Panbo

T-SAT & SiMON Gold, mega-style multi-touch

... written for Panbo by Ben Ellison and posted on Dec 10, 2012
Palladium_SiMON_Gold_FLIBS_demo_cPanbo.jpg

A Panbo search on Palladium Technologies will show you some very jazzy big yacht technology, much of it with a distinctly Apple style, like the SiMON2 iPad-based system installed on a futuristic Cheoy Lee Alpha 76 at the Fort Lauderdale show in 2011. This year, Palladium's Lauderdale introduction was much more a prototype but it was also quite sensational. The idea behind SiMON Gold is to evolve 'traditional' SiMON monitoring and control along with video feeds, switching, and much else into a finger-gesture-managed megayacht multiple multi-touch monitor helm extravaganza. That's Palladium founder Mike Blake pulling a data source off Gold's sliding menu bar, which he could then drag and size easily to further build a particular monitoring screen, but actually that's the most obvious feature...

What really got my attention about SiMON Gold is the idea of making the horizontal helm surfaces from a series of multi-touch screens so the operator can design and later use the switch setups with his or her finger tips. I'm not sure but maybe even that keyboards seen in the dreamy SiMON Gold video (screen grabbed below) are actually touch screens and therefore can serve other purposes when a keyboard isn't needed. Yes, the Lauderdale demo was a reminder of the wild computing environment Tom Cruises used in Minority Report, and I wasn't surprised to hear Blake reference that in the video. Science fiction begets megayacht electronics, which eventually trickle down to more modest vessels?... 

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Well, there's no question that iPad style tapping and swiping has caught on in very deep way with no end in sight, and when I saw the new Unlimited Marine Services T-SAT system later in Lauderdale it seemed even more like Minority Report. T-SAT stands for Touch-Screen Automation Technology and while I can't find a video showing how it works, UMS had a fully operational demo going at Lauderdale and I can attest to its wow factor...

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The essence of T-SAT is a super sophisticated source and monitor switching system and a touch-screen environment that may make you feel like Tom Cruise while using it. For instance, you can select any screen window off the master control screen (seen on the center monitor above and by itself below) and drag or flick it to full screen on any of the other three monitors, or other monitors not shown!  It's only coincidence that the screen seen at top center above happens to be Palladium's regular SiMON software. In fact, SiMON Gold and T-SAT are largely different approaches, and could even co-exist, the former more about designing and running individual multi-touch screens while T-SAT is more about managing a whole megayacht full of monitors, touch and otherwise...

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The T-SAT demo system could route up to 16 sources -- any flavor of video/audio feed, they claimed -- to as many as 16 monitors, all over Cat-5 Ethernet cables. And you can get a 32 x 32 or 64 x 64 system if you need one! The master screen above -- running on a Hatteland Series X monitor, I think -- shows many of the sources UMS had working in Lauderdale, and also how T-SAT includes some specific controls functions like lighting, shades, and climate. That makes sense as T-SAT is made up of various high-end Crestron home automation products, like its DigitalMedia matrix switcher...

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So I guess it was Crestron that came up with the idea of being able to annotate any touch screen in the system, but the feature sure could be useful on a boat. A UMS demonstrator finger drew the example above, which a mate might create for the next watch, and he also noted you could grab, say, the HD TV feed being watched in the galley and write "coffee to bridge, please" on it...

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However, note that there is some serious hardware involved in all this magic, and mind you that the rack above is only taking care of 16 x 16 matrix switching. Plus, even if you had a big locker and lots of power just for A/V switching and household controls, I dare guess that these systems are fairly expensive. All that said, though, how about a hat's off to Palladium Technologies and Unlimited Marine Services for taking mega yachting into the touch and swipe future. Will we all be running our helms Tom Cruise style one day?

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Comments

Hi Ben, great stuff here and thanks for all of the excellent photos and graphics that help to bring it to life. I have to admit to a big sigh, though, when I realize that a system of this complexity and scope is well beyond my budget and my boat's needs. Or is it? After all, we have dozens if not hundreds of skilled app developers focusing on iPad and related consumer devices...in the spirit of DIY, why not feature some of the best of these as a way to achieve something similar to what's shown here but at a fraction of the cost. In addition to iPad i'm also thinking of Google Glasses and some of the augmented reality apps that are starting to appear...I really think we have many of the pieces to put together these kinds of systems in the same way the home theater and audio industry is being disrupted by low-cost iPad-driven systems that feature software displacing most of the hardware. Maybe of our Panbo regulars would agree to curate a post on how one could assemble these kinds of systems using DIY technologies. Thanks.

Posted by: Drew Clark at December 10, 2012 2:34 PM | Reply

Drew, I'm completely up for guest entries like the one or ones you suggest. You or anyone interested should just email me (ben at panbo.com) for guidelines and also so I can avoid multiple submissions on the same topic.

Posted by: Ben in reply to Drew Clark at December 10, 2012 2:49 PM | Reply

There is a YouTube video about T-SAT that shows some features I missed:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iK6qd5qADBc&feature

Unfortunately it was shot in portrait mode, but you can still catch some the amazing screen manipulation possibilities. Plus UMS is working on a pro video now.

Posted by: Ben at December 10, 2012 5:00 PM | Reply

Just wanted to inform that A TSAT video is being shot as we speak and I will send the link in about a month. Also the rack for TSAT is not that big. The rack shown was including many other components used for the show. The actual rack for a basic system is only ably 2-3 feet tall.

Posted by: James Porreca at December 12, 2012 12:47 PM | Reply

Thanks, James, and please don't take my kidding too seriously. I look forward to watching a video that really shows off what T-SAT can do!

Posted by: Ben in reply to James Porreca at December 12, 2012 2:24 PM | Reply

T-SAT now has a really excellent video explanation:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YQPJ5RszSfE

Check it out, but be careful; you might want to own a megayacht ;-)

Also, all the wonderful T-SAT video source switching can be extended to, and used on, iPads.

Posted by: Ben at July 9, 2013 12:28 PM | Reply

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