IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2020 - 49

information in real time to deterperception of the real environment
mine the orientation of the user's
of the MER, the concept of IVR
The literature has
head. A sensor integrated in the
was introduced. All of this system's
proved that using
HMD sends the information to the
3D models were made according to
system to help it continuously
the design drawings, equipment
an ER simulator as a
update the virtual scene in the
specifications, and image data of
tool to train marine
display. Position and angle senan actual MER, under the supersors track the handles' location
vision of an experienced chief
engineers to handle
information and instantly relay it
engineer. The program has the
crises is effective.
to base station. The system realizfunctions of virtual roaming and
es the human-machine interacoperation, scene selection, and
tion by detecting the handles'
emergency-situation simulation
position and angle information.
There may be critical events in
When the user moves or turns, the system updates the
the MER, including fires, flooding, oil spills, and so on.
display screen according to the motion of the headMarine engineers working and living on-board should have
mounted equipment, causing the user to believe that he
the ability to prevent and deal with those unexpected situor she is moving through a virtual scene (Figure 2).
ations. The literature has proved that using an ER simulaWhen the user moves or rotates the handles, the system
tor as a tool to train marine engineers to handle crises is
updates the position and angle of the virtual handles in
effective [19]. To enhance engineers' understanding of
the scene.
emergencies and improve their ability to handle them, we
used fires as an example and reproduced them in the
virtual MER (Figure 3). The scenarios were simulated by
Training-Program Design
a particle system in Unity3D for common shipboard locaTo model the MER equipment and environment, 3DS MAX
tions and triggered by the logical simulation system's firesoftware was used; Unity3D was selected as the engine to
detection system. They were integrated in the logical
develop the VR system. The MER logical simulation prosimulation system as malfunctions. Users can trigger the
gram was developed under the .NET framework using the
fire alert by changing the variable or pressing the alarm
C# language. Communication between the VR simulation
button, thereby launching the scenarios. The purpose of
and logical simulation programs was realized through the
the scenarios is to enable trainees to see an onboard fire
user datagram protocol.
MER Logical Simulation
Due to the complexity of the MER, simulating the environment includes visual and logical simulation. All of the mathematical models of the equipment were established
according to the machinery's working principles and running parameters, and they were simulated and verified
using MATLAB tools. Only mathematical models built
according to actual running conditions can be applied to
the logical simulation of the ME system. The logical simulation program was developed according to the verified mathematical models. It is the brain of the whole training system,
responsible for all of the logical simulation and storing,
sending, and receiving data. The logical simulation program
was the result of many years of work in our laboratory. At
present, we have developed versions for numerous ship
types, including very large crude carrier, container, Coast
Guard, offshore, and liquified-natural-gas vessels as well as
Dalian Maritime University's training ship. The Internet versions of the simulation systems are available. Due to the systems' complexity, it is difficult to describe them in detail in a
limited space. For more information, please refer to http://
www.ers3d.com/home/index.do.
MER Visual Simulation
The traditional METS is planar and abstract, and trainees
do not get enough immersion. To enhance students'

(a)

(b)
Figure 3. The simulation of (a) an oil purifier and

(b) a burning oil purifier.

Ja nu a r y 2020

IEEE SYSTEMS, MAN, & CYBERNETICS MAGAZINE

49


http://www.ers3d.com/home/index.do http://www.ers3d.com/home/index.do

IEEE Systems, Man and Cybernetics Magazine - January 2020

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