‘Finger-grip’ vessel control offering precise tactile feedback may seem radical for those accustomed to conventional levers, but the combination is proving a focus for those considering SeaQ Bridge, the new bridge concept from VARD.
Functionally and ergonomically, the pad-like ‘levers’ integrated in the SeaQ Propulsion Control fit perfectly in the hand and provide customizable haptic feedback. ‘Below the plate’, the unique man-machine interface in enabled by technology from Lilaas, which has adapted its breakthrough LO1 control technology to deliver the advanced touch sensitive functionality required.
VARD says that its objective has been to deliver controls that report high-level data instantly, “reducing the user’s cognitive load” to enhance performance in high-pressure situations. The ‘super-low’ profile controls are a major advance for ergonomics, removing obstructions from the sweep area beyond the levers, allowing the user to reach console buttons with minimal hand movement.
Although close to each other, the multi-device azimuth and thruster controllers are readily distinguishable in terms of both look and feel. Propulsion Control levers are also digitally represented on the console screens for visual reinforcement.
‘SeaQ Propulsion Control’ is part of ‘A Step Forward’, the project integrating input from VARD Accommodation, VARD Electro and VARD Design in a collaboration also including renowned designers Per Ivar Selvaag and Montaag. The resulting vessel concepts are distinctive in external profile and designed for safety, fuel-economy and cost optimisation, but also optimised for user-friendliness, functionality, and environmental performance.
“The entire SeaQ Bridge has been designed with the operator in mind, while functionality is built around a new framework for flexible integration of maritime software applications, ” says Ove Bjørneseth, Vice President R&D and Technology, VARD Electro AS.
The LO1 solution features compact motors, while its software uses an electronic brake and detent settings, offering the user resistance emulating changes in force. For SeaQ Propulsion Control, the Lilaas contribution includes representation of the power/speed response in LEDs embedded in the control pads themselves.
“The cooperation with Lilaas has been one of the key enablers for the ground-breaking SeaQ Bridge design, ” says Bjørneseth. “The goal of the entire project has been to develop tools that deliver higher returns on investment, increase efficiency and ease operations, also providing an attractive working environment on board. It has been a collaborative project and Lilaas has made a notable contribution.”
Terje Akerholt, Lilaas Sales & Marketing Manager, Maritime Division, says: “This is a significant reference for Lilaas. ‘A Step Forward’ brings fresh thinking to specialised vessel design. Lilaas is delighted that its technology has enabled what even the most forward-looking designers have in mind.”
“The response from customers and potential users to SeaQ Bridge has been very positive, ” adds Bjørneseth. “These controls have been designed after a profound review of the complex array of bridge devices on board ships today and their various interfaces, as well as user input. SeaQ Propulsion Control optimises comfort from both the physical and psychological points of view.”
Lilaas AS was established as Lilaas Finnekaniske AS in 1961 by Jan Lilaas. The company has over 50 years of experience in the manufacture of precision mechanics for both shipbuilding and offshore customers. The company’s products range from simple, one-axis control levers in different sizes, hand wheels and rudder controls to azimuthing control units and multi-axis joysticks. www.lilaas.no