Higher Fidelity Sky Sphere in Development

Kilo Hōkū VR team member Anna Sikkink presented her Masters project on May 4th, 2023 at the University of Hawaiʻi Information and Computer Science Spring Project Day. Titled “Exploring Implementation Methods to Generate an Accurate Representation of the Night Sky for use in Virtual Reality”, it depicts a new method of representing stars in the sky sphere via the Unity game engine’s Data-Oriented Technology Stack or DOTS.

Anna Sikkink standing next to her poster presentation of "Exploring Methods to Generate an Accurate Night Sky for VR"
Anna Sikkink presenting her poster “Exploring Methods to Generate an Accurate Night Sky for VR”

This new sky sphere allows us to more accurately represent stars as individual points in the sky instead of mapping a flat image against the interior of a sphere. This results in higher fidelity for individual star points, and removes some of the graphical aberration that is present in our current sky sphere. It also gives us future possibilities in being able to highlight and pinpoint individual stars that are significant for use in celestial navigation.

Anna’s paper and poster presentation are available here!

The new sky sphere was developed and demonstrated on our new Meta (Oculus) Quest 2 version of Kilo Hōkū VR, which we are working on polishing and prepping for community release in the near future. Work on this version has been funded in partnership with Punahou School.

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