough dexterity to operate a toaster. This ro-
bot can also help a handicapped person to get
out of bed and into a wheelchair. Already available for purchase today — al-
though only in Japan — is a “robot suit” called
petted, for example. The little seal is already
being used in Japan and Denmark to calm pa-
tients with dementia and reduce their stress
Household robots and robot nurses will be
part of the service robot market segment,
which experts predict will soon be growing
very rapidly. “We expect the number of service
robots used in households to increase to 4.8
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 101
ious devices that can be combined depending
on the severity of an illness. He expects the
first prototypes to be ready in mid-2011. One
of them will be a special wrist device that can
determine its wearer’s location at home or —
linked with a smart phone — on the road. It
has a position sensor that can measure acceler-
ation. Initially the sensor records typical move-
ment patterns like walking, climbing stairs,
and lying down. This data is stored at home in
the communications node for non-medical
data — the AAL Box (Ambient Assisted Living).
The wrist device is always connected to this
box via WLAN, allowing the intensity of move-
ment to be compared with stored data. For ex-
ample, the equipment can detect when a sen-
ior has fainted if the usual micro-movements
of the arms stop during sleep. At CT in Munich, developers are building an
initial sensor platform for the wrist device that
includes a position sensor, an OLED display,
and a WLAN wireless processor. “We’re using
an extremely energy-efficient wireless stan-
dard,” says Dr. Asa MacWilliams, who is over-
seeing software development. “The chip is pro-
grammed to stay switched off most of the time
and only be active for a few milliseconds when
transmitting vital signs.” To monitor patients
suffering from chronic pain, the wrist device is
combined with a pulse oximeter that can
measure the patient’s temperature, pulse, and
blood oxygenation, the latter through the ab-
sorption of red and infrared light in the blood.
For this application, CT researchers in Berlin
are developing a “Smart Band-Aid,” which is
worn on the left upper arm. It consists of a
flexible film with an integrated optical trans-
mitter and receiver as well as circuitry to evalu-
ate the data. The device is the size of a credit
card and consumes so little power that it can
be operated for 100 hours with a lithium-poly-
mer film battery. Siemens researchers in Berlin are also work-
ing on algorithms for processing and transmit-
ting data. For example, the pulse value is
transmitted from the Smart Band-Aid to the
wrist device via the body itself through skin
conductivity. “Although the range is very limit-
ed because of the high resistance of skin, it’s
enough to transmit data between the upper
arm and the wrist at low data speeds,” says
Stefan Nerreter, an expert in optoelectronics.
This is simpler and safer than using WLAN.
Comprehensive Security. Since the data re-
lates to individuals, it must be protected from
unauthorized access. “We’re developing a com-
prehensive security architecture that satisfies
the data-protection requirements from the
sensors to the communication nodes and from
the local network at home to the servers in the
telemedicine center,” says Dr. Fabienne
Waidelich from CT in Munich, who is responsi-
ble for the system’s data security. Access to the
data is also stringently regulated and logged.
Waidelich emphasizes that part of the objec-
tive is to collect no more data than absolutely
necessary and to ensure that users have ulti-
mate control over their medical measurements
at all times. The devices must also be capable of being
intuitively operated. “The development of uni-
form user interfaces focuses on the specific re-
quirements of users,” says usability expert Dr.
Ines Steinke, who relies on multimodal con-
cepts. In an emergency, for instance, a user
can get help either through the emergency
button on the wristband or by speaking direct-
ly with the Telemedicine Center, in which case
the smart phone acts as a hands-free speaking
system. These technologies, including data
transfer to the Charité Hospital in Berlin, will
be tested by students in a CT demonstration
lab in 2011. The technology will also be tested
by healthy seniors in 35 apartments belonging
to Potsdam-based Gewoba, a property man-
agement company. Experts are sure that in 20 years it will hard-
ly be possible to imagine older people and
many others with chronic illnesses going about
their daily lives without aids such as a wrist-
watch or a Smart Band-Aid linked with a com-
munications infrastructure. As nearly invisible
systems, these technologies will help seniors
stay mobile, feel secure, and live at home
longer on their own. Nikola Wohllaib
Smart Senior Architecture: Telemedicine Comes Home
At home
Smart Senior services
Out and about
Comprehensive emergency
Telemedicine service center
TV as a
central service portal
Home Gateway
Support in
living envi-
Other service
Devices for
medical applications
mental sensors
Telemedicine service platform
Vehicle systems
(e.g. emergency
Medical data
AAL service platform
Multifunctional ECG
Wrist device with
wireless chip
Physicians Therapists
Rehabilitation facilities
Source: Siemens AG
Thanks to technology now under development,
older people will be able to live at home longer —
using wrist devices that measure movement,
pulse, and blood oxygen levels, for example.
In a research project known as
“Smart Senior,” Siemens scien-
tists are working together with
partners to develop technolo-
gies that help make it easier
and safer for older people to
live in their own homes.
| Technologies for Seniors
erlin 2020. Even though she is 80 years old
and has a mild form of cardiovascular dis-
ease, Luise Müller doesn’t want to move into a
nursing home. On the other hand, she wants
to have a certain sense of security. The solu-
tion? Luise opts for a sensor-laden band on her
upper arm that keeps track of her vital signs
and reports them to a wrist device. A wireless
chip in the device transmits the data to a med-
ical communications node, or Med-I-Box, in
her apartment, which in turn is connected via
Internet to a Telemedicine Center at Charité
Hospital. In case of an emergency, such as an
anomalous pulse reading, Luise will get help
immediately. Best of all, she doesn’t feel as
though she’s being watched. She practically
forgets about the equipment because every-
thing operates automatically.
All of this is technically possible, but no sys-
tem with this combination of features has
been implemented yet. Nevertheless, such a
system is the objective of experts at Siemens
Corporate Technology (CT) in Berlin and Mu-
nich who are involved in a project called
“Smart Senior — Intelligent Services for Sen-
iors.” The project is being funded by the Feder-
al Ministry for Education and Research with
€25 million from 2009 to 2012. An additional
€18 million is being contributed by industry
partners, including €5 million from Siemens.
“We worked with physicians to develop three
application scenarios,” says Dr. Daniel Reznik,
head of hardware development at CT in Berlin.
The scenario subjects range from healthy peo-
ple to patients who suffer from chronic pain or
require dialysis. “There is currently no sensor
technology that meets the demands of all the
scenarios. What’s more, it is a challenge to get
all the medical devices to work together seam-
lessly and be user-friendly,” says Reznik. In cooperation with Siemens and other par-
ticipating companies, Reznik is developing var-
100 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
100 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Robotics
partnership between KUKA, a robot manufac-
turing company, and the German Aerospace
Center (DLR) under the direction of Prof. Ger-
hard Hirzinger. Cup of Tea, Sir? Whereas the Japanese are
the leaders in humanoid robot production —
and they have many talking and trumpet-blow-
ing samples to prove it — German researchers
are more concerned with enabling robots to do
everyday chores. “CT is particularly interested
in applications for the Siemens sectors,” says
Mertens. “We don’t build household or nurse
robots ourselves, but we can support partners
in this field by providing them with sensors, in-
telligent software, control systems, compo-
nents from other types of service robots, and
with information on the results of projects like
The other DESIRE partners continued their
development of household robots even while
the project was running. DLR’s Institute of Ro-
botics and Mechatronics, for example, has a
mobile humanoid robot named Justin (see
photo below) that can make tea, among other
things. Justin screws open a tea canister,
seemingly without effort, turns it on its side,
and taps it with its finger so that the instant
tea trickles into a cup. The robot then pours
water into a cup. It may look easy — but it’s
anything but trivial for Justin, which not only
has to recognize the objects correctly but also
know exactly what amount of force it may ex-
ert. Otherwise it might end up crushing the tea
canister top when it tries to turn it.
Such actions require delicate robotic hands,
like the ones jointly developed by DLR and the
Harbin Institute of Technology in China. The
new five-finger hand built by researchers has
four joints and is only a little bit larger than a
human hand, according to Hirzinger. His latest
innovation involves installing the drive for the
fingers in the forearm, as is the case with hu-
mans, rather than in the hand. This drive unit
contains 54 small motors that move the fin-
gers via control wires. “In a few months the ar-
tificial hand-arm system will be so agile,
strong, and pliable that it will come very close
to the performance capability of a human
hand for the first time ever,” says Hirzinger. Watching and Imitating. A humanoid robot
called ARMAR developed at KIT can make itself
quite useful — for example, by opening, load-
ing, and closing a dishwasher. Eighteen aca-
demic departments have joined forces at KIT to
examine ways in which robots can cooperate
with people. Prof. Rüdiger Dillmann, for exam-
ple, is teaching ARMAR to learn by watching.
As a result, the robot can now watch someone
In the future, robots will not only obey commands, but will also learn by watching humans.
wipe off a table with a sponge and then begin
to imitate the wiping movements. Robots
could even learn how to iron by watching hu-
man beings. In the future, Dillmann’s robots
will not only obey commands but also behave
proactively. To do so, they will have to be fa-
miliar with their surroundings and know where
they are allowed to go and where they should-
n’t go.
A team led by Dr. Christof Schröter from the
University of Ilmenau is now working with 17
partners in a new European Union AAL project
called “CompanionAble,” which aims to deter-
mine the ways in which intelligent homes and
robots can complement one another. “Manu-
facturers of smart homes and robot re-
searchers are now coordinating their develop-
ments in order to generate synergies,” Schröter
says. By the time most members of the baby
boomer generation have retired around 2020,
they will be able to benefit from this research
on smart homes and household robots. How-
ever, between now and then, robots will have
a lot to learn. Michael Lang
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 103
A researcher tests a hearing aid’s response to feed-
back in an anechoic room (below), as loudspeakers
simulate sound scenarios, an essential step in the development of high-end hearing instruments.
Sound Approach
Using sophisticated technology, the latest hearing aids adapt
automatically to almost any situation. They now allow users to
hear nearly as well as their grandchildren.
102 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Demographic Change
| Hearing Aids
ur lives are becoming louder: traffic
noise, machinery, disco music, MP3 play-
ers. In fact, we’re hearing more and more, and
yet less and less all the time. Britain’s MRC In-
stitute of Hearing Research estimates that by
2015 about 700 million people worldwide will
suffer from hearing impairment; and by 2025
that figure could be as high as 900 million. In
1995, fewer than 450 million people suffered
from hearing loss. The reason for this growing
problem is not just our lifestyle but also the
fact that people are living longer. Over time,
influences such as exposure to loud noises, nu-
tritional deficiencies, and illnesses add up. Ini-
tially, it becomes more difficult to perceive qui-
et or high-pitched sounds, fatigue sets in more
quickly, and those affected avoid situations
that require communication. Broken down nu-
merically, approximately one out of every four
persons over 65 years of age suffers some
hearing loss. That increases to one out of every
two persons over 75 and four out of every five
persons over age 85. Most types of hearing loss can’t be re-
versed, but the effects can be mitigated. In a
U.S. study, for instance, nine out of ten hear-
ing aid users said they enjoy a higher quality of
life thanks to the devices. Nevertheless, many
potential users won’t wear them — partly be-
cause the onset of hearing loss is usually grad-
ual, and partly due to feelings of self-con-
sciousness. Mention hearing aids and many
people think of an unsightly protuberance be-
hind the ear and grandpa turning the volume
dial to get the annoying squealing sound un-
der control. One result is that although 14 to
16 million Germans suffer from hearing loss,
only about 3.5 million wear a hearing aid. Today, hearing aids — including those worn
behind the ear — are nearly invisible, and are
so technologically advanced that they provide
a hearing experience almost equal to that of
someone without hearing loss. That’s partly
Siemens’ doing. The company has broken a lot
of new ground since its founder invented a
high-volume telephone receiver over 130
years ago. In 1997, for instance, it introduced
two microphones for improved directional ef-
fects. In 2004 it offered wireless synchroniza-
tion between hearing aids, and introduced a
3D scanner for ear impressions, which is used
to adapt in-ear hearing aids to the wearer’s
auditory canal (see Pictures of the Future, Fall
2004, p. 86 and Fall 2006, p. 90). In 2010 the
company presented BestSound technology,
currently the ultimate in hearing-aid design.
Three main solutions incorporated into Best-
Sound — SpeechFocus, FeedbackStopper, and
SoundLearning 2.0. — ensure big improve-
ments in sound experience and comfort for
the microphone, at which point they are fed to
the loudspeaker again — an endless loop that
builds up in a fraction of a second and creates
a loud squealing noise. Wearers of older hear-
ing instruments experience this effect too,
when amplified signals travel outward from
the auditory canal and reach the device’s mi-
crophone. Manually adjusting the hearing aid
often helps, but not always. In modern hearing
aids, therefore, the signals at the loudspeaker
and microphone are compared. If feedback ap-
pears to be imminent, the hearing instrument
generates a signal that is opposite in phase
and thus cancels out the squeal. and low-pitched sounds. It’s a time-consuming
process, and one that Siemens has now made
far more convenient thanks to its SoundLearn-
ing technology. The company introduced it in
2004 and was the first manufacturer to do so.
It allows the wearer to do some fine-tuning
himself, either on the device or via remote
control, by adjusting the volume and tone
when an auditory experience isn’t ideal in a
certain situation, such as when watching TV or
listening to a concert. Thanks to advanced
software, the device gradually learns when it is
too loud or too quiet for the wearer, or when a
sound is too high-pitched or too deep. After a
Hearing aids must be particularly good at
one thing: making speech intelligible, even in
a noisy environment. That’s why directional
microphone technology is important. Conven-
tional systems are based on the assumption
that speech comes from the listener’s front.
Frontal voice signals are thus reinforced, and
ambient noises arriving from the side or from
behind are muted. But if the speaker is walking
alongside the listener or, even worse, sitting
behind him in a car, most hearing aids reach
their limits. This is remedied by the new
SpeechFocus function, which uses ingenious
algorithms to scan the sound coming from any
direction for specific patterns that indicate
speech. In particular, it looks for a modulation
frequency of four hertz, because the volume of
typical speech oscillates four times per second.
If speech from behind is detected, the device
automatically focuses on the rear and sup-
presses ambient noise from the front and
sides. No More Squeal. A standard feature of mod-
ern hearing aids is the ability to prevent feed-
back. This phenomenon, which almost every-
one is familiar with from live concerts, occurs
when a microphone is too close to a loud-
speaker. The tones from the loudspeaker reach
This process has drawbacks, however. The
sound of a high-pitched flute, for example, is
similar to feedback noise. So at a concert there
is a risk that flute sounds might be eliminated,
thus distorting tonal balance. Siemens’ new
FeedbackStopper technology circumvents this
problem. Hearing instruments equipped with
this function add an inaudible — but techno-
logically detectable — phase modulation to
the audio signal, a sort of fingerprint. If this
fingerprint reaches the input, the hearing aid
recognizes that feedback is present and imme-
diately reacts. FeedbackStopper instantly trig-
gers a brief, minor frequency shift, preventing
a build-up of the sound. Practiced listeners will
object that if flute notes are shifted lower even
slightly they will be noticeably out of tune.
“But the FeedbackStopper intervenes for only
split seconds,” says André Steinbuss, head of
Audiological Research and Product Develop-
ment at Siemens Audiologische Technik GmbH
in Erlangen. Once the risk of feedback is gone,
the FeedbackStopper switches off again — so
quickly that it’s not noticed. Fine Tuning Via Remote Control. Another
problem with older hearing aids is sometimes
satirized in comedy shows: when hapless sen-
iors fiddle with volume controls because they
either can’t hear anything or the amplification
is excessive. Some viewers may find that amus-
ing, but it’s no fun for those affected. Modern
hearing aids do adjust volume automatically,
but individual adjustment is still needed and
takes time. The rough adjustment, to a com-
fortable volume level, is performed by a spe-
cialist when the device is delivered. When the
customer reports his experience after a few
weeks, the specialist does some fine-tuning
and sets the correct balance between high-
few weeks, the hearing aid has adapted so that
it finds the right setting automatically. With SoundLearning 2.0, Siemens has now
augmented this technology with a situational-
awareness feature that distinguishes between
various sound scenarios, such as speech, ambi-
ent noise, and music. SoundLearning 2.0 does
this using classifiers, i.e., certain properties of
the sound, such as the typical modulation fre-
quency of speech. If, for example, the wearer
uses the remote control to make the sound
higher-pitched and the hearing aid identifies
the situation “music” at this moment, the de-
vice will thenceforth automatically adjust the
sound accordingly to music. The more often
the wearer makes adjustments, the faster the
hearing aid learns to accurately deliver the
right sound by itself. “Ninety percent of the
time, the situation is correctly identified,” says
Steinbuss. The idea for SoundLearning comes from
Sydney, Australia, or, more precisely, from the
National Acoustic Laboratories there, one of
the world’s leading research centers for hear-
ing and hearing technology. In 2003, Research
Director Harvey Dillon had an idea for a self-
adapting hearing aid and realized it with
Siemens as SoundLearning 1.0. “It used to be
hard for audiologists to fine tune hearing aids
because users often can’t describe their per-
ception of certain situations afterwards,” says
Dillon. Now, users can perform the adjustment
immediately themselves. The technology has
been improved continuously. At first its self-
learning software only distinguished between
loud-quiet inputs, followed by the tonal bal-
ance. But now, new ambient situations are
identified as well. “SoundLearning makes audi-
ologists’ work easier and gives patients more
control,” says Dillon. Bernd Müller
The more often a wearer fine tunes his or her hearing
aid, the faster it finds the right sound by itself later. This Joint’s for You
More and more people are living long enough to experience the pain
that results from wear on bones and joints. Solutions from Siemens make it possible to produce personalized replacement joints. Expected
results include enhanced comfort and improved joint stability. Future generations of joints (at top a shoulder, at bot-
tom a knee) will be personalized. This process begins
with high-resolution CT scans. Resulting 3D data is
transferred to computer-controlled milling machines.
104 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010
Whereas the conventional approach doesn’t
include patient-specific design data for custom-
fitted implants, anatomically-tailored models of
bone components, cartilage, and joints can be
created on screen using 3D CT data and the NX-
CAD/CAM software from Siemens PLM.
Doctors can thus use digitalized X-ray images
to plan an operation — before forwarding the
data to a production center, where the implant
is modeled on a computer and a set of com-
mands for a milling machine are generated. In
addition, a simulation program runs through the
entire production sequence. This does two
things. First, it ensures that the production
process can be completed without problems,
and second, precise optimization helps to elimi-
nate waste of expensive raw materials such as
titanium and cobalt-chromium alloy. If everything proceeds smoothly, and with
the desired quality and speed, the simulation
program gives the green light. A machine tool
then mills a custom hip joint from a block of tita-
nium in about 30 minutes, and fine finishing
gives the joint the final form that is desired. The
heart of the process is a system provided by
Siemens Industry. Here, software relies on spe-
cial algorithms to primarily control the milling,
turning and grinding of very high-strength ma-
terials. Siemens development engineers proudly
point out how quickly and flexibly the entire
manufacturing procedure can be adapted. “In
the future,” predicts Schwarz, “ we won’t be able
to imagine what it would be like not to have
custom transplants with perfect fit and surface
Optimized Production. Manufacturing spe-
cialists are convinced that a high degree of
process chain automation can make it possible
for custom prostheses to be manufactured at
substantially lower costs. Flexible and net-
worked machining centers could be ideally
matched to one another and would offer sub-
stantial savings potential in terms of the costs
of inventory, labor, and materials. Today, or-
ders for tailored prosthetic implants are placed
with specialized plants only in the case of seri-
ous hip diseases or severe malalignment of the
legs, but the integrated production process
and its associated low production costs open
the door to custom implants for patients suf-
fering from a range of other conditions. All in all, patients stand to benefit substan-
tially from personalized implants. A major rea-
son for this is that such implants are far better
matched to the user’s biomechanics. This
reduces wear on the prosthesis and helps to
prevent shaft loosening, which can result from
anchorage fatigue or insufficient stabilization of
a joint. Andreas Beuthner
t’s part of the daily routine at every orthope-
dics practice: Older people complain about
hips, knees and other joints that are becoming
increasingly painful. X-rays or computed tomog-
raphy (CT) scans reveal the condition of a joint.
If the orthopedist diagnoses advanced wear of a
bone, cartilage, or socket, the only thing that
can provide relief from chronic pain is an artifi-
cial joint.
The number of orthopedic procedures con-
tinues to rise due to increasing life expectancy.
In the U.S., joint diseases are the second most
common chronic ailment overall, and the most
common among women. According to the Ger-
man Society for Orthopedics and Traumatology,
approximately 200,000 joint and hip replace-
ments are now performed each year in Ger-
Until now, manufacturers of artificial joints
have been unable to quickly and cost effectively
manufacture prosthetic parts as custom-tailored
products for individual patients. Although most
machining and milling systems are computer
controlled, they are designed to produce only
standard components of a specific size and
shape. The process for the production of custom
implants, on the other hand, is hardly auto-
mated. Off-the-shelf prosthetics are thus pro-
duced in advance, with hospitals typically hav-
ing a large inventory of models on hand. Depending on the type and extent of the
joint disease, the surgeon implants the best-fit-
ting partial prosthesis or a complete replace-
ment joint using PMMA (polymethyl methacry-
late) bone cement or a cement-free joining
tients will no longer be able to benefit from
standard components. “In these situations, it is-
n’t easy to achieve clean fixation again,” says
Thomas Schneider, an orthopedic surgeon in
Gundelfingen, Germany. Digital Customization. A better approach is
to use custom implants that have been tailor-
made for the individual patient. Producing
made-to-measure prostheses has always been
very time-consuming and expensive, however,
due to the numerous manual work steps in-
volved. That is now expected to change thanks
to the introduction of an optimized process
chain. The chain begins with Siemens CT scan-
ners, which now offer a resolution of 0.3 mil-
limeters, resulting in images that show the
three-dimensional form of diseased joints very
precisely. Such 3D scans are ideally suited for
producing an exact model of damaged or de-
stroyed sections of bone and joint surfaces. For Karsten Schwarz, head of Application
Engineering at Siemens Industry’s Technology
and Application Center (TAC) in Erlangen, such
digital data are the first step in a process chain
for which Siemens has put together a com-
plete technology package. “We have succeed-
ed in integrating the production of complex
hip, knee and dental implants into a continu-
ous process chain,” says Schwarz. This was
accomplished by borrowing an established
practice from the manufacturing industry:
three-dimensional planning of a workpiece on
a computer, followed by automatic production
of the piece by a special machine tool. Demographic Change
| Custom Implants
technology. Here, the guiding principle is to pre-
serve as much of the natural bone as possible,
in order to keep the entire musculoskeletal sys-
tem stable. But prefabricated hip and knee joints pose a
serious disadvantage. Only rarely do they pre-
cisely match the anatomical form of the bone
part to be replaced. As a result, the surgeon has
to work the patient’s bone to ensure that the im-
plant is securely held. This often results in loss of
bone substance. As a result, if the artificial joint
needs to be subsequently replaced, many pa-
In Brief The populations of many countries are not only increasing; they are also steadily aging. The
global population has doubled to nearly seven
billion people in the last 40 years. The UN expects
the share of people over 60 around the world to
increase from the current 11 percent to nearly 22
percent by 2050. These trends are already having
noticeable effects today. For example, average
worldwide per capita healthcare expenditures for
people over 75 are five times higher than those
for people aged 25 to 34. Scientists are therefore
working on new technologies designed to make
our healthcare systems more efficient and enable
seniors to live independent lives for as long as
possible. (pp. 76, 89, 100)
Cardiovascular diseases are among the most
common causes of death in older people. Atrial
fibrillation, aneurysms, and aortic valve disease
are among the most serious threats. Thanks to
advanced research, doctors may soon be able to
treat these conditions more effectively. Siemens
researchers are developing technologies that will
allow prosthetic heart valves to be replaced via a
catheter, for instance, sparing patients the risk of
open-heart surgery. (p. 79)
Scientists are working to decode the human
brain. Researchers from Siemens and the Massa-
chusetts Institute of Technology in Boston hope
to use imaging techniques to identify regions of
the brain affected by a stroke before serious damage can occur. They are also developing
technologies for control of conditions such as depression. Experts are also hot on the trail of
Alzheimer’s disease. Thanks to molecular imaging
and other diagnostic techniques, researchers are
steadily increasing their understanding of the
mechanisms that drive this disease. (pp. 84, 87)
Daylight keeps us alert and, depending on the time of day, also helps us to relax. Osram re-
searchers have recreated it with lighting systems
that improve not only people’s moods but also
their health. Older people stand to benefit most
from associated innovations. Siemens scientists
are also studying the effects of circadian rhythms
on our work lives. In addition, Siemens is partici-
pating in projects aimed at developing a practical
platform for service robots, which could one day
assist seniors. (pp. 90. 92, 98)
Coronary and circulatory diseases: Dr. Jan Boese, Siemens Healthcare
Walter Märzendorfer, Siemens Healthcare
Dr. Christine Lorenz, CT in Baltimore, U.S.
Dr. Thomas Redel, Siemens Healthcare
Bogdan.Georgescu, CT in Princeton, U.S.
Brain research:
Michael Hamm, Siemens Healthcare
Alzheimer’s research:
Dr. Hartmuth Kolb, Siemens Healthcare
Light and quality of life:
Dr. Andreas Wojtysiak, Osram
Dieter Lang, Osram
Circadian rhythms, Project Clockwork:
Wolfgang Kloke, CT
Household appliances:
Dr. Ingo Pietsch, BSH
Dr. Peter Mertens, CT
Dr. Gisbert Lawitzky, CT
Smart senior project:
Dr. Daniel Reznik, CT
Dr. Asa MacWilliams, CT
Hearing aids:
Andre Steinbuss, Siemens Healthcare
Karsten Schwarz, Siemens Industry
Clockwork Project:
Arrhythmia Research Center, Utah
Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 105
106 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 Pictures of the Future | Fall 2010 107
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Research without Borders
How is globalization changing the way research and development is conducted? Scientists are increasingly working in multinational and multidisciplinary projects — regardless of whether they are based in Beijing, Moscow, Princeton, or Munich. To achieve seamless collaboration,
they have to overcome not only spatial and temporal barriers, but also cultural ones. In addition, they have to understand the needs of their customers, both in industrialized nations and in developing and emerging
economies. Finally, they also have to learn how to collaborate in global
teams and with external partners — all of which poses enormous challenges, but also opens up fascinating new opportunities.
The New Age of Electricity
In the past, it was oil that made the world go round.
But faced with climate change and oil reserves that
are becoming more difficult to exploit, humanity now
finds itself at the beginning of a new era: the Age of
Electricity. By 2030, worldwide power generation is
expected to increase by two thirds compared with current levels. In fact, electricity will become an all-
encompassing source of energy. In the future, it will
increasingly be used in applications where other energy sources currently enjoy an advantage, such as
with electric vehicles. Buildings too will increasingly
turn to electricity — relying on swarms of sophisticat-
ed sensors to maximize efficiency and comfort. Meanwhile, new desalination plants will use electric
fields to convert saltwater into pure drinking water. The Promise of Collective Intelligence
Whether in the industrial, energy or healthcare sectors, far-reaching decisions must be made quickly and precisely, while complex processes
must be designed to adjust flexibly to new information. Intelligent, online-
based software solutions not only facilitate decisions and projections, but
also help to make optimal use of resources. The key word here is collective
intelligence, a technology designed to distill actionable information from
vast quantities of data. For example, it can be used to detect damage to
machines before a fault occurs or to optimize traffic flows and urban infrastructures. It can also be used to better predict the course of diseases and thus to improve their treatment. © 2010 by Siemens AG. All rights reserved.
Siemens Aktiengesellschaft
Order number: A19100-F-P155-X-7600
ISSN 1618-5498
Publisher:Siemens AG
Corporate Communications (CC) and Corporate Technology (CT)
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Jakobsh, Ute Kehse, Kilian Kirchgeßner, Steven E. Kuehn, Dr. Michael
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