ELEC­TRON­ICS

Passage Maker - - Contents - BY BRIAN K. LIND

God of the Sea

As a kid I was al­ways mes­mer­ized by the dig­i­tal touch­screen dis­plays on the TV show, Star Trek. Back then, the idea of a screen re­spond­ing to the touch of your fin­ger­tips seemed like the epit­ome of a fu­tur­is­tic world.

Lit­tle did I know that the “fu­ture” would hap­pen so soon. But even with the ad­vent of smart­phones, tablets, and touch­screens on nearly ev­ery­thing, I never truly felt that “fu­ture is now” feel­ing un­til I got my hands on Po­sei­don at the Seat­tle Boat Show this past Jan­uary.

Po­sei­don is a soft­ware pack­age and user in­ter­face combo that runs on a bombproof marine-grade com­puter and is dis­played on var­i­ous touch­screens built by Oceanic Sys­tems in the United King­dom. What makes Po­sei­don unique is how it mar­ries the col­lec­tion of sys­tem data (like NMEA 2000™) and dig­i­tal switch­ing with beau­ti­ful graph­ics and data vi­su­al­iza­tion. With this highly cus­tom­iz­a­ble sys­tem, you can gather en­gine info, speed, head­ing, and per­for­mance data, and dis­play it on a touch­screen that shows only the data you want to see.

Along with us­ing its unique man­age­ment op­tions for in­stru­ment and NMEA 2000™ data, you can em­ploy Po­sei­don to con­trol dig­i­tal switch­ing. You can cre­ate cus­tom dis­plays that can ei­ther be shown on in­di­vid­ual screens through­out the boat or set to cy­cle through on a sin­gle dis­play. It would be sim­ple enough to cre­ate a con­trol screen to show the boat’s floor plan and ev­ery dig­i­tal switch on the boat. This al­lows you to turn lights on and off in other cab­ins or on deck, all from a sin­gle screen.

Po­sei­don al­lows for two pri­mary dis­plays via HDMI and up to eight ad­di­tional dis­plays can be added via Eth­er­net. In ad­di­tion to var­i­ous sized 16:9 dis­plays, Oceanic Sys­tems of­fers en­gine dis­plays that can re­place the ones sup­plied by the en­gine man­u­fac­turer or even older, ana­log en­gine di­als. These dis­plays come in two sizes and are de­signed to re­place the cutouts in your cur­rent dash­board with a sleek, all-glass touch­screen.

And while ten dis­plays may be more suited to su­pery­achts or com­mer­cial ap­pli­ca­tions than trawlers, even in­stalling just one of Po­sei­don’s sim­pler sys­tems could turn an an­ti­quated trawler pilothouse or fly­bridge into a 21st cen­tury helm. And two of these edge-to-edge glass screens net­worked to­gether will def­i­nitely give you a large Star Trek– style slab of con­trol that, if you’re any­thing like me, will make you feel like Chekov on the USS En­ter­prise.

Oceanic Sys­tems is on the edge of cre­at­ing “fu­ture is now” tech­nol­ogy. As boat data be­comes more ac­ces­si­ble and com­put­ers of­fer faster pro­cess­ing, this sort of ul­tra­mod­ern vi­su­al­iza­tion and con­trol will be­come more com­mon in marine de­sign and elec­tron­ics lay­outs. If you want to bring your boat straight to the bleed­ing edge, Oceanic Sys­tems is worth a look.

www.osukl.com nZ

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