In 2006, a large multi-purpose simulator for complex movements was installed at TNO Soesterberg. The simulator was named DESorientation DEMONstrator Amst, in short Desdemona. Desdemona is a three-dimensional motion simulator, disorientation trainer and advanced research lab in one. This globally unique simulator can be used for research and for simulating complex situations in which there is flown, driven or even sailed.
Flight and driving simulations usually are based on standard hexapod simulators. But with such simulators, really complex flight movements or extreme vehicle movements, such as off-road driving, cannot be simulated precisely. Desdemona, however, is a simulator with additional movement options. It is the result of a collaboration between TNO and the Austrian AMST Systemtechnik.
Desdemona combines the advantages of the hexapod and a centrifuge. The modularly designed cabin from Desdemona is mounted on a fully gimballed system that can rotate around any axis. The entire system can move two meters vertically and eight meters horizontally on a carriage which can also rotate. By centrifuging, Desdemona also offers the possibility of generating sustained G-forces up to a maximum of 3G.
A motion cueing algorithm translates the motion envelope of an aircraft into the corresponding but smaller motion envelope of the simulator. Desdemona is based on Spherical Washout (see Researchgate). Spherical Washout is a TNO-developed innovative motion cueing algorithm, which combines the benefits of conventional hexapod algorithms and Dynamic Flight Simulation.
Desdemona was originally designed for research and training in the field of spatial disorientation and human motion perception, for R&D in motion cueing, and for advanced flight simulation. Desdemona can be applied much more widely, such as in military, civilian and small aviation, aerospace, shipping, and the automotive industry. The pharmaceutical industry and roller coaster manufacturers will also benefit from the opportunities that Desdemona has to offer.
TNO collaborated on this research with TU Delft and the Nationaal Lucht & Ruimtevaart Geneeskundig Centrum (NLRGC), currently the Center for Man in Aviation of the Royal Netherlands Airforce. A TNO Leaflet from that time describes Desdemona in a comprehensive way.
Since 2010, the Desdemona facility is exploited by a separately established BV, DESDEMONA BV. The ownership of the Desdemona simulator was for 2/3 with AMST and 1/3 with TNO from 2007 until July 1, 2022. DESDEMONA is 100% owned by TNO since that date.