The Fusion for Energy (F4E) Technology Transfer Award 2022 was granted to Tampere University for its project using a 3D machine vision system, initially developed for remote handling operations in a fusion reactor, and subsequently adapted to minimise blind spots in mobile machinery. A 10 000 EUR prize has been handed to this initiative which highlights the benefits of fusion breakthroughs to industry and manufacturing, leading potentially to a spin-off by the end of the year.

F4E Technology Transfer Activities: a source of fusion know-how that can spill over into other areas

Fusion is a source of safe, carbon-free and virtually unlimited energy. Harnessing the power of the Sun  is the goal of ITER, an international scientific partnership involvingChina, Europe, Japan, India, the Republic of Korea, the Russian Federation and the United States. ITER was conceived as the key experimental step between the fusion research machines of today and the fusion power plants of tomorrow. In addition, the skills developed to tackle the technical challenges of ITER can have short-term benefits for European companies.

F4E organised a Technology Transfer Award at the beginning of 2022. This contest aimed at rewarding the exploitation of a technology originally designed for fusion in other fields.

Tampere University receives the Award for its efforts to address blind spots issues in mobile machinery thanks to a novel 3D machine vision system developed for ITER

In order to maximise ITER plant availability, remote handling will perform maintenance of heavy ITER components with a high degree of accuracy, while coping with very limited visibility to localise and grasp components.

Emilio Ruiz, F4E project manager for Remote Handling Control Systems

The University of Tampere has developed, in collaboration with F4E and VTT (Technical Research Center of Finland), an innovative 3D target tracking system designed for remote handling operations.

It offers millimeter precision guidance to robotic manipulators to perform tool insertion, object manipulation and other remote handling operations

Olli Suominen, researcher at Tampere University

The application submitted by Tampere University for the Technology Transfer Award stood out for its novelty and its business perspective, addressing the challenge of visibility and blind spots in mobile machinery. A successful test was operated on a vehicle used to handle and stack shipping containers to tackle blind spots’ issues. In this pilot, the technology developed with F4E has been applied to calibrate a 3D camera system that allowed the operator to see what stood behind the container.

The numerous applications in mobile machinery and the opportunity to build a sustainable business model have given the incentive to the University of Tampere and M. Suominen to set up a spin-off company by the end of the year.

A new award will open soon !