Haptics for the Maritime Environment

Lead: Frank Hoeckx
2016-2017 (Post-MSc Project, Active)

This post-MSc research project is performed by Frank Hoeckx, in co-operation with David Abbink and Arthur Vrijdag (Maritime Engineering, 3mE). It is funded through a cohesion grant, to stimulate new co-operations between departments within the faculty 3mE.

The aim of this project is to design and build a set-up to investigate the use of haptic feedback for controlling ships, thus it is titled ‘Haptics for the Maritime Environment’. With this novel set-up, our lab’s knowledge on haptic feedback can be applied to a new field. 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.

The Gemini has been adapted to also incorporate rotations around the Z-axis by Alfons Schure. This represents the control of azimuthing thrusters of a tugboat, which is the ship type that we take as the first demonstration example. These control units 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, 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 for an audience of 35 interested people from industry.



haptics, Control & Simulation, Maritime, Ship


Involved Researchers:
Created by The Laboratory Network