Kilo Hōkū VR

Kilo Hōkū VR is a virtual reality simulation of sailing on the Hōkūleʻa, a waʻa kaulua (t: Hawaiian double-hulled sailing canoe) built in Hawai‘i in 1974, which completed its worldwide voyage in 2017.

During the initial development of this simulation, we aimed to discover how a virtual reality environment could aid in the education of the astronomical cycles that are involved in modern Hawaiian wayfinding techniques of hoʻokele (t: navigator, to navigate). This lead to publications in: Presence: Virtual and Augmented Reality, 2017 and CHI EA ’20: Extended Abstracts of the 2020 CHI Conference on Human Factors in Computing Systems

We continue to develop the project as a training tool to help educate those who want to develop their knowledge of hoʻokele. We also offer the base simulation for all those interested in experiencing the visualizations, tools, and immersion of being on the Hōkūleʻa at night out in the ocean. The simulation is meant to be used with guidance from an instructor, but all are welcome to download the latest version at our Downloads page.

Kilo Hōkū VR is developed using the Unity game engine and is designed for the HTC Vive. This simulation was originally produced as a class project at the Laboratory for Advanced Visualization and Applications at the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa. Mahalo to the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the name Hōkūleʻa and the sailing vessel Hōkūleʻa are trademarks of, and are owned by, the Polynesian Voyaging Society, and are used within Kilo Hōkū VR with permission.

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