MarineBusiness-World.com
 
 
News Home Australian Cruising FishingBoating Photo Gallery Sail-World Australia
Sail-World.com : HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret
HUD Vision: An interview with Afterguard Marine’s Alex Moret

'Afterguard-in-action with screen'    Afterguard    Click Here to view large photo

Heads-Up Displays (HUDs) have long been the holy grail of the tech-savvy racing sailor. This technology was developed to give fighter pilots there-when-they-need-it information at a glance, without pulling their attention away from the task at hand. While racing sailors are more interested with discovering new tactical edges over their competitors than getting missile lock on an enemy, the basic information needs are the same.

Cup teams have long worked towards a good HUD system and Jimmy Spithill, skipper of Oracle Team USA, famously used a pair of HUD glasses (with a corresponding backpack-fitted computer) when he claimed the biggest comeback in sailing’s venerable history against Emirates Team New Zealand in the 34th America’s Cup, and now this technology is hitting racecourses everywhere.

But unlike other Cup technology that trickles down from the America’s Cup to Corinthian racers, Afterguard Marine’s new Heads Up Display glasses actually represent a huge advance over Spithill’s AC34 kit.

I recently caught up with Alex Moret, Afterguard’s founder and technical guru, to learn more about his cutting-edge system.

Can you give me some background on the Heads Up Display (HUD) glasses? Where did the idea come from, and how long have you been working on the concept?

We’ve been working on it kind of on and off. I came back from sailing around the world about a year ago and since then I’ve been talking with Recon Instruments here in Vancouver-they designed the actual Heads Up Display, and we’ve integrated their technology into the sailboat racing world.

[Recon] has always kind of been talking to the America’s Cup teams to get [the technology] on their boats, but it wasn’t really there for them yet—they didn’t have the Recon Jet glasses that we’re utilizing, and they couldn’t get a product out in time for the [34th America’s Cup].

That’s kind of where we rolled out, utilizing their technology and talking to those guys and seeing what they were doing, with myself executing to incorporate onboard instruments.

Recon was primarily about the display, but me being a lifelong sailor and racer, I immediately saw the possibilities and [I understood] what these displays can do. So from there I started developing [the HUD glasses] and working on [Recon’s] prototypes and writing software.

Afterguard-product -  Afterguard  


Am I correct that the HUD glasses use Recon Instruments' Jet glasses, as well as a ton of proprietary Afterguard software?

Yes, we use Recon’s HUD, and we have proprietary software that we’ve developed, and we also have our Central Communication Unit, which connects to your boat’s instruments and sends the boat’s instrumentation to the glasses. We do [our] computing in the central communication unit, and we send it to the glasses.

The glasses also do [some] computing because the glasses have [onboard] instrumentation such as a magnetometer. So, you get all of your boat’s instrumentation such as wind direction, heading and boatspeed, but with the magnetometer and the data on the glasses, you can look at another boat and [the HUD glasses] will tell you if you’re in front or behind it. You can also look at a mark and it will tell you if you’re going to lay the mark or not.

The combination of the magnetometer and the HUD knows where you are looking, and it also knows the direction you’re going, as well as the wind direction. If you turn your head, the compass rose on our Virtual Tactician page rotates. It takes quite a few variables in to [make these] calculations, and it also incorporates the boat’s polars.

Before, you’d look at your laptop and then look up [at the real world]. Now, this is all instantaneous.

Is this the same system that Jimmy Spithill used to win the 34th America’s Cup? If so, does it offer all of the same functionality and features as Spithill’s system, or has this been designed for a different market?

No-it’s a totally different system. He had a computer in his backpack. The America’s Cup teams weren’t using Recon equipment. They had HUDs, but their version was [physically] much bigger and it had a smaller processor. The two systems are not even comparable-ours is much more advanced.

You can see quite a bit of data, but the trick is to not show too much information-only key data. We don’t want the HUD to be complicated or hard to read. It could be a lot more detailed, but we want it to be easy to use as well.

Has the system been used by other high-profile sailing programs? If so, can you give me some examples?
It’s still in its development stage-we’re still testing and finalizing all the data. It’s high-tech equipment, so we’re dealing with a long lead delivery time.

We’ve got Ross MacDonald, an Olympian sailor here in Vancouver, and he’s really been a great help with the development, trying out the glasses and using them on the TP52 [circuit].

Did you guys have to make any physical changes to the Recon Jet glasses, or could this all be handled with software updates?

We get special glasses from the Recon factory, and then we put our own software on there. It’s a pretty standard Recon Jet, but we’re only dealing with prototypes [so far], so I’m still not sure what the final product will look like yet.

How does the Central Communication Unit connect to the rest of the nav instruments? Ethernet/USB to the MFD/PC, or do you tap into the NMEA 0183/N2K network?

There are so many different boat systems out there, so we needed flexibility as we want to connect to lots of boats. Because of this, we use [Raymarine’s proprietary] SeaTalk, NMEA 0183, NMEA 2000, but no Ethernet.

Also, boats are often a mishmash of different electronics [manufacturers], so we’ve built in quite a few inputs. So even if the systems aren’t networked, we can take multiple streams of data and put them on the glasses.

How many pair of HUD glasses can a single Central Communication Unit support?

We’re planning for ten different pair of glasses, as we want to be on larger racing campaigns, as well as smaller programs.

Afterguard-Performance-Dashboard-Screen -  Afterguard  


Does the system also pull information from satellites, or is each boat a closed-information loop?

It’s a closed loop. We pull GPS data from the boat because it has a better, more powerful GPS receiver, but we can also use the glass’s built-in GPS receiver. In this case, one pair of glasses talks to the satellite and then passes

[its GPS] information to the Central Communication Unit, which then sends this data out to all of the glasses, as we don’t want any competing information [in the system]. This is similar to the starting-line function-whoever clicks the 'start' function first becomes the master.

There’s a lot of technology in the Central Communication Unit, and it has been designed for sailors, by sailors. If we incorporate too much information, it gets too complicated.

Can a user interface the Central Communication Unit with a laser pinger, so as to be able to see speeds/distances of competitors, or is this still the province of a PC?
The Start Sequence and Virtual Tactician [features] give you this information. You can just look at the other boat and you’ll have this information.

Afterguard--Virtual-Tactician-Screen -  Afterguard   Click Here to view large photo

How do the HUD glasses talk to the Central Communication Unit? BlueTooth? ANT? Wi-Fi?

We use a Wi-Fi frequency. ANT isn’t powerful enough, Bluetooth would have been nice because of its low power draw, but it’s not great going through fiberglass and carbon-fiber boats, so we chose Wi-Fi. On carbon boats [signal interference] can be difficult if you place the Central Communication Unit in the bowels of the hull, so you need to place the Central Communication Unit near the companionway.

At the dock with lots of other boats and other Wi-Fi, [the Wi-Fi signal] can [experience] interference, but on the racecourse there’s no signal interference. At the marina, boats are often using high-powered Wi-Fi, but on the racecourse [the Wi-Fi signals] are not competing with each other. Also, each [HUD] system talks to its own signals, and they all use their own communications protocol.

Is signal loss a concern? Or, have you guys figured out a way to ensure a streaky wireless data flow?

If the Wi-Fi fails, the glasses automatically get GPS information from satellites. If the Central Communication Unit fails, the glasses can still operate, but with limited information.

Can you walk me through the User Interface? How does someone who has never used the system before get started?

Before going out on the water [for the first time], you’d [drag and drop] the boat’s polars to each pair of glasses via a USB connection so that you get all of your polar information on your HUD.

Once you get out on the water, the first thing you do is to calibrate the magnetometer with the boat’s heading, which is very important because of declination, deviation and variation for where you’re at and where the boat is. This is a pretty simple screen, you just go to the Virtual Tactician function, a user swipes their finger on the display port’s optical sensor, similar to a Blackberry.

You can swipe forward or back to toggle between screens or up and down to go to the set-up screens for each function. The boat’s heading should be the same as the GPS heading and the ship’s compass. That way, everything is matched-up perfectly. It’s pretty straightforward, and most things are already set up.

If you’re doing a race, you’d go near the starting line and on the Start screen you’d go to the set-up and you’d mark one end of the starting line; then you’d sail along it, then you’d mark the other end of the line by holding your finger down on the [optical sensor]. Then, [the HUD glasses] will have all the starting information, time to kill and boatspeed information for the start.

Afterguard--Start-Sequence-Screen -  Afterguard   Click Here to view large photo

Do you trace where the eye is looking, like on some digital cameras?

We trace where the eye looks, so if you’re not looking at the screen, [the HUD glasses] turn off to save battery power. When you gaze down at the screen, it turns on. It’s the only gaze detection that we have, and you don’t even notice it.

The glasses have voice capabilities and a nine-axis sensor, but we’re not using these yet.

How long does it take the average human brain/eyes to get used to sailing with the HUD kit?

It takes a couple of days not to look at the HUD all the time. At first, you’re always staring at it. But after a few days, you only look [at the display] when you need it. Then, it becomes second nature and you only look [at the HUD] when you look at your instruments, but it’s a lot faster [than looking at instruments].

It’s a novelty at first, but you get used to it. It doesn’t take long.

Is there ever a worry that the HUD glasses over-saturate a sailor with too much information?

Yes-you want the [HUD system] to be as simple as possible. If it displays too much information, the user will stop using it. So we tested the system to see what people will use. We gave it to people who hadn’t seen it before and asked ’is this too much information?’ to get a fresh perspective. The system is very intuitive, and this is a good test to see if it’s working for simplicity.

We’ve always been pretty lean [on displayed information] as we’re all sailors [here] and we know that you can have too much information. Every sailor wants different information-that’s the hardest part, figuring out what people want.

Can a tech-savvy user write code for his/her own custom pages, or is this closed-source software?

The system is closed-source software, but we’ll do some consulting for teams with big budgets and will make custom changes. If you’re paying us to make custom changes and request it, we won’t give [this proprietary software] to other teams.

Can you walk me through how a sailor switches the data/screens that are being fed into his/her HUD?

You use the optical sensor, which is located on the glass’ right-hand leg, on the glass’ 'engine'. The other side has the battery so that the glasses are perfectly balanced.

Afterguard-Ross Macdonald two time Olympic medallist -  Afterguard  

Can users order the glasses with prescription glasses? What about different lens?

We wish that we could offer this, but not at this point. We’re working on it.

If you need reading glasses, it’s OK. The HUD glasses use 'infinity vision', which makes the HUD look like it’s a 30-inch screen that’s seven feet in front of you. This makes it so that you don’t need to change your focus-it’s instantaneous.

We use polarized lens that are made in the same factory as a top sunglasses manufacturer, so I don’t see us in the market for [offering] custom lens. We have no plans to offer this. Our focus so far has been on the hardware and the software.

It sounds as though the glasses come equipped with additional cameras/mics/sensors and connectivity options-what future features could you potentially see Afterguard offering in the future?

We’d like to be able record the whole race in HD on the glasses, and then download [this file] to the Central Communication Unit. Then, later, you can sit down with your crew and dissect the race to see when you’re fast [and where you’re slow] and what you’re doing. You [could] also see when you were on your polars, and you’d also have the ability to [edit] your polar data. We’d also like to add voice commands so that you can talk to other crew-or if it’s hard to talk to your bowman-in the next version.

That’s only a few [other features]-I’m not going to tell you the best ones right now!


by David Schmidt, Sail-World USA Editor


  

Click on the FB Like link to post this story to your FB wall

http://www.marinebusiness-world.com/index.cfm?nid=121205

8:57 PM Wed 16 Apr 2014GMT


Click here for printer friendly version
Click here to send us feedback or comments about this story.


Related News Stories:

01 Dec 2013  New free smartphone app for New Zealand sailors
28 Sep 2013  The magic of NOAS: coming to a marina near you - but not for a while
18 Sep 2013  Sailing space to discover new worlds
26 Jun 2013  Beneteau invites: Design your OWN Oceanis, just as you want it...
10 May 2013  New 'Penguin' semi-sub: explore under the sea without getting wet
02 Apr 2013  Harken, putting the 'jazzle' on board your sailing boat
27 Mar 2013  Sailing to be our space future as NASA's solar sail prepares to fly
26 Mar 2013  Hybrid project on Hallberg Rassy wins Royal Thames Mansura Trophy
22 Mar 2013  New tool in the war against Somali piracy
17 Feb 2013  Marine products honored for innovation
MORE STORIES ...




Marine Business News

Brandspot are proud to take another big step in the launch of a new one-design class designed for match racing at any place and on any level, from the World Match Racing Tour to club sailing. Fresh from the Boatyard in Hungary, the first B38 Match will be presented for the first time at The Gothenburg Boat Show. ... [more]  

2015 Club Marine Southern 80 - This year’s Southern 80 will see new and old ski racers travel to Echuca / Moama to ‘chew the fat’ of what would have been, could have been and what should of happened, some with an element of truth and lots of it with embellishment. This is the 50th year since water ski racing started on the Murray River in Echuca / Moama and it promises to be some exciting action ... [more]  

Recreational anglers now have better access to rock fishing spots at Boggaley Creek, near Lorne, thanks to new steps that descend from the Great Ocean Road. ... [more]  

North Sails Group is pleased to announce the launch of our Chinese language website: www.cn.northsails.com. This new website is a resource for Chinese-speaking sailors and represents the first time North Sails company history, sailing products, services and technology have been described and detailed for the Chinese sailing community. ... [more]  

Currently doing scheduled maintenance. Some elements of site may not be visible at the moment. ... [more]  

January 23, 2015: The AUDUSD fell to 0.8060, while the NZDUSD is testing 0.7500, on the downside. It is the lack of demand and the hit to global growth that is impacting the markets ... [more]  

The International Sailing Federation (ISAF) is pleased to announce that it has signed a Partnership Agreement with the global energy company Gazprom EP International B.V. ... [more]  

January 22, 2015: The NZD and AUD fell out of bed overnight as the realisation dawns on Central Banks there is little growth and falling inflation. The Bank of Canada surprised markets and cut interest rates citing low inflation and decimated Oil prices. ... [more]  

Vesper Marine, a leading manufacturer of innovative marine safety products, announced today it has been awarded the contract to provide Virtual Automatic Identification System (AIS) Beacons to mark seven reefs hazardous to shipping in the Bay of Plenty, as well as provide a coastal monitoring capability. ... [more]  

The RYA Powerboat Racing team are pleased to announce Peters and May, Powerboat GP and Your Print Partner Ltd as sponsors of the prestigious RYA Powerboat Racing Awards 2015. ... [more]  

The Sanctuary Cove International Boat Show has secured an exciting promotional partnership with RACQ and Auto Clubs Australia - wide, providing more than 7.8 million members with valuable online ticket options for the 2015 event. ... [more]  

January 21, 2015: European equities rallied overnight, for all the wrong reasons.Haven't we seen this movie? The US has flushed the markets with liquidity, since the GFC, giving equity markets the biggest monetary boost in history. The ECB plans to do the same and flood the markets with cheap money in an effort to stimulate. ... [more]  

The leading international boating and water sports event, Boot Düsseldorf takes place from 17th to 25th January. The first weekend 80,000 visited the boat show. ... [more]  

At the Düsseldorf Boat Show in Germany the Extreme Sailing Series™ and Series Main Partner, Land Rover, were delighted to announce Oman Sail as the winner of the 2014 Land Rover Above and Beyond award. The award was presented to the team or individual who demonstrated the finest examples of skill, sportsmanship and strength of mind at each of the Series’ Acts. ... [more]  

Bay of Islands Sailing Week - BOISW and the New Zealand Millennium Cup start Wednesday and Doyle Sails are offering an overnight service on sail repairs and a basic rigging service. Doyles have team members on several boats during the regatta, so will be ready to help you as soon as you hit the dock, should you suffer any damage during the racing. ... [more]  

At the ASMEX 2015 conference AIMEX and Superyacht Australia are excited to announce that Martin Redmayne, Chairman and Editor in Chief of The Superyacht Group will MC. ... [more]  

January 20, 2015: Markets were slow, calm and steady overnight due to MLK holidays taken by US markets. This allowed speculation on European markets about the timing and magnitude of the ECB's QE. Massive expansion of liquidity is expected, which boosted equity markets, but undermine the currency. ... [more]  

Inaugural Phuket Yacht Show postponed by Phuket Yacht Show Media, Phuket, Thailand
The organisers of the new yacht charter show for Asia have announced the postponement of the first edition, scheduled to take place 12-15 February in Phuket Yacht Haven Marina, which is under redevelopment to make it the biggest superyacht marina in Asia. ... [more]  

Images from the London Boat Show 2015 provided by onEdition. The show contained everything from the latest sailing innovations to show-stopping experiences, including the Controled Rain curtain at the entrance and a 'at sea' 4D sensory experience. ... [more]  

CWM FX London Boat Show - The founders of Beds on Board are delighted with the reception to the peer-to-peer marketplace that connects boat owners with accommodation seekers. Launched this week at the CWM FX London Boat Show, co-founder Jason Ludlow commented: ... [more]  

Brisbane to Gladstone Multihull Yacht Race organisers, The Multihull Yacht Club Queensland, is pleased to announce that APC Logistics are once again major sponsors. After last year’s successful 50th Anniversary of the MYCQ Brisbane to Gladstone race, APC Logistics have continued their support for the event. ... [more]  

Multihull Solutions has kicked off the new year with the launch of an impressive new website at www.multihullsolutions.com.au. The company, which has become the Asia Pacific’s leading multihull specialist, developed the new site as an informative resource for those looking to buy, sell or research catamarans and trimarans. ... [more]  

Oceanair, leading supplier of blinds, shades, screens, and soft furnishings in the marine market, is proud to introduce the new Solarshield – a Lloyd’s approved antiglare roller blind that has been optimised for the marine environment. The unique roller blind blocks 99% of the sun’s harmful UV rays and rejects up to 80% of the sun’s energy and is ideal for use on bridges ... [more]  

Just in time for the busy summer boating season in Townsville, Superior Jetties built a pontoon at each of the very popular boat ramps in Ross Creek. ... [more]  

2014 warmest year since records began + Video by NOAA National Climatic Data Center
The year 2014 was the warmest year across global land and ocean surfaces since records began in 1880. The annually-averaged temperature was 0.69°C (1.24°F) above the 20th century average of 13.9°C (57.0°F), easily breaking the previous records of 2005 and 2010 by 0.04°C (0.07°F). ... [more]  

January 17, 2015: The AUD consolidated above 0.8200, while the NZD slipped back below 0.7800. The coming week will look at Housing, Growth and Manufacturing. US Markets will enjoy a long weekend compliments of Martin Luther King. Th NZD currently trades 0.6691 and 0.5104 against the EUR and GBP. ... [more]  

Huge concrete modules built by a local Geelong manufacturer will be installed in Victorian waters to create one of the largest artificial reefs in the state. Visiting family owned local concreter Bates Pipes and Products today, Agriculture Minister Jaala Pulford said the concrete, custom made reef modules will be a great boost to Geelong’s industry and economy. ... [more]  

January 16, 2015: The NZD rose to 0.7820, while the AUD jumped back above 0.8200, boosted by a promising fall in Unemployment. Turmoil in currency markets is likely to play out over the next couple of trading days while commodities have also been hit with the volatility stick! ... [more]  

January 15, 2015: The KIWI remains vulnerable to weak global dairy prices, bouncing around 0.7700, despite massively attractive interest rate differentials. The AUDUSD trades around 0.8130 and remains exposed to global demand for commodities. ... [more]  

Pryde Group, an international sports group, announces the retirement of founder and Chairman Mr. Neil Pryde effective January 1, 2015. ... [more]  

For the RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show (28 February – 01 March) France Leisure Holidays returns to Alexandra Palace for the fourteenth consecutive year, to promote their 'At your own pace' activity holidays in South West France. ... [more]  

Hamilton Island Race Week 2015 - Accommodation options by Kristie Kaighin, Hamilton Island
Have you booked your accommodation for Hamilton Island Audi Race Week 2015? ... [more]  

SE Asia tanker hijacks rose in 2014 - IMB report reveals by International Chamber Of Commerce
Attacks against small tankers off South East Asia’s coasts caused a rise in global ship hijackings, up to 21 in 2014 from 12 in 2013, despite piracy at sea falling to its lowest level in eight years, the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Maritime Bureau (IMB) has revealed. Pirates took 442 crewmembers hostage, compared with 304 in 2013. ... [more]  

Collinson FX Market Commentary: Jan 14 - Europe ignores reality
Laser Training News from Performance Sailcraft
Sunstream® introduces Swiftshield™ automatic boat cover
St. Maarten Heineken Regatta announce renewed sponsorship agreement
Haines Signature introduces carbon kevlar for 2015
RYA Powerboat Racing Awards Ceremony 2015 - Tickets now on sale
Phuket International Boat Show - Asia's leading consumer boat show
Sydney Sailboat Expo - A meeting place for Sailors
McConaghy Boats dominate 70th Sydney Hobart Yacht Race
Collinson FX Market Commentary: Jan 13 - Market jitters as oil falls
London Boat Show - The Green Blue’s digital guides launched
Marine Rescue NSW - Funding boost for tower announced
Phuket International Boat Show - Show of choice for new launches
CWM FX London Boat Show – Henri Lloyd Merchandise launched
Super Boat International announce official fuel supplier
RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show unveils speaker line up 2015
Southern Spars 'retro-rigged' Wild Oats takes a record 8th line win
Phuket International Boat Show - Record numbers on opening day
London Boat Show - Come and say hello to Ben Ainslie Racing Team
FHS work with Hart Marine on new use for polyethylene pipe
London Boat Show - Beds on Board launches   
Phuket International Boat Show 2015 biggest showcase yet   
Clipper Yacht Race announces official navigation software supplier   
AMM takes small plate boats upmarket into ‘Sea Class’   
BAR HQ will provide a showcase for clean energy   
Sail-World - New Media Sales opportunity   
Clipper Race announces sponsorship extensions with long-term partners   
Toronto Boat Show Ocean Sailing Forum - Learn from cruising experts   
RYA Suzuki Dinghy Show - Suzuki Marine Safety Boat competition   
AMM takes small plate boats upmarket into 'Sea Class'   
Phuket International Boat Show preview   
Second ISAF Approved Training Centre successfully audited   
Building the bridge from Optimist to Laser and beyond – with Byte C1 *Feature   
Collinson FX Market Commentary: Dec 31 - It's all Greek   
Icarus Sailing Media and Magic Marine continue partnership + Video   
Wish a Marine Rescue NSW volunteer a happy New Year on Sydney Harbour   
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves   
Stop thief! Spies nab Spy thieves   
Sydney Hobart - Report of light plane crash while photographing fleet   
Thailand yacht charter investment offer best for multihull enthusiasts   


For this week's complete news stories select    Last 7 Days
   Search All News
For last month's complete news stories select    Last 30 Days
  





Sail-World.com  


















Switch Default Region to:

Social Media

Asia

Australia

Canada

Europe

New Zealand

United Kingdom


http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/Twitter_logo_small.png http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/FaceBook-icon.png  http://www.sail-world.com/event_images/image/RSS-Icon.png

United States

Cruising Northern

Cruising Southern

MarineBusiness World

PowerBoat World

FishingBoating World

 

Contact

Commercial

News

Search

Contact Us

Advertisers Information

Submit news/events

Search Stories/Text

Feedback

Advertisers Directory

Newsletter Archive

Photo Gallery

 

Banner Advertising Details

Newsletter Subscribe

Video Gallery

Policies

 

 

 

Privacy Policy

 

 


Cookie Policy

 

 



This site and its contents are © Copyright TetraMedia and/or the original author, photographer etc. All Rights Reserved.  Photographs are copyright by law.  If you wish to use or buy a photograph contact the photographer directly.
XLXL WAS MBW
LocalAds   DE  ES  FR  IT