How does a beach vacation viewing dolphins along the coast of India tie back to process control? Emerson’s Anand Iyer explains in today’s guest post.
There is a town called Malvan in Konkan region of Maharashtra, India. This place is very popular amongst tourists for its pristine beaches, snorkeling, scuba (corals and fish), seafood, local food called malvani cuisine, water sports and dolphin tours.
We stayed in MTDC Tarkarli beach resort and did the regular tourist stuff, played in nature’s wave pool, some water sports, scuba, paragliding, etc… but this story is about the dolphin ride.
So on day 2 viz 28th April 2013, we had booked a six-site tour boat ride package. First was backwaters ride on boat, then dolphin point, then bhogve beach, then the golden rocks at Nivti.
At dolphin point, I had my Olympus camera out, ready to shoot in a jiffy. I also had my Canon EOS 480 out, to get some fantastic shots. Now my point and shoot, Olympus has a pet mode and if the camera is in this mode and if it sights a cat or a dog, then it shoots a picture. It also has a beach and sea mode, which does suitable color adjustments and the camera can go up to 5 meters under water. The EOS has various modes and is a good camera, and I have been lucky to get a few shots that others have appreciated.
We reached dolphin point and to be very frank, the dolphins don’t come out on someone’s whistles as in “Sea World” and do all those tricks that they do in “Dolphinariums” around the world.
They are very difficult to sight. And our boatman was the first to sight a few… and we pointed our camera to that direction and the dolphins would appear elsewhere. After some such misses, we focused on the general area and saw the dolphins with our eyes and shot some video, and when we analyzed later, the focus was generally on the water and it would be difficult to convince other that these were shots of dolphins.
A few things that stood out were that the boatman knew the general area where the dolphins generally appear on sight. Yes, the dolphins also do some of those Sea World tricks when they are playing, but you have to be extra lucky to get to see those moments…
- The boatman was able to see and focus on the minutest of abnormal appearance and was able to sight dolphins much earlier than we were able to.
- Once we sighted the dolphins, we were able to see the blowing through the snout and many details that our camera’s entirely missed. The logic behind our eyes must be a fascinating one to decode.
Now the camera’s could have an auto-mode, that is able to sense the general area that we are in, viz the sea (knowing that we are “at sea” with our cameras).
The first thing could be to see what is “Out of Ordinary”. Like the boatman being able to see the odd things and sight dolphins so quickly, the camera, could sense, and focus on these out of ordinary objects.
And try to focus on “Point of Interest” like dolphins, snout of dolphin, odd shaped rocks, seagulls, other aquatic life and like the pet mode, focus and snap.
Well that would be a very intuitive camera!
These two somewhat opposing concepts viz “Out of Ordinary” and “Point of Interest” could define a basis of intuitive processing applicable to all automation.
In the IO cloud series, we had seen some primer on intuitive control, basically using history as a basis of feedforward control or using the “last known best value” method in intuitive control. These further concepts of “out of ordinary” and “point of interest” could be used to further enhance the capabilities of intuitive control.
“Out of Ordinary” in process control. A column profile being not OK, maybe all the parameters are within their limits but the profile is “Not OK” could trigger an “Out of Ordinary” event within Intuitive control.
The “Out of Ordinary” event could be actually more desirable for reasons like better economics or better quality at same cost and we could tune setpoints or operations according to this profile to optimize the operations.
“Point of Interest” in process control. The “Out of Ordinary” event will require us to check the “Point of Interest” viz the quality of product, and other parameters to ensure that they are within limits.
One question that would pop up would be, why would we even want to use these concepts in our process controls?
One possible application could be when we are trying new raw materials or raw materials from different sources and we may need something more than conventional controls for any unforeseen situations. And the setpoints, tuning and control parameters could need modification over a period of time and we may face previously un-encountered plant operating scenarios.
The intuitive control system algorithms could effectively identify new setpoints, tuning and control parameters with the changed scenarios.
Summary. “Out of Ordinary” and “Point of Interest” could provide two important concepts for intuitive processing.