The second day of the Cape Town trip was installing a new version of ShipWatch. This system uses computer vision to track the movement of a scale ship in a small model of Cape Town’s harbour, located at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR).
Pictured above is the CSIR hall, where scientists build exact scale models of South Africa’s harbours so they can simulate disaster situations and compare harbour designs, to see which ones will shield the ships properly from the worst storms.
The orange mechanism in the water is a wave generator, which makes the tiny waves for the tiny harbours.
The model ship has basic trackable points (white square on black background). The camera that you can see in the first pic will record the movement of the ship from the side, and the software that we make tracks the exact movement and how it reacts to the waves.
A big part of a harbour design is the breakwater, which is normally made of dolos (those little colourful interlocking things). They reduce the energy of the waves so the piers don’t get damaged.
It was pretty cool, and I learnt a lot about the challenges of harbour engineering. Cape Town is stunning, there is such a cool vibe down there, and the scenery is amazing. I’ll definitely need to go back for a good holiday sometime soon.