Category: Technology


After a smooth 3-0 win against the current number one in the Asian board game Go, Google’s AlphaGo software will no longer play tournaments. The team behind it should now concentrate on more general algorithms that should help humanity, said the co-founder and head of the developer company DeepMind, Demis Hassabis, after the match at the weekend. This included medicines for illnesses, lowering energy consumption and inventing new materials.

During the tournament, the Chinese Ke Jie tried to throw AlphaGo off course with unusual moves. According to experts, at times it looked quite good for him with this tactic – but in the end the software wrestled him down every time. “We have always believed in the potential of artificial intelligence to help society discover and benefit from knowledge – and AlphaGo gives us an early look at what is possible,” said Hassabis.

In March of last year AlphaGo defeated the South Korean champion Lee Sedol 4-1 and caused a stir. Because Go was long considered too complex for computers. The game, in which white and black pieces are alternately placed on the board, has many more possible combinations than chess – too many to calculate completely. AlphaGo therefore calculates the moves a human would likely play and only focuses on them. DeepMind first fed the program tens of millions of moves from games by human masters. Then the software played millions of games against itself – and analyzed which moves brought them to their destination. 50 of these games are now to be published so that the Go player community can evaluate them. Google bought DeepMind a good three years ago for £ 400 million. Hassabis had always emphasized that he wanted to use the company’s artificial intel

The ten best voice commands

Apple’s entry into the growing business with networked speakers is imminent, according to a media report. The iPhone company is already producing the first loudspeakers with its Siri assistance software on board, the financial service Bloomberg wrote on Wednesday. The device could be presented at the Apple developer conference WWDC next Monday, even if it should not go on sale until later in the year.

Amazon had popularized the product category through the success of its “Echo” loudspeaker with its listening and speaking assistant Alexa. There is now an “Echo” product family with a networked camera and speaker with display. Google followed with the competitor device “Home”, which offers access to the Internet company’s assistance software.

Microsoft accommodated its assistant Cortana in a loudspeaker from the hifi specialist Harman / Kardon. And just this week, the inventor of the Android mobile operating system, Andy Rubin, announced a smart home speaker from his new start-up Essential.

Language is an increasingly important way of communicating with computers. Apple pioneered the concept with its assistant Siri, who came to iPhones back in 2011. But the quality of the speech recognition and the answers often left a lot to be desired in the beginning, which is why the software was dismissed by many as a gimmick. Smartphone market leader Samsung , where the start of its assistant Bixby has been delayed for weeks , is also learning that it is a tough place .

Apple managers had indicated in the past that the group’s vision was more to let users communicate with Siri via various devices such as the iPhone or the group’s computer clock, instead of creating a fixed point of contact with a loudspeaker. Now, according to Bloomberg information, Apple wants to stand out from the competition with its smart loudspeaker, among other things with spatial sound. In-house services such as Apple Music or the Homekit smart home platform would be integrated. This is important for Apple, because the other speakers support the services of the competition and thus give them a bridgehead in the households.

Apple has the speakers manufactured by Inventec from Taipei, which also produces the wireless AirPods earphones, it said. Bloomberg had already reported on tests of the Apple speakers last year.

Apple introduced a loudspeaker back in 2006. The company’s popular music players could be plugged into the device called iPod Hifi. However, it had little success and was discontinued after a little over a year.

According to Bloomberg, new models of the iPad tablet and refreshed Macbook Pro notebooks with faster chips could also be presented at the Apple developer conference WWDC.

The app of the US streaming provider Amazon Prime Video has been able to bill sales to Apple’s App Store since the spring. Is there a deal behind this that is problematic? Apple refers to a generally applicable regulation.

Since the EU Commission opened an official investigation against the Apple App Store last week , a number of companies have spoken out. David Heinemeyer, co-founder of the software company Basecamp, even referred to the managers of the iPhone group as “mafiosi” and “gangsters”.

Others are also making grave allegations against the world’s most valuable company. They all accuse Apple of abusing its own market power by making access to its app store – the central sales channel for digital applications in addition to Google’s Play Store – difficult or subject to strict conditions. For example, the Apple auditors rejected a Facebook game app five times because it violated the rules of the app store. Apple sets these rules itself, and how they come about is not transparent.

An example that the EU Commission should take a closer look at in the next few months is the Prime Video app from the US group Amazon . Practically all app providers who sell non-physical goods in Apple’s App Store are obliged to use Apple’s own payment and subscription system. This incurs a 30 percent commission that Apple collects. For subscriptions that have been running for more than a year, it is 15 percent. Not so with Amazon: Here the streaming app uses Amazon’s own billing system, films and series are paid for with the user’s Amazon account. This was also proven by test purchases by WirtschaftsWoche. According to the US industry service “The Verge”, Amazon does not pay any commission to Apple.

The case is even more explosive due to the at least astonishing timing of the application of the special regulation by Amazon. Because Amazon first used it in the spring of this year, shortly after Apple launched its own streaming service Apple TV +. The offer was also available on Amazon’s Fire TV devices, which can be connected to televisions and with which users can now also receive the Apple offer.

It seems reasonable to assume that this temporal coincidence is more than a coincidence. When asked by Apple, however, it said that there are special rules for such video services in the app store that allow Amazon to use such a payment method. These have existed for a while, have not been developed for individual cases, and a provider in France also uses them. Apple therefore considers this to be unproblematic.

The question, however, is: under what circumstances did these rules arise? Apple has not yet provided any information on this, and Amazon also remains silent when asked. In the end, only the EU Commissioner for Competition, Margrethe Vestager, can clarify beyond any doubt in her investigation. “It seems that Apple has taken on the role of a ‘gatekeeper’ in the distribution of apps and content to users of the popular Apple devices,” she said last week when the proceedings were opened.

Should there actually have been a deal between Apple and Amazon, the EU Commission could see it as evidence that Apple has used its market power in the App Store to indirectly prefer its own services. Apple may have treated providers in the App Store differently in order to give Apple TV + an advantage in the market. Streaming services like Netflix and Spotify have been trying for years to find a solution with the group on how users can buy their apps without incurring a commission for Apple. Apple had Spotify after a complaint to the EU, alleged that the company wanted to “retain all the benefits of the app store ecosystem – including the considerable revenue it generates from customers of the app store – without contributing to this marketplace”.

At IFA everything revolves around new developments in entertainment electronics and networking. The smartphone plays a central role here. A study highlights it as a central economic factor.

Ten years after the breakthrough, the smartphone is becoming increasingly important for the German economy. In the next five years, the sales that would be achieved with the help of the all-rounder cell phones rose by around a third to more than 60 billion euros, said telecommunications expert Klaus Böhm from the consulting firm Deloitte on Wednesday at the start of the International Consumer Electronics Fair (IFA) in Berlin. In 2022, the smartphone will provide 1.7 percent of German economic output. According to Deloitte and the industry association Bitkom, which jointly published a study, this is still calculated conservatively.

“The smartphone is also an economic factor outside of the device industry,” said Böhm. “The main growth driver is trade.” For example, more and more Germans are ordering new clothes or other goods from online providers such as Amazon or Zalando using their mobile phones. New applications in the field of digital health could definitely increase the revenues from the universal devices.

“The smartphone is more alive than ever,” said Bitkom consumer electronics expert Timm Lutter. 81 percent of Germans currently use such a universal device. “Everyone under 50 has a smartphone.” There is still growth potential among retirees; in the 65 plus generation, 41 percent had a corresponding device.

What will be important at IFA
Sales figures are falling in the face of this market saturation. According to the study “Consumer Technology 2017”, sales in Germany will fall to 24.07 million devices from 24.22 million smartphones in the previous year. In contrast, sales are expected to increase by four percent to 9.77 billion euros, mainly because larger devices (phablets) are in demand. The smartphone is “the device for which Germans have spent the most money in recent years,” said Lutter.

The German Corona warning app is available for download. The program is intended to help prevent the coronavirus from spreading again in Germany. The most important questions and answers at a glance.

The German Corona app is now available for download. With the help of the program, the corona virus in Germany could be further contained, as the corona warning app can be used to trace contact chains in an emergency. But how does the app work and what do you as a user have to consider? Here you can find all the important information about the federal government’s corona warning app.


Corona app – download, data protection and function at a glance

What is the Corona app?

The Corona-Warn-App is an application for iOS and Android smartphones that is to be made available to users from June 16, 2020. The tracing app (not to be confused with a tracking app) is not about tracking the location of individual users, but about tracking encounters. With the help of a tracing app, contact chains of corona infected people are to be tracked. The goal: consumers who have been in contact with people who have tested positive should be warned by the Corona app. You could possibly have contracted the infected person. 

What is the Corona app used for?

The federal government’s corona warning app does not protect you from contracting the coronavirus. It replaces neither the applicable distance requirements nor the important hygiene rules. The tracing app is intended to supplement the existing measures against the COVID-19 pandemic by interrupting the contact chains of people who have tested positive at an earlier stage.

According to current knowledge, infected people can be contagious 14 days before the first symptoms appear, without knowing about it. Some disease courses are even completely symptom-free. The faster a warned person knows about the risk of infection, the faster they can take their own protective measures.

Is the Corona app download free?

Yes. The Corona-Warn-App can be downloaded free of charge and runs on any modern smartphone, provided it supports the Covid-19 contact protocol. This may have to be activated in the settings of the smartphone.

Does the Corona-Warn-App run on my smartphone?

The federal government’s Corona warn app works on iPhones that have the current iOS 13.5 operating system installed. This iOS version is available for devices from the iPhone 6s or the iPhone SE. The older iPhones 5, 5s or 6 are not sufficient for using the Corona app because they are not supplied with the current iOS version with the designation 13.5.

With Android phones, the situation is a bit more confusing. Here’s Android 6 and support for Bluetooth LE minimum requirement. Furthermore, the Google Play Services must also be running and up to date, as the group does not provide the Bluetooth interfaces via Android itself, but via these Google services.

Where can I download the Corona app?

The federal government’s tracing app is available for download free of charge for Android smartphones in Google Play and for iPhones in Apple’s App Store .

Yes. No user in Germany is forced to install the Corona app on their smartphone. The installation of the software is a voluntary decision. However, the more people have the app installed on their end device, the more people can benefit from the additional protection in an emergency and the more precise and comprehensive the tracking of encounters becomes.

How does the Corona-Warn-App work?

The Corona app tries to track contact chains and records which smartphones have come close to each other. To do this, the devices exchange randomly generated crypto keys via Bluetooth. For this purpose, each device randomly generates a new ID every few minutes, which is stored locally on the device for a maximum of 14 days . If two devices on which the tracing app is installed recognize each other, this is similar to a “digital handshake”. This relevant contact is then saved for 14 days. In addition to the IDs, the time and duration of the contact and the signal strength are recorded. The distance is estimated based on the signal strength.
If a user tests positive for Covid-19, he can share the test result in the app so that users who were in his vicinity are informed. Infected people are expressly asked whether they want to share the result for contact tracking. As an alternative to digital transmission, validation is available via a Telekom call center.

Can this even work with Bluetooth technology?

It is clear that the short-range radio Bluetooth was never invented for this task, but for other purposes such as connecting a wireless keyboard and computer mouse to a PC or streaming music from a smartphone to a speaker. However, Bluetooth is better suited than other technologies for estimating distances between two devices.

Can my immediate surroundings see my contact details?

No. In the data exchange between two smartphones on which the Corona app is installed, the user’s clear information is never used. The app first generates an anonymized daily key. From this, new temporary IDs are generated every 15 minutes, which are then exchanged with the other smartphones. They do not allow any direct conclusions to be drawn about the user of the app. The constantly changing temporary IDs are stored locally in lists on the smartphone for 14 days and then deleted.

What about data protection and the security of data?

Tracing via Bluetooth technology using the decentralized approach is the most privacy-friendly of the possible alternatives. The Federal Government’s Corona app is pursuing this approach. The Federal Office for Information Security (BSI) has commissioned TÜV-IT to check the Corona warning app for security gaps and weaknesses in data protection.

The greatest attention is paid to IT security, data protection and personal rights during the development of the Corona warning app. No movement profiles are tracked, instead Germany relies on a decentralized approach with tracing via Bluetooth technology. The distance between two smartphones is measured. If this falls below a critical value for a certain period of time, both devices exchange an encrypted code.

Only afterwards does a user find out completely anonymously via a comparison exclusively on the smartphone that they have had direct contact with an infected person. In addition, the principle of voluntariness applies. It starts with the download of the app. They decide for themselves whether those affected should report their own infection. If the app is deleted, this also applies to the data. Personal information, however, is not even collected.

How is the data of the Corona app saved?

The anonymized data of the contacts are stored decentrally on the respective smartphone. The comparison of whether you have encountered an infected person is done locally on the mobile phone. Only the anonymized list is stored centrally and regularly accessed by the smartphones in order to identify possible problematic encounters.

Can the Corona app really help fight the pandemic?

Experts assume that a digital solution can be an important tool in combating the corona pandemic and is long overdue. Some experts assume that the app can only help if as many as possible use it. According to the Federal Government, however, anyone who uses the app is helpful in tracking contact chains. It will probably only be seen in a few months whether the app will ultimately bring the benefits that epidemiologists expect from it.

What happens if a user tests positive?

If a user has tested positive, you enter this status yourself in the app. The aim of the reporting system is to prevent the wrong infection report from entering the system by mistake or on purpose. To prevent misuse or error, this status must be officially confirmed. This is done on the one hand via a QR code that you receive from the test laboratory. Alternatively, you can also enter a TAN, which you can get from a telephone hotline, as not all laboratories are able to generate QR codes. In the event of an infection, the affected contacts who were in the vicinity of the infected person receive a message that they should be tested.

Google has some news to present again that we don’t have to worry about (for the time being) in this country. However, since business and private travel is still going on in times of Corona, it could well be that you come into contact with the new hospitality functions of Google much sooner than you think. These are services that you can use as a guest in hotels and other accommodations in order not to have to contact the staff for every little thing or to simply make your stay a little more comfortable.


According to Google, the partner facilities will receive a Nest Hub Smart Display for each hotel room. This can then be used for all sorts of useful things via Google voice commands: querying the weather report, waking you up, but also sending service requests to the hotel. It should be possible to ask, “Hey Google, ask my hotel for additional towels” or “Hey Google, when does the pool close?” Some hotels should then even offer a quick checkout or surveys for guests via the Google Assistant have ready how you could make your stay even more beautiful. It should also be possible for hotels to query any promotions or special offers directly via the Google Assistant.


In addition, YouTube can be accessed and, via a Bluetooth connection, guests can also play their own music on the smart display. If the hotel is so “modern” that the rooms are equipped with smart lights, televisions and roller blinds, then guests can also control them via Google Assistant – here at the latest there will certainly be one or the other guest for whom that would be too much . In spite of all this, the protection of privacy should also be ensured:


There is no need to sign in to the device and no activity is associated with your personal account. There is no camera on the Nest Hub, and the physical microphone switch can be turned off for added privacy. No sound is ever saved, and all activity is immediately deleted from the device when it is reset for the next guest.


Currently, Google’s new hospitality service is working in hotels like Fairmont Princess in Scottsdale, Dr. Wilkinson’s Resort in Calistoga, Gale and Shelborne South Beach in Miami, Gansevoort Meatpacking and Synergy Chelsea in New York City, Hotel Zena and Viceroy DC and Village Hotels in the UK. According to Google, there are already plenty of other partnerships in the pipeline.

With Oracle, the next US tech company should be interested in TikTok. There is hardly any rational reason to buy. Except politics.

In addition to Microsoft and the short message service Twitter , the US technology group Oracle is now said to be interested in taking over the Chinese video app TikTok. Oracle is working with American investors who in turn are involved in the TikTok owner Bytedance , including General Atlantic and Sequoia Capital ,  reported the “Financial Times”. That raised a lot of frowns in the tech world. Because actually there are hardly any conclusive arguments for such an entry. Oracle neither knows the business, nor are there any significant synergies. Anyone who is still looking for an argument for the takeover must leave the soil of hard economic facts. What speaks against the purchase – and what for it. 

1. Oracle has no experience in the retail business

The majority of people around the world may never have heard of Oracle. The reason for this is simple: the company founded by the charismatic Larry Ellison near San Francisco is a flawless provider of business-to-business software. Oracle is the main competitor of the German software group SAP in the business with business software – from finance to human resources to accounting. In addition, the Californian company is the world market leader for databases.

The Californian group has long since sold all business areas with any reference to the end customer business that Oracle had acquired in the course of earlier acquisitions – including the “Open Office” office package from the German company Star Division. A second or third glance does not reveal how a social network such as TikTok, which is particularly popular with teenagers and young adults, should fit into the portfolio.

2. Oracle plays no role in the global cloud infrastructure

From a technical point of view, social networks like Facebook , LinkedIn or even TikTok are basically gigantic databases in which sophisticated algorithms decide which users get to see which content. And such databases, one could argue, are part of Oracle’s business. 

But these are completely different from what is needed to operate a platform like TikTok. Because in order to be able to transfer images or video content to the smartphones for hundreds of millions of users worldwide in fractions of a second, you not only need a database, but also a worldwide network of cloud data centers that store and distribute the content.

This is exactly what Microsoft has , which with its software platform Azure and the global network of data centers is now the world’s second largest provider of cloud infrastructure. Microsoft has now secured almost a fifth of global business , behind Amazon , which has a third of the market share with its AWS cloud service.

Oracle, on the other hand, does not play a role in global business with just two percent of sales – and simply does not have the capacity to run TikTok on its own platform.

3. Oracle has no synergies in marketing TikTok content

The biggest source of income in social networks is the sale of advertising. Here Facebook and Google dominate the global online advertising market. Oracle lacks both the competence and the staff to run this business itself after a possible takeover of TikTok.

Here, too, Microsoft is much better off. With the search platform Bing and the news portals connected to it, the Windows Group has both the know-how and the channels to end customers that would allow TikTok content to be marketed via other channels. With the additional advertising revenues that Microsoft could generate, a billion-dollar acquisition in China could also pay off.

However, how Oracle should refinance an entry into the entertainment portal is completely unclear.

4. Oracle would be Beelzebub instead of the devil

US President Donald Trump justified the request to the Chinese TikTok parent ByteDance to sell the US business with concerns about the data security of American users. From a European perspective, however, the takeover of the service by Oracle would in a sense only replace the devil with the Beelzebub.

The reason: Oracle has a company with its subsidiary BlueKai that operates an extensive tracking network on the worldwide web. Largely unnoticed by the public, BlueKai follows traces of online users around the world when they are online.

Only at the end of June of this year did this fact become public through a data breach with billions of entries, in which the personal data of German Internet users were also openly online. American corporations are also relatively lax with personal data. Oracle’s entry would not bring more data security for end users (American as well as international).

5. Oracle may have an interest in helping Trump

The fact that Oracle is entering the bidding race could also have political rather than economic reasons and the company is only participating in TikTok for the sake of US President Donald Trump. Because Oracle founder Larry Ellison is a declared Trump supporter: “I support him and want him to be ahead,” Ellison said in April to the US magazine Forbes.

In February, Ellison invited his friends to a high profile fundraiser on his private estate and golf course in California. And Safra Catz, the CEO at Oracle, even worked in his transition team in 2016 after Trump’s election victory.

So if Oracle drove up the price for TikTok in a bidding contest with Microsoft, Trump could only be right – he had already suggested at the beginning of August that the American state should be entitled to a kind of brokerage bonus if a deal is made. 

He called it “key money” – an old-fashioned term from the real estate business when a tenant slips his future landlord a bribe in order to win the contract. Oracle could make sure that the cash register rings for the tax money. 

In return, Ellison and Catz were with the US activities of TikTok access to a completely new and potentially lucrative business

Thanks to the deal with Deutsche Bank, Google can hold its own against its main cloud rivals Amazon and Microsoft for the first time. Does the partnership also convince other data-sensitive companies from Germany?

This news makes one sit up and take notice: Deutsche Bank and Google want to enter into a multi-year strategic partnership in IT matters. The bankers want to use the cloud services of the US group, among other things In addition, both companies plan to jointly develop technology-based products for the financial sector .

The deal is remarkable for several reasons: So far, two companies in particular have dominated the still young cloud market. According to figures from the American market researcher Canalys from February 2020, every third company worldwide that uses cloud services relies on Amazon Web Services (AWS), the subsidiary of the group known primarily for its online trade. Almost every fifth company uses Microsoft. Google Cloud follows behind in third place with only six percent.

AWS generated $ 35 billion worldwide last year – and, like Microsoft, has been growing at double-digit rates for years. In comparison, Google’s cloud business has so far been relatively under the radar – also and especially in Germany.

In the past, the Google rivals in particular made a name for themselves in this country. Last year, for example, when Volkswagen announced major partnerships with both providers: The Wolfsburg-based company is building an auto cloud for digital value-added services with Microsoft ; with AWS, however, VW wants to network its 122 factories worldwide in an industrial cloud .

At eye level with the market leaders

The deal with Deutsche Bank therefore means two things for Google: On the one hand, the large order gives the Americans a visible foot in the door of the German market, which has so far been relatively closed to them. On the other hand, Google is proving that in cloud computing they can act on a par with their US rivals AWS and Microsoft. For some time, Google has been trying to attract customers in this industry, but so far it has only been able to win over HSBC , as reported by the Bloomberg news agency.

The ten-year partnership between Google and Deutsche Bank is also noteworthy for another reason: Many companies – especially in Germany – are worried about losing control of their own data when using an American cloud provider. Google operates seven data centers in Europe, one of them in Germany. It is not known on which the data for Deutsche Bank will be processed. But the so-called Cloud Act allows US authorities to even access data from Amazon, Microsoft or Google stored abroad in the event of suspicion.

Particularly strict rules

It is not yet known that this has already happened. In a long-standing dispute before the American Supreme Court, Microsoft tried to prevent the US government from accessing at least the data that is on servers outside the USA. Vain. This leaves many companies with a certain degree of uncertainty.

And now with Deutsche Bank, of all things, a German company from the specially regulated financial sector is using a US provider like Google. The regulations for data storage on German servers are among the strictest here. And the customers are probably more sensitive than in any other industry: Who wants their credit card or old-age pension information to fall into the wrong hands? Google has apparently convinced Deutsche Bank that this will not happen. The partnership could therefore have a signal effect for the cloud industry as a whole – according to the motto: If the Deutschbankers trust the Americans, industrial companies and retailers can too.

They offer enormous opportunities, but sometimes harbor great dangers: Drones. For example, the number of disruptions in air traffic is increasing. Defense techniques find it difficult to keep up with the rapid pace of technology development.

Significant disruption to air traffic from drones was a wake-up call for the UK authorities. Gatwick Airport in London was paralyzed for several days in December. Tens of thousands of passengers had to stay on the ground without the police finding the perpetrators. The government wants to prevent new drone incidents with expanded restricted zones and mandatory registration. London Heathrow, Europe’s largest airport, is protected with military equipment.

“The danger is great and growing,” says Jürgen Beyerer, who is involved in security and defense research at the Fraunhofer Institute. “You don’t have to equip a drone with explosives to cause huge economic damage. We have very vulnerable infrastructures, for example airports, which can be paralyzed just by sighting a drone. You have to make them more resilient. ”And:“ I think the airports have underestimated that so far. ”

In Germany, obstacles to air traffic with drones increased by 80 percent in the past year. The German air traffic control reports 158 cases, 125 of them in the metropolitan area of ​​airports. There were a total of 88 faults in 2017, the previous record year.

Remote-controlled aircraft that are used as toys or work equipment are becoming increasingly cheaper and at the same time more powerful. Whole “swarms of drones”, possibly with a programmed flight order, are the next technological leap. An enormous challenge for the military, for airports and ultimately also for major events.

Experts in the military and authorities are watching very closely how small drones are already being used as weapons. The Bundeswehr protects itself against such attacks when deployed abroad. The latest edition of the specialist journal “MarineForum” sheds light on the dangers posed by drones or entire swarms of drones that can carry explosives or even warfare agents.

In Syria, self-made weapons have already been used as weapons. Just one of several examples: on January 8, 2018, the Russian military reported that ten missiles prepared with explosives and heading for the Hamaimim air base had been located. Three more drones were aimed at the Tartus naval base. Some of the self-made plastic and wood constructions were shot down and some landed. A drone was on public display.

Israel is considered a pioneer in defense against drones. Companies there have developed various defense systems, such as the “Drone Dome” from the arms manufacturer Rafael and the “Drone Guard” from Elta, a subsidiary of the defense group IAI (Israeli Aerospace Industries). A Rafael spokesman, he calls himself Meir and does not want to give his full name, says: “The threat from drones has increased significantly in recent years. From a gimmick, it has become a weapon used by terrorist organizations like the Islamic State (IS). ”

The task of the “Drone Dome” is to detect drones and, if necessary, to switch them off. This is possible up to a distance of 3.5 to 5 kilometers. If a drone comes dangerously close to an airport, you can either disrupt its communication systems or take control of the aircraft and land it at a safe distance. Both methods are known as “soft kill”. A so-called “hard kill” is also technically possible – shooting down the drone with a precisely targeted laser cannon. “This is an option, but it’s not used in practice yet,” he says.

The “soft kill” does not endanger aircraft in the vicinity because drones have a significantly lower radio frequency than aircraft, says Meir. The “hard kill” could be necessary in the future if drones were equipped in such a way that their radio links could no longer be disturbed.

The system currently in use will be alerted if only the remote control of a drone is switched on in the vicinity of an airport, explains Meir. A flying drone can also be identified by optical monitoring and so-called sigint systems – “Signals Intelligence”, the examination of data streams for certain content.

The system can be operated by a person, for example in the control tower of an airport. Last year, according to media reports, Rafael sold six of these systems to Great Britain for the equivalent of 17.45 million euros. This is not the only foreign customer, says Meir, but does not want to name any other countries.

The defense system of the second Israeli provider, the “Drone Guard”, was used to protect the latest G20 summit in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. An Elta representative confirmed that the system was also used near the airport while the heads of state landed there.

In Germany, the airports are responsible for their own security of the site. However, this explicitly refers to the floor. Air traffic control is responsible for the airspace, but only for known and orderly flight movements. In the case of unauthorized threat flights, the police also come into play: only they are authorized to exercise “direct coercion”.

“Experience with game consoles is an advantage”

In addition to electronic means, a shotgun or the use of a water cannon are also conceivable. Even birds of prey have been trained, but with moderate success in practical use. Also under discussion are restricted zones that are technically enforced through so-called geofencing: drones would have to contain an electronic component that scans forbidden areas and blocks entry.

However, there are also racing drones, some of them self-built, which demonstrate spectacular mobility even in narrow buildings. Beyerer: “Race drones fly so fast that it takes your breath away. Defense systems simply have problems with the dynamics of these drones. If these fast drones are then also equipped with autonomy, I would say that you are not prepared for this today. “

Whether with electronics or chemicals – the fight against mosquitoes and their bites is a business that more and more companies are pushing into. The technical innovations with which they hunt down the pests.

Their buzzing robs you of sleep – and once you have tracked down your victim, for example based on the exhaled air or the body odor, there is hardly any escape. They saw through the skin to the nearest vein with their piercing bristles, and with their proboscis they pump saliva into the wound so that the victim’s blood does not clot. Then they suck it off. And a little later the sting begins to itch.

Mosquitoes are a nuisance, mosquitoes are disease carriers – and they are business for large corporations and small start-ups.

One start-up that makes money with the buzzing pests is Heat_it. The company based near Mannheim has developed a tiny device that can be used to relieve the itching and swelling after a mosquito bite. Connected to the smartphone and its battery, you simply hold the device on the itchy area. The heat given off ensures that fewer histamines are released, which cause itching. At the same time, the brief pain leads to the fact that the brain hardly notices the itching. And the heat is supposed to break down the protein poison from the mosquito’s saliva.

Similar devices, in which the user has to charge the battery regularly and which are therefore much more bulky, have been on the market for a while; they are available at the common drugstore chains.

In Germany , mosquitoes can be a nuisance and even cause business problems, as restaurateurs on the Bavarian Ammersee have to experience this year. There, residents and tourists had to flee the open air after 3 p.m. because the mosquitoes literally fell on them. But at least they rarely transmit serious diseases in this country. Unlike in the malaria areas of the world.

The World Health Organization WHO has recommended two years ago for the first time in decades a new anti-mosquito products, such as for use in Central Africa and Southeast Asia. A mosquito net from the Ludwigshafen-based BASF group soaked in the active ingredient chlorfenapyr .

Old ideas, improved application

The company developed this together with the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the Innovative Vector Control Consortium, an organization to fight malaria. The active ingredient is not new; it has been used as an insecticide in agriculture for years. But now the scientists have changed it so that it can also be used on the networks.

The active ingredient disrupts the insects’ ability to generate energy. As a result, it dies when it sits on the net. It is also considered less likely that the insects will become resistant to the agent. Based on the active ingredient, BASF has now also developed a spray that can be applied to walls and ceilings.

A remedy that the Cologne-based chemical company Lanxess has in its range is a little less martial against mosquitoes . Lanxess is an exclusive worldwide manufacturer of the active ingredient Icaridin, which is found in most mosquito sprays today, for example in Autan, which is sold by the US manufacturer SC Johnson.

Icaridin makes people practically impossible to smell by mosquitoes by confusing their olfactory receptors. This makes it much more difficult for the animal to find its victim, and the risk of a mosquito bite is reduced. However, mosquitoes also orientate themselves with their eyes. The funds are of little help here.

Nevertheless, analysts at Zion Market Research expect the global market for drugs to keep mosquitos away from them to grow to around five billion dollars by 2022. Outbreaks like the Zika virus in South America would drive development, they expect.

And electronics should also chase the insects away, according to the plan of the Zurich start-up Nopixglobal. His Nopixgo bracelet emits electromagnetic impulses that are harmless to humans and simulate a storm with lightning and thunder. Mosquitoes don’t like that at all. Even in bodies of water, the bracelet, which costs around 90 euros, chases away stinging animals, reports a hobby angler on YouTube who has tested it extensively.