In their search for better solutions for the aquaculture, fishing and offshore industries, researchers are about to adopt a new design principle known as “Tensegrity” which enables plants to bend with the wind without breaking, and allows them to return to their original shape afterwards.

The ambition of NTNU and SINTEF is to utilise this type of construction at sea. Traditionally, designers have enabled marine structures to withstand loads by making them strong. Smart structures represent a different philosophy of design, one that prefers adaptation and cooperation to raw strength. The researchers envision slender, intelligent structures that adapt to wave loads instead of fighting them. One of the aims is to develop “smart” sea-cages for fish farming. If necessary, a smart aquaculture sea-cage will change its own shape, so that it reduces the cross-sectional area that it presents to the waves. If there is little current and thus relatively little oxygen available to the fish, it will increase the area turned towards the direction of the waves.