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Students Kinect with new simulator

A new simulator designed to train engineers and crew in seismic streamer deck handling using the Kinect motion sensor system from Microsoft has been installed at Vestfold University College in Norway.

The Seismic Streamer Deck Operation Trainer was developed as part of Kongsberg Maritime’s Offshore Vessel Simulator, in co-operation with Petroleum Geo-Services (PGS) following an agreement signed in Q4 2010.

The system passed its Site Acceptance Test at Vestfold University College in March 2012 and is now fully operational.

The Seismic Streamer Deck Operation Trainer utilises the Kinect for Windows motion sensing device, which is equipped on student stations to track their movements in order to display them within a simulation of the stern streamer deck.

This enables students to physically walk around the deck area, completing set tasks according to the specific exercise.

They are equipped with a virtual toolbox presented on a touch screen close by and are also equipped with a winch/block control device, which is a physical device worn around the waist, allowing them to select and control the correct winch/block for the job.

The simulator is based on the PGS seismic vessel Ramform Viking, and features an accurate hydrodynamic model, 3D hull design and realistic stern streamer deck to ensure that students can relate to the simulated vessel environment during training.

A typical simulation scenario involves three students. One is assigned supervisor, responsible for controlling winches, using a real winch control terminal interfaced to the simulator. The other two students operate auxiliary winches and are equipped with the virtual toolbox, with the equipment needed to complete the operation simulated on screen.

“Back-deck operations have been increasing in complexity over the years and personnel are getting less exposure to these critical operations, so we decided that simulator training was a natural step to ensure safety and efficiency,” said Einar Nielsen, vice president projects, Marine Acquisition PGS.

“This has been an interesting and challenging project for both parties and I would say the techniques employed with the system represent a step change in simulator training for the offshore environment.”

The installation at Vestfold University College consists of two Instructor stations, one navigation bridge, winch and block control terminals, a common info station for all three students and three streamer deck crew operator stations (student stations).

Each student station consists of three 65-inch TFT-LCD screens mounted vertically, which displays their simulated position on the streamer deck and the actions they are carrying out with the virtual toolbox.

The centre display units are fitted with touch screens, allowing the student to open and close valves and winch locks, power on/off winches and blocks together with enabling lines on the helper winches in the scene.

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