Archive for the ‘Projects’ Category

Kinect02

Concept study for multiple Kinect setup

For one of its customers Vectioneer has performed a concept study for a Serious Game using multiple Kinect Sensors. With the current prototype setup it is possible to use an array of Kinect Sensors to monitor an arbitrary large playing area.
The Microsoft Kinect Sensor is a low-cost 3D imaging device, developed for the Microsoft X-Box360 game console that allows for the evlopment of controller-less games. The Kinect’s 3D images can be interpreted by a number of free and commercially available software toolkits, that provide gesture recognition and skeleton tracking for one or more players in view.

The study that Vectioneer performed was aimed at using the Kinect as an evaluation device for physical games, without having the user constantly look at a representation of him-/herself (his/her avatar). The Kinect device is therefore not being used as a controller but as a valuation or scoring tool. The players have to perform a specific task in the playing field while the Kinect is providing feedback on their performance (such as speed, accuracy, posture). The lack of a graphic user interface to the player makes the game feel much more natural and avoids that the player constantly needs to perform the mental transform that is involved by watching your own avatar on a screen. It was also investigated if the Kinect sensors can be used for object tracking in combination with skeleton tracking.

For more information, please feel free to contact us.


Flying the Joint Strike Fighter Engineering Simulator

While I was at Lockheed Martin in Forth Worth, Texas, earlier this year I got the chance to fly the Joint Strikefighter (F35 Lightning II) Engineering Flight Simulator. Since I was part of the design team (System Engineer) for the Motion System of this unique flight simulator I know this system quite well and this was actually the second time that I got to fly it. Of course the cockpit was partly switched off for security reasons, but primary flight controls where available and kept me busy enough.

Normally, fighter simulators do not use motion systems, since the accelerations in the aircraft cannot nearly be reached by a normal hexapod motion system. The F35 however also comes in a version with short takeoff and vertical landing capabilities (STOVL), where the accelerations are much more moderate. The vertical landing part is also a very critical phase in the flight envelope, which requires the avionincs to work together with the pilot to stabilize the aircraft. To test various avionics setups in the simulator and accurately involve the pilot in this closed-loop experiment, the F35 Engineering Simulator does require a very fast motion system.

The capabilities of the motion system are substantial, especially the high roll rates of up to 40 degrees per second and the large excursions required an optimized hexapod design. Engineering such a high performance hydraulic motion system also brings particular challenges, such as the extremely high accelerations that can occur when the servovalves close suddenly. Therefore, for this system a new servovalve setup was developed to reduce the peak forces while keeping the nominal system reponse at the desired levels.

Flying this simulator can only be described as being awesome. I consider myself very lucky to have flown it a couple of times and I feel proud to have designed this angry beast of a motion system.

(Thanks to Lockheed Martin for providing this picture)


TEDxMaastricht-2012

TEDxMaastricht made it onto TED.com

Helping organize the first edition of TEDxMaastricht was really inspiring in itself but the fact remains that it is all about the speakers who have a story worth sharing. I am proud to mention that some of the videos that were shot at our event in Maastricht have made it onto www.ted.com. Look at E-Patent Dave’s emotional story about why it is important to have access to our own medical data. And then take a roller coaster ride with Daniel Kraft of the Singularity University through the future of medical technology.

Also do not forget to watch the videos of our other excellent speakers on tedxmaastricht.com and be sure that the upcoming 2012 edition of TEDxMaastricht will be at least as inspiring as this year’s. Please mark April 2nd, 2012 on your calendar and we hope to see you then.


VTI-SimIV

Motion System Tuning of the VTI Driving Simulator IV

Vectioneer was hired to perform motion system tuning of the VTI Driving Simulator IV in Gothenburg, Sweden. Sim IV is the latest of VTI’s driving simulators and one of the most advanced in the world. It features an exchangeable cabin design for truck or passenger car cabins, a large Motion System from Bosch Rexroth which can generate realistic motion cues to the driver, a nine channel visual system with a cylindrical screen, VTI’s in-house developed image generator, sound system with a subwoofer capable of simulating vibrations, vehicle dynamics models and traffic simulation. VTI developed the simulator in-house with its industry partners.

The simulator is used for research into vehicle systems, such as trucks or cars. Currently is setup for truck simulation and will be used to perform experiments with driver assistance systems.

Vectioneer was hired to tune the motion system of the simulator to maximum performance and perform the final acceptance testing with VTI. Also Vectioneer assisted VTI with the Motion Cueing algorithms and trained the VTI researchers in the use of Rexroth’s Motion Cueing software.

Here are some interesting links about the VTI Driving Sim IV, some of which are only available in Swedish (but the images and videos are worthwhile):


Motion Cueing Tuning of the Tongji Driving Simulator

Motion Cueing Tuning of the Tongji Driving Simulator

Vectioneer provided its services during the Motion Cueing Tuning of the Tongji University advanced Driving Simulator in Shanghai, China. The simulator is one of the largest full motion driving simulators in the world and the first of its kind to be in use in China. The simulator has been designed and built by french company Oktal, who have already delivered a number of similar Driving simulators in Europe (Renault, Peugeot-Citroen, CTAG). The unique high performance Motion System has been designed and built by Bosch Rexroth in The Netherlands.

The Tongji University High Performance Driving Simulator

This simulator will be used by Tongji University to conduct research into automotive systems and especially into man-machine interaction. Using this simulator the University will have the capability to generate different driving scenarios using Oktal’s SCANeR software and evaluate human performance in the simulated environment. For instance it is possible to test driver assistance systems such as adaptive cruise control before even a prototype of such a system is built.

Vectioneer was contracted to perform initial tuning of the Motion Cueing Algorithms for the Simulator. Motion Cueing Algorithms provide the translation between the motion of the real vehicle and the motion of the simulator. In a simulator this translation is always necessary because of the limited workspace of a simulator; a simulator just cannot move you over the same distance as a real vehicle would because it has to stay in the building. This provides a challenge, since for the driver to me fully immersed in the simulation his/her perception of motion in the simulator should be the same as in the real vehicle (or at least as close as possible). The many parameters of the Motion Cueing Algorithm require tuning to the specific properties of the simulated vehicle, the simulated scenarios and the properties of the simulator hardware itself.

Philippe is tuning the Motion Cueing Algorithms with David Charondière (Oktal) in the car

The Motion System of the Tongji Driving Simulator consists of a standard Hexapod with a payload capability of 2500kg and an additional X/Y motion system to extend the range of longitudinal (X) and lateral (Y) motion capabilities. These additional motion capabilities are a huge plus for a driving simulator, since this means that longitudinal and lateral accelerations which are so important in car handling qualities can be simulated much better than with just a Hexapod motion system. The additional stroke that the X/Y system provides is 20 meters in X and 5 meters in Y.

The Tongji University High Performance Driving Simulator as seen from the control room

The Tongji Driving Simulator is now in the final stage of commissioning. It will be available for the Tongji University staff very soon.


Development of profitable systems for carbon-neutral households

Vectioneer acquired contract for development of profitable systems for carbon-neutral houses

Today Vectioneer acquired a contract for the development of systems for carbon-neutral upgrade packages for houses in The Netherlands. With this order Vectioneer will apply knowledge of systems engineering, IT and business development to the renewable energy market.

The goal is to provide the customer with the tools to be able to establish a profitable business model for the renewable energy market  for households in the Netherlands and beyond. The approach is revolutionary and the stakes are extremely high. We are working with an inspired team of young engineers and business professionals to make this feasible.