Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Smart Motor and touring Trondheim

Today we heard some presentations at Smart Motor, a startup that designs and improves propulsion systems, most often for marine vessels. Then we toured around Trondheim and took a dip in the frigid Trondheimsfjord!
We started the day with a nice long walk from our hotel to a local company known as Smart Motor.

Smart Motor is a startup founded in 1996 by some students from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. The company was acquired by Rolls-Royce a few years ago. Smart Motor develops or improves on industrial motor systems, primarily working with motors used on shipping vessels.

Smart Motors
The group entering Smart Motor.

The first presentation we heard covered the history of Smart Motor and its rise from a small independent company to one that now has the financial backing of one of the world's largest power system companies.

We also heard a second presentation that discussed the Technology Readiness Level (TRL) scale, a metric that describes how far in development an idea is, ranging from merely a good idea to becoming ubiquitous technology.

This presentation also emphasized the importance of cooperation between universities and companies as it applies to the TRLs. Ideas must eventually be turned into technology. This process requires companies and academia to cooperate in order to properly assess a possible technology.

Following the visit to Smart Motor, we visited DORA-1, a WWII-era Nazi submarine bunker. The bunker has steel-reinforced concrete walls that are several meters thick, making them impenetrable.

The Norwegians tried for many years to demolish the building, but it is simply too strong to be destroyed (it took six whole months to cut through the wall just to install a door).

Instead, the building is now used to house old documents and artifacts because of the incredibly stable temperature and humidity inside the bunker during all months of the year.

Roman and Mahmoud in front of DORA-1.

Intro to DORA-1
Getting an introduction to DORA-1.

DORA-1 layout
Learning about the layout of the building.

Norwegian torpedo gun
A Norwegian torpedo gun. The Germans left more than 12,000 torpedoes behind at the end of the war, so the Norwegians built equipment to utilize them.

Sam admiring the contra-rotating propulsion system
Sam was impressed by the contra-rotating propulsion system of the torpedoes.

After our visit to DORA-1, we visited Munkholmen, which is located on a small island in Trondheimsfjord. Munkholmen was a fortress, prison, monastery, and museum at different points during its history.

Munkholmen as seen from Trondheim.

Boat to Munkholmen
Members of the group enjoying the boat ride to Munkholmen.

Munkholmen has a number of old artillery units for visitors to examine as they wander freely around the grounds.

Walking around Munkholmen
Jordan walking the grounds. Sam and Essam are inspecting artillery in the background.

Ben & artillery
Ben relaxing on heavy artillery.

In addition to interesting historical artifacts, the grounds also had a small sandy beach.

And just like any sane person would do, many of us took the opportunity to jump in to the 50°F fjord. Frigid? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely.

Today was fantastic, and tomorrow we will sit for interesting lectures by professors at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology.