March 2021 OES Beacon

Chapter News March 2021

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Hong Kong Chapter 

Hong Kong IEEE CE/OES Joint Chapter holds the YE20 Conference for students

Reported by Paul Hodgson (MIEE) and Robin Bradbeer (Life SMIEE)

On the 13th September 2020, the Hong Kong IEEE CT/OES Joint Chapter held the first IEEE Young Engineers 2020 Conference (YE-20) to showcase suitable project work of secondary school and undergraduate university students.  A total of 16 student papers were accepted for presentation to let the chapter know what they were doing.  The on-line event was coordinated from the Cyberport facility in Hong Kong. The COVID-19 situation made the event an on-line conference with help and support from the Hong Kong CityU OES Student Chapter on the day.

Posters were printed and displayed at the entrance to the conference command center

Projects covered a diverse range of topics and all had the added theme that there should be a potential consumer product, the project data was collected by consumer electronics or that there was a marine engineering aspect to it.  Macau, a partner region to the Hong Kong (SAR), also participated.  All students exhibited a very high standard of work.  Details of all of the projects presented can be found on

Topics as diverse as particulate monitoring, marine surveys, area soundscaping, wildlife camera trap surveys, mud collection by ROV, were complemented by technical posters on coatings for nanowires, CAN Bus for ROV and ROV simulation using specialized software.  Projects involving micro plastic in marine areas and recyclable bicycle helmets were also on display.  The conference requires all presenters to produce a project poster, present the project and produce a student paper.

One highlight of the event was that all of the student posters were printed and displayed.  Even though only the video conference organizers were there to fully appreciate this, it allowed photographs and video to be sent to the presenters and conference attendees to help show the full impact of the student’s work.  It looked very impressive.

This was the first time the HK CT/OES has run a virtual conference.  Apart from some hiccups at the start, things smoothed out and became more predictable after the early morning session.  Let’s say it was a fast learning curve.  Are we still on line?  And is the sound working?  Were probably the two most asked questions of the day.

The conference opened with a talk from Dr. Ray Cheung, the Secretary of the HK IEEE Section, talking about paths for young engineers to proceed.  This was followed by a talk from Dr. K. F. Tsang, the Chairman of the HK CT/OES Joint Chapter.  His talk was about the objectives of the conference.  After the lunch break, Prof. Robin Bradbeer shared her experiences and recommendations concerning STEM and teaching STEM in schools.  All talks were well received.

Given the current COVID-19 issues and the pressure placed on the education system as it adapts to these difficult times, it is important not to forget the problems students are having coping with this situation.  Quite apart from the social isolation expected of them now, currently it is exceptionally difficult for students to highlight their abilities for selection into the system of further education.  IEEE events like these can help students meet new people and peers as well as show what they can do.

The overwhelming support for this conference was very much appreciated.  Cyberport Hong Kong went out of their way to provide and sponsor the venue. The CityU students gave up a weekend to help get things running smoothly before and during the great day.

The organizers would like to thank the generous support given by Cyberport for the venue and internet service.  MATE II was the technical sponsor with Oceanway Corporation Limited and Oceanway Labs helping make the day special for everyone who participated.  Special thanks to the CityU OES Student Chapter for their help on the day.  We could not have done this without you all.

The CityU team of Helpers. Photo at rest (left) and at panic stations (right).
We even distributed conference souvenirs.
The Command Center. (Oh…Yes…We are still on-line….Good!)

The CityU team of Helpers.  Photo at rest (left) and at panic stations (right).

The Command Center.  (Oh…Yes…We are still on-line….Good!)

We even distributed conference souvenirs.

The result of the poster judging:

First prize:  Ms. Uma Bery The Evaluation of Boat Visitation and its Effect on the Cetacean Population in Hoi Ha Wan.
Second prize: Ms. Emily Huang & Ms. Naomi Katayama The Effect of Particulate Matter Exhaust from the Lamma Island Power Station on the Particulate Level throughout Hong Kong Relative to the World Health Organization’s Safety Standards
Third prize: Mr. Isaac Sin Integrating CAN Bus with Blue Robotics Thruster by Custom PCB and Protocol





Providence Chapter

Reported by David Leslie, Providence Chapter Secretary

Fig.1 ICEX 2020 MIT/WHOI crew on location in the Artic

On October 20, 2020, the Providence Section, OE22 Chapter hosted its third Technical Talk of the year. Due to the continuing COVID-19 pandemic and local guidelines for public gatherings, this talk was conducted remotely using Zoom. Three speakers from the MIT-Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution Joint Program came together virtually to talk to us about their research and their participation in the ICEX 2020 Exercise, which is part of the U.S. Navy Submarine Arctic Warfare Program. All three speakers are graduate students in the Laboratory for Autonomous Marine Sensing Systems (LAMSS) led by Professor Henrik Schmidt at MIT.

Bradli Howard, EeShan Bhatt and Rui Chen spoke about their research involved in the multinational exercise organized by the United States Navy in the Arctic Beaufort Sea region carried out in March of 2020. During ICEX, LAMSS deployed four acoustic communications buoys to link with the Autonomous Undersea Vehicle Macrura under sea ice.

Fig 2 LT Bradli Howard

LT Bradli Howard is a Submarine Officer and Master of Engineering student in Applied Ocean Science & Engineering (WHOI-AOPE) and Mechanical Engineering (MIT-ME) focusing on novel underwater acoustic communication performance metrics.

EeShan Bhatt is a PhD Candidate in AOPE/ME. His research focus is on anticipating the physically driven and stochastic uncertainty behind vertical sound speed structure that predicates autonomous underwater vehicle communication, navigation and sampling. Part of his thesis work has involved the design of tools and interactive data visualizations to share this uncertainty.

Fig. 3 Mr. EeShan Bhatt

Rui Chen is a PhD Candidate in AOPE/ME. His thesis work focuses on applying acoustical modeling, signal processing and machine learning techniques to characterize changes in Arctic Ocean underwater ambient noise that may be attributed to the region’s changing environment. In particular, he has been interested in the effect of the Beaufort Sea sound speed profile on noise, as well as the spectral and temporal features of ice-generated transients.

Fig. 4 Mr. Rui Chen

The purpose of ICEX2020 was to demonstrate submarine operations under the ice in the Arctic region for national defense, but the associated operations also supported a lot of science. Camp Sea Dragon was established on the sea-ice, with logistical support provided by the Royal Canadian Airforce. Climate change is drastically impacting how the Navy sees and operates in the arctic. The “Beaufort warm lens” comes from warm water upwelling out of the Pacific. This leads to a deep acoustical shadow zone within operational depths and ranges during AUV deployments. This shadow zone affects digital communication and passive sensing.

Rui Chen examined the environmental effects on ambient noise using data collected in the previous ICEX16 experiment. In that experiment a vertical array of 32 elements collected data at various array-center depths between 38-238 m. Beamformed data was used to determine noise vertical directionality. Environmentally induced changes were two-fold – those associated with sound speed profile (SSP), and those associated with noise generation in the ice cover. Noise generation was modelled using a uniformly distributed source model and combined with ray-tracing to demonstrate the effect of SSP and ice cover on noise distribution in the ocean volume. The effect of the Beaufort Lens on noise level vs depth is clearly visible. The SSP was responsible for notches in the sound profile near horizontal propagation at some depths. Previously, noise generation had been more uniform at the surface. Now, younger, thinner ice cover is generating noise along discrete ice ridges. The Beaufort SSP combined with discrete surface noise sources along ridges better explains the observed peak noise depths and elevation angles.

EeShan Bhatt explained aspects of the “human-in-the-loop” (user-informed) environmental updates provided for A/V Macrura, and the active acoustics governing the modem setup and vehicle communications. The “Virtual Ocean Framework” anticipates variability in the vertical structure for a given spatial-temporal area using Empirical Orthogonal Functions (EOF) with global and local updates. A tuned EOF dataset was chosen for the 2020 experiment. Cost functions were based on depth dependent errors from CTD casts and EOF estimates. Transmission loss and signal-to-noise ratio (SNR) were used as performance metrics.

Bradli Howard concluded the presentations by looking beyond the traditional use of SNR alone as a performance metric. MPP, “multi-path penalty,” has been proposed as a new metric to complement signal level. Multipath propagation can lead to echo problems for communication with modems, and it is useful to penalize certain operational depths because of the potential for multipath interference. Calculations of SNR and MPP were made both top side and on the vehicle. Simulations were performed using NetSim (Schneider, Toby and Henrik Schmidt, “NETSIM: A Realtime Virtual Ocean Hardware-in-the-loop Acoustic Modem Network Simulator.” Fourth Underwater Communications and Networking Conference, August 2018, Lerici, Italy, Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers, October 2018.)

The technical content of these presentations along with the stunning video and audio files, which accompanied the talks, provided our Chapter with a glimpse of the excellent and exciting scientific work being performed by the Navy and its academic collaborators in one of the harshest environments on earth.

Malaysia Chapter

The 12th National Technical Seminar on Unmanned System Technology 2020 (NUSYS’20)

Reported by Khalid Isa & Herdawatie Abdul Kadir

On 24-25 November 2020, the IEEE Ocean Engineering Society (OES) Malaysia Chapter organized The 12th National Technical Seminar on Unmanned System Technology 2020 (NUSYS’20) via virtual platform.  The goal of the conference was to present current research being carried out in the area described. This seminar aims to present ongoing research activities to scientists, academics, engineers, and students from universities in Malaysia and industry, thus fostering research links between universities and industries. The seminar offers delegates the opportunity to share new ideas and implementation experiences, develop business or research partnerships, and find global partners for future collaboration. The seminar offers a number of invited lectures from renowned speakers all over the country. NUSYS’20 is the premier interdisciplinary platform for presenting new advances and research results in the fields of Unmanned System Technology. The seminar will bring together leading scientists, researchers, engineers, scholars, and students in the domain of interest worldwide.

Photo during NUSYS’20 Opening

Talk on Negative Pressure Effect Plate (NPEP) And Haptic Shared Control (HSC) For Underwater Vehicles
Reported by Khalid Isa & Herdawatie Abdul Kadir

Prof. Dr. Norimitsu Sakagami is with the Department of Navigation and Ocean Engineering, Tokai University, Japan. In 2003, he received the Ph.D. degree from Ritsumeikan University, specializing in motion analysis and underwater robotic manipulators’ control. His current research interests are in the design and control of underwater robots, robotic handling systems, and autonomous surface vehicles. In 2014-2015, he was a visiting researcher at the University of Hawaii at Manoa. He is a visiting researcher at Ritsumeikan University, Japan.

Talk by Norimitsu Sakagami

Autonomous Underwater Vehicle Technology In Gallops
Reported by Herdawatie Abdul Kadir & Khalid Isa

Dr. Ouzani Bachir is a geoscientist and has obtained his first degree in geology from the USTHB University of Algiers, MSc and Ph.D. in petroleum geology from the University of Malaya, Malaysia. He has worked for the past 20 years in the oil and gas industry services and grown from a senior geophysicist at Thales Geosolutions to project manager and Chief Operating Officer leading geophysical and geotechnical divisions of Java Offshore. As a senior geophysicist, he was in charge of seismic data quality control, interpretation, reporting, and geohazards assessments for drilling locations, pipeline installations, platform construction, and anchor planning and handling. Dr. Ouzani Bachir has experienced working onshore/offshore on seismic survey projects in many parts of the world, such as Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, the Philippines, Brunei, Myanmar, the Caspian Sea, Qatar, Oman, India, and Sakhalin (Russia).

Talk by Ouzani Bachir

Talk On Model Order Reduction Techniques
Reported by Herdawatie Abdul Kadir & Khalid Isa

Rosmiwati Mohd-Mokhtar is an Associate Professor and a Mechatronic Program Chairman at the School of Electrical & Electronic Engineering, USM. She is also a Chartered Engineer (C.Eng.) of the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET), Professional Engineer (Ir.) of the Board of Engineers Malaysia (BEM), a Senior Member to the Institution of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) and a Member to Institution of Engineers Malaysia (IEM). Her research interests include system identification, advanced control system design, process modeling, process optimization, mechatronics applications, and underwater system applications. Rosmiwati is an IEEE member for 17 years. This talk discussed an approach to a stable and unstable dynamical system from basic to applications. This talk was attended by 65 attendees, which include academicians, students, and industrial people.

Talk by Rosmiwati Mohd-Mokhtar