Radical New Bridge Design

Focused on creating better, safer and simpler solutions for deck officers, Ulstein has come up with what it claims to be a ground-breaking concept for bridge design. The new bridge design redefines how users interact with complex bridge-based systems. The ambitious scope of the project called for a collaborative approach prompting the Ulstein team to engage industrial, graphic and interaction designers from The Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO).

According to product manager Arne Ove Rødstøl, Ulstein has created a human-centred operational environment focusing on the user. The new bridge concept includes work space designs and new ways to interact with bridge systems.

Together AHO and Ulstein painted a detailed picture of the end users – the deck officers – and how they perform tasks during various operations.

According to Kjetil Nordby, associate professor at AHO, the human body works best when it can alternate between sitting, standing and walking. Consequently the new Ulstein workstations offer unique ergonomic benefits through the combination of a new bridge chair design, with multiple sitting positions and a new console design. In addition, the new bridge adapts both the workspace and software setup to the individual. These features will help reduce fatigue during complex operations and increase the crew’s ability to concentrate. This diminishes the potential for accidents, injury and ill health.

One of the most impressive elements of the new pioneering system is the use of optical projections. These allow vital information to pop up directly on the windows – as a full-frame head-up display – on the aft bridge and on seamless monitors directly below the windows on the front bridge. Operators can then access controls and information by using touch-commands and gestures.

The head-up display provides the users with all relevant details related to an operation in their line of vision, improving their ability to safely operate the vessel. It also makes coordination between crew members performing interdependent operations much simpler, as they can see the same information even though they positioned apart from one another.

The system prioritises information based on the operation and situation of the ship. For example, when the ship is in transit mode, illustrations will be presented on a large, seamless surface below the windows on the front bridge. A real-time overlay is also possible, where the head-up display provides information on operationally critical tasks by showing elements the user cannot spot directly, such as fog, darkness or elements hidden behind objects. The display systems can also turn the bridge into a simulator for training or preparation before a critical operation.

Overall, Ulstein Bridge Vision is intended to provide a comprehensive and sophisticated framework for operating advanced vessels and to offer a high level of flexibility and comfort for the crew, improving their operational effectiveness.

Sources: IMAREST, Ulstein

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