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SINTEF

Space

Robot snakes may one day explore Mars

Mars is essentially one big desert, and what do you tend to find in deserts? Snakes. There’s a reason for this, so the European Space Agency-funded SERPEX project is conducting a feasibility study on how robot snakes could one day be used to explore the Red Planet.Read More

Marine

New ship will remain stable by creating its own inner waves

When offshore oil drilling rigs are being installed, serviced or dismantled, the workers typically stay in cabins located on adjacent floating platforms. These semi-submersible platforms are towed into place (or travel under their own power) and then their hulls are partially filled with water, allowing them to remain somewhat stable in the pitching seas. Now, a ship is being built to serve the same purpose, but that will be a much more mobile alternative. It will keep from rolling with the waves by generating its own waves, inside its hull. Read More

Environment

Europe joins race to store energy at the bottom of the ocean

"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

Wearables

ColdWear project developing smart jacket for workers in the Arctic

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

Robotics

Robotic CORBYS platform uses patient feedback to help stroke victims walk again

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

Digital Cameras

Mini autofocus lens mimics the human eye

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

Environment

EU project to demonstrate 'cheaper, easier' method of CO2 capture

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

Environment

New system created for recycling composite boats

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

Wearables

'Intelligent clothing' could stop boats when fishermen fall overboard

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

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