Ocean Industries Concept Lab

About the lab

OICL is a research group in Norway focusing on innovation challenges facing the Maritime, Offshore and Subsea industries. We are based at the Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO) and combine new technology with a user-centered design approach.

Featured projects (1)

The project aims to develop a framework securing consistent design across all workplaces on ships.

Featured research (37)

A vessel convoy is a complex and high-risk operation completed during icebreaking operations in the Arctic. Icebreaker navigators need to continuously communicate with their crew while monitoring information such as speed, heading, and distance between vessels in the convoy. This paper presents an augmented reality user interface concept, which aims to support navigators by improving oversight and safety during convoy operations. The concept demonstrates how augmented reality can help to realize a situated user interface that adapts to user’s physical and operational contexts. The concept was developed through a human-centered design process and tested through a virtual reality simulator in a usability study involving seven mariners. The results suggest that augmented reality has the potential to improve the safety of convoy operations by integrating distributed information with heads-up access to operation-critical information. However, the user interface concept is still novel, and further work is needed to develop the concept and safely integrate augmented reality into maritime operations.
Maritime user interfaces for ships’ bridges are highly dependent on the context in which they are used, and rich maritime context is difficult to recreate in the early stages of user-centered design processes. Operations in Arctic waters where crews are faced with extreme environmental conditions, technology limitations and a lack of accurate navigational information further increase this challenge. There is a lack of research supporting the user-centered design of workplaces for hazardous Arctic operations. To meet this challenge, this paper reports on the process of developing virtual reality-reconstructed operational scenarios to connect stakeholders, end-users, designers, and human factors specialists in a joint process. This paper explores how virtual reality-reconstructed operational scenarios can be used as a tool both for concept development and user testing. Three operational scenarios were developed, implemented in a full mission bridge simulator, recreated in virtual reality (VR), and finally tested on navigators (end-users). Qualitative data were captured throughout the design process and user-testing, resulting in a thematic analysis that identified common themes reflecting the experiences gained throughout this process. In conclusion, we argue that operational scenarios, rendered in immersive media such as VR, may be an important and reusable asset when supporting maritime design processes and in maritime training and education.
A ship’s bridge is a complex work environment that is typically outfitted with a range of equipment supplied from numerous different vendors (Lützhöft & Vu, 2018). Multivendor ship bridge systems (MBS) that merge independent equipment from different vendors can create disparities for navigation crew once all necessary equipment is installed into a single work environment (Nordby, Mallam & Lützhöft, 2019). Navigators must engage with different pieces of equipment located on the bridge of a ship throughout their watch shift to enable successful planning and execution of operations. Thus, the very nature of MBS create circumstances where navigators must interact with equipment having multiple design languages across the many physical and digital inputs and outputs of a bridge (see Figure 10.1). For example, different software systems, even supplied by the same vendor, may have different screen layouts, menu structures, colour combinations, iconography, font style and sizes that vary across equipment. A simple analogy to the inconsistencies of typical MBS are the differences found between using contemporary Mac and Windows PC operating systems. Users must adapt to the individual systems and functionalities in order to successfully complete desired tasks. Poor design increases cognitive demands for users (Woods & Patterson, 2000) and can have negative consequences, particularly in the safety-critical context of operations at sea (Lee & Sanquist, 2000; Mallam, Lundh & MacKinnon, 2015). Poor Graphical User Interface (GUI) design has shown to have negative implications on navigation operations, increasing the potential for making errors, hiding critical information and contributing to accidents and deaths at sea (Kataria, Praetorius, Schröder-Hinrichs & Baldauf, 2015; Mallam, Nordby, Johnsen & Bjørneseth, 2020).
Augmented reality (AR) technologies support navigators by overlaying the perceived world with virtual information collected from the ship bridge systems. However, the variety of operational scenarios, types of ships and bridge equipment from different vendors requires an integration system that enables multiple maritime applications to employ AR as a shared platform. We address the lack of such a system by proposing a user interface (UI) architecture that describes how AR can function as an open, shared platform across different bridge systems by supporting the integration of generic maritime applications in AR.
A ship's bridge is a complex work environment where navigation crew must manage a plethora of interactions and tasks between people, technologies and systems both internal and external to the ship. In the 2017 collision between the US Navy Destroyer John S McCain and tanker Alnic MC in the Singapore Strait it was found that the design of the digital touch-screen steering and thrust control system increased the likelihood of operator errors, contributing to events leading to the accident. Furthermore, as a result, the US Navy announced that it planned to remove all touchscreen throttle and helm controls across their fleet in favour of physical controls. This paper discusses maritime digitalization through the lens of this case study in order to map out current issues, lessons learned and future development areas relating to digital applications for future bridge design and navigation operations.

Lab head

Kjetil Nordby
  • Department of Design
About Kjetil Nordby
  • Kjetil lead design and research projects developing advanced interactive systems. Since 2010, he has led numerous research and innovation projects, co-developed two labs and initiated Ocean Industries Concept Lab. He also manages the OpenBridge projects. Kjetil received his PhD in November 2011 and have extensive experience working as project leader, researcher, interaction and industrial designer for industry and academia.

Members (14)

Andrew Morrison
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Steven C. Mallam
  • University of South-Eastern Norway
Birger Sevaldson
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Etienne Gernez
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Jon Olav H. Eikenes
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Synne Frydenberg
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Lise Hansen
  • Oslo School of Architecture and Design (AHO)
Marianne Støren Berg
Marianne Støren Berg
  • Not confirmed yet

Alumni (6)

Sashidharan Komandur
  • Institute for Energy Technology
Natasha Barrett
  • Norwegian Academy of Music
Helge Kristiansen
  • University College of Southeast Norway, Horten, Norway
Snorre Hjelseth
  • University of South-Eastern Norway