Re-engaging Your Senses – The Future Of Integrated Bridge Design

John Konrad
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November 18, 2010


Do you miss the ticks of the analog gyro repeater?

Today’s gyro compasses are more functional and easy to interface with modern electronics but they lack the ticks which were so effective in letting feel the ship’s rate of turn. I also miss single function electronics. Sure I enjoy viewing AIS, radar, and propulsion information on one screen but, the problem is, the alarms now sound all the same.

The modern bridge has become a visually enticing environment but at the expense of our other senses. Sure you can still feel the ship’s motion but you can’t smell the cargo from the CCR, feel the wind from inside climate controlled bridge wings, or hear the increasingly rapid clicks of the gyro when the helmsman gets sleepy.

The future of marine electronics and integrated bridge systems will include terms like ergonomics, tactile response and acoustic resonance. Of course, won’t need to know these terms but they will work together to engage the watchstander by stimulating all five senses.

While I don’t predict the return of smell-o-vision, I do see a future in which naval architects borrow ideas from Hollywood and theme park designers to improve the situational awareness of watchstanders.

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