I am especially thankful to Professor Webjørn Rekdalsbakken, Department of Engineering and Natural Sciences, Aalesund University College. He gave me the chance to teach Real time computer programming together with Girts Strazdins and with Ivar Blindheim. I really enjoyed this experience.
During the last year course in Real Time Systems, our students focused on several challenges that currently affect the filed of maritime applications and related industry. In the following, an overview of the projects developed by our students is reported and organised according to the research themes that are considered.
Advanced Control Methods Applied to Demanding Maritime Operations and to Industrial Processes
- A Wave Simulator and Active Heave Compensation Framework for Demanding Offshore Crane Operations. In this project, our students developed a framework that makes it possible to reproduce the challenging operational scenario of controlling offshore cranes via a laboratory setup. This framework can be used for testing different control methods and for training purposes. The system consists of an industrial robot, the Kuka KR 6 R900 SIXX (KR AGILUS) manipulator and a motion platform with three degrees of freedom. This work focuses on the system integration. The motion platform is used to simulate the wave effects, while the robotic arm is controlled by the user with a joystick. The wave contribution is monitored by means of an inertia sensor mounted on the platform and it is used as a negative input to the manipulator’s control algorithm so that active heave compensation methods can be achieved. Related simulations and experimental results are carried out by the students to validate the efficiency of the proposed framework. Students: Håkon Østrem, Håkon Eikrem and Bjarne Humlen.
- A 4 DOFs Laser Controlled Robotic Arm. A 4 DOFs laser controlled robotic arm is developed in this project. The underlying idea relies on using a laser pointer to control the robot movements. Iteration after iteration, the operator can control the robot by pointing the laser to the desired positions. The system is implemented by applying a client/server architecture with strict real time criteria. The Java language is adopted together with open source software and hardware to develop the system. Possible applications can be identified in several fields including industry automation and processes. Students: Audun Westerskow, Anders Kobbevik and Simon Langlo.
Advanced Image Processing Methods Applied to Demanding Maritime Operations
- A Camera Guided Laser Shooter for Tracking Moving Object. A camera mounted on a 2 DOFs pan/tilt mechanism is adopted by the student to track moving objects in a laboratory setup. Real-time image processing is performed to detect the target object, track it and highlight it by using a laser pointer, which moves together with the camera. A client/server architecture is adopted for the project. A strict multi-tasking pattern is used to meet the demanding real-time requirements of the system. This project can have several potential applications including Search & Rescue offshore operations. Students: Birger Skogeng Pedersen and Webjørn Yksnøy Bergmann.
- Advanced Control Methods for a Search & Rescue Drone. This project aims to develop a control system for a Parrot AR.Drone, which is a radio controlled flying quadcopter helicopter built by the French company Parrot. The drone's onboard camera is used to detect, recognize and track objects on the fly. These demanding operational functions can be achieved by combining knowledge from the fields of image processing, automation control and strict real-time programming patterns. A GUI is provided with the developed system, which allows the user for controlling the drone either in manual mode or with auto-pilot when flying. The framework is developed in Java by adopting strict real time criteria. The project can have different potential applications including monitoring demanding maritime operations, Search & Rescue maritime operations and so on. Students: Rolf Ottar Rovde, Kristian Østgaard and Kim Gjøran Robertsen.
Advanced Real-Time Systems Applied to Risk Areas
- An Automated Monitoring System for Detecting Suspicious Subjects in a Crowded Area. A camera with a pan/tilt mechanism mounted on top of a remote controlled car has been developed in this project. The underlying idea consists in recognizing a set of given human faces (labeled as suspicious subjects) in a crowded environment. The system is completely autonomous and the car randomly monitors the environment. Once a suspicious face is recognized, the system acquires the target and the car automatically follows and tracks the subject. A client/server architecture is adopted for the system. The client runs on the car and remotely communicates with a server where the image processing is done. Strict real time criteria and smart image processing methods are adopted to meet the system requirements. Several applications are possible for the system including monitoring of public areas like airports or other risk areas. Students: Tony Krøger and Einar Sjølseth in one group and Benjamin Skinnes, Steffen Sunde and Øyvind Strømsheim in another group.
- A Wearable Sensor Fusion Health-Monitoring System for Offshore Operators. An integrated health sensor monitoring system for offshore operators is developed. The system is based on a multi-sensor fusion approach. It consists wearable device that embeds a controller board, a pulse sensor, and an accelerometer. Biometric information can be collected from the user. A client/server architecture is adopted and strict real time criteria are applied. Several applications in the field of maritime operations are possible. Students: Felipe Sarti Miquelim, Hugo de Almeida Ribeiro, Michel Donizeti Pereira Carlos, Rodrigo Bessa Juliao and Thiago Henrique de Araujo Pereira.