Technology in Fishing Suits

Norwegians are very passionate about fishing so, in order to mix safety and style, they will have a team of scientists working on a new generation of fishermen work-wear, with inbuilt life-saving devices.

The Norwegian SINTEF research group along with Norway’s textile manufacturer Helly Hansen Pro will lead an eight-member European group for developing this equipment.

The plan is to incorporate a wireless device that will stop a small one-man fishing boat if the person should fall overboard.

This wonder suit will include an alarm that will transmit the position of the boat, so that rescue teams can localize it faster, and this work-wear might even be able to repair rips in its fabric, by itself!

The purpose of this possibly amusing project is a very serious one: saving professional fishermen from drowning if ending up in the sea.

The Safe@Sea project costs four million Euro and it already started last year, to be finished in 2012.

Physiologist and SINTEF scientist coordinating the project, Hilde Færevik says “We intend to make their everyday life safer and more comfortable for fishers by integrating high technology into the clothes that they wear to work, put simply, to give them what is known in the trade as intelligent clothing.”

“We will map the needs and wishes expressed by European fishermen regarding the work-wear, and physiological and ergonomic tests in the laboratory and the field will help to ensure that the new clothing will have the functionality and comfort that will meet these demands,” she adds.

The interdisciplinary research team includes two industrial designers, an engineer specializing in biophysics and a materials scientist and the 14 research institutes part of this project come from Norway, Finland, Denmark, Sweden, Belgium, Italy, Spain and the UK.

Until now, fishermen had their clothes treated with oil, to make them waterproof and that's about it, so this new project with its technological content will make a huge difference.

Scientists also wish to find a way of treating the surface of the clothing so that it would be easier to clean up, and incorporate flotation mechanisms.

Another aspect not to neglect is comfort because “the textiles need to be soft and able to “breathe” ... if the high-technology aspects affect such properties, we will have to lower our technological ambitions, because if the new clothing is not comfortable in wear, it won’t be used,” says Færevik.

This project will not end up in a laboratory because Helly Hansen will make eure that production-ready solutions are put on the market, AlphaGalileo reports.

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