The Fisheries and Marine Institute of Memorial University of Newfoundland, through the Centre for Marine Simulation, has been named the winner of the Thai-Canadian Chamber of Commerce (TCCC) Best Innovation 2008 Award.
The award is in honour of MI’s ground-breaking work in simulating and testing wind conditions on the Chicago Spire, a proposed 610 metre, 140-floor skyscraper that will be among the world’s tallest buildings and freestanding structures once completed. The award will be presented at the TCCC Business Excellence Awards Gala and Ceremony tonight in Bangkok, Thailand.
“The Marine Institute takes great pride in winning the Best Innovation 2008 Award,” said Glenn Blackwood, executive director, Marine Institute. “The Centre for Marine Simulation has long been internationally recognized as North America’s most comprehensive research and training facility for marine simulation and technology and it is great to see the work that is completed there receive such recognition.”
The Marine Institute’s Centre for Marine Simulation has been helping industry partners in marine and offshore industries accelerate training, improve performance, test new equipment designs and mitigate the risk of accidents since 1994. Using a variety of simulators, including the world’s only full motion, full mission ship’s bridge, the Centre for Marine Simulation has become internationally recognized in the areas of simulating harsh maritime environments, human performances in moving environments, simulation of offshore oil and gas operations and waterway risk analysis.
With this technology, MI has developed a reputation for addressing industry demand for more accurate, innovative and reliable solutions to human factor challenges, a reputation that led to a partnership in 2007 between the Centre for Marine Simulation and RWDI/Motioneering, an Ontario-based engineering company specializing in the design, development and monitoring of motion solutions for a wide range of structural applications.
RWDI/Motioneering contacted MI to see if the Centre for Marine Simulation could be used to test the motion of the Chicago Spire, soon to be the tallest skyscraper under construction in North America. The objective of the partnership was to test the motion of the newly designed skyscraper at various wind speeds, helping to address a number of challenges that occur with a building of such great size, including motion perception, motion sickness and fear of movement.
The Centre for Marine Simulation’s team created a realistic 360 degree visual of the Chicago skyline with a view from the bottom floor straight to the 140th floor of the proposed Chicago Spire. The bridge simulator’s motion server was able to produce the simulated wind conditions to create a virtual environment for the planned skyscraper. This enabled RWDI/Motioneering, for the first time, to experience the sway motion of the Chicago Spire, as was determined in a wind tunnel test.
The result allowed RWDI/Motioneering to translate numbers to actual motion, making it the first engineering company in the world to accomplish this.
“To say the least, the Marine Institute is thrilled to have been part of such a landmark project. The team at CMS deserves a lot of credit for their work on the project. The results show that the Centre for Marine Simulation’s international reputation as leader in simulation is well deserved and growing,” said Capt. Chris Hearn, director of the Centre for Marine Simulation. “The Chicago Spire project was a bit of a departure from the research we traditionally conduct at MI. However, it proved to be an exciting and worthwhile venture that demonstrates the innovative spirit of the Marine Institute.”
MI and RWDI/Motioneering have since partnered on more motion studies, setting the framework for a building motion workshop that will be held annually at the Centre for Marine Simulation with some of the top high rise structural engineering firms in the world. The first workshop was held in September 2008, with a second planned for 2009. MI is also in discussions with RWDI/Motioneering and the American Society of Civil Engineers regarding collaborative research that could challenge and improve some current standards of civil design.