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SINTEF

"Imagine opening a hatch in a submarine under water. The water will flow into the submarine with enormous force. It is precisely this energy potential we want to utilize." This is how German engineer Rainer Schramm describes his idea for storing energy under the sea. By using surplus energy to pump water out of a tank at the seabed, the water is simply let back in again when there's an energy shortfall, driving turbines as it rushes in. The deeper the tank, the more power is generated. Read More
Working on arctic oil rigs and similar sites doesn't just mean putting on a jumper and a scarf. It’s arduous, exhausting and dangerous, and requires careful judgment at all times to deal with the hostile frozen environment. To make this a bit less hazardous, the Scandinavian research organization SINTEF is developing clothing equipped with sensors to monitor temperature and activity, with an eye on helping supervisors to determine when it's time for workers to stop work and return inside. Read More
Of the various effects that a stroke can have on a person, one of the most common is paralysis of one side of the body – needless to say, this has a severe impact on the victim’s ability to walk. Treatment often consists of therapists retraining the person’s body by repeatedly lifting their legs, guiding them through a proper walking pattern. The EU-funded CORBYS project aims to make such therapy easier for everyone involved by using a powered orthosis to move the patient’s legs in response to feedback from their brain. Read More
Mobile phone cameras generally aren't known for their fantastic image quality. One of the reasons for this is the fact that most of them have fixed-focus lenses, as opposed to the autofocus lenses on all but the cheapest stand-alone cameras. The phone cameras partially compensate by using a small aperture to maintain a good depth of field, but this limits their use in low-light situations. Of course, their lenses could automatically focus by moving in and out (like those on larger cameras), but this would draw considerable power from the phones' batteries. Now, however, Norwegian scientists have unveiled a low-power autofocus lens for mobile phone cameras, that works like the human eye. Read More
If there’s one big environmental concern surrounding power plants that burn material such as coal in order to produce power, it’s the amount of carbon dioxide that they release into the atmosphere. Various experimental technologies have been developed for removing most or all of the CO2 from smokestack effluents, although no one system appears to have been universally accepted as of yet. One technology that shows some promise, and that could perhaps be used in conjunction with other systems, is called Chemical Looping Combustion (CLC). Norwegian research group SINTEF is now building a special new type of CLC system, for use in the DemoCLOCK pilot project, to be installed at Spain’s Elcogas Puertollano power plant. Read More
Although it may have missed the entry deadline for the Wendy Schmidt Oil Cleanup X-CHALLENGE, a new technology for containing oil spills at sea was recently unveiled. Developed by Norwegian research organization SINTEF, the system uses a curtain of air bubbles to contain spilled oil for easier removal, or to form a barrier around protected areas. Read More
We've all heard about old metal car bodies being melted down for recycling, but what happens to the composite hulls and superstructures of past-their-prime recreational boats? Well, not much. Generally, they just end being sunk, burned, or put in a scrapyard. Sometimes, the composites are ground up and added as filler to virgin material. An alternative may be on the way, however, as researchers have discovered a new method for separating the composite components for future reuse. Read More
Working as a commercial fisherman is consistently ranked as one of the world’s most dangerous jobs. There are numerous ways in which they can end up in the water, with their shipmates (if they even have any) not noticing until it’s too late. That, or their boat can simply sink. In any case, fishermen need all the help they can get when it comes to safety, so a 14-group research consortium is developing “intelligent clothing” for them to wear at sea. Read More
It’s a problem as old as the protective earplug itself - if you block out the loud, harmful noises, you also block out the quieter sounds, such as peoples’ voices... that is, unless you’ve got a QUIETPRO+ Intelligent Hearing System stuck in your ears. The setup consists of a pair of fairly regular-looking in-ear plugs, wired iPod-style to a small electronic control unit. When the system detects a dangerously-loud noise, it automatically sends noise-canceling sound waves to the headset. When things are quiet, it amplifies sounds like human voices, so the user is actually able to hear better than they would without it. Read More
More and more cars are integrating driver assistance features that help do things like avoid collisions, keep a safe distance from other vehicles, or even parallel park. There are also Lane Departure Warning systems that use onboard cameras to keep the driver from drifting out of their lane. But what happens if the roadside markings are worn away, or covered with snow or mud? Norwegian research organization SINTEF has come up with a solution called WayPilot – a system which uses sensors embedded in the asphalt and a shaking steering wheel to alert drivers before they stray too far off course. Read More
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