Kilo Hōkū (t: to observe and study the stars) is a Virtual Reality simulation of sailing on a traditional double-hulled waʻa modeled after the Hōkūle'a.
Kilo Hōkū started development in ICS 691 Virtual Reality, a course taught by Jason Leigh. 
Developing Kilo Hōkū, along with myself, is Patrick Karjala, Anna Sikkink, and Dean Lodes.
The night sky offers a map to those who know how to read it. During the time of the Hawaiian Renaissance, in the year 1973, the practice of traditional navigation was brought back to Hawai’i with the founding of the Polynesian Voyaging Society. Through the efforts of the crew and affiliates of the Polynesian Voyaging Society, the knowledge of non-instrument wayfinding has been recovered. A large part of the technique to traditional navigation is to be familiar with particular stars and constellations, and their movement in the night sky. 
Kilo Hōkū, literally “To observe the stars,” is a VR application to help teach users about the important stars and constellations in the night sky in a Hawaiian context. Kilo Hōkū allows users to control and investigate the night sky while aboard the Hōkūle'a with the use of a HTC Vive. Through the unique experience VR allows for the user, the user will be able to learn to become familiar with the sky in a more natural way as they are immersed in a VR star dome.
Personally, I assisted with the creation on many of the visualizations of celestial navigation concepts such as the Hawaiian Star compass (the blue words you see on the horizon in the picture above). I also helped program and implement various interaction features within the system.
Kilo Hōkū is a simulation of sailing on the Hōkūleʻa, a Polynesian double-hulled sailing canoe built in Hawaiʻi in 1974, which completed its worldwide journey in 2017.  The construction and sailing of this vessel is of significant importance to the Hawaiian cultural renaissance of the 1970s and 1980s; of particular relevance is Hawaiian wayfinding, the cultural practice of navigating across the open ocean to a destination without the use of maps or modern navigation instruments.  By developing the simulation, we aimed to assist in the cultural preservation of the star navigation portion of Hawaiian wayfinding techniques, and to help to educate future generations of non-instrument navigators. The first implementation of Kilo Hōkū as a cultural heritage project in virtual reality was to test its viability as a tool for Modern Hawaiian wayfinders to use in classroom instruction, and its realism as an accurate reproduction of the Hōkūleʻa’s sailing experience.  The reaction to the simulation from current practicing Modern Hawaiian wayfinders was positive, and indicates that further study is warranted in testing the efficacy of the simulation for teaching Hawaiian wayfinding to future navigators, as well as preserving and spreading knowledge of Hōkūleʻa and of Modern Hawaiian wayfinding beyond Hawaiʻi.
Karjala, P., Noe, K., Sikkink, A., Lodes, D. (2020) "A Demonstration of Kilo Hōkū-Implementing Hawaiian Star
Navigation Methods in Virtual Reality" CHI 2020 Interactivity/Demos, Honolulu Hawai'i.
Karjala, P., Lodes, D., Noe, K., Sikkink, A. (2018) “Kilo Hōkū - Experiencing Hawaiian, Non-Instrument Open Ocean Navigation through Virtual Reality” PRESENCE: Special Issue on Virtual and Augmented Reality in Culture and Heritage.
Re:Locations Navigating Visions Symposium, University of Toronto, Toronto Canada, 2019
Global Asia/Pacific Art Exchange (GAX), Concordia University, Montreal Canada, 2019
Wayfinder's Weekend, Bishop Museum, Honolulu Hawai'i, 2018
Malama Honua Summit, Hawai'i Convention Center, Honolulu Hawai'i, 2017
Cultural Animation Film Festival, Honolulu Museum of Art, Honolulu Hawai'i, 2017

Overview video of Kilo Hōkū

Demo Pictures

You may also like

Back to Top