Call For Project

The self propelled rope

How might we make a rope that can pull itself through water?

by Fredrik Falkman, SSRS

Subject Rescue
Status Looking for Collaborators
Results Concept
Owner Type Rescue organizations

If you pull a length of rope through water, you will notice that i makes resistance. A rope with minimum resistance, or one that even pulls itself, would be helpful in many rescue situations, at many scales.


This is an initial call. Shallow research has not given indication that the envisioned technology exists. Any level of work furthering the field would be appreciated, e.g.:

  • Research into existing projects, technology and products
  • Ideation about possible solutions
  • Research and development of technologies that would make the ida possible


Pulling any length of rope through water at almost any scale presents the problem of resistance, e.g.:

  • A rescuer swimming to help out with a rope – wether held in a hand, clenched between the teeth, or tied to the body – will notice that it is much harder than swimming unhindered
  • Pulling a long rope with a small tender to a boat in shallow water in need of a tow can be demanding. If the rope is long enough and the tender boat small enough, it may even cause a capsize
  • Retracting a long tow line without a without a winch can be very hard work. Better save your breath for actual rescue work!


The field is wide open.

  • If power is needed, it could be supplied externally, but better yet would be self generated power, e.g. through wave motion.
  • The forward motion could be generated on the surface of the rope, or maybe through a snaking motion.
  • If self propulsion ends up being too tall an order, a rope with minimized resistans might also be a valuable outcome



Please ask us anything via the contact box on the right!


18/2 2014 Some minor updates after talking to students from Swedish School of Textiles
5/2 2014 This Call was posted on

Who is behind the project?

The self propelled rope is a project call from the Innovation office at Swedish Sea Rescue Society, SSRS. The SSRS is a non-profit organization that performs 70% of sea rescues in Sweden thanks to some 2000 volunteers . Our constitution says that — aside from perform sea rescue operations — we are to further the interest in sea rescue matters, and to propose ways to improve sea rescue.

The person proposing this project is me, Fredrik Falkman. I’m a trained industrial designer working for the SSRS with development projects and general innovation. Beside my work at the SSRS, I run a design consultancy: Fredrik Falkman Design AB, FFD.


If you have any questions about this project, you can send the project owner a message from here.


Share your thoughts about this project and let the project team know what you think. Comments are moderated to make sure a friendly and nice tone are kept by all.