on: Friday, December 20, 2002
Maui man takes canoe navigation high-tech
Advertiser Neighbor Island Editor
Maui man who worked on the groundbreaking computer-generated film
"Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within" is using the same
cutting-edge technology to preserve and spread knowledge of two
ancient Hawaiian traditions.
34, worked as technical director/set designer for the $135 million
film's Motion Capture Department and was also technical director
of the acclaimed 'Ulalena stage show in Lahaina until October. He
is probably better known for using computers to design award-winning
sets, sound, lights and special effects for Honolulu theater productions.
Perry, proprietor of Pacific Archiving of Napili, hopes to
launch his interactive Polynesian navigation software in June.
It lets users travel in a traditional double-hulled voyaging
canoe among 300 Pacific islands.
Punahou alumnus said a lifelong love of sailing and appreciation
for the feats of Polynesian seafarers inspired him to tackle the
navigation simulation project, meant for education and entertainment.
simulation will allow users to travel in a traditional double-hulled
voyaging canoe among 300 Pacific islands using celestial markers
and other indicators, such as driftwood and seabirds. Perry said
users don't need to be familiar with astronomy or ocean currents
start by choosing a location from a clickable map, coordinates,
or random placement within Oceania. Navigators are given no additional
information and are left to explore by their own devices.
primary screen is an interactive 3-D view from the canoe deck.
The user is restricted to the vessel, but the canoe can sail and
steer in any direction, except into the wind. Stars in the sky
can be highlighted, connected or named for use as personal indicators.
the voyage progresses, navigators must react to storms, cloudy
nights when the stars are not visible, and other weather and ocean
said he is still refining the project but plans to have the simulation
ready for sale as a CD-ROM or downloadable from his Web site by
Polynesian navigation software is targeted at upper elementary school
ages and older.
Perry also wants to use his technology skills for archiving
Wilson The Honolulu Advertiser
finishing work on the simulation, Pacific Archiving's chief business
remains virtual tours of vacation rentals, luxury real-estate
properties and other projects, such as a virtual tour of the Maui
Arts & Cultural Center's Castle Theater and a computer model
of a newly designed foot strap for windsurfing.
is also making arrangements to acquire a portable motion-capture
system that will allow him to visit different hula halau and record
dance movements. Using markers placed on different parts of the
human body and multiple cameras, motion-capture photography records
sequences of movement and generates three-dimensional information.
computer archive of hula performances could be used for instruction
and to preserve the unique styles of prominent kumu hula, Perry
said. Users who access the archive for a fee would be able to
control the animation and manipulate the camera controls to study
the performance from any point of view.
said he has received an enthusiastic response from the kumu hula
about the project.
kumu hula John Keola Lake, who is working with Bishop Museum on
a special hula exhibit to open early next year, said that, generally,
he sees nothing wrong with mixing ancient art and modern technology.
the technology we have today, we've got to move with it and use
it. As long as it doesn't offend anyone and it preserves the integrity,
that's great," he said.
information on Perry's work is on