Marine cybernetics laboratory (MC-lab)

Marine cybernetics teaching laboratory

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The marine cybernetics laboratory is a small wave basin, located in what was originally a storage tank for ship models made of paraffin wax.

The facility is especially suited for tests of motion control systems for marine vessels, due to the relatively small size and advanced instrumentation package. It is also suitable for more specialized hydrodynamic tests, mainly due to the advanced towing carriage, which has capability for precise movement of models in six degrees of freedom.

The MC-lab is operated by the Department of Marine Technology. It is mainly used by Master students and PhD-candidates, but it is also available for external users.

The software in use was developed using rapid prototyping techniques and automatic code generation under Matlab/Simulink and Opal. The target PC onboard the vessel runs the QNX real-time operating system while experimental results are presented in real-time on a host PC using Labview.


  • Tank dimensions: L x B x D = 40m x 6.45m x 1.5m
  • Wave maker (see below)
  • Towing carriage (see below): towing speed 2 m/s, 5 (6) DOFs forced motions
  • Computer system for control, data recording and analysis
  • Typical scaling ratios: l = 50-150
  • Typical ship model lengths:1-3m
  • Positioning system (see below) measure 6DOF in real-time

Experimental set-ups:

  • DP and way-point tracking (wireless control) of ships and semi-submersibles
  • Crane operations
  • Propulsor and thruster control
  • Rapid control prototyping
  • Planar motion mechanism (PMM) and vertical motion mechanism (VMM) tests
  • Calibration of transducers
  • Hardware-In-the-Loop (HIL) experiment laboratory


Real-time positioning system

Qualisys supplies a range of hardware and software products for motion capture and analysis of movement data. The key components of the system are the Oqus cameras and the Qualisys Track Manager (QTM) software. For advanced analysis of the movement data Qualisys supplies third party software products such as Visual3D from C-Motion, Inc.

Measurement data can be exported in different standard formats for use in customer-developed and other third party software. The Qualisys products are designed to meet the highest demands for quality, simplicity, speed and precision. Systems, built from the Qualisys products, are flexible, mobile and expandable and are therefore easy to adapt to varying needs in industry, research and clinical use.

Tracking a model vessel's motions under different wave, current or wind conditions is one of the fundamental tasks at a hydrodynamics lab or a naval test site. Traditionally, this has been accomplished with potentiometer systems attached to a model or with bulky and expensive gyroscopes and accelerometers. Qualisys AB offers a easy, quick and functional way to obtain accurate 3D and 6 DOFs. With optical capture technology, your models remain completely unburdened by heavy sensors. Thanks to the low-mass optical targets, even very small and light models can be used.

Towing tank - In a towing tank, as few as 2 or 4 cameras can suffice, depending on the configuration. The cameras can be put on the towing carriage, which puts the model and the markers in the line of sight.

Oqus specifications:

Camera output modes

Marker coordinates, high speed video*, streaming video*

Built-in camera display

128 x 64 graphical high contrast OLED

Camera body

Custom, die-cast aluminum

Camera size Oqus 100

185 × 110 × 124 mm (7.3 × 4.3 × 4.9 inches)

Camera size Oqus 300/500

200 × 145 × 155 mm (7.9 × 5.7 × 6.1 inches)

Weight including optics

1.9 kg Oqus 100 – 2.1 kg Oqus 300/500 (4.2 – 4.6 lbs)


Convection cooling

Camera protection level*

Water resistant IP67 housing available

Operating temperature

0-35 °C


Upgradeable from host computer

Position data noise level

+/- 1 camera units

Adjustable threshold


Frame buffer speed

12.9 Gbyte/second

Maximum frame buffer size

1152 Mbyte


Hybrid cable with Ethernet and power

Wired communication

Hubless daisy-chained Ethernet 802.3@100Mbps

Wireless communication*

WLAN 802.11b/g@54Mbps

Power supply

Daisy-chained power from mains adaptor


36-72 VDC, 10-16 VDC (battery) at 30 W maximum


Available Q4-2008

Lens types*

Standard 40 degrees HFOV (many other options available)

Strobe types supported*

Infrared, red and blue/green



CMOS sensor size (pixels)


Maximum frame rate at full resolution and field-of-view

500 fps

Maximum frame rate at full resolution and reduced field-of-view

10000 fps

x-coordinate full scale range (camera units)


y-coordinate full scale range (camera units)


Maximum video frame rate (full resolution)

500 fps

Maximum video buffer capacity (full resolution)

900 frames

Maximum video buffer capacity (full resolution and frame rate)

1.8 s

* Optional accessory/feature - Qualisys reserves the right to change specifications without notice

Three of these cameras together with a PC are installed in McLab pr. 2010.

Wave maker with AWACS - delivered by DHI

The wave maker is a 6 meter width single paddle and is operated with a electrical servo actuator. The system is equipped with a Active Wave Absorption Control System (AWACS 2). The system has a DHI Wave Synthesizer which can produce regular and irregular waves.

Capacity of the wave maker:

  • Regular waves H < 0.25, T = 0.3 – 3 s.
  • Irregular waves Hs < 0.15 m, T = 0.6 – 1.5 s.
  • Available Spectrums: JONSWAP, Pierson-Moskowitz, Bretschneider, ISSC, ITTC, …
  • Wave controller update rate = 10 Hz
  • No. wave gauge on paddle = 4
  • Stroke length on actuator = 590 mm.
  • Speed limit = 1.2 m/s.

Towing carriage

The carriage can be operated in manual or computer controlled mode. The manual operation is done from the consol on the carriage. There is made a special Labview and Opal application to setup regular or irregular movement of the different axes.


The axis limits given in the table refers to the absolute coordinates in the remote control system. The ranges are the safe and practical limits, as of May 2005. These may be subject to change. Normal Speed is the speed used when returning to reference position.



Max  [m]

Pos Error

Normal Speed

Max Speed

Max Acc


Main Carriage (Gantry)








Transverse carriage








small Carriage in X direction








Rotation Table








Vertical Axis








Vertical Axis







Positive direction is based on a maneuvering type coordinates with Z and W positive downwards.

Wavemaker - diagramWavemaker - photo