Haptics for the Maritime EnvironmentLead: Arthur Vrijdag
2016 - current (Research Collaboration, Active)
This research started as a featured ‘cohesion grant’ initiative, which aims to stimulate new co-operations between departments within the faculty 3mE. In this case it provided seed money for a co-operation with David Abbink and Arthur Vrijdag (Maritime Engineering, 3mE).
The initial stage of the project was to design and build the world’s first haptic maritime simulator, a set-up to investigate the potential of haptic feedback for maritime applications. This could potentially increase efficiency, safety, and operational costs. Additionally, this set-up can be used as a ‘remote control station’ for research on tele-operation of semi-autonomous ships.
Frank Hoeckx worked for a year to build this setup, adapting the previously developed Gemini set-up to also incorporate rotations around the Z-axis, assisted by Alfons Schure. The two haptic manipulators represents the control interfaces for the two azimuthing thrusters of a tugboat, which is the ship type that we take as the first demonstration example. The two haptic manipulators are connected and controlled through a Bachmann Real-Time Operating System, which in turn communicates with Nautis, a simulation software package used for training simulators provided by VSTEP.
As of the end of March, 2017 the first version of the set-up is operational and is shown below. This version was improved upon, and various haptic functionalities were modeled on it. This was demonstrated on the 22nd of May 2017 for an audience of 35 interested people from industry.
The second phase in the project started when Msc student Roy Kok joined the project. Since then, many companies have seen demonstrations of the setup, and a live demo was organized on stage during a presentation at the MECSS Conference. The project was also featured at the Home of Innovation.